> Someday great minds will put this family in the order they should be in.
Several of us have been working on it, Jill. Quite diligently, as a matter of fact.
You, too, can assist. Very effectively, in fact. So can any other female descended from an Abernethy or Abernathy, regardless of spelling variations. Please try and persuade one of your nearest Abernathy male relatives to agree to allowing our Y-DNA project to test and analyze their DNA. Donate to the project fund (Margaret & I will take checks of any amount over $5 at any time), which can then be used to test male volunteers who may not be able or willing to pay for the tests themselves.At the very least, strongly encourage your male relatives to get in contact with us so we can discuss available options.
You see, a major branch (such as you and your immediate family belong to) simply can NOT be defined on the basis of data results from only _one_ living member of that branch, especially if it's a large branch! Typically, a minimum of 3 test results are needed to avoid potential problems. And when interest comes from a close female relative rather than from an almost unknown umpteenth cousin, the chances they'll agree are much better.
We currently have adequate Y-DNA results on 34 individuals: two groups (roots in Scotland for one, Ireland for the other: 23 & 8 members respectively), and 3 who match no one else at present.
The 23 member larger group is what most in the field of genealogical related DNA testing and analysis define as being a "tightly related" group. Most of the individuals in that group have a tradition (some very strong, some less so) of relatedness to the Robert Abernethy of Charles City County, VA, while the 8 who fall into the less tightly related group (roots in Ireland) are more diverse and there are a lot of unknowns in the various paper trails, Irish records being a bit more difficult to find than Scots ones.
For that more "tightly related" Scots group, there are many many branches which lack solid paper trails or where the possibility of cross-linked families is very high. One such instance is the grandchildren of the 3rd Robert, where there are grandsons born in the same year with the same name and the extant wills cannot guide us in which babe is the same as the young man whose marriage we later find. Another is that so far we've only one or two individuals for each of several paper trails, for example: we have two each from living descendants of a) Charles Abernathy & Alice Short, b) William Abernethy & Sarah Doolittle, but only 1 from a) Charles & Elizabeth Bernethy, b) James Abernathy & Elizabeth Cox, or c) Michael Abernathy & Isabella West. The David Abernathy & Ann Liles branch is likewise in need of additional data but not apt to get any because there simply aren't many living male descendants known of that line. And as for the branches that split off from the 4 named sons in the will of the 3rd Robert, we have none at all which we can positively assign to Miles Abernathy & Sarah Ann Jones (widow Goode) and not enough data from the others to sub-divide the branches adequately. When all you have is direct-line descendants of a gr-grandson and none at all from said gr-grandson's many male siblings or uncles or gr-uncles, you are missing whole chunks of that branch!
And all too often we have researched extensively a branch line that now has no no living male descendants. Or whose _only_ living male descendant is very elderly declines (for whatever reason) to submit his DNA for testing. It is very frustrating to work on a branch for years, talk many times with a male from that line, and still run up against unreasoning paranoia despite our excellent privacy policies. In vain do we swear (and demonstrate) that ONLY they and the project administrators (us) will ever see their data because we will NOT display it on the internet if they do not wish it.In vain do we swear (and demonstrate) that the test areas involved with genealogical DNA testing are not, repeat, NOT the same as those found in the forensic databases.
In two of the Abernathy lines I've been following for the past 3-4 years, I finally got a verbal agreement from an individual just before Christmas, so we had a sample kit delivered. When the test kits for neither individual reached the lab in a timely fashion, a follow-up call resulted in the party's wife stating that "Oh. No, he decided not to do it" with reason given at all.
Those two set-backs caused me to cease work altogether for a while, and I'm only now working returning to concentrated attention to on-going related projects.
By the by, I fear my latest email to you went astray, since it's been well over a week since I sent it and you haven't yet acknowledged or answered.