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All I want for Christmas

Dear Santa,

I’ve been good.

Really good.

I mean, really seriously good.

Trust me!

Christmas Gift Box with bauble.Okay, okay, so I didn’t get caught this year either.

But seriously, Santa, there are a few things I would love to have that you somehow forgot to leave under the tree last year.

I’m sure it was an oversight, but I know you can do better.

So how about we begin with just a few samples of DNA, okay, Santa? Not a whole lot, really. Just from some very specific target families.

One sample — just one! — from one person — just one! — from each of these lines:

• The Faures of Manakin Town, Virginia (YDNA): I’m still trying to nail this one down, Santa, and I sure could use some help here. My third great grandfather Jesse Fore was probably born in South Carolina, and served in the militia there in the War of 1812.1 But I can’t trace him back any farther.

We have already YDNA tested, oh, about a kazillion members of the Fore family that I descend from2 and everybody in our group matches each other. But we all run out of paper trail before we reach the immigrant ancestor — whoever he was.

Our theory is that our Fores are related to the Widow Faure and her children who were part of the Huguenot migration to the New World in the very early days of the 18th century.3 She and her children settled in Manakin Town, Virginia, and her sons and grandsons included Daniel, Jean (John) and Pierre (Peter), and later James, Joseph and Archelaus. The surname is recorded as Faure, Foure, Four, Fore and Ford.

What we need, Santa, is one man — just one! — who can document his descent in an unbroken male line (father to son to son) from one of these Manakin Town Faure males. If you can just wrap up his email address and leave it under my tree, I will happily — happily — pick up the tab for his YDNA testing.

• Matthew Johnson (YDNA, autosomal): You also forgot to leave me a Johnson cousin under my tree last year, Santa, and I’m really disappointed in you. Bad enough I have to go chasing Faures and Fores and Fords, but a Johnson? C’mon. Gimme some help here.

You know that Jesse Fore’s daughter Mary “Polly” Fore married Matthew Johnson in Union County, Georgia, in 1839. You know, from the tax and census records, that he was probably born in Virginia around 1813, he was a shoemaker by trade, he fathered eight known children — and he died somewhere in 1863 or 1864 in Pulaski County, Kentucky.4 But Santa, you know that’s all we have. Not even a hint as to his parents — and with the name of Johnson and not even a county in Virginia to focus on, well, we don’t have much to go on.

So how about it, Santa? How about leaving a documented direct line male descendant of Matthew’s under my tree this year, okay? Matthew’s sons included Napoleon Bonaparte, James and William Johnson and they all settled in Parker County, Texas, by 1870. A grandson was Texas Ranger Captain Frank Johnson. And since an older descendant might be close enough to match, I’ll not only pick up the tab on a YDNA test — I’ll pay for autosomal testing too.

• Philip Shew (YDNA) and Daniel Shew (autosomal): You also forgot my Shews last year, Santa. Both of them. I mean, really, forgetting one I could overlook, but both of them? A little help here, okay?

You know we have no idea where my fifth great grandfather Phillip Shew (c1750 – 1832) was born. You know we’re not sure where he was before he showed up on the census in Guilford County, North Carolina, in 1790.5 He was in Wilkes County, North Carolina, by 1810,6 and still there in 18207 and 1830.8 His will was proved in the Wilkes County court in the October term 1832.9

From the name and other evidence of the language spoken at home, we’re pretty sure Philip was German — the last name may well have originally been Schuh — and we need a documented male descendant to YDNA test. I know I’ve got a kazillion Shew cousins out there — so, c’mon, Santa,… wrap me up just one who’s willing to test, okay?

And while you’re at it, Santa, you know that my third great grandfather Daniel Shew settled in Cherokee County, Alabama, where he was a landowner in the 1850s but died likely before 1860, leaving his wife and three children, two sons — William Washington and Gilford — and one daughter, my 2nd great grandmother Martha Louise.10

And Santa, really, I mean you know that Cherokee County is a burned county and that I can use all the help I can get on family relationships out of Cherokee County. So I’m really hoping to find the email addresses of some older descendants of William or Gilford who are willing to test against Martha Louise’s descendants.

• John Jones (YDNA): Now this is a new one, Santa, and seriously you can’t let me down here. I mean, Johnson is bad enough, but Jones? John Jones? C’mon, Santa, baby… you have to come through for me, all right?

We’re pretty sure John was born in Virginia around 1750, and he married Elizabeth Pettypool in North Carolina (Granville or Rutherford County) in 1771. But we don’t know who his parents were, and with a name like John Jones — where do we even start? So how about a nice neatly documented direct male line descendant, huh? That shouldn’t be too much to ask, is it?

I’m willing to pay for it, Santa. Oh, not with good behavior. You know me better than that. But for the testing, okay? Seriously. If you could just find me one person in each of these categories, I’ll pay for the test — all the person has to do is email me.

C’mon, Santa.

I’ve been good.

Well… good enough, right?



  1. Declaration of Soldier, 27 March 1871, Jesse Fore (Fifer, Capt. Gaffney’s South Carolina Militia, War of 1812), soldier’s pension application no. 4553, certificate no. 7041; Case Files of Pension and Bounty Land Applications Based on Service Between 1812 and 1855; Pension and Bounty Land Warrant Application Files, 1800-1960; Department of Veterans Affairs, Record Group 15; National Archives, Washington, D.C.
  2. Oh, all right, so eight or nine at any rate.
  3. See Judy G. Russell, “Wanted: Faure / Fore / Ford DNA,” The Legal Genealogist, posted 28 Jan 2012 ( : accessed 20 Dec 2014).
  4. See ibid., “Archives and ancestors,” The Legal Genealogist, posted 15 Sep 2012.
  5. 1790 U.S. census, Guilford County, North Carolina, p. 505 (penned), col. 1, line 17, Philip Shoe; digital image, ( : accessed 24 July 2002); citing National Archive microfilm publication M637, roll 7.
  6. 1810 U.S. census, Wilkes County, North Carolina, p. 865 (penned), line 10, Phillip Shew; digital image, ( : accessed 25 July 2002); citing National Archive microfilm publication M252, roll 43.
  7. 1820 U.S. census, Wilkes County, North Carolina, population schedule, p. 530 (stamped), Phillip Shew; digital image, ( : accessed 3 August 2002); citing National Archive microfilm publication M33, roll 83.
  8. 1830 U.S. census, Wilkes County, North Carolina, p. 383 (stamped), Phillip Shew; digital image, ( : accessed 14 July 2002); citing National Archive microfilm publication M19, roll 125.
  9. Wilkes County, North Carolina, Will Book 4:159; North Carolina State Archives, Raleigh.
  10. See ibid., “Holding history,” The Legal Genealogist, posted 6 Oct 2012.
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