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Tuesday, June 3, 2014

John West, Jr. – Was He My 6th Great Uncle?

During the last week of April of this year, my fourth cousin, Joanne, and I spent two days researching at the Old Tryon County Genealogical Society Library in Forest City, Rutherford County, North Carolina, and at the Broad River Genealogical Society Library in Shelby, Cleveland County, North Carolina.  What were we looking for? 

If you recall in an earlier post, “A Genealogist’s Progress,” on February 10, 2014, I described meeting a male West, whom I’ll call D. West, who descends from John West, Jr. (1732 Tryon, NC-1776) and his son Thomas West (1760 Lincoln, NC-1831 Rutherford, NC) who married Elizabeth Preston.  I met D. West at the Tipton Family Association Meeting in Burnsville, North Carolina, in October 2013.  In December 2013, D. West tested with FTDNA’s Family Finder test and found that he is a genetic match with my sister and me.  The only connection that we appear to have is through the West lineage.
My hunch was that D. West’s 5th great grandfather, John West, Jr. (b 1732), was the brother of my 5th great grandfather, Alexander West (b about 1730).  Land records from Orange County, North Carolina, reveal that a John West, Sr., a John West, Jr., and an Alexander West were involved together in land transactions in that area during the 1750s.  John West, Sr. deeded land to Alexander West and John West, Jr.  In addition, John West, Sr. sold land to Peter Anderson and his wife, Catherine.  Peter and Catherine’s daughter, Susanna Anderson, married Isaac West who may have also been a son of John West, Sr. and a brother of Alexander West and John West, Jr.
Therefore, I couldn’t wait for the long winter months of January, February, and March to end so that my husband and I could make a trip to the area which had previously been Tryon County.  This area just happened to be in Forest City, Rutherford County, North Carolina, where my cousin, Joanne, lives.  Many thanks to her husband, Bobby, for giving my husband, Doug, a grand tour of the area which included the site of the Battle of King’s Mountain.
What a great time Joanne and I had those two days searching for long-lost grandfathers!  However, I’m still not sure that we found the John West that we hoped to find.  Again, so many West men were named John!  But, how many different John Wests could have been in the areas of Orange, Tryon, and Lincoln counties in the 1720s to 1780s?  I think we may be on to something once we organize all of our data so that we can see patterns and draw conclusions.
In addition, D. West plans to take the Y-DNA test.  His results may place him in the West Family DNA Project and perhaps indicate a particular West Family Group to which he may belong.  This would be valuable information to help us with our search for our Alexander West and his parents.
Until some new information changes my opinions and “hunches,” I will continue down this research road expecting to find that my Alexander West (5th great grandfather) was the son of John West (senior) and his first wife, Mary Madden.


  1. Looking forward to seeing the results of his YDNA test. My cousin is in the Robert West line b 1615 or 1605 in England. They will probably match but that still won't show relationship.

  2. Ginger,
    Thanks for your comment. I, too, am looking forward to my FF match taking one of the Y-DNA tests. I, too, hope that his results place him in the West Family Group I because all of my research points in that direction. I wish that you and I had a genetic match. Perhaps, once is up and running again, we might find that we match there.

  3. I found your information VERY interesting and exciting. My husband's 3rd great grandfather was William Preston West, son of Thomas West, born in Lincoln County, NC (or part of Old Tryon County that became Lincoln County) and died in Rutherford County. I have been quite a few times to Cherokee County, NC to see where that line lived. There has been much said and written about John West (1732-1776) being from the De LaWarr line which came from England and were prominent in the early Virginia colony. However, no one had any information about John West's father or how he tied into the De LaWarr family. I live in Cleveland County, NC 20 minutes from Shelby, NC and have also been to Forrest City for research. I hope to talk my husband into the Y-DNA test and would love to help you in any way I can with this research. I would like to fill in these earlier generations in our West tree. Emily West

  4. Oh, my! Emily, how happy am I am to hear from you! As you read in this blog, my sister and I are autosomal DNA matches with D.West who descends from John West (1732 Tryon, NC- 1776). He doesn't know who his John's father may have been. I suspect that he could have been John West, Sr. who married Mary Madden and may have been a brother to my Alexander West. Therefore, we cannot be certain if our DNA match is through the West line or another line. We do not appear to have any other surnames in common. After I wrote the above blog, D.West took the Y-64 DNA test which traces the male line (one's father, his father, his father, etc.). Of course, you still have to have the paper trail to go along with the DNA. The autosomal test can be used by males or females and matches one with cousins (males and females) on both sides of his family. I hoped that D.West's results would place him in the West DNA Project Family Group 1 or 7. However, he does not match anyone in those groups. I still have hopes. You may find these groups at Family Tree DNA Results. If your husband is willing to participate in DNA testing, I suggest that he take the autosomal test, which is called Family Finder in Family Tree DNA and the Y-67 test. This weekend Family Finder is on sale for 89.00. My sister and I tested through FTNDA and so did D.West. It would most interesting to see if your husband matches any of us. FTNDA is not Family Tree Magazine. Many think that it is. FTDNA is one of the first companies to do DNA test for genealogical purposes and probably has the largest database of people who have tested. You can read more about it by searching Family Tree DNA or just FTDNA on the Internet. If you will post your email address in a comment below, I will NOT post that post and will email you. I'll be happy to give you my phone number, also. Thanks so much. I think our possibilities are promising.


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