Published: 8 March 2013
Updated/Edited: 20 March 2016
The Y-DNA tests have been very valuable to my family history research. For more information about the tests we’ve done, go to: The Pepper DNA Project page. Our DNA donor was: My Grandfather, John Prouty Pepper (1908-2008).
The first DNA project that I joined and participated in was the PEPPER DNA Project. In June, 2007, I purchased a Family Tree DNA kit and took an inside-the-cheek sample from my then, 99 year old grandfather, John Prouty PEPPER. I sent the sample in and waited to see the results of our 37 marker test.
I wanted to have my grandfather’s DNA tested because after thirty years of Pepper family history research my fellow family researchers and I were still unable to find the parents of our immigrant ancestor, Robert Pepper of Roxbury, Massachusetts. I hoped that we might be able to find a distant Pepper cousin in ENGLAND or maybe just other cousins here in the states that may have more information about our Pepper ancestry.
About two months later, I received our results and we did not match ANY PEPPER surname! We did have two perfect 37/37 matches and they were with two different lines of the HAMILTON family! I went to the HAMILTON DNA Project to see what, if any, other matches we might have there, and we did have some other HAMILTON matches, but not as perfect as the two 37/37 matches.
I asked Gordon Hamilton at the Hamilton DNA Project to let us join their project so that we could compare our matches and do further tests to see where these matches would take us. After joining, I contacted our matches, our “new” cousins, Oscar Myron Hamilton and Martha (Hamilton) Hauber. Both were very warm and welcoming and happy to have found us. 🙂
Oscar and Martha were distant cousins but had never met each other in person, they may have corresponded in the past, but they were not close, so the fact that we matched both of them perfectly at the 37 marker was pretty remarkable and after discussing our results with them, my Aunt Judy and I decided that we should test more markers to get a better picture of how we related.
All three of us upgraded to the 67 marker and waited to see what the results would be. We received the results after about two months and found that we still had a PERFECT match with Martha (Hamilton) Hauber at 67/67 markers and a near perfect match with Oscar Myron Hamilton at 67/66. We took this to mean that we were a little more closely related to Martha than Oscar.
What this means is that at some time about 4 to 6 generations previous to my Grandfather John Prouty Pepper, we share the SAME ancestor as Martha Hamilton.
Using DNA for genealogical purposes also requires, when possible, the use of records or what genealogists call “a paper trail,” to help define the actual place and time where persons crossed paths and their DNA was transmitted through procreation. So that was next on our agenda. We needed to find out if our Pepper family ever lived near the Hamilton ancestors of Martha and Oscar.
To make a long story, short, we did find that our Pepper family lived in the same village as the Hamilton family and they definitely knew each other and had different connections through marriage. The DNA and paper trail together both prove that we are Hamilton descendants rather than Pepper descendants. Our direct ancestor was John Hamilton born in Scotland about 1634 and died in Concord, Massachusetts in 1680.