Shew me the Shews!
It’s been on The Legal Genealogist‘s Christmas list for years now: the hope that DNA might provide some evidence to take one particular family line back a bit further than we’ve been able to do so far.
In 2013, I noted that my fifth great grandfather Phillip Shew (c1750 – 1832) was a bit of a mystery.1
We don’t know where he was born and only really pick up his trail once he settled in Guilford County North Carolina in the 1770s. He was recorded on the Guilford County census in 17902 and 18003 and the Wilkes County, North Carolina, census in 1810,4 18205 and 1830.6 His will was proved in the Wilkes County court in the October term 1832.7
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 — but we really didn’t have any hints about where to look for Philip’s parents.
But now… oh now… maybe, just maybe…
On January 15th, in came a comment on the blog from Barb Shuh:
Just to let you know that the Big-Y results are in (as of Jan. 2016) on two lines with Johann Jacob Schuh (who I believe to be the same person as Jacob Shuh/Shoe/Shue who died in the Shenandoah in around 1785) as the Most Recent Common Ancestor – and TMRCA is calculated at 225 years (with a current margin of error of 100-200 years…). That’s amazingly close to the 222 years that we get from the dates determined in the paper trail! The difference from the birthdate of Jacob (1713 in Iggelheim, Rheinland-Pfalz) to the average of the two Big-Yers (1935). These men are descendants of Jacob’s sons Jabez and Joseph. So it would be great if you could find one or more descendants of your Philip Shew who would participate in Y-DNA testing. If your Philip Shew is part of this family, he would have been born at the Ephrata Cloister in Lancaster Co., PA. sometime prior to 1747 (as he co-signed a bond with his father in 1768 – and would have had to been at least 21 to have done so…)10
Translation: we now have a candidate for Philip’s possible parent, and specific male candidates to test against.
Philip was shown as aged 80-90 in the 1830 census, so he would fall into the age range suggested by the Pennsylvania evidence. That and the name, however, are awfully thin threads to tie a family relationship to.
DNA, however… that would be a whole ‘nother story.
YDNA, of course, is the type of DNA that only men have and that is passed largely unchanged from father to son to son over the generations.11 So a match between one of my Philip’s direct male descendants and these Virginia test takers would at least give us a place to start looking for the documentary evidence.
Which raises the issue, of course.
Finding a direct male descendant of my Philip since, of course, I descend from a female line and not a male line.
But we’re closing in on some possibilities… and if you’re a male descendant of Philip Shew of Guilford and Wilkes County, North Carolina, get in touch, willya?
There’s a YDNA test just waiting, with your name on it…
- See Judy G. Russell, “All I want for Christmas: DNA,” The Legal Genealogist, posted 22 Dec 2013 (https://www.legalgenealogist.com/blog : accessed 23 Jan 2016). ↩
- 1790 U.S. census, Guilford County, North Carolina, p. 505 (penned), col. 1, line 17, Philip Shoe; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 24 July 2002); citing National Archive microfilm publication M637, roll 7. ↩
- 1800 U.S. census, Guilford County, North Carolina, p. 643 (stamped), line 4, Philip Shoe; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 25 July 2002); citing National Archive microfilm publication M32, roll 31. ↩
- 1810 U.S. census, Wilkes County, North Carolina, p. 865 (penned), line 10, Phillip Shew; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 25 July 2002); citing National Archive microfilm publication M252, roll 43. ↩
- 1820 U.S. census, Wilkes County, North Carolina, population schedule, p. 530 (stamped), Phillip Shew; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 3 August 2002); citing National Archive microfilm publication M33, roll 83. ↩
- 1830 U.S. census, Wilkes County, North Carolina, p. 383 (stamped), Phillip Shew; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 14 July 2002); citing National Archive microfilm publication M19, roll 125. ↩
- Wilkes County, North Carolina, Will Book 4:159; North Carolina State Archives, Raleigh. ↩
- Judy G. Russell, “2014 holiday wish list: DNA,” The Legal Genealogist, posted 21 Dec 2014 (https://www.legalgenealogist.com/blog : accessed 23 Jan 2016). ↩
- Ibid., “2015 holiday wishlist: DNA,” The Legal Genealogist, posted 22 Dec 2015. ↩
- Comment by Barb Shuh, The Legal Genealogist, posted 15 Jan 2016. ↩
- ISOGG Wiki (http://www.isogg.org/wiki), “Y chromosome DNA tests,” rev. 13 Aug 2015. ↩