Welcome to the Harrell Collaborative

Last Updated on 10 Apr 2021

John Smith, A Map of Virginia, 1612
John Smith, A Map of Virginia, 1612

We are a collective of researchers who are attempting to “join the dots” connecting 14 distinct Harrell families of northeastern and southwestern Virginia. These families comprise the second largest group of Harrell genealogical DNA contributors to date.

Our group of Harrell DNA donors, each member of which has a similar (or “matching”) DNA profile, is believed to have its early roots in Northern Virginia. This is in contrast to the largest group of Harrell DNA donors whose roots originate from Nansemond County, Virginia and Bertie County, North Carolina.

Not all members of this “second” DNA group can trace their earliest ancestors to Northern Virginia, simply because their Earliest Known Ancestor (EKA) lived in the Midwest, reflecting the migration of Harrell families from what is believed—or speculated—to have been Northern Virginia. However, many members can prove their EKA lived in or migrated from Northern Virginia.

Based on information received from these contributors, supplemented by additional research, we find represented 14 distinct Harrell families, each with a different EKA. If all these groups are blood related, as their DNA profiles confirm, there should be a singular EKA shared by all. The grand challenge, therefore, is to find this single EKA—the progenitor of our Northern Virginia group.

Identifying this individual requires an extensive collection of information for each of these 14 families and connecting their common threads. This gathering of information remains an ongoing exercise as the identity of our common EKA has yet to be found.

The Harrell Collaborative represents the best source of assembled information for these 14 families, and we hope others will contribute towards this freely-shared knowledge base to fill in blanks and ultimately link these families.

Information about each of the 14 families, including DNA kit numbers of associated donors (FamilyTreeDNA) and their related EKA(s) is (or will be) provided in this collection. As new information is received updates will be made. Speculation is allowed, and will be identified as such, provided some form of credible or compelling evidence is offered.

A discussion is presented as to possible links between certain of the 14 families. This discussion will be based on facts, circumstantial evidence, and best educated speculation, and will be updated as new evidence becomes available.

Contributors are welcome to join our collaborative effort, while everyone is asked to advise of any errors and necessary revisions or updates!

-The Harrell Collaborative Administrators,

John Harrell (descended from Family #1)
Bill Thielbahr (descended from Family #1)

Have a question, correction, or comment? Please let us know!