DNA Testing

The Cholmondeley DNA Surname Group

The Cholmondeley DNA Surname Group was started in August of 2008, to include Chumleas, Chumleys, Chumbleys, Chumneys, etc. The initial goal was to have male family members swab for a Y-DNA test, and then to compare the results to see if there was a relationship amongst the different family lines that we were aware of. From Virginia, for instance, we were aware of the John Chumley and Martha Lockett line, and the Richard Chumley and Grace Milam line. In Tennessee, we were aware of the Robert Chumley and Betsy Ford line, the John Chumlea and Margaret Shipe line, and the William Chumney and Matilda Burnett line.

The first member in the Cholmondeley group was a descendant of John Chumlea and Margaret Shipe. When this member’s results came in, it was determined that there was a match with another Chumley tester who had tested with the Family Tree DNA project but was not a member of a surname group. Contact was made with this other Chumley tester, and they joined the group and provided their family pedigree. This other tester was a descendant of Robert Chumley and Betsy Ford. This was a terrific discovery, to learn that Robert Chumley and John Chumlea were related. Since both of these ancestors were born in Virginia , just a few years apart, and both came to Tennessee in the same time frame and lived close to one another, and parentage has not been determined for either one, it is suspected that Robert and John are brothers.

After the Y-DNA results became available, linking Robert Chumley and John Chumlea, a descendant of John Chumley and Martha Lockett joined the Cholmondeley surname group to see how he fit in. His Y-DNA results were not a match, and this was also an important discovery, as genealogy researchers had long thought that Robert Chumley was a descendant of John and Martha.

Over the years, since the Cholmondeley DNA surname group was started, many more Chumleys, Chumbleys, and Chumneys have joined the group and participated in the swabbing. Our Y-DNA results are not only compared with the other members in our surname group, but also with all the other members in the Family Tree DNA project. And it is through this comparison of Y-DNA results with all the other members of the project that it was learned that the descendants of Robert Chumley and John Chumlea were strong matches with Prewitt members, Ballew members, Farmer members, Jackson members, and Cardwell members, just to name a few. These matches, with descendants of different surnames, indicates that there were a lot of children born out-of-wedlock in Virginia in the 1700s. A child born out-of-wedlock would take on the mother’s surname, rather than the father’s. As an example, a search through the Halifax and Amelia, Virginia county court records turned up many bastardy entries, including those of Thomas Prewitt who fathered children with Ballew and Farmer women. So, at this point in time, with no parentage located for Robert Chumley or John Chumlea, and with the strong Y-DNA matches with other surnames, it is thought that Robert and John shared an unwed Chumley mother, and a father with a different surname. Virginia counties, especially the counties where Chumleys were located in the 1782 and 1785 “heads of families” censuses, were checked for court records that would include information regarding John’s 1781 birth and Robert’s 1786 birth. No court records were found, which perhaps indicates that John and Robert’s mother was in a long term relationship with their father, and that this father was providing care and support, and therefore the court had no reason to get involved.

The webpage for the Cholmondeley DNA Surname Group is: https://www.familytreedna.com/groups/cholmondeley/about?fbclid=IwAR2q7gK2FuTzvi4E1OlIoV1nAoCsagFnrJ3vij9NlFEqA9gr6PnOWj30Zto

The Y-results webpage and the Patriarch webpage are the two webpages that are constantly updated.

Family Tree DNA tests various markers on our Y-DNA string, from the sample that is send to them from our swabbing. On our Y-results page, along the top, you will see the markers named DYS393, DYS390, DYS19, etc. These markers repeat several times on our Y-DNA string. The Y-DNA tests determine how many times each marker repeats (is present) on our DNA string, and this is what all the numbers in the chart represent.

Article written by by Craig Laurence
Project manager to The Cholmondeley DNA Project
Member of the Chumley/Chumbley Research Group