DNA Results & Analysis

Many have taken the DNA test not only at our request, but in the interest of enhancing one’s own understanding of their heritage. As a result of these tests, some family connections have been made and understandings have grown regarding the makeup and background of this Ratliff family.

Recently I was contacted by an individual who had taken the DNA test. Their DNA results indicated we had a relationship that would be 2nd to 4th cousin. A search was made and they found the Howard Hazlewood/Betty Ratliff Carson book published in 1988. In that history, they found Zachariah Ratliff migrating from Anson County, North Carolina through Stewart County, Tennessee, ultimately found in Washington County, Alabama.

This person had an old family hymnal that had some information penciled in the pages of the hymnal. The information mentioned a Jane Ratliff born 21 January 1809 in Stewart County, Tennessee. Jane married McClellan Carson in 1827 in Washington County, Alabama. The handwritten information further revealed that Jane was married in the home of her father, Zachariah. Those notes are provided below for your review and for confirmation of the information provided.

Jane Notes

As many of you know, Zachariah Ratliff and family did leave Anson County, North Carolina on or shortly after 1800 and was found in Stewart County, Tennessee along with the Denson family. They remained in Stewart County until sometime between 1815 and 1820 when the family migrated and settled in Washington County, Alabama.

This handwritten notation in the family hymnal sounded too familiar although we have no information regarding Zachariah Ratliff & Elizabeth Thomas Ratliff having a 6th child, much less one a daughter named Jane. There was no discovery of an additional Zachariah in either Stewart County, Tennessee or Washington County, Alabama during the time mentioned in those hymnal notes. So this sounded like a good “possibility” of Jane Ratliff being the 6th child of Zachariah & Elizabeth Thomas Ratliff. The record of the birth of each of their children will be shown at the bottom of this post.

A record of the marriage was requested and it was emailed to me and is shown below.

Ratliff Carson Marriage

So, maybe there was a 6th child of Zachariah & Elizabeth Thomas Ratliff. The next effort was to determine if McClellan Carson owned any land in either Washington County, Alabama or Madison County, Mississippi. In checking with the “HistoryGeo” database, no McClellan Carson owned any land in Washington County, Alabama. Another Carson did own some land but it wasn’t McClellan. (As Washington County was divided into Choctaw County is 1847, you would need to examine the Choctaw County, Alabama records to find this information). Also, you can see from the marriage notation that McClellan Carson was from Madison County, Mississippi so he was already in the Mississippi area at the time of their marriage.

We next examined the Madison County, Mississippi land records and found the Ratliff family (Zachariah, William & John) purchasing land in Madison County as early as 1827 with most of the acquisition occurring after 1830. Also found purchasing land in Madison County after 1830 was the Carson family (McClellan, Robert, Armstrong, Joseph). The time frame seems to fit with the marriage of Jane & McClellan (1827). You will also find McClellan Carson family in Madison County, Mississippi Federal Census for 1830, 1840, etc.

Therefore, it would seem appropriate to add the name Jane Ratliff as the 6th child of Zachariah & Elizabeth Thomas Ratliff. Proof points:

Family notation of birth & marriage date in family hymnal

  1. Marriage record of Jane & McClellan Carson
  2. Land ownership in Madison County, Mississippi
  3. No other Zachariah Ratliff’s found in Stewart County, Tennessee or Washington County, Alabama from 1800 to 1830.
  4. Then the DNA seems to confirm that this individual and I are 2nd – 4th cousins.

Sincere and heartfelt thanks go to my new found relative. As this revelation may be new to some of you and you may have Family Group Sheets for Zachariah & Elizabeth Thomas Ratliff that only reflect 5 children, you will find revised Family Group Sheets below. For those of you who are keeping your Hazlewood/Carson book as the current family information, you may wish to add a copy of this revised Family Group Sheet to your book.

Oh, some of you may ask. Betty Ratliff Carson and the McClellan Carson family are not related. Betty’s husband Lee Carson’s family took a completely different migration route so there was no connection to this new found relative.

As this is one indication of a good result from taking the DNA test, each one is encouraged to do so. You may access information and apply for the test at the following links: & If you do register, please let me know so I can help you with the results once they are known.

Zachariah FG #1

Zachariah FG #2Carson Children #1

Carson Children #2


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