Well I finally broke down and ordered a DNA kit. I have been researching the Newells across the Southeastern USA, especially those that claim North Carolina roots, for nigh on 35+ years. I have been brickwalled at James Newell born c1795 NC and apparently resided in Mecklenburg Co., NC where he met and married Sarah Boyd (born 1807) a resident Mecklenburger for at least from 1810-1820+ where she is easily identified on the 1810 census and from notes in Robert Boyd's (c1781 NC) Family Bible.
One small clue that I have is that my Dad (6/6/1914 AL) would pass for a twin of Paul William Newell (9/16/1918 MS) whose ancestry tracks back to Francis Newell (c1727) who came to Mecklenburg Co. in 1766 from Pennsylvania. However, there is only one known son of Francis that I've been able to find and that leads to the aforementioned Paul Newell family whose ancestors arrived in Pontotoc Co., MS in 1842. My James Newell ancestor arrived in Tuscaloosa Co., AL in 1830 and there is no known crossing or mixing of these two groups. My Dad and Paul would be exact 5th generation descendants of contemporary ancestors, i.e., either the same person, brothers, or 1st cousins, etc., who may have lived in Mecklenburg or environs.
During my research I have compiled an immense Newell database of Newells in NC, SC, TN, GA, AL, MS and others and would be happy to share my info with fellow researchers. I am looking for "a few good men" who might be willing to join the Newell DNA project. Go to "http://www.worldfamilies.net/surnames/newell/" for more info. Many warm regards, Jim Newell