I'm hoping to locate a *documented* living male descendant of the Rea line established originally by Wilson Rea in Benton area, Franklin County, Illinois. (Actually, I'd be thrilled to hear from any Reas of that line, as we're related through my mother's mother's mother, or other relatives through the other lines.)
I want to make contact as soon as possible with a male Rea who would be willing to participate in the "Rea Family DNA Project", so that we could both learn (a) how that line ties in with others of the same or related surnames, and [more importantly to me] (b) whether the U.S. Reas of that line originate ultimately from the Macraes of Scotland, or wherever they happen to originate. I WOULD BE HAPPY AND WILLING TO PAY FOR THE KIT/TEST, in order for us both to have this information, with the understanding that we both have access to the results pertaining to his relationships. It would be a valuable test of both the genealogical chain of reasoning I and others have determined, and also provide us some further insights into the broader Rea/Ray lineage. There is growing evidence through many other participants in the "Rea Family DNA Project" to support the folkloric legend that many highlander Macraes and lowlanders of related families from Scotland moved to Ulster area of Ireland and elsewhere there to farm flax for the linen industry in the early 1600s and, a century later, some of their descendants emigrated to the U.S. They landed in various places but the Benton, IL line appears to have started from the initial Virginia bunch. The DNA evidence would test that proposal.
I'm not a Rea through my father, but a Ballard. My Rea connection is a few generations back, through my mother's mother's line. I've confirmed my connection--with documentation in the form of census, marriage, birth and death records, at least--to Abraham Rea who was a son of Wilson, who eventually settled and generated a family in the Benton, Illinois area. Here are my ancestors leading to Wilson (and, according to legend, Wilson to William Collin(g)s to James and father John from Ireland.
Harvey E. Ballard, Jr. (me), son of
Harvey Ballard (b: 13 Dec 1935, living) and Marilyn Imogene Hambright (b: 4 May 1939, living);
Marilyn daughter of John Dexter Hambright (b: 5 Dec 1915, d: 5 Nov 1984) and La Vada Lavella Sharp (b: 5 Jun 1918, living);
La Vada daughter of John Daniel Sharp (b: 4 Nov 1887, d: 19 Jan 1956) and Alma Beatrice Burgess (b: 24 Dec 1891, d: 3 Apr 1931);
Alma daughter of Quincy Everett Burgess (b: 18/19 Nov 1866, d: 28 Jan 1921) and Mary Delilah Starr (b: 1869, d: 1891);
Mary Delilah daugther of Lewis D. Starr (b: 15 Jul 1840, d: 23 Nov 1915) and Amanda Rea (b: 2 May 1844 in Benton, Franklin Co., IL, d: 19 Jul 1908 in same area);
Amanda daughter of Abraham Rea (b: 30 Dec 1805 in North Carolina, d: 24 Apr 1871 in Benton, Franklin Co., IL) and Delila Neal (b: 1810 in Pope, IL, d: 30 Dec 1889 in Franklin Co., IL);
Abraham son of Wilson Rea (b: abt 1778 in Henry Co., VA, d: 12 Aug 1853 in Benton, Franklin Co., IL) and Frances Anne "Fanny" Franklin (b: abt 1778 in Virginia, d: 1844).
If anybody has firm documentation of the relationship from Abraham or Wilson back into the past, or more details abuot Wilson (or Fanny) and his ancestors, I'd be eager to learn what it is and to get copies of it. I'm also working my way slowly FORWARD from all the ancestors to the presentday living descendants, to see where the various Rea lines have ended up.
Thanks for your patience in reading this overlong email, and I look forward to hearing from you soon!
Best, and Happy New Year,