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Matching DNA Profiles

There are now 14 different Harrell families that are blood related because they all have matching DNA profiles. We currently do not know how all of them link together. We found living descendants of these 14 families who took the DNA test. There exists a common Harrell ancestor/family that ties all 14 families together but we haven’t yet found this person/family. Understanding families and their early ancestors provides valuable clues about their common ancestor—we currently have ideas as to how some of these families link but hard proof remains elusive.

To summarize, there are 14 Harrell families who are blood related in some way. The only near-certain link is between Family #1 and Family #2: It is believed that William Harrell who died in Wythe Co. in 1822 is a brother to Reuben Harrell. It is also strongly felt that Family #1 is connected to Family #14 and the EKA of both families is William Harrell who died in Wythe Co. in 1822. Of a more speculative nature, it is believed that a very early family headed by Jacob Harrell b. c. 1715 is possibly the father of William Harrell d. 1822 (Family #1), Reuben Harrell b. abt 1750 (Family #2), perhaps Jacob Harrell b. abt 1761 (Family #4), perhaps John Harrell from Hawkins Co., TN d. 1826/27 (Family #3), and brother to Richard Harrell b. abt 1700 (Family #5).

Can you help?

Can you help provide a missing link? FamilyTreeDNA is doing most of the Harrell DNA testing and thus far there are over 300 Harrell DNA donors.


Addendum to Family #2 – EKA Reuben Harrell’s Son William

Rebecca Harrell, the d/o William Harrell and Theodosia UNK (1st wife), was born about 1806 in Floyd Co., KY and married Henry Nunn in Floyd Co. on Nov 30, 1823 (identified as Rebecca Herrell). Her father William Harrell (born about 1772 Dunmore Co., VA, death year/location not documented, s/o EKA Reuben Harrell) married a second time to Margaret “Peggy” Ratliff/Radcliff/Radclift (maiden name) on May 8, 1817 in Floyd Co., KY. Margaret was formerly married to Ezekail Droody/Doody/Droddy/Droodey. William Harrell married a third time to Patsy Bazil/Bizwell April 6, 1824 in Floyd Co., KY. William Harrell was identified in these Floyd Co., KY census records: 1810 (b. 1766-1784), 1820 (b. bef 1775), 1830 (b. 1770-1780) and was also found in the 1840 census of Greenup Co., KY (b. 1770-1780). From these census records, the birth year of William Harrell was estimated to be about 1772.

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Family #1 – EKA William Sr. Harrell ~1740-1750

The Earliest Known Ancestor for this family is William Harrell, b. 1740-1750 Northern Virginia (viz., Augusta Co. or Frederick Co. or Dunmore Co. or Shenandoah Co. as name changes and boundary changes dictated), d. 1822 Wythe Co., VA. It is believed that William Harrell and members of his family migrated in about 1780/1781 to an area claimed over time by VA counties Wythe, Montgomery, and Pulaski. William Harrell was married at least twice (Hannah and Martha) and his children, as identified in his 1822 Will, are Mary, John, Leah (Sarah), Reuben, Nancy, Jacob, Rebecca, William, and Elizabeth. DNA profiles were obtained from descendants of William Harrell’s sons John b. 1768-1773 and William b. 1794.

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Family #2 – EKA Reuben Harrell 1750

The Earliest Known Ancestor of this family is Reuben Harrell, b. 1750 Frederick County, Virginia, d. Aug 1825 Washington County, Virginia. Reuben Harrell married Rebecca Smith in 1770, Frederick County, Virginia. The parents of Rebecca Smith, b. abt 1749 Frederick County, Virginia, d. 12 March 1842 probably Prestonburg, Floyd County, Kentucky, have not been identified.

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Family #3 – EKA Hawkins County John Harrell ~1735

The Earliest Known Ancestor for Family #3 is John Harrell. Although proof is lacking, it is believed he was born in Northern Virginia (perhaps in Prince William County) around 1735. His parents and siblings are currently unknown. It is believed this John Harrell migrated along with other related Harrells in the early-to-mid 1780s from Frederick County, Virginia to Southwestern Virginia (probably Montgomery County) with John Harrell continuing on to East Tennessee (land grants for this region, later becoming Tennessee in 1796 with statehood, were issued by North Carolina). In one of the few documents related to this John Harrell, we see him obtaining a land grant issued by North Carolina in 1788 (Land Grant No. 285 issued to John Harrold) for 400 acres in Sullivan County on the north side of the Holston River in Carters Valley. Sullivan County was formed in 1779. Later on, this property became a part of Hawkins County (which was formed in 1786) and all evidence seems to suggest John Harrell and family lived in this same area until his death in about 1822.

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Family #4 – EKA Jacob Harrell 1761

The EKA for Family #4 is Jacob Harrell, reported by others to have been born in Virginia about 1761 or 1765 (1761 will be used in this narrative). His parents and siblings are unknown. Jacob 1761 first lived in Frederick County, Virginia and, based upon Frederick County tax lists 1782-1790, moved in the late 1780s to an area of Virginia that later became Kentucky – Lincoln County. The area in Kentucky (statehood in 1792) where he lived for several years was first documented as Christian County, Kentucky (formed from Logan County, Kentucky in 1797). This area then became Livingston County (formed from Christian County in 1799). Caldwell County was formed from Livingston County in 1809.

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Family #5 – EKA Richard Harrell 1700

Ancestors, Birth, and Arrival in Augusta Co., VA

The earliest known ancestor (EKA) for Family #5 is Richard Harrell, who is believed to have been born in Virginia around 1700. This Richard Harrell left no Will, and no probate records were found. The maiden name of his spouse, Elizabeth, also remains unknown. There is some uncertainty about the identity of his parents and siblings, but it is generally thought his father is Richard Harrell, Jr. b. abt 1675 Lancaster County, Virginia, d. aft July 18, 1711 in Lancaster County, Virginia. These matters are discussed below.

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Family #6 – EKA Ephraim Harrell 1797

The earliest known ancestor (EKA) for Family #6 is Ephraim Harrell about whom relatively little is known. The Harrell DNA donor/descendant of this EKA had solid information about Ephraim’s son Moses Harrell, born 1833 Knox County, IN, died 1899 Knox County, IN but did not have solid proof that Ephraim was Moses’ father. Moses lived near the town of Vincennes in Knox County and all of his children have been identified. Extensive study by the Harrell research team developed enough information to essentially prove that Ephraim Harrell was the father of Moses 1833. This narrative will first discuss what is known about Ephraim, starting with information provided by the DNA donor, followed by research results leading to what is believed to be his possible siblings and/or close relatives.

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Family #7 – EKA William Harrell 1786

The Earliest Known Ancestor (EKA) of Family#7 is William Harrell, born September 8, 1786 in Frederick Co., VA, died May 29, 1857 in North Bend, Miami Township, Hamilton County, OH. On August 21, 1806 in Lawrenceburg, Dearborn County, IN, he married Martha “Patsy” Bussell, daughter of Moses Bussell and Margaret Howell. The 12 children of this marriage are highlighted below and separately in the grouping of this family’s 3 generations. The burial site(s) of both William and his spouse Martha is unknown but researchers believe they could be buried in either the Berea Cemetery or the Maple Grove Cemetery, both of which are located in Cleves, Hamilton Co., OH (there are no markers or documentation in either cemetery).

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Family #10 – EKA Jacob Harrell 1818

In September 2009, a Harrell descendant of this line took the DNA test and his results matched the other Harrell lines. The donor knew his earliest known ancestor (EKA) was Jacob Harrell b. 1818 but several others at this time had reported without proof that Jacob 1818 was the son of “James M. Harrell” (some thought “M” was “Matthew”). These assertions that were repeated over several years initially convinced the Harrell research team that James M. Harrell was the father of Jacob 1818. If so, this qualified James M. Harrell to be the EKA of Family#10.

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Family #12 – EKA Moses Harrell 1803

The Earliest Known Ancestor (EKA) of Family #12 is Moses Harrell b. abt. 1803 KY (henceforth, a birth year of 1803 will be assumed), d. July 31, 1880 Wabash Co., IN. Moses 1803 married Francis Scott on 15 June 1823 in Fayette Co., IN; the marriage was performed by Minister John Conner. Francis Scott was born abt. 1801 in Grainger Co., TN and died March 23, 1866 Wabash Co., IN; her parents were Charles B. Scott and March Whitlock. Francis Scott’s sister is Rebecca Scott who married Moses Harrell, b. 1802 Nelson Co., KY, in 1821 in Brookville, Franklin Co., IN. Moses Harrell 1802 is a known son of Noah Harrell b. 1766 who, in turn, is a son of Moses Harrell Sr. who died in Nelson Co., KY.

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Family #13 – EKA John Harrell 1785

To better understand EKA John Harrell, it is necessary to understand Knox Co. IN where John Harrell spent much of his adult life. Knox Co. was formed in 1790 as one of the original counties of the Northwest Territory; its size was very large. In 1801 Clark Co. was formed from the eastern part of Knox Co. In 1803 Dearborn Co. was formed from an eastern part of Clark Co. Indiana became a state in 1816 having 16 counties with Knox Co. being overwhelmingly the largest. One year later in 1817, most of Knox’s land was reclassified as a “non-county” area and this change shrunk the size of Knox Co. to about the size of most of the other 19 Indiana counties. By the end of 1818, Pike and Gibson counties were formed on the southern border of Knox Co., Daviess Co. was formed on its eastern border, Sullivan and Green counties were formed on its norther border, and the State of Illinois (gaining statehood in 1818) bordered Knox Co. on its western border. These borders did not change over the years following.

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