William of NC:   Puzzles & Speculative Solutions

© 2017  James M. Gossett,  Ithaca, NY

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"William of NC" is well-documented to be the ancestor of at least two of our project participants -- John Peter and Greg, through different sons of William.   However, who exactly was William of NC?  His d.o.b. is variously reported as being anywhere from before 1710 to about 1730, and he is the ancestor of the Gossetts documented by Grace M. Jerkins in her book, Chronicles of The Gossett Family (1985).  Jerkins believed that William was born in VA, but migrated to Guilford Co./Randolph Co., NC where he lived until his death.  Many of his descendants migrated to IN.

We believe that the uncertainty in William's d.o.b stems from there being two Williams of NC — referred to here as "William I" and "William II," the second being the son of the first.   What follows, is a somewhat speculative discussion, intended to spark addiitional research.  It is based on attempts to reconcile our YDNA Project results with research presented by Grace Jerkins, and also by Jeffrey Lynn Gossett in his book, The Gossetts of South Carolina (1997)[currently undergoing revision].

YDNA analysis, coupled with conventional genealogical research, strongly suggests that all of the Group-I Gossetts descend from John Gossett (b c1678, d 1729/30) and Jane Williamson, living in New Castle Co., DE (then part of PA) in 1709.  The crux of the argument is that, since the YDNA evidence shows all Group-I Gossetts share a most recent common ancestor who was born ca. 1640 (± 65 years), then if some of us can reliably trace our ancestry to John and Jane of New Castle County, this strongly suggests that all of the Group-I Gossetts can.  The evidence and arguments are presented elsewhere on this site.

John and Jane of New Castle County, DE had three sons:    John (b ≤ 1708), who migrated to PA;  and William (b c1708) & James (b c1718), who migrated inititally to VA, then to NC and/or SC.  John is thought to be the ancestor of participants such as Charles Warren Gossett.  James is known to be the ancestor of participants such as Jeffrey Lynn Gossett.   And we believe that Willam is "William I" of NC (see tree here).   The known ancestor of participants John Peter and Greg would have been "William II" of NC.   In support of this theory, we note that William and James [sons of John (b c1678)] sold their land in New Castle, DE in 1746/47, and are thought to have moved to Albemarle (Amherst) Co., VA.   The "William of NC" whom Jerkins lists as patriarch of the NC clan (and ancestor of John Peter & Greg) is reported to have fathered sons in c1749 (Thomas, VA), Henry (c1760-70), Williamson (1770 NC), Abraham (b 1761/8 NC), and Elijah (c 1750-60 NC).  Though not impossible, it would seem unlikely that William (b c1708) would still be fathering sons in the late 1760s.  It is more likely that these sons were fathered by William II.   There are also accounts of other Gossetts -- James (b c1732) and Thomas (b  c1734) -- listed jointly with a William Gossett in Guilford Co. List of Taxables (1768).  These are more likely to have been sons of William I.

YDNA analysis has shown that two project participants with known descent from "William of NC"  -- John Peter and Greg, through different sons of Willam II -- carry a particular change in the 570 marker [an allele value of 18, instead of the value of 19 that appears in the descendants of the other two sons of John (b 1678)].   Since the MRCA of John Peter and Greg is William II, it suggests that the change in 570 marker might be used to track the descendants, certainly of William II, but also perhaps of William I.  The theory that the 570-marker change originates with William I is supported by the existence of other participants (e.g., Delmo, Anthony Wayne, and Travis) with the 570-marker change whose most distant, known ancestor (Elijah b 1788) has no obvious descent from Willam II.  Indeed, the 570 marker essentially divides the tree of Group-I Gossetts, suggesting that participants on the left side descend from John (b c1678) through his son, William. 

One of the great benefits of YDNA analysis is that it can allow us to leap over "dead ends" encountered in our conventional genealogical research to discover distant ancestors.  My own lineage provides a good example.  I can trace my ancestry with assurance, back only to Elijah Gossett (b 1818 TN).  On the other hand, my 570-marker value suggests that I (as John Peter and Greg) descend from John (b 1678) via his son, William.    How?  That is the puzzle!.

We have several other project participants with dead-ends similar to mine — all with the same 570-marker value that marks descent from "William of NC."     In the chart below, I have speculated on paths by which these project participants could descend from William I and William II.   I hope that, in time, the situation clarifies.


Click chart or click HERE for larger view in a new window.


Sources Referenced in The Chart

Jerkins, Grace M. Chronicles of The Gossett Family, North Newton, KS, Mennonite Press, Inc.(1985).

Gossett, Jeffrey L.  The Gossetts of South Carolina, Milledgeville, GA, Boyd Publishing Co. (1997).    This book is being revised, but the revision is not yet publicly available.  In the chart above, I refer to the 1997 publication as "1st edition" and the pending revision as "2nd edition."

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