Monthly Archives: July 2013

Much of what you will read will in this blog may be confusing.  While our intent is not to confuse the reader, the purpose of offering the following is to establish where the research is regarding any connection with the Ratcliff Quaker lines from Maryland & Pennsylvania.

Over the years, much has been written (mostly unproven) regarding a possible relationship between our William Ratliff/Ratcliff line (1777 Anson Co., NC will) and the Quaker Ratcliff’s of Talbot Co., MD and Bucks Co., PA.   Many have connected their own Ratliff/Ratcliff lines to one of the Quaker lines as a result of the genealogical work of Clarence Earl Ratcliff. 

In his 1988 edition of his book, Clarence did connect our William Ratliff/Ratcliff line to his Ratcliff lineage through William, son of Richard & Mary Caterne Ratcliff.  However, to date, no actual evidence of any such connection, or the possibility of any connection, has been found.  In discussing this inclusion with Clarence before he passed away, he admitted to me that he had no proof of such a connection.  However, all of us “cousins” that he met he just loved and wanted to be connected to us. 



Our William Ratliff/Ratcliff married Susannah Thomas Curtis on 3 June 1759.  At that time, St. Luke’s Parish Church was a member of the Church of England.  Now St. Luke’s is part of the Anglican Church.  But St. Luke’s is definitely NOT, and never has been a Quaker place of worship. 

Examination of the St. Luke’s Parish records reveals several individuals with the Ratliff/Ratcliff names, along with several from the Thomas family also married in that church.  So one would conclude that there would not be an immediate connection to the Quaker church with this family.

In addition to the scarcity of records available for that period (1680 to 1760), it has been very difficult to verify individuals.  Now compound that issue with Queen Anne’s County Maryland being located next door to Talbot Co. where Third Haven Monthly Meeting of the Quakers is located.  This meeting House became central to the development of the Quaker faith in this part of Maryland during the late 1600’s and early 1700’s.  To further complicate the analysis, we find a Richard Ratcliff (who is the ancestor researched by Clarence Ratcliff) who was mentioned many times in the records of Third Haven Monthly Meeting.

Now the question “Is this Richard (Talbot Co.) any relationship to the William and/or Richard in Queen Anne’s Co., MD?” 

Were there other possible connections with William Ratliff/Ratcliff family members who may have had Quaker heritage in their family history? We find the possibility of Quaker connections in the family of Susannah Thomas, wife of William Ratliff/Ratcliff (1777 Anson Co., NC will):

          Father: Thomas Thomas, Jr.

                    Grandfather: Thomas Thomas, Sr.

                    Grandmother: Elizabeth?

          Mother: Susannah Clothier

                    Grandfather: Robert Clothier

                    Grandmother: Jane Kemp


In Kenneth Carroll’s excellent work Quakerism on the Eastern Shore many references to Quakers in Talbot & Queen Anne’s Counties are mentioned.  You will find references to the Thomas, Clothier & Kemp families.  A Thomas family worshiped as Quakers when they migrated into North & South Carolina.  But the stronger Quaker connection seems to be with the Clothier and Kemp families.  So the Ratliff & Thomas families had Quaker connections.  The only mention of any connection with the Quaker Richard Ratcliff of Talbot Co., MD seems to come from the work of Clarence Earl Ratcliff who has admitted that he had no actual proof of such a connection.


Brief History of Quaker Ratcliff’s

According to Clarence, Richard Ratcliff was born in England and came to America in 1682 aboard the ship “Submission”.  He settled in Talbot Co. Maryland and became an active member of the Quaker meeting there called “Third Haven Monthly Meeting”.  There is still a meeting there to this day and the old church meeting house is preserved and can be toured if you are ever in the Easton, Maryland area.

Richard had a brother, James who came to Bucks Co., Pennsylvania in 1685 and established himself as a prominent citizen and Quaker.  He built a large family who then migrated into new lands that opened up as America began to explore its new found lands.


DNA Comparisons

With the availability of DNA, it seemed the obvious approach would be to see how the DNA would direct the research.  But one has to keep in mind one thing regarding DNA analysis:

DNA will never lead you to the actual person to whom one may be related.  What it does tell you is that you have a Most Common Recent Ancestor (MCRA).  Old fashioned paper trails then must prove the actual relationship. 

Many Ratliff’s have taken the Y-DNA test and comparisons can be made to help lead research. 

One living descendant of the Quaker Richard Ratcliff has been found.  Also a living descendant of the Quaker James Ratcliff was found.  Both have had their DNA tested.  The chart below is a comparison of the test results for the Anson Co., NC & Hickman Co., TN Ratliff’s to both the descendant of the Quaker Richard and the descendant of the Quaker James.

The meaning of the various numbers in the chart below are as follows:

1 – Tightly related. Few people achieve this level of a match.

2-3 – Related

4 – Probably related. You may have a connection in a more distant genealogical times (7-15 generations).



Descendant of Richard Ratcliff

Talbot Co., MD

Descendant of James Ratcliff

Bucks Co., PA

Anson Co.   #1



Anson Co.   #2



Anson Co.   #3



Anson Co.   #4



Anson Co.,   #5



Anson Co.   #6



Hickman   Co., #1



Hickman   Co. #2




Anson Co. #1 is related to both Richard & James Ratcliff.  However, Anson Co., #2-6 is related to Richard further back in the generations.  But, there is a closer relationship to James Ratcliff

Hickman Co #1 & 2 are both related to Richard but tightly related to James.

Just an overall observation from this limited analysis would conclude there is definitely a blood relationship between the Anson Co. & Hickman Co. Ratliff’s to James Ratcliff.  Another way of saying this is that the Anson Co. & Hickman Co. Ratliff’s share a MCRA with James Ratcliff.  Now that MCRA needs to be identified. 

As mentioned at the beginning, the purpose of the above is only to publish what is known today in the hopes of stimulating further research and comment.  But several conclusions can be made about any relationship with the Ratcliff Quaker brothers.

  1. Any blood relationship with Richard Ratcliff is in the more distant past.
  2. A blood relationship with James Ratcliff seems more likely.
  3. Research on the James Ratcliff line should proceed by discovering any James Ratcliff descendants that came into NC around 1770.

We put forth in the last blog that there is a blood relationship between the Anson Co., NC Ratliff’s and those who came into Hickman Co., TN.  Documentation exists showing a John Ratliff who married Minerva Ratliff and they are listed in the 1820 Hickman Co., TN federal census as reported in the last blog.  However, tracing the lineage of this John Ratliff has been difficult.  We could not trace the parents of this John.  Some have said that John came from Virginia.  However, any documentation or circumstantial evidence leading to this conclusion has been difficult if not impossible to locate.  If anyone reading this blog could provide any information, we would greatly appreciate it.

Ed Ratliff


During the course of following our Ratliff family as they migrated from Queen Anne’s Co., Maryland to Anson Co., North Carolina, a discovery was made about a “possible” additional family member of which we previously were unaware.  What you will read now is only a “possibility” but the information is strongly circumstantial.  It is also one of those items that makes you go hummm!

Started with 1790 Federal Census

In studying the 1790 Anson Co., NC federal census, the name of Richard Ratliff posted next to Thomas Ratliff was noted.  Who is this Richard Ratliff and what relationship, if any, does he have to our Ratliff family?

From page 3 of the 1790 Anson Co., NC federal census you find the following:

Free White Males of 16 years &   up

Free White Males under 16

Free White Females

Richard   Ratliff




Thomas   Ratliff




You will also find another listing for Richard Ratliff on page 7 of the census.  It is believed this 2nd listing is a duplicate listing as the number of family members is exactly the same.

This sent us to the “Bible” for the early Ratliff history, the Hazlewood/Carson book on The William Ratcliff/Ratliff Family. Howard & Betty did an extensive review of the census data for William Ratliff of Queen Anne’s Co., MD.  They also included the terms of the 1777 Anson Co., NC will of William Ratliff.  The non-listing of this Richard as part of William’s family was probably because Richard was not mentioned in the 1777 will.  Therefore, it was probably felt that Richard was not part of the William Ratliff family.  Evidence now seems to show a “possible” family relationship between our William (1777 Anson Co., NC will) and the Richard Ratliff found in the 1790 Anson Co., NC census.

Back to Queen Anne’s Co., Maryland

This sent us to the church registry for St. Luke’s Church in Queen Anne’s Co., MD which can be reviewed on-line from the Maryland archives.  In examining the church marriage records we find the following marriage:

Richard Ratcliff & Mary Newton married 16 February 1750.

Keep in mind the maiden name of Richard’s bride, “Newton”.  You will see this later.

The following year (1751) this birth was recorded:

Richard, son of Richard & Mary Ratcliffe born 14 Jan 1751.

Further review of St. Luke’s Marriage records we find the following marriage:

William Ratcliffe & Susanna Curtis on 3 June 1759.

The spelling of the Ratcliff(e) last name is as it is recorded in the St. Luke’s Church records.  Again, who is this Richard and what relation is he to our William Ratliff family?

Anson Co., NC Land Records

From the Hazlewood/Carson work, we know that our William Ratliff migrated to Anson Co., NC sometime around 1760.  What about Richard?  It seemed appropriate that if this Richard was in the 1790 Anson Co., NC census, he would also a property owner.  If so, there would be records of land transactions for Richard Ratliff.  With the help of May MacCallum in Wadesboro, NC and the analysis of my brother Charles Ratliff, the following information was found about land holdings by a Richard Ratliff in Anson Co., NC.






Land   survey of 60 acres on Flat fork.    Mentions Ralph Vickers land. Land Grant 4975 awarded 27 Nov. 1792.

Richard Ratliff

14 Nov 1791

100   acres on a branch of   flat fork of Brown Creek adjoining Ralph   Vicker’s land.  This being granted to   Richard Ratliff by a letter patent bearing date the 14 October 1783.

Maliciah Gould

Richard Ratliff

5 Jan 1799

100 acres of land   surveyed for John Douglass lying on Savannah Creek.  Mentions Hunters line, Hamers line and   James’ corner.

Richard Ratliff

James Liles

31 Dec 1801

100   acres on N/S of Jones Creek.  Mentions   Elijah Curtis line.

William Ratliff

Richard Ratliff

9 Oct 1802

100 acres of land or   parcel of land surveyed for John Douglass lying on Savannah Creek.  Mentions Hunters line, James’s corner.

Daniel Collins

Richard Ratliff

3 Nov 1803

100 acres of land on   the branches of Savanna Creek part of a tract granted to Joseph Britnell 14   October  1783.

Richard Ratliff

William Teat, Sr.

14 Oct 1811

100 acres of land,   part of a tract of land granted to Joseph Briknal October 1783, situated on   the South West side of Pee Dee River on the waters of Savannah Creek.  Mentions Vinnings Cabin. This is land that   was willed to the descendants of Richard Ratliff in his will.

James Smith

James Vandiford

You can readily see that a Richard Ratliff did have land holdings in Anson Co., NC during the time of the William Ratliff (1777 Anson Co., will) family also owned and sold land.  One can also see land transactions between Richard and William Ratliff (possibly the son of William of 1777 Anson Co., NC will or Richard’s son, William).  But what is really interesting is the last land transaction dated 14 Oct 1811.  This is land that the estate of Richard Ratliff sold after the death of Richard.  James Vandeford, the seller was apparently acting as the estate manager as the following were signatories and witnesses to this sale.  Notice particularly the names of the following:

James Hough

Gean Smith

James Vandiford

Rachel Vandeford

Jesse Ratliff

Josiah Reas

Rebeckah Reas

William Ratliff

Samuel Ratliff

Sarah Ratliff

James Ratliff

Elijah Ratliff

It is not specifically known just who the James Smith is to whom the 1811 land was sold.  It could be the James Smith who is mentioned in an 1818 Anson Co., NC will.  Just who Gean (or Jean/Gene) Smith is not known at the time of this analysis.

May MacCallum has provided a report on the genealogy of the Hezekiah Hough family in which we find the above listed James Hough, son of Hezekiah Hough, Jr. and brother to John Hough.  No birthdate was given for James, but John was born 2 March 1761.  It was this John Hough who married Elizabeth Newton.  (notice the name “Newton”).  As stated above from the St. Luke’s Parish records in Maryland, Richard Ratliff married Mary Newton in Queen Anne’s Co., MD in 1750. Not definitive proof but still an “interesting” possibility.

From this listing, it seems that Richard may have had a large family.  Nothing here is proven as yet but the following is a strong “possibility” of the family of Richard Ratliff.  As this was land that came from the estate of Richard Ratliff of Anson Co., the “assumption” is that Richard had the following Children:

Rachel Ratliff (Vandeford)

Rebeckah Ratliff (Reas)

William Ratliff

Samuel Ratliff

Sarah Ratliff

James Ratliff

Elijah Ratliff

What happened to this family as we do not find them in later census records in Anson Co., NC?   However, they seem to have migrated to Hickman Co., Tennessee between 1811 and 1820.  Below is a summary of the various census observations to show this movement from North Carolina to Tennessee.

1800 Anson Co., NC Federal Census

Richard Ratliff does not appear in the 1800 Anson County census.  He would be about 70 years of age and could be living with one of his children.  There is a male “45 & over” living with Thomas Ratliff.

The Vandeford Family came to Anson County from Queen Anne’s Co., MD shortly after 1760.  A check of the St. Luke’s Parish records did not list any Vandeford family members in their birth or marriage records. But there are several Vandeford families recorded in the 1800 in Anson County, NC census.

There is no Josiah Reece (including various spellings of the name) found in the 1800 Anson Co., NC census.

1810 Anson Co., NC Federal Census

No listing for a Richard Ratliff.  However, several Thomas and William Ratliff’s are shown.  We do find the Vandeford family (James & William).  One biographer of the Vandeford Family gives James Vandeford’s birth as 21 September 1761 in Queen Anne’s Co., MD.  Therefore, in 1810, James would be 49 years old.  We don’t know the exact date of birth of Rachel Ratliff.

We also find Josiah Reese listed with 2 young girls.

Again we don’t find Richard but he could be living with one of the children,

1820 Hickman Co., TN Federal Census

This is the first time we find the Vandeford (James) and Ratliff (William, Samuel, Jesse) families in Hickman Co., TN.  James & Rachel Ratliff Vandeford are getting older (about 59 years old) with no children living with them.  Josiah Reece and James Vandeford are also listed in the index for the 1820 Tennessee State Census.  Names of 2 of the James Vandeford children (Jesse & Samuel) are also shown in the federal census.  We do not find any of these people in the 1820 Anson Co., NC census.

1830 Hickman Co., TN Federal Census

Again, we find Josiah Reese in Hickman Co.  but we do not find James Vandeford.  However, there are records that James lived on Haley’s Creek in September, 1832 and applied for a Revolutionary War pension for his service in NC.  His pension was approved in July of 1833.  James was also awarded a land grant of 50 acres on Haley’s Creek on the East Side of the tract on which he was living.  This was given for his service during the Revolutionary War.

Josiah & Rebeckah Ratliff Reese are getting older.

1840 Hickman Co., TN Federal Census

James Vandeford is deceased.  Rachel Ratliff Vandeford could be the older woman living with their son Jesse.  Josiah & Rebeckah Ratliff Reese continue to age.

There is a listing for a William Arnold family that will relate to the 1850 census information.  But it is interesting to take note of it here in the 1840 census.

1850 Hickman Co., TN Federal census

The 1850 census is the first census where the personal family member names are listed.  These are probably the children of the Ratliff’s that came from Anson Co.

If you look at the census listing for the William P. Arnold family mentioned in the 1840 Hickman Co., TN Federal census, you will notice a William P. Ratliff who was living with the William Arnold family.  William is 5 years old and was born in North Carolina.  It is not known just “who” this William might be.  Another one of those items that makes one go “hummmm”.

The descendants of the Hickman Co., TN Ratliff’s migrated into Texas Just before and just after 1900.

Now  the DNA Results

As many of you are aware, the Ratliff Family has a DNA project underway with Family Tree DNA.  Although the actual results of these tests are private and not available to the public, several “general” comments can be made about the results so far.  An analysis for the several DNA tests taken by many Ratliff’s, results show a very close blood relationship between those who have descended from the Anson Co., NC William Ratliff and the Hickman Co. TN descendants of Richard Ratliff also found in the 1790 Anson Co., NC census.

What follows in the chart below are the comparisons of those with close matches.  There were 9 Anson Co., NC descendants tested and 2 that can trace their lineage back to one of the Hickman Co., TN Ratliff’s.  The results speak for themselves. Again, the actual results are private so names cannot be identified.  However, the chart below outlines this close blood relationship.

For the purpose of understanding what the numerical values mean in the following chart:

1 – Tightly related.  Few people make this close level of a match.

2 – Related.  Well within range of most well-established surname lineages in Western Europe.

As an example, the person who is Anson Co., #1 is related to both persons Hickman Co., #1 & #2.  The person who is Anson Co., #2 is tightly related to both persons Hickman Co., #1 & #2.

Hickman Co., #1

Hickman Co., #2

Anson Co., #1



Anson Co., #2



Anson Co., #3



Anson Co., #4



Anson Co., #5



Anson Co., #6



Anson Co., #7



Anson Co., #8



Anson Co., #9



So, what does all of this really mean?  William Ratliff (1777 Anson Co., NC will) was related to the Richard Ratliff in the 1790 census as either a brother (which would probably explain the close DNA results) or a nephew from his brother.  Until we solve the issue of William’s parents, it will be difficult to determine for sure what the relationship is between William & Richard.  However, it is nice to be able to finally place a family relationship between the Anson Co., NC Ratliff’s and the Hickman Co., TN Ratliff’s.

A big thank you” goes to Cindy Robertson who did the initial work on the Hickman Co., TN Ratliff’s as published in Ratliff’s Ferry June 30, 1987.

Thanks so much for your interest and your comments and thoughts about what you have read above would be most sincerely appreciated.  It is hoped that more Ratliff family information can be shared through this blog.  Your patience with me as I learn the process is greatly appreciated.

Ed Ratliff

Ratliff’s Ferry was the name given to the rope ferry crossing the Pearl River between Rankin & Madison Counties in Mississippi by my great-great grandfather, John Ratliff (1799-1849). This ferry transported not only people but livestock and goods.  This was a main crossing between the two counties and operated for many years.  Today, there is a place called “Ratliff’s Ferry” at that location but it contains a service station/convenience store.

In June, 1984, my brother Charles & I began a family newsletter called Ratliff’s Ferry. It’s purpose was to transport information about our own family history. Not much family history information was shared with us by our father before he died in 1955. So much of what was published was provided and shared by many. The last issue of Ratliff’s Ferry was published March 31, 1990.  Ratliff’s Ferry provided family information as it was discovered. Some of it, while unproven, was interesting at least.

Charles Ratliff passed away in October of 2010.

Since the publication of Ratliff’s Ferry, the digital age has come upon us and information can more readily be shared between individuals and families through this new media.  While “blogging” is very new to me, I am going through the learning process with this new media to attempt to give some new information and/or insights into what is happening with locating some of the history of the Ratliff family.  When information shared in this blog is “speculative,” every effort will be made to so show the information as “speculative”.

Thank you for your patience as I learn a new process.  But in that learning experience, it is hoped you will learn more about your Ratliff Family heritage and be willing to comment and share your thoughts as the posts are made.  You are welcome to use this site anytime you wish.  However, I will try to notify you when new posts are made.  With this new process, every effort will be made to make timely and frequent posts with new and interesting information.

You are welcome, through the comments section of this blog to make your thoughts and corrections known.  Your participation in this process is earnestly requested and encouraged.

Ed Ratliff