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View Full Version : Recent Scots Bonanza on Ancestry



rms2
10-08-2017, 02:46 PM
Not too long ago I knew almost nothing about my dad's maternal grandmother except her name, Lula McElroy. Once I tested with Ancestry, however, I slowly started picking up some pretty substantial matches on that line and have learned a lot.

Lula's mother, it turns out, was Frances A. "Fannie" Nicholson. Just yesterday I picked up a bonanza of new matches connected to Frances, who is one of my second great grandmothers. Got a match with a guy named Burke who was able to clue me in on the Nicholsons, matches with a couple of male Nicholsons (I'm hoping to find out what their y-haplogroup is), and a match with a Wilkinson connected to this line.

To make a long story short, my immigrant Nicholson ancestor was a man named Donald Mac Nichol who came from Argyll to Wilmington, North Carolina in 1775 with his wife, Katherine. Donald and family went to South Carolina and soon began appearing under the last name Nicholson. I'm not sure why they exchanged Mac Nichol for Nicholson.

Donald's son Nicholas (my 4th great grandfather) married Catherine Wilkinson, thus the Wilkinson match who also matches my Nicholsons and Mr. Burke.

Anyway, this is good stuff, and it just kind of fell into my lap via Ancestry. Honestly I have always looked on the paper trail stuff of more than a hundred years or so ago as dubious at best, to be taken with a large lump of salt and a big maybe. But when the dna matches fall into place like these have, it's pretty exciting.

I have a lot of Scots ancestry on my mother's side. Now it turns out there is a fair amount of it on my dad's side, too.

rms2
10-08-2017, 03:28 PM
One of those Nicholsons shares 70 cMs with me across three segments. The other one shares 37 cMs with me across three segments. Wilkinson shares 25.1 CMs with me across two segments, and Burke shares 37 cMs with me across three segments.

spruithean
10-08-2017, 03:40 PM
This link (https://books.google.ca/books?id=p29l5Xe6TOEC&pg=PA332&lpg=PA332&dq=Macnichol+wilmington+1775&source=bl&ots=W4_leKWmc8&sig=l0iTz0kAQLeJSghrmUk6lRa2P4k&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwis2oXPreHWAhVh2IMKHe8NDwMQ6AEIJTAA#v=on epage&q=Macnichol%20wilmington%201775&f=false) mentions Donald MacNichol.

I would imagine they opted for the anglicised Nicholson version of the Gaelic MacNeacail especially if there were pressures to adopt more English sounding names in the early Carolina colonies.

rms2
10-08-2017, 04:39 PM
This link (https://books.google.ca/books?id=p29l5Xe6TOEC&pg=PA332&lpg=PA332&dq=Macnichol+wilmington+1775&source=bl&ots=W4_leKWmc8&sig=l0iTz0kAQLeJSghrmUk6lRa2P4k&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwis2oXPreHWAhVh2IMKHe8NDwMQ6AEIJTAA#v=on epage&q=Macnichol%20wilmington%201775&f=false) mentions Donald MacNichol.

I would imagine they opted for the anglicised Nicholson version of the Gaelic MacNeacail especially if there were pressures to adopt more English sounding names in the early Carolina colonies.

That's him. His son Nicol (Nicholas), then age 4, is my 4th great grandfather.

spruithean
10-09-2017, 01:38 PM
I'm impressed with a lot of the documentation of the Scottish settlers in North Carolina. It seems a lot of research has gone into the families involved and certainly a lot of documents are still surviving.

There is a MacNicol DNA project over at FTDNA though it is rather small but one of the McNicol individuals from Argyll appears to be I-M223.

rms2
10-09-2017, 04:46 PM
I'm impressed with a lot of the documentation of the Scottish settlers in North Carolina. It seems a lot of research has gone into the families involved and certainly a lot of documents are still surviving.

There is a MacNicol DNA project over at FTDNA though it is rather small but one of the McNicol individuals from Argyll appears to be I-M223.

I noticed that, but I can't tell if any of the folks in the Nicholson project are in my Nicholson line. The two Nicholson matches I contacted have not responded to my messages.

rms2
10-09-2017, 09:32 PM
I got word just a few minutes ago that the male Nicholson who matches me on 70 cMs across three segments is a second cousin twice removed. His great grandfather, William Alexander "Sandy" Nicholson, born 1816 in Chesterfield, South Carolina, is my third great grandfather.

There is some confusion over the maiden surname of William's wife, however, whether she was a Townley or a Wilkinson.

I still don't know if this Nicholson match has had his y-dna tested.

rms2
10-10-2017, 12:49 AM
I heard from that second male Nicholson, the one who matches me on 37 cMs across three segments, via a third party. He let his Ancestry membership lapse, so he could not respond to my message that way. He has asked for my email address via this third party, so I supplied it. I hope to hear from him soon.

spruithean
10-10-2017, 03:29 PM
Hopefully they've taken a Y-DNA test or are interested in the idea!

Oddly enough I have two Nicolson matches at the 3rd to 5th cousin level with roots in Skye. Who my shared ancestor with them is, I don't know. They appear to be R1b-M2775 in the Y-line.

rms2
10-11-2017, 08:02 PM
I found out that neither of my male Nicholson matches has had his y-dna tested. One of them sounds interested. The other is pretty old and has some serious health issues, so it isn't likely he will.

rms2
10-21-2017, 09:48 PM
Now I am in the William Alexander "Sandy" Nicholson, born 1816 in Chesterfield, South Carolina, DNA Circle at Ancestry. The "circle connection confidence" is listed as "strong". I have a boatload of matches in that circle.

I had never even heard of this third great grandfather until a couple of weeks ago. B)

spruithean
10-21-2017, 10:19 PM
Now I am in the William Alexander "Sandy" Nicholson, born 1816 in Chesterfield, South Carolina, DNA Circle at Ancestry. The "circle connection confidence" is listed as "strong". I have a boatload of matches in that circle.

I had never even heard of this third great grandfather until a couple of weeks ago. B)

Congrats! It's certainly a nice surprise when DNA testing helps you learn more about your ancestors. I was certainly impressed with just how many circles of relatives I matched strongly with who had shared ancestors or are descendants of people we suspected were related. These circles are focused in Donegal, Tipperary and Offaly.

Autosomal testing is certainly a big help.