How to Research Your Pettypool Ancestry Using DNA

The Pettypool Y DNA Project

If you are male, or a female with access to a male relative’s DNA, you can select a 37 marker Y DNA test at Family Tree DNA (FTDNA).  This test is relatively inexpensive but sufficiently precise to determine if you are likely to be positive for known Pettypool DNA Short Tandem Repeat (STR) patterns, or not.  You can find an explanation of STR tests at the FTDNA website Learning Center.  When you receive the results of your test, FTDNA will notify members of the Pettypool project that your result matches theirs, and one of the administrators will contact you with an invitation to join the Pettypool project.

The 37 marker STR test is an inexpensive basic test to verify potential Pettypool ancestry.  However, much more extensive tests are available that will more precisely place you in the Pettypool family tree.  The project administrators or other members can help you select any additional tests.  In addition, you will have access to other project members, with the possibility that you can learn more about your family or help other members with your knowledge.  There is a private discussion group on Facebook which has valuable discussion about Pettypool family DNA.  An administrator will issue you an invitation to join the Facebook group when you join the FTDNA project.

What if I Don’t have Male DNA?

The Pettypool Project was begun as a Y DNA project, and that is still the primary focus.  But we have members who are descended from female Pettypools, and some of them have Maternal Lineage mtDNA results to share.  You can find out more about this DNA test at the FTDNA’s website Learning Center.

And almost all members have also done a Family Finder test or have transferred the equivalent test from or other DNA test organization.  Working with other Project member’s FF results can advance your research without a Y chromosome test result.  You can find out more about Family Finder testing at FTDNA’s Learning Center.

The Paper Trail

The ultimate purpose of the Pettypool Project is to verify, correct, and expand the genealogy of the Pettypool family.  The most current record of the family’s history as derived from historical records is at the Pettypool Family One-Name Study website.  We are a member of the world-wide surname research organization the Guild of One-Name Studies as well.

The Big Picture- the Human Family Tree

If you have a Pettypool Y chromosome result, then you should consider joining these two DNA projects as well: R SRY2627/Z198/L176 and R DF27 and Subclades.  These projects are researching the ancient relationship of Pettypools with many other surname groups.

Nancy Malinda Pool Napier: An Original Gold Star Mother

“No, that’s probably not my Nancy M. Napier!” was my initial thought at an unlikely “hit” that had popped up on the screen when first I searched her name. The name was the same but why would a 59-year-old Missouri widow be on a passenger list departing from Cherbourg, France for New York City in the middle of the Great Depression?1

Even though I eventually confirmed that the passenger list showed the correct Nancy M. (Pool) Napier, I believed from the outset that her 1932 voyage was unlikely to have been a vacation for pleasure — few people in my Pool family of origin could afford or be tempted by such an extravagance. Nancy Malinda was my grandfather’s first cousin once removed, and her father, Stephen P. Pool of Christian County Kentucky, has proved to be yet another member of this sprawling Kentucky clan whose final fate has been difficult to pin down.

I did know that Stephen and his much younger wife, Ellen Steele, had left Kentucky in the late 19th century, moving westward and settling in Hamilton County, Illinois although leaving behind few traces in their new Illinois home.2 Apparently without their parents, Stephen’s five children, including Nancy Malinda, the eldest, had migrated south from Illinois before 1900 and landed in Pemiscot County, Missouri, not far from where my own mother’s Pool family spent a portion of the early 20th century.

On the surface, Nancy Malinda’s life was not easy. She had married (and presumably been widowed) three times by 1909 when she entered into her fourth and final marriage to Robert Reeves Napier at the age of 37.3 Napier was some 23 years her senior. She had at least one child by each of her four husbands, including Alva Levi Mead, the son of her first husband, Oscar F. Mead. Continue reading “Nancy Malinda Pool Napier: An Original Gold Star Mother”

English Ancestry of the Pettypool Family of Colonial Virginia

A new publication, English Ancestry of the Pettypool Family of Colonial Virginia, by Carolyn Hartsough is available for download at This 137 page document describes the origins of the Pettypool surname in medieval England, and traces the family from its Essex roots through the departure of William Pettypool for colonial Virginia in the 17th century. An excerpt from the paper follows: Continue reading “English Ancestry of the Pettypool Family of Colonial Virginia”

Death of Sam Pool, Site Contributor

Sam Pool, who contributed the Life and Times of Wade Pool portion of the Pettypool Family in America website, passed away on September 22, 2013.  You may read his obituary at The Houston Chronicle.

Sam’s paper on his ancestor, Wade Pool, is a very well researched and presented biography, and if you have not yet read it, I urge you to do so.

Sam’s contribution to Pettypool family research will be missed.