Lineage Confirmed—Alpheus James Adams

In the SKWW Family Tree and History newsletter, volume 4, we discussed our research into Alpheus James Adams’ lineage. At the time, family trees on, of which there were about 20, showed two predominant theories:

(1) his father was William McIntosh Adams (1811-1881) of the Edward Adams (born Somerset, England, 1629-1716) family, or

(2) his grandfather was Reverend Ezra Adams (1788-1871) of the Robert Adams (born Hampshire, England, 1602-1682) family.

Alpheus James Adams and wife Ellen Jane Hannah Adams, picking oranges in California, abt. 1906. [1]

Our research of records from Manvers, Durham County, Ontario; Grey County, Ontario; and Cavalier County, North Dakota indicated that Alpheus is probably a member of the Rev. Ezra Adams family, but did not confirm this, nor determine his parents.

Subsequent genetic genealogy research has now confirmed this lineage.

DNA testing for a granddaughter of Alpheus has identified matches to 5 descendants of Rev. Ezra Adams or his ancestors:

Amount Shared
DNA (cM)
Match With Most Recent Common Ancestor
16.2 8C1R 8th GGP
John Rugg (1632-1696) & Hannah Prescott (1639-1697)
15.7 7C1R 7th GGP
Nathaniel Butterfield (1673-1748) & Sarah Fletcher (1679-1734)
19.2 5C 4th GGP
Eliphalet Adams (1756-1844) & Patience Rice (1753-1832)
4th GGP
Henry Proctor II (1770-1827) & Elizabeth Ames (1777-1809)
26.6 4C1R 3GGP
Rev. Ezra Adams (1788-1871) & Isa Proctor (1797-1832);
match is a descendant of Henry Proctor Adams (1822-1882)
23.2 4C 3GGP
Rev. Ezra Adams (1788-1871) & Isa Proctor (1797-1832);
match is a descendant of Henry Proctor Adams (1822-1882)

Centimorgans (cM) is a unit of measure for the length of DNA. Each of these matches has an above 50% likelihood it was inherited from a single recent common ancestor.

8C1R means 8th cousin 1x removed, 5C means 5th cousin, etc.

While a single DNA match at 50% likelihood could still not prove anything, 5 matches provides high confidence we have the correct family. Additional matches with lower likelihood have also been identified, all consistent with this conclusion.

Perhaps equally important, no matches have been identified to the Edward Adams family.

The first two matches listed are from Isa Proctor’s (Rev. Ezra Adam’s first wife) branch of the tree. So, we can further conclude that Alpheus is a descendant of Rev. Ezra Adams’ first marriage, not his second.

Work still remains—who are Alpheus’ father and mother? The historical record leans toward Rev. Ezra Adams’ son Henry Proctor Adams (1822-1882).

There are a significant number of DNA matches on Alpheus’ branch of the tree that can not be attributed to the Adams branch of the tree—these matches must be from his mother’s branch of the tree. So, this avenue of research is still open.

And with Alpheus’ immediate lineage half confirmed, we can research the Adams and Proctor branches of the tree without worry it will all be for naught. In an upcoming post, we’ll look at Alpheus’ ancestors immigrating from England to New England in the 1600’s, most as part of The Great Puritan Migration.

Alpheus James Adams (1845-1910) is 3rd great-grandfather of MKS in the Watne branch.

[1] KMS Family Genealogy Digital Archive, Hannah Elva Lucille Porter Watne collection, Hazel Porter’s photo album (photograph).
[2] Commemorative Biographical Record of the County of York, Ontario (Toronto: J. H. Beers & Co., 1907), p. 507 (drawing).