DNA Testing My Paternal Uncle Uncovered a Number of New Jones Family Ancestors— And I Don’t Know Who They Are.

Jones kids ca. 1925Oh, the can of worms that a DNA test can open….

Recently, I had a paternal uncle who has the surname of Jones Y-67 marker DNA tested with FamilyTreeDNA.

Looking at his results, I saw that he had two “cousins” who shared the surname Jones and at the 67 marker level had a genetic distance of 0 to him (Genetic Distance is defined at the end of this article). These two persons listed the following two ancestors as Most Distant Ancestors (MDA) for themselves: James William Jones b 12/09/1850 GA and James Jones, d 1823, Franklin Co, NC.

Well, there’s a problem with that: In my family tree of almost 5,000 persons, I didn’t have either of these two Most Distant Ancestors. And this is a paper trail tree that I thought to be fairly well researched and fairly accurate. Even at the Genetic Distance of 3 there were persons listed I wasn’t fully sure of. Like a “cousin” with an MDA of Adam Jones, b 1759 and d 1826, VA and GA. I didn’t recognize this Adam Jones.

Oh dear- DNA doesn’t lie.

Somewhere, somehow we are related to some Joneses that I wasn’t aware of. Even Joneses from Franklin, North Carolina. I didn’t have anyone in my tree closely related to the Jones family listed from Franklin.

Let the games begin.

First, I added the James William Jones b 1850, Georgia and the James Jones who died in 1823 in Franklin Co, North Carolina into my tree as unrelated persons. Doing so allows me to trace their line and, hopefully, eventually connect them to the rest of my tree.

My work on James William Jones ended fairly quickly with a father found of a Thomas Jones but no known parents for said Thomas. Thomas was, as well, from Georgia but could have been from any county, making it virtually difficult to trace his lineage.

On to our “Franklin Co, NC James Jones.” I worked hard and, at first, thought that I had better success with him. I traced him back to John Jones of Isle of Wight, Virginia and even forward in time to the known cousin match. All of MY known Joneses (and I trace from two Jones lines), including a few John Joneses, began their presence in America in Isle of Wight, Virginia. So there’s a start. Just maybe our John Joneses connect (of course, I have almost 20 men named John Jones in my tree, most having lived around Isle of Wight County in the early years of our country). But, then, I realized that my John Joneses DIDN’T connect to the James Jones of Franklin Co, NC. Ugh.

Then, I switched to THIS issue—

Adam Jones.

On my uncle’s DNA match list, at a Genetic Distance of 3, there is a “cousin” named Rick Jones with an MDA of Adam Jones b 1759 in Amelia, Virginia and d 13 Nov 1826 in Columbia, Co, Georgia. Prior to working on this puzzle, the only Adam Jones that I knowingly directly descended from is an Adam Jones born 1805 in Bulloch Co, Georgia and died 1879, and who married Mary Ann “Polly” Jones (yes, a Jones married a Jones).

The administrator of the account told me in a string of emails that her “Adam Jones is the other Adam Jones who lived in Georgia. He lived in Columbia County, Georgia and was married to Nancy Harrison” and “I haven’t been able to find the parents of my Adam Jones.” Her Adam Jones isn’t the same person as my Adam Jones, though their birth and death dates are similar. She noted, “The two Adam Joneses are different people. Everybody gets them confused since they lived relatively close to each other in Georgia. One was a minister of a Baptist church and the other was a farmer and Justice of Peace.” Her Adam was the farmer and Justice of Peace; my Adam was the Baptist minister. She added, “I have no doubt that the two Adam Joneses are related, but I haven’t researched too much in Virginia, yet, to find their common ancestor.”

Okay, start searching.

I began with adding this new “Adam Jones from Columbia Co, GA m Nancy Harrison” to my tree as an unattached, unrelated person. No luck– I couldn’t find his parents either.

I then started studying the other Adam Joneses in my tree. While doing so, I found that I likely direct descend from a SECOND Adam Jones. I thought the Adam Jones of b1805-d1879 was my only direct ancestor.

It began with researching a Thomas Jones in my tree. I had found that many researchers believe the parents of Thomas Jones, my 4th great grandfather, to be William Jones and Elizabeth Cosby. Definitive proof doesn’t seem to exist that these could be his correct parents. Scouring and studying available records allowed me to feel reasonably confident that this supposed parentage is wrong—that the parents of Thomas Jones are actually the Rev. Adam Jones and, likely, his second of three wives, Susannah Denmark.

So why is the fact that I descend from Rev. Adam Jones important? Because the father of Rev. Adam Jones is believed to be a Benjamin Jones, from Bute County, which is part of the current Franklin County, North Carolina. And Benjamin’s father is very likely, but not proven, to be a John Jones, thought to have died in Surry County, Virginia, the neighboring county to Isle of Wight County, Virginia. All these Joneses are actually beginning to connect. (Note: I must give tremendous credit to John Norvill Jones for his many years of dedication to the study of this family.)

I’m making progress.


That was yesterday’s writings. Here’s today’s update:

Benjamin Jones I believe is the father of my Rev. Adam Jones. Benjamin also had a son named James J. Jones born before 1755 in Granville, North Carolina and died after 1822 (or in 1823) in Franklin, North Carolina. It is THIS James that I am fairly certain is the James Jones of Franklin Co, NC that my uncle has cousin matches with. If this research is correct, then I am definitely making progress in figuring out how my uncle has cousin matches in Franklin County, North Carolina.


Note: A “Genetic Distance” is the number of mutation “steps” between two individuals. A distance of “0” is considered a perfect match; a distance of “1” would be a one-step mutation, etc.  So a match between two men who have taken a 67-marker test and who share a common surname means they share a common male ancestor within a very close genealogical time frame. The more mutations, the longer the probable time period since the most recent common ancestor.


  1. Becky Jones Pacey

    Julie, Did you know that John Norvill Jones passed away a few months ago. Also, how did you come to the conclusion that James Jones of Franklin Co, NC father was John Jones of Isle of Wight. You are meaning James who died in 1823, correct.

    1. Julie (Post author)

      Hey cousin– I sent you an email! Thanks for commenting and keeping me accountable. Together we will figure this puzzle out. Julie

  2. Rebecca Jones Pacey

    Yes, I got your email. Since your blog posted to the Jones Surname group, will they also get the informtion that James Jones of Franklin is not the son of John Jones. Thanks, I hope we will figure it out, I have worked on this so long and gotten no place. I can still remember the day back in the old SASE days when I got a reply that told me When My James J Jones and Patience Jones got married. That was my first real breakthrough that told me where they were from. A Banner day for sure.

    1. Julie (Post author)

      Actually, even before correcting my thinking yesterday, I wasn’t stating that the father of your James Jones was John Jones. I apologize for my confusing verbiage but I was attempting to write that I had followed your James Jones BACK to a John Jones, meaning more generations back than father. I had his father as James Sidney Jones and his grandfather as John Jones– but I was incorrect! I’ll keep trying!

      1. Bob Jones


        I have tried to look to see if anything of yours fitsinto mine because I have some Jones’ of mine, not proven yet, in Franklin County, North Carolina.

        I went to familyaearch.org and did a search RECORDS>James J Jones>b 1750 – 1750, Granville, North Caroline> d 1820 – 1825>Franklin County, North Carolina.

        It came up with 80 possibilities, the 1st was the probate file for James J Jones, 1823 Franklin County, North Carolina.

        You may have already done this search but if not try it. It has a lot of info. I now need to go over them myself and see if any are related to my line.

        Bob Jones

        1. Rebecca Jones Pacey

          Bob, Is that the Complaint that was filed by his Wife Tamor that you are referring to.
          Becky Jones Pacey

          1. Bob Jones

            Hi Yes it was her complaint. Iy was so long I did not read it until now. Sorry that I led you astray.

            My brick wall is Elijah Jones born 1814 in North Carolina. I do not know the county and I can’t find anything on him before his marriage, 1847, in Greene Alabama but one line I am looking at goes to Franklin County. It’s just that I can’t find anything there yet.

            Good hunting. Who knows we may be related through this line. Only time will tell


        2. Rebecca Jones Pacey

          Here is a link to the handwritten document. I have a transcription if you are interested.

          1. Bob Jones

            I will keep the URL but if you want to send me a transcript I would appreciate it.


          2. Rebecca Jones Pacey

            Send me your email and I will send it as a Word Attachment. My email is becky.pacey@gmail.com


    The John Norville JONES who helped you a lot is a Y- dna match to mine – along with a cluster of other surname JONES. I have my family tree (vastly expanding hour by hour) on ancestryDNA which you may see by invitation from me, robert julian braxton. From it, I took a tiny hint surname POWELL, Eleanor – married a WRIGHT who is supposed to be ancestor to my paternal grandmother Flossie Emma Wright – any way, wound up in a nest of POWELL and JONES who went to Arkansas / Alabama from Virginia (William) and NC – powells married JONES, JONES married powell, they are descended from each other (one another). One had older brother Richard, younger brother David – his middle name (Furtis?) I found is in Bertie (County) NC from early 1800’s here used as a middle name. How JONES is in my Y-DNA (or the other way around) I do not yet know. I have a Y-111 match in Kentucky, Evan BLAKEY – and both that surname and the JONES (from Wales) surname intersect back in Middlesex County, VA ChristChurch Parish with Churchill Blakey and Susannah GEORGE plus military man Maurice SMITH – a Mr. Davidson is in touch with me about. So I have two sources / matches that wind up that some moment (location and time).


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