The Dalton America DNA Project


In 1740 there were several people in Albemarle Co., VA, who carried the surname of "Dalton"--we know of Samuel, Robert, two Johns, two Davids, Timothy Sr., and Timothy Jr. Today thousands of people are the descendants of these few men. Thousands more are descended from other Daltons who settled elsewhere in the colonies.

But our initial target was the line of Daltons who once lived in Albemarle County. They presented a family settlement which has been well researched the standard way: by gathering records at the courthouse, by reading microfilm at the Library of Virginia, by visiting the land itself, by exchanging materials with other researchers. Yet there are no documents, legal or family, which tell us how these eight Daltons were related or who the father of one, several, or all of them might have been. The pioneer DNA participants who were the first to step forward to be tested were descendants of this early Virginia group. Finding the mystery progenitor through paper trails at this point in time is quite unlikely, perhaps impossible. So we have turned to DNA testing in hopes of opening new doors and discovering new and old relationships. This is the report on the tests to date. It is not the final report.

Report: January 2008

Our project started in the Spring of 2003 with six participants. Five years later we have 49 men whose YDNA has been tested. We also have two women who have had their mtDNA (mitochondrial DNA) done. YDNA (from men only) gives us genealogical information based on paternal lines. The mtDNA, tested on both men and women, provides deep anthropological information about maternal lines. I'll report on YDNA only since it is the focus of our Dalton project. The results we have to report hinge entirely on the following:
          ~ the number of participants from each individual family line
         ~ the extent of the DNA testing they have had done.


The numbered progenitors below represent our largest group of related descendants. In other words, all of these Daltons (#1 - 18) shared a Common Ancestor. We do not know his name, birth, death, or place of residence. We don't know how many generations separated the Common Ancestor from the progenitors below. The Common Ancestor may have been a grandfather (or great grandfather) to some and a father to others. We will have to wait until DNA testing is widespread in both England and Ireland among Daltons, but more likely in Ireland since statistically all of the descendants of the numbered progenitors are grouped as Irish descendants with our DNA company.

Virginia Lines with DNA tests:

1. Samuel Sr.(d. 1806 Rockingham-Stokes Co. NC), m. Anne Redd, via son Samuel Jr
2. Isham (d. 1820 Madison Co. KY), married Elizabeth Walton, via son Richmond
3. John Elijah, (d. c. 1840 Ripley Co. MO), m. Susannah Sebastian, via sons:
. . . . David (d. 1859 Ripley Co. MO), m. Priscilla Dennis
. . . . John Peter (d. 1879 MO), m. Sarah Murray
4. James Lewis (d. 1879 Jackson Co. MO), m. Matilda Rabourn
5. William Henry C. (no data), m Julia

The progenitors above are closely related, but a couple of them form sub-groups because of one or two mutations:

#2. Isham: Isham's descendants may be more closely related to the Grainger Co. TN Daltons than to others in this Virginia grouping. More tests are needed to know.

#3. John Elijah: John Elijah's descendants carry the same mutation that James Lewis/Matilda Rabourn's descendants carry. The surprise here is that James Lewis does not fall precisely into the Pittsylvania Co. group but into John Elijah's group thus far. Just a note: John Elijah's mutation is not the same mutation--not the same location on the YDNA strand--as the mutation of the Carroll Co. Daltons (see below).

A brick wall in Dalton Virginia history still remains: how is Timothy Sr., who died in 1767 in Albemarle Co., related to this family group? Timothy left no paper records which indicate even the most distant relationship. If Tim Sr.'s line died out, we may never know. We can only hope that we may someday be able to test the DNA of this line.

Pittsylvania Co. VA
5. Robert (d. 1779), married Mary Key
6. John (d. 1779), married Patience, via sons David Jr. and John Spike
. . . . David Jr. (d. ca. 1796), m. Judith, via sons
. . . . . . . . Benjamin (d. 1848) m. Elizabeth Pickeral
. . . . . . . . Lewis (d. 1847), m. Mary Polly Keesee
. . . . John Spike (d. 1827), m. Elizabeth, via son
. . . . . . . .James Spike (d. c1850 Carroll Co. VA), m. Sally Turpin
7. George (d. 1856 Pulaski Co. KY), married Nancy Kessee, via two sons:
. . . . James Gabriel (d. 1897 KY), m. Stacy Buster
. . . . George Dyer (d. aft 1910 KY), m. Telitha Trimble
8. Elijah (d. 1830s KY or IN), m. Nancy Brogin, via son George W.
9. Samuel (d. 1862/3 Peoria Co. IL), m. Saluda Mustain
10. Berryman (d. 1839 Logan Co. KY), via son Tolbert S.
11. Levi Dalton (d. 1862 OH), m. Frances
12. John Henry (b. 1864, d. WV), m. Emma Wyatt

# 1 Samuel (in the first Virginia group above) is probably the Dalton with the best documented family line and history today. Samuel was closely related with Daltons he knew in Albemarle Co.: Robert and John (with test results) and possibly Timothy Jr. and David Sr. (lines not yet tested), all who migrated to Pittsylvania Co. from Albemarle Co.

Pittsylvania Co. descendants and Carroll Co. descendants almost match each other perfectly except for one marker. The mutation at this marker (place on the YDNA strand) separates the two groups and now opens doors about how William (#13 below) was related to Timothy Jr. of Bedford Co. or the Daltons in Pittsylvania Co. We cannot begin to address that problem until we have more men tested from all of these lines. Currently we have no one tested who is a proven descendant of Timothy Jr. since his eldest son, James, is the only documented son.

Carroll Co. VA
13. William (d. 1811 Grayson-Carroll Co. VA), m. Elizabeth Sturman
14. Timothy (d. 1872 Carroll Co. VA), m. Betsy Phillips, via son Thomas's line
15. Joshua R. (d. 1852 Wilkes Co. NC)

Hawkins Co. TN - Daltons who first lived in Pittsylvania Co. VA
16. Timothy Dalton (d. c1836 Hawkins Co. TN), m. Sarah
. . . . via son John (d. 1872 Clark Co. MO), m. Patience Light

Grainger Co. TN - Daltons who first lived in Carroll Co. VA
17. Reuben (d. 1823 Grainger Co. TN), m. Elizabeth Shockley
18. Carter T. (d. 1856 Grainger Co. TN), m. Polly Vittetoe

Unnumbered Virginia Progenitors:
Another set of Virginia Daltons began family lines in the 18th c. VA, lines which come down to today. DNA suggests that none of these below relate to the large family of Daltons above or to each other. These are all very interesting lines. Let us know if you are researching any one of them.

Louisa Co. VA
John (d. aft 1820), m. Mary Branham

Louisa-Goochland Co. VA
Robinson (d. 1840 Orange Co. IN), m. Mary M. Mallonee
Bradley Dalton (d. 1858 Lawrence Co. IN), m. Nancy Neil

Prince William Co. VA
John Dalton (d. c1768 Prince Wm Co.), m. Rachel, via son Moses
. . . . . Moses (d. 1819 Mason Co. KY), m. Mary Fristoe, via sons:
. . . . . . . . John (no dates)
. . . . . . . . George W. (d. 1850, drowned in the Ohio River)


Rutherford Co. Daltons are a very large family group today very much like the Pittsylvania-Carroll Co. Dalton clan, and we need to increase the number of tests in this group. More tests may reveal sub-groupings which we are unable to see at present. With our small number of tests so far, we see a very close relationship (a Common Ancestor) between the Rutherford Co. Daltons and the Louisa-Goochland VA Daltons. Both lines have used the name of 'Bradley' repeatedly as a given name, which was the only clue of potential relationship before DNA testing. There are no close DNA ties between the Rutherford Co. Daltons and the Pittsylvania Co. Daltons.

Rutherford Co. NC David Dalton (b. Albemarle Co. c. 1735, d. 1804 Rutherford Co. NC) via son David Jr

Regrettably, very little can be said or explained about the lines below. If you recognize one, be sure to send a note. I'll get back in touch with you.

Rev. William S. (d. 1881 TN or NC)

Bailey T. Dalton (d. aft 1860 Muscogee Co. GA), m. Celia Weatherby

New Hampshire
Michael Stratford (d. 1778 NH), m. Hannah Alld

James (b. 1848 England, d. aft 1880 AR), m. Ellen, via son George
James (b. 1820 England, d. 1908 WY), m. Ann Stubbs, via son Harvey or Harry E.

Until your line has had a DNA test done, connection to the lines above is tenuous, even with paper documentation. DNA can confirm a line. In some cases, it fills holes where there are no records. In other cases, it better defines the known ancestor. In a few rare cases, it changes the family line altogether.

Whether or not your family line is missing here, we need men--who bear the name of Dalton--from your line in our Dalton-America Project. Perhaps a brother or a cousin is available to take the test. DNA is a scientific project, and like all scientific projects it needs lots of samples to have valid results. We have made a few modest steps toward knowing some of our Dalton lines better. Let's make a few leaps. We are changing the face of Dalton genealogy: join us

DNA Project Background

Our project officially began in January 2003 at the encouragement of Dinah Dalton McCloud. By March, we had Louis Dolton as our project administrator. The company we use is Family Tree DNA which has provided the tests and the lab results, has answered many difficult questions for us, and has shared helpful information about DNA testing both on their website as well as in their newsletter. Take a look at the company: Family Tree DNA

If you are a Dalton (any spelling is applicable--including Dolton, Daulton, Dorton, and more) and a male, consider joining our DNA project. You can join by going to: Dalton America Project.

The only other necessary ingredient is that the participant have some knowledge of their family tree. The Family Tree DNA company strongly urges participants to base their family line on documented research--limited or extensive.

Each DNA test will be compared to the test of others who share a common, but not always identically spelled, surname. The comparison can tell whether a person's family line is:
      1. A Dalton surname line
      2. Related to specific groups of known Dalton settlements
      3. Related by a common ancestor

The test is simple and painless; it is also very quick to perform. Precise information about all facets of the test can be found at the webpage of the administrator Louis Dolton, Contact Louis

DNA tests can contribute significantly to the participant's family history. The results may scale brick walls or offer clues for further research. Once tested, your DNA is preserved for your future generations who will then have available their genetic history should they want it or need it.