My Ancestry DNA results


This section reviews my results from DNA test conducted by Ancestry DNA. The Ancestry site test autosomal DNA (see introduction to this DNA section for background information on this test) which can be used to identify people with DNA matching yours (common parental and or maternal ancestors) back to your 4 X great grandparents and sometimes for several generations beyond that. Background information on my Newell ancestors from ‘The Dock’, Newfoundland is presented in a separate section of this Web Site under the “The Dock Nfld.” Tab and in my Ancestry tree for my Newell family.

The Ancestry site also allows you to search their database for DNA matches with other people who have tested their autosomal DNA with them. When I got my test results the closest matches with Newell connections were a first cousin once removed and several 3rd cousins who are descendants of  siblings of my 2X great grandfather John Newell (1793-1855) from ‘The Dock’.  I did not find any Newell first cousins which is not surprising since, to the best of my knowledge, none did the test.  I have seven second cousin matches, most of which link to my maternal side, but none with known Newell connections. A second cousin would share a common great grandfather. My Newell great grandfather, John Newell Jr. (b 1828 d 1908) and his wife Caroline Wells had two sons and five daughters. My grandfather Albert was his youngest son, the eldest son died before he had children, one daughter died childless and the remaining daughters moved to New England. To the best of my knowledge none of their descendants have done the DNA test. Recently (2019) my sister did the test and got similar results.

The Ancestry search found  80+  3rd cousin matches but only a quarter of these posted any significant family history (searchable names). The 3rd cousin matches included several who trace their roots back to my 2X great grandfather John Newell (their ancestors were siblings of my great grandfather John Jr.).

My mother’s Snelgrove ancestors (her mother was Jessie Snelgrove from Bears’s Cove, Harbour Grace) represented the majority of the 3rd cousin matches and had the had the most complete family trees. The higher proportion of matches from this family is partially due to the size of the family but most significantly can be trace back to the efforts of one person, Ethel Knight of Milwaukee, USA, who visited Newfoundland in the 1960s and did research on the Snelgrove family tree. I was a kid but can remember her visiting my Aunts (see following from St. John’s Daily News, Aug 28, 1963).

What this demonstrate is that the potential for finding DNA matches from any set of ancestors will depend not only on reproductive success (number of surviving children) but also on an interest of genealogical research in that family (building trees and doing test).

One of the advantages of DNA is that it provides the possibility of identifying links to early Newell relatives not currently in my tree. In this regard 4th and 5th cousin matches are the most interesting since these are cases where I share a 3X or 4X grandparent with the match. On the Newell side my 3X great grandparents are Philip Newell [AKA Noel] and his wife Amy Batten who are my earliest documented Newell ancestors. Interestingly, the Ancestry test may have provided  evidence for a theory first presented to me by Harold Newell  in 1971; he noted that on the same day when Philip Noel (Newell) married  Amy Batton at St. Pauls’ Church, Harbour Grace, Nfld. in November 1784 a William Button (Batton) married a Mary Noel. Harold suggested that it was a case of siblings marrying siblings in double marriage ; however, there was no hard evidence for this (see my discussion of ‘The Early Newells‘ under ‘The Dock’ Tab on this site). The Ancestry DNA test may have found  evidence for this since I had a 3rd or 4th cousin match (Confidence: Extremely High) with a person that traces back to a Isaac Batten of ‘The Dock’ born c 1869 (see my research into non Newell Ancestors). A 3rd cousin match can occur in this case since when siblings marry siblings their children on both sides are “double cousins” and their DNA more closely resemble siblings than 1st cousins (see )

Once we move into the area of 4th and 5th cousin matches the issues associated with identifying connections become more complicated.  Everyone has 32  3X grandparents and in most cases only one of these was born with the family name (DNA).  Calculating the number of descendants from each of the 16 sets of 3X grandparents is not a simple process but with a few assumptions (e.g. 3 surviving children per couple) it is is possible to estimate that after 6 generations my 16 pairs of 3X grandparents could potentially have 11664 descendants . It is, therefore, not surprising that Ancestry identified almost 1000  4th and 5th  cousin DNA matches with me; however, the vast majority of these will not have the Newell name or DNA.  To assist with sorting matches I have prepared a shared Spreadsheet (to view right click link and select open in new Tab) to show my ancestors by family name for each generation. For example, the Spreadsheet shows that my parents are John Newell and Gladys Norman and their parents, my grandparents, are Albert Newell and Clara Andrews on the paternal side and Thomas Norman and Jessie Snelgrove on the maternal side.  The row at the bottom shows the number of direct ancestors in each generation versus the number of these where I know their family name.

I know the family names of all my great grandparents but only 12 of my 16  2X grandparents and 17 of my 32  3X grandparents. The largest gap relates to the ancestors of my great grandparents Abraham Norman and his wife Harriett. What this means is that potentially I might only know the family name of the common ancestors for half of my 4th cousins. In addition, the relationship between myself and someone with matching DNA may be more distant than my ancestor suggests. For example, I found a number of 4th cousin matches for people with the Andrews, Wells and Dawe in their trees (my grandmother was Clara Andrews from Port de Grave , my great grandmother was  Caroline Wells from Salmon Cove and my 2X grandmother was Frances Dawe / Daw of Port-de-Grave).  The fact that these were 4th cousin matches and not 1st, 2nd or 3rd cousin matches indicates that the common ancestor for these matches was one or more generations earlier (e.g. someone descended from a uncle or aunt of one of these people).

The remainder of this document focuses on using my Ancestry DNA results to research my distant Newell ancestors; however, I have prepared several other documents that focus on other aspects of my DNA research (see screenshot of Web Page sub directories below).

These reports focus on:

4th and 5th Cousin DNA matches

When I searched my Ancestry DNA matches for  people with the Newell name in their tree I found 128,  4th and  5th cousin matches (this number will change over time) including several that have links to ‘The Dock’ and others with links to other communities in Newfoundland. The earliest confirmed matches to Newells from ‘The Dock’ were several 4th cousin matches who are descended from James son of Philip. There were several  matches to people with Newell ancestors from Clarke’s Beach, situated near ‘The Dock’, and this is not unexpected since some Newells from ‘The Dock’ moved there. There were also several links to people from Burnt Head situated on the opposite side of Bay-de-Grave from ‘The Dock’. There include a link to an Ann Newell (b. 1819) who married a Morgan at Burnt Head,  but no indication that she was a Newell from Burnt Head (she could have been a Newell from ‘The Dock’).

There were also several links to Newell/Noel/Noall from Brigus / Georgetown including:

  • several that trace back to Stephen Noall of Brigus born c. 1826;
  • several that trace back to Patience Noel of Brigus, born c1804;
  • several that trace back, though different family lines, to James Henry Noall of Brigus born 1836;
  • several that trace back to late 19th and early 20th century Roman Catholic Newells/Noels (see note below) from Turks Gut/Mary’s Vale/ Conception Harbour (all near Georgetown) and
  • a possible but not confirmed link to Agnes Noel (b 1866) of Brigus, daughter of John Noal b 1837.

The published trees for many of the above link back to John Noel  of Brigus born 1790s or his father; however, these links to John Noel may simply reflect assumptions based on the fact that he was the earliest documented Noel/Newell in Brigus. There is the possibility that my DNA links to Newells from Brigus come from my other Newfoundland ancestors (e.g. Norman, Wells, Daw, etc.) that have links to Brigus. The missing ancestors for my great grandfather Abraham Norman may play an important role here since I suspect that they were from Brigus. The Normans were among the earliest settlers in Brigus and intermarried with other Brigus families such as Antle, Bartlett and Noel. Comparing my Brigus DNA links to results for two of my 3rd cousins, descended from brothers of my great grandfather, suggest that we have several of these Brigus matches in common especially for links tracing back to James Henry Noall/Newell of Brigus.

There were several links to Newells from Pouch Cove but nothing  definitive enough to prove a connection between the Newells of Pouch Cove and  ‘The Dock’. Peter Noel has a section on the Newells of Pouch Cove on his Noel Web Site and he has suggested a possible connection between this family and the Dock Newells. Interestingly, the links to Pouch Cove are at the 4th cousin level (only one at 5th who was clearly further removed) suggesting the link might be through a common ancestor who was living in the late 1700s.  It is also interesting that I get links to Thornes of Pouch Cove (see below).  There were also a number of 4th and 5th cousin links to Newells from St. John’s (not Pouch Cove) including a Margaret Newell (c.1790-1888) who married Richard Stanley Cross. Margaret was the daughter of Nicholas Newell and Frances Mugford who have been linked to the Pouch Cove Newells . Based on the matches and her date of birth I initially suspected that Margaret might be a a daughter of Philip; however, after further research on the ancestors of the matches I now suspect that the DNA connection may be through my Comby / Cumby ancestors of Western Bay who are likely the same family as her Crummey relatives.

The largest set of 4th and 5th cousin Newell matches are with individuals with links to the Newells of Trinity, Newfoundland. The bulk of these matches were at the 5th cousin level (more on 5th cousin matches in a subsequent section) and the 4th cousin matches might reflect cases with multiple DNA connections (Trinity Newell plus another).

There were several  several 4th/5th cousin matches that related to families not in my tree but who could be candidates for missing  2X or 3X grandparents. These include several local families like French (links to Batten) and  Mugford (poss Newell, Batten & French links). One name that was unexpected was Thorne which had several distant DNA matches to the Thorns of Torbay and New Harbour, Trinity Bay. Both of these families trace roots back to John Thorne, an agent for Trinity merchant Benjamin Lester. Thorne was established in New Harbour, Trinity Bay by the 1770s. There is some Newell family history that suggests a connection to the Newells of Trinity. The Thorns of Harbour Grace were merchants that had strong connections with several families in ‘The Dock’ including building the schooner Thorne in Bareneed c 1818.  In addition, my family had business connections to the Nuttall family (of Harbour Grace and Brigus) who were related to the Thornes (see Merchant Connections).

One totally unexpected connection was an apparent link to John Neville who was married at St. John’s (RC church) in 1805.  A 3rd cousin (related to Nathaniel Newell of the Dock) also shares this DNA link which suggest it predates our common 2X great grandfather (John son of Philip).


St. John’sNEVIL,
Dunbrody, Co. WexfordCORBIT, Anne

John Nevil (later Neville) was from Co. Wexford, Ireland. The early Nevilles of  Wexford were a Norman family that is frequently referenced as Newell in early (per 1700) documents (I have researched the Irish Newells and plan to do a section on them in future).  However, this DNA connection might also be through his wife Anne Corbit who may be related to the Corban  (Corbett/Corbit/Corbet/Corbin) family of ‘The Dock’ (Bartholomew Corban was settled there in the 1770s); I also get several 5th cousin DNA matches to this family.

One set of non Newell connections that is especially interesting are a number of 3rd, 4th to 5th cousin matches to Noels from Harbour Grace.  Peter Noel, who has done considerable research on the Noels of Harbour Grace, has speculated about a connection between the two families. Peter and I did Y-DNA test (more on this in Y-DNA report) that suggest a possible distant connection that would likely be well beyond the 5th cousin level (to the best of my knowledge he did not do the Ancestry autosomal DNA test but I think he did a similar test with Family tree). After further research, I suspect that some of my autosomal DNA links to Noels may come through my mother’s ancestors who were Snelgroves and Cakes from the Harbour Grace area who intermarried with several Noels from this area or from the ancestors of my grandmother Clara Andrews.

Other names with possible Y-DNA connection (see Y-DNA Section) that produce a significant number  5th+ cousin level (possible distant link)  are Clark/Clarke and Cheek.  These names are not in my tree so this could reflect a  distant link or just genetic noise (see next paragraph).  The Y-DNA Clark connection links back to Dorset/Devon where many of my ancestors have their roots. The Cheek Y-DNA connection links back to the early colonial period in the Southeast USA.

One factor that  confuses autosomal results for people with roots in Conception Bay North is that there were a limited number of families that settled in this area during the 17th and 18th centuries and not a lot of subsequent in-migration. As a result many people with deep roots in the Dock will share some DNA ( around the 5th cousin level) with almost everyone else.  This occurs since any person will have 32 3X grandparents and this is close to the number of family names in the Dock (and neighboring communities) during the 18th century so the probability of any two two people with deep roots in the Dock sharing some DNA is high. This amplification of DNA connections is an example of the Endogamy effect. My paper on Conception Bay South investigates some of these connections.

Search for the Ancestors of my 3X Great Grandfather, Philip Newell (using matches to distant cousins)

The biggest mystery in my family tree is identifying where the ancestors of my 3X great grandfather Philp Newell /Noel came from. The only information we have is that his father’s name might have been James.  Any DNA matches at the 4th cousin level would have Philip or one of his children (if they are removed from me) as the common Ancestor. The search for Philip’s origins must; therefore, focus on what Ancestry DNA referees to as “Distant Cousins” (5th or greater cousins).  As indicated earlier these matches are near the limit of DNA testing. This does not mean that the people who match me at the  5th cousin level are not  related but that I may have many 5th cousins that will not show up on the test. Similarly, there might be a 5th cousin relative who is a match to me but  one of my more recent Newell  cousins might not have this person as a match.  Another challenge is that there is no certainty that Philip’s  family name was Newell.  We know that Philip was frequently referred to as Philip Noel or Philip Nuel and that the names Newell, Newall, Newill, Noel, Nowell, Newhall, Knowle, Knoll, Knowles,  Knowlton, Nevil and Neville were frequently confused in early documents.  Given this, we must investigate all of these as possible family names for Distant Cousins.   The good news is that, unlike Y-DNA matches (see later discussion), I had a large population of autosomal 5th + cousin matches with at least one of these names in their tree. Having a match with one of these names does not necessarily establish a link through that name but does make this person a candidate for one of my Newell ancestors. Another issue to be aware of is that establishing a match involves matching DNA  (generally reliable) and finding a name in a persons published family tree. The reliability of the info in most family trees starts to drop off after 6 or 7 generations; so while it is relatively certain that I match that persons DNA it is much less certain that that person has one of these names (especially if it is not the paternal family name).   My methodology was to sort my list of Distant DNA matches for each of the candidate names which gives a list of people matching my DNA with this name in their tree. I then excluded matches that had made their tree private, unless I obtained info from them, and individuals with very limited data in their tree (e.g. just a name but no location & or dates). In cases where there were multiple matches with same tree (same admin) I only used the first reference. Of the names I searched, only four produced significant numbers of matches; these were: Newell, Knowles, Noel and Neville. Others like Nowell, Newall, Nevil and Knoll had limited number of matches and frequently included another name so are likely a different spelling of one of the more common names. (e.g.  Nowell>Noel; Newall>Newell; Nevil>Neville; Knoll> Knowles)

I have prepared a shared Spreadsheet that compares the number of matches by location for the four main names (to view right click link and select open in new Tab).  The Spreadsheet shows that Newell had the most distant cousin matches that met the criteria outlined above and Neville the lowest; however, this is somewhat misleading. Some names had significantly more matches from Newfoundland than others. This is significant since a 5th cousin match from Newfoundland might not represent a 5th  cousin but a 4th cousin once or twice removed; in addition, it might represent a link to one of my non Newell ancestors from Newfoundland (many predate the Newells in Newfoundland). In this case we might be detecting descendants of Philip or perhaps other Newfoundland descendants of Philip’s parents (James and Ann?) or other non Newell ancestors.

The Noel 5th cousin matches stand out with the highest proportion of earliest ancestors being from Newfoundland. Further, most of these listed Carbonear or Harbour Grace as the earliest known ancestral home and many identified Clement Noel as their ancestor. Peter Noel (see ) and others have done extensive research on the family tree for the Noels of Harbour Grace which may biases the data towards this name.  This large number of distant DNA matches might be considered as supporting the theory that the Newells of ‘The Dock’ were really Harbour Grace Noels; however, the problem is that my mothers ancestors (Snelgrove, Cake, Herald and Smith) were all from the same area as the Noels and many intermarried with the Noels (evidence from 2nd, 3rd & 4th cousin matches). Further, selective searches on many Noel 5th cousin matches show shared matches with these non Noel individuals in my tree. Likewise my matches to Noels of Grates Cove and Brigus (Noels here AKA Newell) can be explained by other connections. My Y-DNA (see My Y-DNA section of Web Site) suggest a possible distant (not in range of the Ancestry test) connection to the Noels of Harbour Grace (Peter Noel); however, my DNA link to the distant Ancestry matches may not come from my direct paternal ancestor.  

Many of the Neville distant DNA matches are from St. John’s and appear to be connected to 4th cousin matches to John Neville, birth c.1776, Wexford, Ireland who married Anne Colbert at St John’s, Newfoundland in 1805.  As I indicated earlier this DNA connection may be through his wife. It should also be noted that Philip Corbett (AKA Corbin) of Bareneed was part owner of the schooner Thorne which was built in Bareneed (see my web page on Merchant Connections).  However, one other link to a Thomas Neville of North River (near the Dock) raises the possibility of a connection with the North River Nevilles.   The Newell matches to Newfoundland have peaks associated with Brigus, St. John’s and Trinity. The Brigus connection to Newell and Noel may come from my mothers family. Her father was a Norman from Bay Roberts but his family roots were likely in Brigus. I get lots of matches to early Brigus families like Antles, Bartletts and Noel.  The St. John’s connections may come from a sibling, child or grandchild of Philip who moved to St. John’s or from another connection like Neville or Thorne. The Trinity connection is the most interesting since my father  suggested that there might be a family connection to the Newells of Trinity, Nfld. but not to those of Bonavista.  If you trace back the links they all connect to children of Jonah Newell  1728 – 1799 and his  wife Hannah Mears  1736 – 1788 of Trinity (I get a number of distant DNA matches to people with the Mears name).  My DNA matches also include a significant number of matches to other family names associated with Trinity and the Newell family including: Thorne,  OldfordFifieldAbbott, Jones  and Newhook.   The issue with these matches to Jonah Newell is that, despite in-depth research on the Newells of Trinity, it is difficult to make a connection. Jonah had a son James who died young and there is no evidence he is the link. My father indicated that we had some connection to the Newhooks of Trinity Bay and the DNA show a connection to Charles and Catherine Newhook from New Harbour, Trinity Bay.  Catherine was a daughter of Jonah so this is just another connection back to Jonah. The Newhooks were famous shipbuilders in Trinity Bay and the DNA connection back to John Thorne of Trinity may be connected in some way since, as indicated earlier, a schooner Thorne was built at Bareneed c 1818.   My DNA connections, regardless of family name, include people connected with many towns in Trinity Bay (see shared Spreadsheet). These connections are strongest at the 4th and 5th cousin level suggesting a links with one or more of my 3X grandparents or possibly earlier. It should be noted that many of the communities listed were originally settled by people from Trinity.  

  Some of my DNA connections  to  Grate’s Cove and Old Perlican may have come from my mothers side (Snelgrove, her grandfather’s family) via a direct or indirect (through Benson or Smith) link to the ancestors of Daniel Noel/Newell of Grate’s Cove.  This link or the links to the Newells of Trinity might also explain some of the early DNA links to Newells of St. John’s.  

Searching for Roots in the Old World

In the preceeding analysis (see spreadsheet) there were a limited number of Old World matches compared to those for New England and Nova Scotia and apart from a peak in Lancashire they were scattered across the UK. Overall, for all 4 names there is a higher frequency of matches for these four names from the North of England & Scotland than from the south of England (even more significant when adjusted for population). My Y-DNA results (discussed later in this document) that focus on paternal (Newell) DNA also suggest a stronger connection to the north of England and south Scotland than to the south of England (note: this only applies to my Newell ancestors since many of my other ancestors roots trace back to Devon and Dorset).  

Ancestry provides a seperate analysis of your ethnicity based on makers in your DNA (see a seperate sub section of this report on Ethnicity Estimates). The most recent update to this analysis identified my Ethniticy as:

  • “England, Wales and Northwestern Europe” 80%
  • Ireland & Scotland 15%
  • Norway 5%

In addition Ancestry identified a focus of my English ancestry on the south cost of England (see following map).

Ancestry Map showing my Ethnicity by Region

Given that my Newell ancestors almost certainly had their origin, however distant, in either the UK, Ireland or mainland Europe, I set out to map distant (5th cousin +) Ancestry DNA matches to people with the Newell name and variants of this name in their tree. For each DNA match I mapped the location associated with their most distant Newell ancestor in the ‘Old World’. I only mapped data for cases where the location of the ancestor was know to the town or county level. There is a high probability that any individual might lose some of these distant connections but, thanks to my sister Shirley and two 3rd cousins that share a common Newell Ancestry giving me access to their match data, I was able to adjust for this by plotting matches for four decendants of John Newell and Patience Porter. Having data for the two 3rd cousins also reduces the effect of matches that might be linked to my more recent non Newell ancestors.

The following map shows the location (Old World only) of the earliest Newell ancestor [of the match] for cases where there was a match to myself, my sister or one of the 3rd cousins.

Newell DNA Matches

Perhaps the most striking aspect of this map is the low number of matches (34 including two Newalls, two Newills and one Newhall). The matches tend to have a strong cluster around London (including Buckinghamshire, Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire) and smaller clusters in: Lancashire; southwest Scotland; the midlands of England and Dorset. The Newell name had no matches in mainland Europe. Several of the early Newell and Newhall families of Massachusetts trace their roots back to Buckinghamshire. The cluster around London might reflect:

  • an original source region,
  • migration to England during and immediately following the Norman Conquest (1066+),
  • later (post 1400) immigrants from Europe gravitating to London (see Immigrants),
  • migration from other parts of the UK (e.g. Scotland, the North of England, Ireland or the Southwest) to London.

Based on analysis of my Y-DNA results (haplogroup and STR), which better reflect early (pre 1500) origins, it is unlikely that the London represents the original source region.

The previous discussion is based on the assumption that Newell (or Newall) was the original family name; however, another theory, explored below, is that the the original family name was not Newell but a similar name that morphed into Newell. The following sections explore this theory by mapping DNA matches to similar names.

The first name mapped was Noel which was the name recorded in the earliest family records (pre 1800). This name had 14 matches in the UK and Europe including one Noell. One Noel (in Surrey) was a double match with Newell in a case where both names were linked to the same family. The Noels were clustered in the Channel Islands, along the eastern border of France, the Netherlands and south England.

Distant DNA Matches linked to Noel Name

The Noel name was the only name with matches to the Channel Islands. It should be noted that I did not include matches that traced their Channel Island roots through Clement Noel of Harbour Grace, Newfoundland. The Noel matches in eastern France fall within the Alsace Lorraine region (see map below) that borders Germany and some parts of which were historically part of Germany. The Protestant populations of eastern France, in AlsaceMoselle, and Montbéliard were mainly ethnic German Lutherans.


The next name mapped was Neville (see map below). This name might seem to be totally unrelated unless you understand that in Ireland the names Newell and Nevill are frequently interchangeable. The reason being that the letters V and W did not occur in the Gaelic alphabet. In my research on the Newells of Ireland I frequently found the same person referenced as Newell by English sources and Nevell by Irish sources. As expected matches to this name was found in Ireland but also in the north and midlands of England (an areas settled by Irish immigrants).

Distant DNA matches linked to Neville

The last of the four main name mapped was Knowles. This name is clustered in Lancashire with a few matches in south England. The distribution of the Knowles matches (from Ancestry DNA) is a better fit to the Y-DNA STR matches. There is more discussion of this name in subsequent sections.

Distant DNA Matches to Knowles

The preeceding discussion has focused on the four names (Newell, Noel, Neville and Knowles) identified in the earlier analysis of my DNA matches. What is clear from this more indepth analysis of DNA matches, for four individuals with Newell ancestors from ‘the Dock’, is that a case could be made for any of these being the original name for the “Dock Newells”. One possible interpretation is that one of these or possibly a completely different name was the source and the others arose from this core. Given the family history of the Old World matches it is almost certain that this divergence occured prior to 1500 since family names started to become standardized around this time. I am not argueing that all Newells, Noels, Nevilles and Knowles are related but that my ancestors adopted these different spellings of their name, perhaps to fit with the name most common in the area where they lived.

We might get some sense of how this could have evolved by examining how the names might have evolved. The following Diagram list some of the names I investigated in my research. The four names examined earlier are in the upper section of the diagram. The lower section list some related names that might be candidates for a root name.

Evolution of Names

The first new set of names I examined were some that are similar to Noel (see Noel + map below). These include: Nowell (8), Noll (11), Nolle (1) and Noall (5). The following map plots these along with the Noel data. The new data added Nowell matches in the north of England (Derbyshire) and Wiltshire; it also added a significant number of Noll matches in Germany and Noall matches in Cornwall. Noll is a German name with one possible source for Noll being from Middle High German nol ‘hillock’, ‘knoll’. The Noll matches in Germany appear to be geographically related to the Noel matches in eastern France, possibly reflecting different versions of the same name. Within France, the Noll name is most common in the Alsace Lorraine region bordering Germany.

Distant DNA Matches to Noel Plus

Since, as indicated above, the German name Noll may be related to Knoll (hill) I searched for DNA matches with the Knoll name (see map below). This produced 8 cases with all of these in Germany. The highest frequency is in the State of Baden-Württemberg (home of the Black Forest) which was also the case for Noll.

Distant DNA Matches to Knoll

I did not find any Knoll matches in the UK; however, there were five matches to Knel in southern England and one to Knill in Cornwall that may be related (knoll Middle English variant of knell ).

To this point we have built a case that there is a large cluster of “Dock Newell” DNA matches along the course of the Rhine River between Amsterdam and the Black Forest. On the French side these are associated with the Noel name while on the German side they are associated with Noll and Knoll.

One other group of names names possibly associated with a hill in early English records include the names Cnoll, Canol, Cnolle, Canoll. In Middle English knolle is a ‘hilltop’, ‘hillock’ and in Middle High German knol is a hill or ‘peak’; however, in Old English is the word for hill is cnoll (Old  English  cnoll  “hilltop,  small hill,  clod, ball,”  related to  Old Norse knollr “hilltop;”  German knolle  “clod, lump;” Dutch knol  “turnip,” nol “a hill.” ).

Cnoll, Cnolle, Canol and Canoll occurs as names in early Norman records for different areas of England. Note: The sound of the French letter “C will change depending on if it is followed by a hard or a soft vowel: soft pronunciation – In front of an ‘E,’ ‘I,’ or ‘Y,’ the ‘C’ is pronounced like an ‘S’ ; hard pronunciation – In front of an ‘A,’ ‘O,’ ‘U,’ or a consonant, ‘C’ is pronounced like a ‘K’ . Thus cnoll (old English for hill) when used as a name would be pronounce like Knoll.

The English publication The Parliament Writs list a number of references to individuals with the Cnolle name in the 1300s (see below):

The Oxford Dictionary of Family Names in Britain and Ireland list Cnolle as an early version of Knowles. Sir Robert Knowles a noted English mercenary fighting in Brittany and France in the 1300s was referred to as Sir Robert Canolles or Canole by French writers. A family Web Site for the Knell / Knill family names ( ) has several comments sections (1 &3) that demonstrate that Cnoll, Cnolle were linked to the Knell families in England and that in the immediate centuries following the invasion these names were used interchangeably with Knell, Knill, Knolles, Knowles. By the fifteenth century in England the names Cnoll, Cnolle, Canol and Canoll were superseded by Knoll, Knolle, Knowles, etc.. In France there are historical records of the name dating from the 1600 mainly in the Charente-Maritime region (Rochelle) but virtually no modern references (see ). Many of the historical French records link to individuals that subsequently emigrated to the French colony of Acadia (now Nova Scotia).

There were DNA match to the Canol name, with all four “Dock Newells” investigated having matches and all but one having multiple matches. However, all of these matches had the same individual in their tree.

Marie Anne De Canol, BIRTH 1651 • St Martin De Re, La Rochelle, Charente Maritime, France DEATH 1693 • Pisquid, Minas Basin, Acadia, Canada.

All the links to Canol were linked to Marie Anne and her husband Jean Doiron; however, there were even more links to the Doiron name; perhaps linked to the 7 children they had in Port Royal, Acadia (now Nova Scotia). one of these children was Noel Doiron (c 1684 – 1758) who was referred to as the “father” to all the Acadians on Ile St. Jean (present-day PEI ) and was the namesake of the village Noel, Nova Scotia  (see ).

The preceding discussion has examined DNA matches between a group of “Dock Newells” and individuals with roots in Europe and the UK that have names in their tree that are generally recognized as having possible links to Newell or Noel. In the course of this research I identified several other names which had DNA links that are only tangentially related to Newell or Noel but where there are other factors that potentially link them. The left side of the following diagram list some of the other names I examined.

Other Names Investigated

The most interesting name on this list is Yule which Ancestry describes as:

A Scottish and English: nickname for someone who was born on Christmas Day or had some other connection with this time of year, from Middle English yule ‘Christmastide’ (Old English geol, reinforced by the cognate Old Norse term jól). This was originally the name of a pagan midwinter festival, which was later appropriated by the Christian Church for celebration of the birth of Christ.

Within the UK the name Yule is most common in Scotland. This Scottish bias likely occurs since prior to the Scottish Reformation of 1560, Christmas in Scotland was known as Yule .  This is likely a result of the Scandinavian influences in northern Scotland. From the 8th to the 15th centuries  Norse settlers, mainly Norwegians and to a lesser extent other  Scandinavians, colonized parts of what is now Scotland.  This origin of the name Yule is relevant since the name Noel is derived from the Old French Nouel, from noel, nouel (natal, Christmas), which is from the Latin natalīs diēs (birthday of the Lord e.g. Christmas).  My earlier speculation that the original family name for my family may have changed to similar sounding local names when my ancestors moved into new regions can be applied in a somewhat different way in this case. Rather than adopting a similar sounding name a transition from Noel to Yule might represent a case of adopting a name with the same meaning. Like most names there appears to be some variation in the spelling of the Yule name which is reflected in the DNA matches. Some of the variations with DNA matches include Yuill, Youell and Youle. The following map plots the distribution of the matches to these names. There were 23 matches including 2 matches in England with the Youell spelling and one Yuill in Ireland. Apart from these and several matches in northern Scotland the bulk of the matches are clustered around Edinburgh and Glasgow.

Comparing this map with earlier maps for other names such as Knowles demonstrates that with the exception of several Newell & Newall matches around Kirkcudbright, Scotland (see my research on the Newalls of Scotland) there were no other matches to the other names north of Lancashire. The gap between the Yule matches which are clustered around Edinburgh and Glasgow and Lancashire can be partially explained by the low population density in the Lake District and the Scottish Border.

Distant DNA Matches to Yule, Yuill, Youell and Youle.

Research on the Yule name in Scotland (also recorded as Youle, Youll, Yoell, Youell, Youhill, Yuill, Yuille, Zuill and Zowlle) demonstrates that in 1374 a John Yule was recorded in Haddington and in 1391 another John Yule was a chaplin in Aberdeen. By the mid 15th century the Yules were established in Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Haddington (see: link for a detailed history of the Yule family of Haddington. In 1503 Sir Robert Yule was a Taxman in the Orkneys, and Inza Yule held lands in Firth in the Orkneys. In 1610 a “Patrik” Yule was skipper of the ship “Unicorne of Leyth” bound for “Orknay”. In 1676 the Yules emerged with two senior houses, the Yules of Darleith House, Cardross (NW of Glasgow) , and the Yules of Leyhouses (formerly in Haddington now in East Lothian). A more detailed view of the Yule matches in Scotland (see below) demonstrates that there are clusters near Edinburgh and Glasgow. The Yule spelling occurs more frequently in the Edinburgh cluster and the Yuill spelling in the Glasgow cluster.

By the 18th century the Yuille family of Darleith were tobacco merchants in Scotland and Virginia. Before 1774, when dredging of the River Clyde allowed ships to take merchandise directly to Glasgow, tobacco and other goods were offloaded downstream at Greenock or Port Glasgow. Interestingly both of these towns had strong connections to Newfoundland:

Merchant firms at both ports had been regularly trading with Newfoundland and Labrador since the 1770s, when the American Revolution severed their trade ties with the American colonies. Between 1781 and 1791, approximately 74 vessels left Greenock for the island of Newfoundland to trade provisions and gear for saltfish or other goods.

Earlier I had suggested a possible link between the Yuel and Noel names. In this regard it is interesting to note that c 1109 a Ralph (or Radulf or Roger) Nowell or Novell or Nouell or Nuel was consecrated Bishop of Orkney. This Ralph was reportedly a priest in York before he was consecrated by the Archbishop of York. Unfortunately for Ralph his tenure was short since the Norwegians who had control of Orkney had appointed their own bishop; however, Ralph still acted in that capacity from York. Ralph is reported to have had several children, several of which entered the Church.

The final family names that I investigate were Jewell and Juel. These names are only very loosely connected to Newell/Noel. Jewell is similar to Newell (see Ancestry) and Juel is similar to Yule. The following is some background on the possible origins of these names:

Jewell is an English surname of French Breton or Celtic Cornish origin.  The root is the Old Breton Iudicael or the Celtic Judand hael, composed of elements meaning “lord” and “generous” or “bountiful.”  The name was borne by a 7th century saint, a king of Brittany who abdicated and then spent the last part of his life in a monastery.  As Jule, Jewel, Jewell, or even Jekyll, it was a name found mainly in Devon and Cornwall.   Judhael de Totnes from Brittany, a prominent supporter of William the Conqueror, was granted a large landholding in Devon after the invasion.  He may have been the origin of many of the Jewell names in that county

Juhl is a surname originating in Denmark.  In Danish, “Juhl” is pronounced ‘yool’ or ‘yooh’. In American-English, “Juhl” is pronounced the same as the English word ‘jewel‘ or Jool.

I had investigated the Jewell name in the past since there was a Philip Jewell and a James Jewell (somewhat similar to my Philip and James) living in Lanivet, Cornwall in the late 1700s (see ).

When I plotted Jewell and Juel matches for myself, my sister and the two cousins (see map below) I found a strong cluster of Jewells in Cornwall and NW Devon; a scattering of matches in southern England (includes one each of Elwell, Kewell, Joel and Judkins); and three matches in northern Germany (two in the Holstein region bordering Denmark).

Jewell and Juel DNA Matches

The Jewell matches in NW Devon are interesting since there were Newells from this area (Barnstaple, Devon) that were involved in the Newfoundland fishery in the 18th century but I found no Newell DNA matches from this area.

The one final map (below) is a summary of the DNA matches for all the names investigated:

This map indicates that the “Dock Newells” have numerous distant DNA links to people with Newell, Noel, etc. names in the UK. In addition, there are a scattering of matches to Ireland which likely represents out migration from Scotland and England, a cluster near the Black Forest in Germany and scattered matches along Rhine and along the Atlantic coast of France. It is not unreasonable to speculate that there is an apparent “dead zone” in central France that may be a result of the French wars of religion.

The Scottish Mystery

Prior to starting this recent research, if asked about Scottish connections, I would have said that to the best of my knowledge I had no Scottish ancestors. The matches to Yule, described earlier, can be explained by the Scottish Yules representing an early (pre 1400) offshoot of Noels from North England who adopted a different spelling of their name or a pre 1800 connection through marriage. However, other data point to a deeper connection with Scotland.

The results of my Y-DNA test indicated that I am connected to a Y-DNA Haplogroup that has a cluster of modern matches in the Argyll and Bute region of Scotland and Y-DNA STR data, if adjusted for population, suggest that I have similar numbers of matches in England and Scotland. To investigate this further I started comparing my total number of Distant DNA matches (regardless of name) in selected areas of England and Scotland. In England, I compared areas that have connections to a significant number of my non Newell ancestors (e.g. Devon and Dorset) and areas in the North of England (e.g. Lancashire) that are connected to the Nowell and Knowles names. In Scotland, I examined areas with connections to Yule and Y-DNA data. Not surprisingly, at the county level Devon, Dorset and Somerset had the highest number of matches followed by Lancashire. However, England has 10X the population of Scotland. When adjusted for population Dorset had the highest density in England but in Scotland the density of matches was even higher in Argyll (NW of Glasgow) and Midlothian (historical county south of Edinburgh). At the town/ village level when adjusted for population the towns of Lyme Regis in Dorset, Uplyme, Bidford, Brixham, Newton Abbott and Barnstaple in Devon had the highest density in England. However, in Scotland a number of towns had a higher density of matches; these towns include: Rothesay, Bute; Earlston, Berwickshire; Kirkcudbright; Dumfries; Bonhill, Dumbarton and Cardross, Renfrewshire. The latter two towns are within a few miles of Darleith House which is connected to the Yule family; Earlston is approximately 25 miles south of Haddington (Yule); Rothesay is near the center of the Haplogroup matches identified in the Y-DNA section; and Kirkcudbright is the centre of the Newell DNA matches in Scotland.

In the Y-DNA Section I speculated that the cluster of Y-DNA Haplogroup matches might be linked to descendants of Alan FitzFlaad, a Breton who came over to Great Britain not long after the Norman conquest. Alan had been the hereditary steward of the Bishop of Dol in the Duchy of Brittany; Alan had a good relationship with the ruling  Norman monarch Henry I of England who awarded him with lands in Shropshire. The FitzAlan family quickly established themselves as a prominent Anglo-Norman noble house, with some of its members serving as High Sheriff of Shropshire. It was the great-grandson of Alan named Walter FitzAlan who became the first hereditary High Steward of Scotland, [founder of the Scottish Stewarts/Stuarts] while his brother William’s family went on to become Earls of Arundel see This family has been linked to the Allen/Allan and Stewart/Stuart names in Scotland.

A branch of the Stewart family became established in the area of Argyll and Bute (see map below) by the 15th century. James Stewart was sheriff of Bute between 1445 and 1449. He was succeeded by his son, William, who was also keeper of Brodick Castle on Arran. In 1627 Sir James Stuart of Bute was created 1st Stuart Baronet, of Bute in the Baronetage of Nova Scotia by Charles I of England .

Argyll and Bute

Based on this theory first developed from the Y-DNA research I investigated my DNA links to the Stewart and Allen/Allan names. The number of matches to these names were higher than any of the Newfoundland names in my tree. The high number matches to Stewart is likely partially a result of the popularity of the name in Scotland (7th most common) plus the genealogical interest in this name. By comparison, Yule/ Yuill only had 7% of the matches that Stewart had; however, Yule is not a well know Scottish name (ranks number 626 in list of Scottish names). Other common (top 12) Scottish names with high number of matches include: Campbell (who were Earls of Argyll), MacDonald / McDonald and Scott. Distant DNA links to popular Scottish names such as these only suggest that my distant ancestors likely had some connection with Scotland, either directly or through marriage.

Researching the history of the Yule family I identified several families that had close connections with the Yule family. These include:

  • Buchanan (Yules, Yuill, Yool and Zuill are listed as Septs of Clan Buchanan),
  • Shaw (link through Shaw Stewart Baronetcy, of Greenock), and
  • Crawford (links through Greenock, Darleith House and Virginia)

A search of my DNA matches for each of these names (none of which is in Top 50 Scottish names) and Scotland produced the following distant matches : Buchanan (39), Shaw (55) and Crawford (53). Matches for my sister and the two Newell cousins noted earlier produced similar results (see below).

Ranking and # / 100K from

When comparing the statistics presented above with the map of Yule matches it should be noted that the Yule map only includes cases where there is a direct link between the one of the Yule names and a specific location in Scotland while the Table above includes any results from an Ancestry search of DNA matches that has the name plus Scotland in the location. I have added a new metric (Matches / 100K) to the chart to try and adjust for the differences in the frequency of different names in Scotland (note: the population of Scotland in 1841 was 2,620,841). Based on this Yule / Yuill has the highest frequency, followed by Shaw then Crawford then Buchanan and finally Stewart. All of these families have connections to the area west and north of Glasgow (e.g. Bute, Greenock, Bonhill, Cardross, Drymen). It should be noted that the statistics in the table above includes all Stewarts spread through Scotland not just those of Bute referenced earlier.

There are several interesting sideline regarding the Shaw connection. The Shaws of Greenock are connected to the Shaws of Sauchie. The lands of Sauchie (NW of Edinburgh) were granted by King Robert the Bruce to Henri de Annand, Sheriff of Clackmannan, in 1321 and  in 1431 Sir James Schaw of Greenock, Comptroller to the King, acquired the lands of Sauchie when he married the heiress Mary de Annand.  This branch of the Scottish Shaws are considered Lowland Shaws and likely have separate origins from the Highland Shaws.

The male line of the Shaws of Greenock died out after the death of Sir John Shaw of Greenock, 3rd and last Baronet and the family titles and lands transferred to the Stewart (later Shaw-Stewart Baronetcy) of Greenock and Blackhall. The 4th Stewart Baronet married Margaret, daughter of Sir John Shaw, of Greenock, 2nd Shaw Baronet of Greenock. The fourth Stewart Baronet succeeded to the Greenock estates on the death of his great-uncle Sir John Shaw of Greenock, 3rd and last Baronet in 1752 and assumed the additional surname of Shaw.

The Stewarts of Blackhall are descended from Sir Archibald Stewart, the first Baronet of Blackhall who was made a Baronet of Nova Scotia in 1667, and his wife Anne Crawford. This Stewart family is descended in the direct male line from Sir John Stewart, illegitimate son of Robert III of Scotland (see Burke).

The family crest of the Shaws of Sauchie incorporated 3 covered cups on a shield (see below). The Arms of the town of Greenock also incorporates three covered cups from the arms of Shaw of Greenock. .

Early version of Shaw Crest from Sauchie Tower
Arms Shaw of Greenock as incorporated into Arms of Shaw Stewart.

This element, three covered cups, in the Shaw Arms also occurs in the Arms of some branches of the Butler family but with a red shield. The Butlers are a Anglo-Norman family that originated from Theobald Walter (sometimes Theobald FitzWalter, Theobald Butler, or Theobald Walter le Boteler), the first Chief Butler of Ireland. He also held the office of Chief Butler of England and was the High Sheriff of Lancashire for 1194 (see also Botiller or Butler, barons of Warrington, Lancashire).  He was the grandson of one Hervey Walter who, in the time of Henry I., held Witheton or Weeton in Amounderness, Lancaste; the manor of Newton in Suffolk; and certain lands in Norfolk.  Walter is a Germanic personal name composed of the elements  ald,  meaning  rule  and  heri, meaning army.

The Argentine family also has three cups covered in their Arms. Starting in 1193 Reginald de Argentine was Sheriff of Cambridge, Huntington and later Essex and Hertford. By the 13th century this family was established at Great Wymondley  in Hertfordshire. It is likely that this family had French origins; possibly the Arrondissement of Argentan, in Normandy or Argentine, a commune in the Savoie department in south-eastern France. This family also had early (c 1317) connections through marriage with the Boteler / Butler family. There is evidence that this family were cup bearers to the King as early as Henry I which may account for their Arms. A review of a recent book on this family describes them as:

This forgotten family of crusaders, jousters, warriors, matriarchs, and rebels, were influential in some key historical events, both locally and nationally. Examples include the signing of the Magna Carta, the Battle of Bannockburn, the death of Edward II, the Hundred Years War including the Battle of Agincourt, and the murder of the Princes in the Tower. Unfortunately they also had the knack of frequently backing the wrong horse politically, and feuding amongst themselves, which led to the family never quite making it into the upper reaches of the medieval nobility and ultimately fading into obscurity.

In terms of this research the most interesting connection is that this element (three covered cups) also occurs in the Arms of several branches of the Nowell family (see early example below).

Arms Peter NOWELL  1694  St Mary’s Church, Sandwich

Burke’s  General Armory of England indicates that “three covered cups” are incorporated into the Arms of Nowells from: Kent, Lancaster, Sussex and Middlesex. The Nowells of Read, Lancashire is one of the families incorporating “three covered cups” in their Arms (see Visitation of Lancashire 1613). William Nowell of this family moved to Battle, Sussex from Lancashire in 1500s. John Woolton (or Wolton) (1535?–1594) who served as Bishop of Exeter in Devon used the Nowell crest of three cups. His mother  Isabella Nowell, a daughter of John Nowell of Read Hall near Whalley, and sister of Alexander Nowell (c. 1517 – 13 February 1602), Protestant theologian and Dean of St Paul’s.

Three covered cups also occurs in the Arms of the Newalls of Townhouse (see: The History of the Parish of Rochdale in the County of Lancaster). Townhouse is situated near Littleborough, Manchester (prior to 1974 this area was part of Lancashire). Robert Newall, the earliest documented Newall of Lower Town House was born c 1599 and was buried in January 1681-2.

Apart from suggesting a possible connection between the Shaws of Sauchie and some Nowells and Newalls of Lancashire there is one other interesting connection to “three cups”. In researching this topic I searched for early European Arms containing three cups. I only found one example and that was the Lords of Staufen who had three cups on their family crest. Staufen im Breisgau is a German town in the Breisgau-Hochschwarzwald district of Baden-Württemberg, Germany. Staufen is situated on the southeastern edge of the Black Forest (see Map below).  Staufen Castle was built to protect the rich silver mines in the Muenster Valley. These mines were the main source of income for the Lords of Staufen. The castle was built or at least acquired by Duke Frederick I of Swabia in the latter half of the 11th century. The Staufen Burg was occupied by the Staufen family up till the start of the 16th Century when the last in the Staufen line died ( see  French and Swedish (Catholic) troops occupied the city during 1600s and oppressed the protestant population.  The name “Staufen” itself derives from Stauf meaning “chalice”. This term was commonly applied to conical hills in Swabia in the Middle Ages (see also  Hohenstaufen ). Both Richard of Cornwall (2nd son of King John of England and King of Germany from 1257).  and Alfonso X of Castile have links to the Staufen Dynasty.  

Staufen (Black forest in Green)
Staufen family Arms (lower left), Stars added to Arms for town of Staufen
Staufen Castle

Possible North American Links

The preceding discussion of distant DNA links suggest that I and other relatives with links to the “Dock Newells” have links to individuals with the Newell, Noel and other related names in the UK and Europe. However, these links appear to be very distant connections with no established direct genealogical connections to the Newells or Noels of Newfoundland. This raises the possibility that Philip Newell’s ancestors did not arrive in Newfoundland from the Old World but may have first emigrated to another area in North America and subsequently found their way to Newfoundland.

My first step in investigating these North American connections was to generate counts of Ancestry DNA matches for selected names and locations (see below). The North American locations searched were Virginia, Massachusetts, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland. These locations and names were selected based on earlier analysis.

Ewell 8400

If we focus on my non Newfoundland, North American matches then Newell and Knowles were tied for the highest number. Drilling down further both Noel and Neville had the majority of their non Newfoundland matches in Virginia while Newell and Knowles had peaks in Massachusetts.


As stated above, there were a number of my Noel and Neville matches that traced their earliest known ancestor back to Colonial Virginia. The following embedded Google Map (click on symbols for more info) provides information on some of these matches. The symbols on the map are color coded as follows:

  • Red = DNA Matches (click for more info
  • Yellow = Y-DNA S1051 Haplogroup matches

View Original:

The Ancestry DNA matches include the following names:

  • Noel (8 matches) earliest 1655
  • Neville (8 matches) earliest 1662
  • Yowell (4 matches) earliest 1730
  • Youell / Ewell (6 matches) earliest 1644
  • Jewell (2 matches) earliest 1745
  • Knowles (2 matches) earliest 1641
  • Newell (2 matches) earliest 1735

The earliest Noel match in Virginia is for Cornelius Noell  who married  Elizabeth Pagen, in 1655 at Occupacia, Essex County, Virginia. Many of the later Noel matches likely represent his descendants. There is a considerable body of research on Cornelius supported by early documents from Virginia (see below).

Cornelius Noel petition for citizenship in this country.” James City, Virginia
Journal of the Grand Assembly, November 8, 1666, page 42.
“Whereas Cornelius Noel hath long lived in this Country, servant and Freeman and of the Reformed Religion and hath taken Land with a full resolution to make his constant abode in this Country and to demean himself as a true and faithful servant towards his Majesty and his Leige people, hath petitioned he might be admitted a Denizen of this Country.
“It is by the Governor Council and Burgesses of this Grand Assembly Granted and Ordered that the said Cornelius Noel be made a free Denizen.
:”Essex Deed and Will Book 10,” 1699-1702, page 56, April 27, 1686. Naturalization granted Cornelius Noell, born in Holland.
Old Rappannock Record Will and Deed Book 9,” 1696-99, page 337. Will of Cornelius Noell dated Jan. 10, 1698-9, proved June 20, 1699, wife Elizabeth to son James, land called “New Holland”; dau. Eliz. Noell (who is under age) son Daniel Noell; dau. Mary Clutson, Dau. Margaret Connellie, sons Cornelius and James Noell (who are both under age.)

There are two other interesting references to Noel in the Virginia records:

  • Record Deed Book 3, 1663-68, page 342, Feb. 16, 1666-67. Cornelius Noel, Wm. Coffin, Henry Jearman (later Jarman) and John Powell, devide land they had patented Sep. 25, 1665.
  • Noel a Mariner came from England to Tappa- hannock, Essex County, Virginia, after 1660 with a party of Huguenots, among whom were some of his own family.

The first reference links Cornelius to the Coffin name which is discussed in a later section on New England while the second reference (not directly linked to Cornelius) either suggest that Cornelius was a mariner or that there was a second Noel family.

Based on his name, age and place of birth some researchers have identified Cornelius Noel as the son of Jacob Nouwelsz Noel  born 08 Nov 1623 in Zuid, Leiden, Holland, Netherlands . Other researchers have identified his father, Jacob (Nouwelsz) Noel,  as the son of Peiter Passchier Nowe  born Abt. 1599 in Sedan Andennes. France-Belgium, and died Abt. 1683 in Leiden, Holland (see for example ) .

My sister and two Newell 3rd cousins all have matches tracing back to the Noels of Virginia. It is also significant that Peter Noel from the Harbour Grace Noels (likely a distant Y-DNA relative) reports that he had a match in Family Finder (FamilytreeDNA version of Ancestry autosomal DNA test) that ties back to Cornelius Noel of Holland c. 1623.

Another set of early matches from Virginia link to the Youell / Ewell family name (note: genealogical researchers have linked the Youell and Ewell names in Virginia). The earliest reference in the matches is for Capt. Thomas Youell, born 1644 at Dividing Creek, Northumberland, Virginia, died 1695, Westmoreland, Virginia. I had earlier linked Youell to Yule in Scotland. Some researchers have linked Ewell to Noel in Virginia and others have linked Youell to Yowell. To make matters even more confusing Elwell (note spelling) is an English name linked to Virginia. The Elwell name has even been linked to Jewell and there are even later 18th century DNA links to the Jewell name in Virginia.

The earliest Neville links in Virginia are a cluster of matches that link to John Neville, born 1662 in Northampton, Virginia who married Elizabeth Bohannon in 1685 at Isle of Wight, Isle of Wight, Virginia.

I have two Newell matches for Virginia; however, one also has a link to the Newells of Dudley MA (see later sections on New England). There is some evidence that some Newells from Colonial Virginia moved to North Carolina. I get two Newell matches from North Carolina (both with links to Virginia). My sister and two Newell third cousins get even more matches to both Virginia and North Carolina (one is shared by me, my sister and one cousin). In my paper on My Y-DNA Results I point out that, other than known relatives, I don’t get any close Y-DNA STR matches. One of the closest (still a significant difference of 3 on first 12 markers) is a James T. Newell who traces his roots back to a James Newell b c1795 in North Carolina ( I am still researching this link).

I also have numerous Haplogroup S1051 Y-DNA matches with connections to Virinia and the Carolinas. In my analysis of my Y-DNA results I identified a distant DNA link (common S1051 Haplogroup) to individuals from the Argyll region of Scotland. Some of these may be linked to the Scottish Argyll Colony in North Carolina (see my links to the Argyll region of Scotland in my Y-DNA Results report and info below):

The Argyll Colony was the first colony of Highland Scots to settle in the Upper Cape Fear. Settled in 1739, the colony was named for the shire in western Scotland from which its members came. They were the vanguard of what began as a trickle and grew into a flood of Highland immigrants to Bladen County (later divided into CumberlandMooreRobesonHarnett, and Hoke Counties). By the 1770s Highland Scots comprised one-third of the population of that region, earning for it the sobriquet “Valley of the Scots.”

At the outbreak of the war [American War of Independence], more than a few Highland Scots in the Upper Cape Fear were Loyalists….  After the Revolution, some left for Barbados, Nova Scotia, or Great Britain, because they had lost their property by either being confiscated or emerced by the local government (Source: North Carolina History Project).

Before leaving the discussion of Virginia there is one other result from the analysis of my DNA that is noteworthy. When sorting through the distant DNA matches, especially those from the southeastern United States (Virginia, Carolinas) I noted some matches that had mixed European and African ethnicity (none with the family names investigated). After digging further I found even more which I suspect may be descendants of some of the matches from Virginia investigated earlier. Slavery was a fact of life in Virginia for over 200 years and many if not most landowners likely owned slaves. Children born from male European slave holders and their female slaves will pass on European DNA to their children but likely not (in southern US) their owners name.

New England

Ancestry, as part of its Ethnicity Estimates, identifies areas where your ancestors may have lived. In my case Ancestry identified a link with early New England settlers (see Map below) and more specifically with a subgroup called Nova Scotia & Massachusetts Coast Settlers.

Ancestry describes the relationship as follows: You, and all the members of this community, are linked through shared ancestors. You probably have family who lived in this area for years—and maybe still do.

I have matches to individuals with Newell / Knowles ancestors from throughout New England (e.g. Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Vermont and Maine). Newell/Newhall and Knowles have the largest number of non Newfoundland matches in New England and in both cases the largest group is from Massachusetts. Within New England there is some variation (e.g. only Knowles in Rhode Island and only Newell in Vermont) but overall the pattern is similar for both names. Within Massachusetts the Knowles name is most common in the Cape Cod area while Newell but not Knowles is found in nearby Nantucket. Both names are found in matches from Boston and the neighboring towns of Lynn and Salem. The Newhall name has the highest frequency in Lynn, Essex, Massachusetts (10 miles NE of Boston). Elwell also has a significant number of matches especially in Gloucester, Essex, Massachusetts (NE of Boston) and Taunton, Bristol, Massachusetts. There is also a cluster of matches to the Jewell name from Braintree, Norfolk, Massachusetts  (12 miles south of Boston).

The following map shows Cites/Towns in Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode island with Newell and Newhall matches to myself, my sister and/or my two cousins. Newell matches are in in blue and Newhall matches in red. Many locations have multiple matches across the four individuals and locations with an exceptionally large number of matches are indicated by a Star symbol.

The matches with the the Newell name cluster around Boston including a large cluster of matches for Henry Newell (AKA Newhall) of Boston who moved to Nova Scotia in the 1760s (more on this person in Nova Scotia Section later in this Document). There is also a cluster of Newhall matches in the vicinity of Boston including 5 matches for various Newhalls from Lynn (10 miles NE of Boston). It is possible that the Newell and Newhall matches (not necessarily the families) are connected since Henry Newell from Boston was sometimes referenced as Newhall. There are also a number of Newell matches from Connecticut but it appears that many of these originally came from Massachusetts (likely Ipswich).

All three of these Dock Newell relatives also have the same general pattern of matches for Newell and Newhall of Massachusetts including the matches to Henry Newell and the Newhall of Lynn. It is also significant that Peter Noel (see earlier discussion of Virginia) also had Family Finder (FamilytreeDNA version of Ancestry autosomal DNA test) matches to a Newhall from Boston c. 1674.

A number of Newells from ‘The Dock’, moved to Massachusetts in the mid to late 1800s; however, these Newells would be 2nd, 3rd or possibly 4th cousins not 5th +. In addition, none of the Massachusetts Newells referenced above have any connections to Newfoundland in their trees.

Earlier when discussing DNA matches by town in England, I indicated that at the town/ village level when adjusted for population the towns of Lyme Regis in Dorset, Uplyme, Bidford, Brixham, Newton Abbott and Barnstaple in Devon had the highest density [of non name specific DNA matches] in England. Lyme Regis, Dorset and Uplyme (only 2 km away but in Devon) were the home of a Newel family that I had researched in the past. The publication The History and Antiquities of the Borough of Lyme Regis and Charmouth by George Roberts published in 1834 provides the following summary of the Newell family in Lyme Regis:

This family attracted my attention since:

  • they were noted mariners with connections to the Channel Islands,
  • they had connections to Bristol (see my research on John Newall),
  • they had connections to Massachusetts, and
  • the town of Lyme Regis had connections to the early settlement of Virginia.

There was only one Newell DNA match for Lyme Regis; however, this match was common for myself, my sister and one of my Newell cousins. The Newell Ancestor referenced in this match was Elizabeth Newell (born Lyme Regis 1676) daughter of Nicholas Newall who married Joseph Winter of Uplyme. Interestingly, George Winter a grandson of this couple was born in St. John’s, Newfoundland.

Given the connections between Newfoundland and Devon and Dorset there is a the possibility that a connection like this could come from a non Newell connection (other Ancestors). In my case there is a possible connection between my Norman ancestors and this match which may account for part of the match. My match was 15 cM across 2 segments while the match to my Newell cousin was 7 cM across 1 segment. There were two other Newell matches linked to Dorset, one from Pimperne (40 miles east of Lyme Regis) and one for Dorset (no specific location). The latter is interesting since it is connected to the Abbott family of Bonavesta / Trinity, Newfoundland.

My research on the Newells of Lyme Regis and Uplyme suggest that the Newell/Newall family of Lyme Regis may have started to move to other areas in the 17th century. All the Newells did not leave Lyme Regis during this period but by the 1700s many members of the family were living in the neighboring towns of Uplyme (in Devon) and Charmouth. In The History of Lyme-Regis by George Roberts published in 1823 the author states that the Newell name was “extinct” [in terms of Lyme Regis by 1823]. If the family left the area by this date then I would not expect to get post 1800 Newell DNA matches to Lyme regis.

As part of my research on the Newell / Newall family of Lyme Regis I prepared an Ancestry family tree for Andrew Newell / Newall (c 1593 – 1663). This tree traces Andrew from his roots in Lyme Regis to his marriage to Mary Pitt, from Bristol, to the birth of their children in Charlestown, Suffolk, Massachusetts (Charlestown is immediately north of Boston and was annexed to Boston in 1873). Charlestown is at the center of the Newell/ Newhall matches for Massachusetts.

The earliest Newell /Newall in this tree is Alice who left a Will dated 1593:

Will Alice Newall; 4 Nov. 1593, proved 20 Dec, 1593 ; to be buried in the church of Uplyme, Co. Devon; to the “poore” of Lyme Regis ….son Joseph, daughter Winefred, the child now in my wombe, sons William, John and Nicholas.

I have tentatively identified Alice as the great grandmother of Andrew Newell of Charlestown and her son William (referenced in her Will) as Andrew’s grandfather. This William, a merchant, wrote the following Will in 1610 before departing on a long voyage [Note Uplyme in Devon is just 2 km NW of Lyme Regis]:

I have tentatively identified this William’s son John (see Will above) as the father of Andrew.

One of Andrew Newell’s great grandchildren (see tree), Captain Andrew Newell, may be key to understanding some DNA connections to Nantucket and Nova Scotia. Captain Andrew Newell was born in Charlestown, Suffolk, Massachusetts in 1702 and in married Eunice Coffin at Nantucket in 1726. Andrew. At least two of their children were born in Nantucket but eventually they relocated to Sherborne (west of Boston).

Source: Discourses and Poems of William Newell 1882.

I did not get any Newell matches to Nantucket but one of my Newell cousins had a match that traced to this Andrew. The paucity of matches to Newell at Nantucket is not surprising since they only lived here for one generation before moving on to mainland Massachusetts.

Capt George Newell (1791–1872), a grandson of Andrew of Sherborn, moved to Framingham, Middlesex County, Massachusetts. I have no Newell, Newall or Newhall matches with direct matches to Sherborne or Farmington; however, Sherborn (a small town) has a very high ratio of matches to population and Farmington had many matches with Newells , Newhalls and Ewells from Massachusetts in their trees.

Andrew’s wife, Eunice, was the daughter of Joseph Coffin from Nantucket and Bethiah Renuff (I get matches to Renouf of Channel Islands) . Coffin is an ancient English family which originated in Devonshire. The Coffins have held a number of manors, the most notable of which is Portledge in Devon, England, which they held for over nine centuries. The progenitor of the American Coffins was Tristram Coffin, a Royalist, who came to Massachusetts from Devonshire in 1642. He was the original proprietor of Nantucket. The American branch is one of the Boston Brahmin, a group of elite families based in and around Boston. Many American Coffins are or were Quakers (source: Wiki). I have 30 distant DNA matches for Coffin and Nantucket, including one that has Eunice daughter of Joseph (her spouse not identified). See also the earlier reference to Wm. Coffin linked to Cornelius Noel of Virginia.

The Coffins of Nantucket were whalers and fishermen who fished and hunted for whales in the waters of what is now Eastern Canada. In 1768 there sailed from Nantucket eighty sail of vessels of an average burden of 75 tons, and probably fully as many more from other ports – Cape Cod, Dartmouth, Boston, Providence, Newport, Warren, Falmouth, (Cape Cod,) and perhaps other ports being represented, and the voyages being undertaken to Davis Straits, Straits of Belle Isle, Grand Banks, Gulf of St. Lawrence, and Western Islands. That same year a whaling sloop commanded by a Captain Coffin from Nantucket was lost in the Strait of Belle Isle but the crew was saved (source: History of the American Whale Fishery).

I first started researching DNA links to New England when I noticed a large number of matches to the Knowles family of Barnstaple County, Massachusetts. The Knowles matches are focused on Chatham, Barnstaple, Massachusetts (located at the “elbow” of Cape Cod, Chatham was a fishing and whaling center) and Shelburne, Nova Scotia. This is not a random connection since the area around Shelburne, Nova Scotia was settled in the 1760s by families from Barnstaple and Nantucket, Mass. (see: A History of Barrington township and vicinity, Shelburne County, Nova Scotia, 1604-1870).   The book “The Knowles Family of Eastham, Mass.”  by C.T. Libby states that a:  Richard Knowles was first located on the New England records of Plymouth, Massachusetts in January of 1638. He married Ruth Bower  on 15 August 1639 and they later settled in Eastham, Massachusetts (Near Barnstaple). Other sources suggest that Richard was possibly from  Lancashire, England which is the area where I get the bulk of my matches to the Knowles name in the UK.

The links to Knowles, while centered on Barnstaple, extends to other Knowles throughout New England and Nova Scotia. In addition, I also get significant numbers of DNA matches to other families linked to the Knowles of Barnstaple (e.g. Freeman, Doane, Paine, Snow, Folger, Nickerson, Harding and Smith).  Smith and Snow are both in my Newfoundland tree so I likely get both sets of matches for them.  The link to these other families is that they share a common heritage with the Knowles over 6-7 generations (Mass & NS) and in many cases  intermarrying with them several times over different generations (see earlier discussion of endogamy) ; as a result they share common DNA.  

While the case for a direct link to Knowles is strong there is the possibility that this DNA link comes indirectly through non Knowles families. Perhaps my Smith or Snow ancestors from Newfoundland are related to the Smiths and Snows from Massachusetts; however, both of these families have deep roots in Newfoundland and there is no suggestion of links to New England (still possible).  One way to isolate the Knowles connection is to compare my results with those for other Newell relatives. A 3rd cousin once removed had 6 matches to Knowles, all 5-8th cousins, all Great Britain as main ethnicity plus ties to Massachusetts and a 3rd cousin had  over 70 matches in the distant cousin category that linked to Knowles.  The rapid drop off between a 3rd cousin and a 3rd once removed is not surprising since distant cousins are near the edge of detection. This does support the conclusion that the connection to Knowles is real since these 3rd cousins predate many of my non Newell ancestors.

The other two linked names with significant numbers of matches in New England were Elwell and Jewell. As stated earlier Elwell has a significant number of matches especially in Gloucester, Essex, Massachusetts (NE of Boston) and Taunton, Bristol, Massachusetts (west of Plymouth) while Jewell has a cluster of matches from Braintree, Massachusetts  (12 miles south of Boston). A Robert Elwell arrived in Dorchester, Mass. (now part of Boston) in 1634 (possibly from Dorset) and sometime after 1642 he relocated to Gloucester. Research on the Elwell family suggest that Robert was a fisherman. Historical records for Gloucester indicate that the Elwell family were active in the fishery during the 18th century. As late as 1877 a William Elwell from Gloucester indicated that he had fished for mackerel in the Gulf of St. Lawrence for 12 seasons. Thomas Jewell from Surrey arrived in Boston, Massachusetts in 1639 and died July 21, 1654 in Braintree, Mass. Many of the Jewell DNA matches from Baintree identify Thomas as their ancestor.

Another way to look at my New England connections is by examining DNA matches, regardless of family name, by town. Assuming that I had direct ancestors that were early settlers in New England then we should expect that their DNA should be spread by marriage to other families throughout the areas where they settled. The blue symbols on the following map show towns with large number of matches (multiple pages). All of these were early colonial settlements (17th century). Locations with the largest number of matches were: Barnstaple County; Salem; Ipswich; Plymouth; and Lynn. When adjusted for population the locations with the highest number of matches per 1000 population were: Eastham, Barnstable County (Cape Cod); Ipswich; Rehoboth, Bristol County (30 miles west of Plymouth); and Sherborn, Middlesex County (SW of Boston). The matches per 1000 population for these four areas were significantly higher than equivalent statistics for towns in England and Scotland.

Towns with large number of DNA Matches regardless of name

Nova Scotia

The area around Shelburne, Nova Scotia was settled in the 1760s by families from Cape Cod (Barnstaple County) and Nantucket, Mass. These families were enticed north by the Governor of Nova Scotia who was looking for settlers to occupy land previously owned by Acadians (French and Catholic) who were expelled from the Colony by the British starting in 1755.

Economic interest was one of the factors that enticed the settlers from Massachusetts to come to Nova Scotia and possibly Newfoundland. The following map shows the main whaling ports in New England.

Ships indicate Whaling Ports

Some of the most important whaling and fishing grounds for these New England ships in the 18th century were the coast of Cape Breton, NS, the Gulf of St Lawrence, the south coast of Newfoundland, southern Labrador and Davis Strait. The following map shows these whaling areas (whale symbol) plus locations outside Massachusetts (in red) that have links to New England whalers . Ports like Provincetown (the main deep water port on Cape Cod), Nantucket, Plymouth, Boston and Salem (all areas with DNA matches) sent whalers and other fishing boats to these areas. By the mid 1700s Ehglish restrictions on New England ships and the long voyage north would have encouraged whalers to relocate to Nova Scotia.

The family names of the Cape Cod settlers that moved to Shelburne County, Nova Scotia in the 1760s included:  Knowles, Smith, Paine, Snow, Hopkins, Crowell, Freeman and Harding (see: A History of Barrington township and vicinity, Shelburne County, Nova Scotia, 1604-1870). There were later migrations from New England plus some back migrations over the next two decades with another peak in migrants from New England c 1785 when British troops and Loyalist from New England were transported to Nova Scotia and New Brunswick.

Barnstaple on Cape Cod is only 30 miles from Nantucket; however, the settlers from Barnstaple were mainly Congregationalist while the settlers from Nantucket were mainly Quakers. As a result of these religious differences there was limited mixing between the two groups in Massachusetts and in Nova Scotia.

When the Revolutionary War broke out in 1776, many Quaker families in Nova Scotia returned to Nantucket. Among the surnames of Quaker families who remained in Barrington were Coffin, Gardner, Chapman, Swain, Pinkham, and Covel. (source: Sandra McCann Fuller, 2011). However, in September, 1785 (after the war ended), a number of whalers from Nantucket came to Halifax; three brigantines and one schooner, with crews and everything necessary for prosecuting the whale fishery, which they proposed to do under the British flag. Their families were to follow. A short time after they were joined by three brigantines and a sloop from the same place (source: Thomas B. Akins, History of Halifax City).

I only get two DNA matches to Coffin and Nova Scotia; however I get 5 matches for Coffin and PEI. Some of these likely come from connections to Elisha Coffin, a Quaker whaler from Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, with roots in Nantucket Island, Massachusetts, who arrived in PEI in 1772 (source: History-of-Quakers-in-Atlantic-Canada). Most interestingly, I get 16 matches to Coffin and Newfoundland; these are connected to Coffin families from Fogo, Bonavista and Rencontre East (South Coast).

I have a number of 5th cousin links to Newells of Nova Scotia.  In four of these cases the common ancestor is Henry Newell (AKA Newhall) born c 1755 in Boston who married Eunice Smith in 1776 at Shelburne, Nova Scotia. Eunice was the daughter of Archaelaus Smith and Elizabeth Nickerson), she was born in Chatham, Barnstaple, Massachusetts [home of the Knowles] and subsequently moved to Nova Scotia. In the remaining case the matches trace Henry back to the Newhalls of Lynn, Mass. My sister and two 3rd cousins have similar numbers of matches many of which are common. I have created an Ancestry tree for Henry in which I map out the numerous links between his family and myself, my sister and my cousins.

We do not have a record of when Henry arrived in Nova Scotia but one story states that Henry’s father sent him to Nova Scotia (from Boston) to learn the Cooper’s trade (barrel making). Generally, apprenticeships started around age 14 and end around 21 so he may have arrived around 1769 and married after finishing his apprenticeship.

 The Smiths (see Eunice wife of Henry Newell) were a family from Barnstaple, Mass. who intermarried with Knowles and Newells in Massachusetts and Nova Scotia.  Thankful Knowles married David Smith and they are the ancestors of several Nova Scotia DNA matches.  One especially interesting Smith connection is that one of my great aunts (Albert’s sister) married a Smith from Nova Scotia (they likely met in Mass.) and this family of Smiths trace their roots to the Knowles who moved to Nova Scotia from Barnstaple, Mass.; however, this connection would be at the 2nd or 3rd cousin level.

My matches to Knowles of Nova Scotia are much less clear than for Newell with the earliest records being:

  • Elizabeth Knowles born 1774 at Liverpool, Shelburne, Nova Scotia; and
  • William Knowles born 1811 at Barrington, Shelburne, Nova Scotia.

My sister and cousins also get matches to Knowles of Nova Scotia including one for the Liverpool match above.

My Nova Scotia DNA links include a significant number of matches to members of the Freeman family of Massachusetts who moved to Nova Scotia. I recently investigated the possibility of a Newell link to the Freeman family of St. John’s (William Freeman Sr. b c. 1755 and Jr. b 1785). As part of this research I prepared an Ancestry tree for William Freeman and a separate Web Page on William Freeman . The Freeman name is very closely tied to the Knowles of Barnstaple, Mass. and Nova Scotia and William Freeman Junior is connected to several families in the Port de Grave area (e.g. Butler, Batten and Andrews). In addition, William Senior and Junior have possible connections to the Newells of St. John’s.

Perhaps the most interesting reference to Freeman comes from a meeting  of the Selectmen of Boston, Mass. held on October 25, 1762. One topic of this meeting was a discussion of a group of new arrivals who lately came from Newfoundland. They reported that : Your Memorialists have accordingly made the enquiry and find they are truly necessitous Persons, and as they cannot meet with employ here are desirous to return but are not able to pay the passage of themselves and Familys, they therefore request some assistance. The list included the following:

  • Edward Freeman, and 3 children
  • Joseph Newell, his wife and a child.

In June 1762 the French captured St. John’s  and attacked settlements in Conception and Trinity Bays. The French were driven out in Sept. which likely explains why the 19 families involved fled to Boston and wanted to return in October.

Regarding the Joseph Newell who accompanied Edward Freeman to Boston from Newfoundland it is tempting to link him to the Joseph Newell, son of Captain Andrew Newell and Eunice Coffin, who was born at Nantucket in 1727 (see my Ancestry tree for Andrew Newell). This Joseph would have been 35 in 1762. The Freeman family of St. John’s continued to have connections to the Newell family of St. John’s over several generations. In 1836 William Freeman applied to the courts for letters of administration of the estate of Frances Newell who had died two years earlier (see my research on William Freeman)

The Freeman family of St. John’s had links to the Congregational Church in St. John’s. This church had connections to the Congregational Church in Massachusetts. In addition, the Nantucketers who settled in Barrington (Nova Scotia) were primarily Quakers, while the Cape Codders were mainly Congregationalists. For example Captain James Knowles b c 1756 at Chatham, Mass. was buried in the Old Congregational Cemetery, Lunenburg, Nova Scotia in 1809.

Despite numerous DNA links to the Freeman name (for myself, my sister and both cousins) I was not able to identify a DNA link to William Freeman of St. John’s. There were possible DNA connections to the Freeman families of Salmon Cove (now Champney’s West) , Trinity Bay and Twillingate, Newfoundland; however, I could not find a connection between these families and William Freeman of St. John’s.  

One Freeman match may provide a lead regarding my connections to Jewell/ Juel DNA. This match had a William Juel (Jewell) Birth Truro, Falmouth, Cornwall who married Mary Freeman of Falmouth, Cornwall on 8 Nov 1720 . The ancestors of this William were from Littleham By Bideford, Devon. I have Jewell/Juel matches from both Truro and Bidford plus both locations have links to the Newell / Nowell names.

The only matches I get to Yule / Yuill in Nova Scotia is one at the 4th cousin level for Dorris Yule born 1915 in Nova Scotia (no other info) and one 5th cousin match for James Yuill born 1716 in Clydesdale, Scotland and died in 1807 at Old Barns, Clifton, Nova Scotia (near Truro). James Yuill Esq. and his family had settled on this land in 1761 when they had come from New England.

The name Nova Scotia is Latin for ‘New Scotland,’ and was first given to this part of North America in 1621 (see my paper on Richard Newall). Although there were occasional Scots among the early settlers, they did not come in large numbers or establish permanent communities until 1773, when emigrants from the north-western coast of Scotland arrived in Pictou. Interestingly, I have a significant number of matches to individuals with links to Pictou and a number for Stewart, Shaw, Crawford and Buchanan in Nova Scotia but very few for these names and Pictou. Based on their late arrival in 1773 it is unlikely that these settlers would be my direct ancestors; however, Scots from New England, like James Yuill, might be better candidates. Some other individuals with matches that fit this profile include:

  • Moses Shaw born 1735 at Barnstable, Massachusetts, died 1821 at Granville, Annapolis, Nova Scotia;
  • “Captain” John Stuart born c 1748 at Shrewsbury, Monmouth Co, NJ, USA died AFT 1811 at East Green Harbour, Shelburne Co, Nova Scotia

My research on Nova Scotia DNA Links has uncovered some new and unexpected connections but none more unexpected than the following. While researching DNA links for Lunenburg, Nova Scotia (home of Captain James Knowles, see above) I started noting a number of matches to the le Jeune / lejeune (AKA Young) name. D’Entremont in his “Histoire du Cap-Sable, 1763”, states the first Lejeune (Pierre) plus his French wife and children arrived in Acadia before or during the time of Isaac de Razilly (1632-1635). Pierre Lejeune had a son, Pierre Lejeune dit Briard, who in 1689 was a fur trader in the Cape Sable region (near Barrington). This Pierre married a Mi’maw woman and his descendants settled in La Heve Nova Scotia (near Lunenburg). The family was dispersed following the fall of Louisbourg in 1758. One branch of the le Jeune / lejeune family moved to Little Bras d’Or, Cape Breton, NS and then (c 1820s) to Sandy Point, on the west coast of Newfoundland. Some of these later changed their name to Young (see: Family names of the Island of Newfoundland – Young and ).

I get over 50 DNA matches to the Lejeune name and Nova Scotia many leading back to Germain LeJeune (son of Pierre Lejeune dit Briard) born in Port Royal or Pisiguit, Acadia (inland from Halifax, see map below).

Source: By Chnou – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,

I also get a number of matches to Lejune, le June and Young from Sandy Point, Newfoundland but what is most interesting are the 68 of non name specific matches I get to Sandy Point. My Newell cousins also get a large number of matches to this town. What makes this unusual is that Sandy Point was a small (now abandoned), isolated, community on the opposite side of Newfoundland from where my relatives lived! However, in the 1700’s and 1800’s, Sandy Point was the commercial center of the West Coast of Newfoundland ( Sandy Point is described as having a small population of multi-cultural and multi-lingual residents including Mi’kmaq, English, Jersey, and French residents (Wiki). Searching my matches for sandy Point I find names like Picot, Messervey (Meserve), Renouf, leRoux and Lefillatre which are all names associated with the Channel Islands (Channel Islanders were early settlers of Conception Bay).

It should be noted that the Jeune name is more common than le June on the Channel Islands with le Jeune identified as a variant (see: theislandwiki Web Site). I get two matches for the Jeune name on the Channel Islands, both with Marguerite Jeune born c 1660 at St Martin, Jersey, Channel Islands who married Jacques Messervy from Jersey. Marguerite and Jacques had a daughter Elizabeth Messervy born 1686 at St Martin, Jersey. Both trees have this Elizabeth marrying a Clement Noel from Jersey. In both cases the tree show this Clement as the father of  Clement Noel of Freshwater, Carbonear,  Newfoundland. Both of my Newell cousins have matches to the Jeune name on Jersey (most 18th Century) but one does have the same Marguerite Jeune. Peter Noel has a Clement (born 1714/15) son of Clement Noel and Elizabeth Messervy in his Noels of Newfoundland tree.

Further research uncovered more strong DNA connections to other French families in Nova Scotia including: Boutilier ,Langille, Melanson, Surette, le Blanc and Doiron. The number of Nova Scotia linked DNA matches for many of these families exceeded those for New England families (e.g. Newell and Knowles) and in some cases matching my Newfoundland matches! Not long after conducting this research I found that ancestry had connected me to the Canadian Maritimes Acadians community!

Not all of these French families were part of the original (17th century) predominantly Catholic Acadian population. The Boutilier and Langille families were part of a group of French-speaking Protestants brought to Nova Scotia via Rotterdam in 1752 by a Dutch shipping agent named John Dick. These settlers were recorded as being from Montbéliard, a small city in eastern France 18 km from the Swiss border (80 km SW of Staufen). These families were part of a larger group of some 2,700 new settlers who arrived in Halifax between 1750-52, coming mostly from the Palatinate, Württemberg, Baden, Hesse-Darmstadt, Switzerland and Montbéliard. The new arrivals spoke German, except those from Switzerland and Montbéliard, who spoke French (see The Foreign Protestants). The German names in this group included a Knihule from Wurtemberg, Germany.

In the 17th Century Montbéliard, a French speaking mainly Huguenot county was under the jurisdiction of the Lutheran Duke of Wurttemberg. The population of the city increased from 2000 inhabitants in 1590 to 3600 in 1618 due notably to the French Huguenots who had came to Montbéliard in the wake of the French Wars of Religion. After the transfer of Montbéliard to France in 1793 a combination of out migration of Protestants, in-migration of Catholics and conversions resulted in an increase in the Catholic population. In 1850, Catholics represented 10% of the overall Christian population, and by 1920, this number had gone up to 50%, to reach 85% today (Source: History SAINT-MARTIN” – MONTBÉLIARD).

There was also a Boutillier family, merchants who operated at Paspébiac, Gaspésie region of eastern Quebec in the early 1800s, who had connections to the Channel Islands ( see: Le Boutillier Brothers). The Boutilier spelling is mainly found in Nova Scotia while the Boutillier name is found in northern France and the Channel Islands. Interestingly, I have DNA links to both names as do my sister and cousins (see Table of matches below). I also get matches to the Butler name from Nova Scotia which may reflect Anglicization of one of the French names.

Memy SisterCousin 1Cousin 2
Butler (N.S.)12171112
Boutilier 69674238

One might expect that these protestant families from Montbéliard (Boutilier and Langille) might not mix with the earlier Acadian families (e.g. le Jeune); however, there is evidence to indicate that they eventually did.

On September 25, 1812, John Young [LeJeune] married Catherine Boutilier. Catherine was the daughter of Frederic Nicholas Boutilier; in 1807, Frederic Boutilier and his family relocated from Lunenburg County to Cape Breton County.  John Young was born at Petit Bras d’Or in 1793 to Charles “Joseph” LeJeune and Agathe LeJeune. Charles “Joseph” LeJeune was born on the Island of Miquelon in 1763, shortly after his family’s return to North America from La Rochelle, France. Charles “Joseph’s” parents, Joseph LeJeune and Martine LeRoy were deported from Isle Royale (Cape Breton Island) by the British following the fall of Louisbourg in 1758 ( ).

The Melanson family were early (1657) settlers that may have originally been French Huguenots or English or Scottish. By 1671, the Melansons were major landholders at Port Royal. Some members of this family moved to Boston.

Many of my Surette matches link to a Pierre Suret / Surette born in la Rochelle, France who moved to Port Royal. His son, Pierre Surette [jr] was born in Port-Royal in 1709 and married in Grand-Pre, September 30, 1732. After the Treaty of Paris in 1763, he was released from a prison in Halifax and settled in Yarmouth County, Nova Scotia.

The Doiron family traces its roots back to Jean Doiron, born in France about 1649. He died between 28 April 1735 – 03 June 1736 at Ste-Famille de Pisiguit, Acadia. He married Marie Anne Canol c. 1671 (note see earlier references to Canol name and Marie Anne De Canol, BIRTH 1651) . Circa 1710 Anne Le Blanc (see le Blanc name in matches) married Jean Doiron, son of Jean Doiron and Anne Marie Canol at Grand Pre. In 1740 Philippe Doiron married Ursule le June linking this family with le Jeune (above). The most famous member of this family was Noel Doiron who was born at Port RoyalAcadia in 1684 and lived most of his childhood at Pisiquid (present day Falmouth, 18 km from Grand Pré). By 1714, Doiron and his family were established in Noel, Nova Scotia. The Doiron family grew to include five sons and three daughters—one son died in Vila Noel before 1746.  Doiron and his family were deported in 1758 and died when the ship they were on sank about 20 leagues from the coast of France. 

Although I have no Noel matches that trace to early Noels in Acadia (N.S., N.B. or P.E.I.) there were some early Noels who settled in this area. The earliest was : Louis-Noël, called Noël, de Labauve or Labove married Marie, daughter of René Rimbault and Anne-Marie ____, in c1678.  De Meulles counted them at Minas in 1686 (see: ).

During 1697, the following seigneuries were granted in Acadia:..; Boissellery Noel, Cape St. Louis (Pictou) (see and at Cap-Louis to the Sieur de La Boissellery Noël (perhaps made earlier, in 1690) (see: In 1762, Chief John Newit (Noel) of Pictou signed the Treaty of Peace and Friendship at Halifax and John Noel, a later Mi’kma Chief, was born at Pictou, N.S., on 3 May 1829.

Pierre Noel was born about 1725/1729 in Acadia or Paris?. He was exiled from Acadia and died 22 Aug 1765 in St-Servan, Ille-et-Vilaine, Bretagne, France.

Placentia, Newfoundland the Freeman family may be a link between the New England settlers, the Acadians and Newfoundland. Placentia was first settled by Basque and French fishermen in the 16th century but in 1711, a British fleet almost annihilated the French at Placentia. In 1713 the French abandoned their Placentia Bay settlements and migrate to Louisbourg, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia and Placentia became a British possession. Many of the French fishermen who had to abandon the fisheries in Placentia ended up at the fisheries in Isle Royale, otherwise known as Cape Breton Island (see Wiki).

In my research on William Freeman (see earlier discussion) I mapped out some key events related to the Freeman name including:

  • 1726 a Nat Freeman; Capt of Pelican from Rhode Is. was at Ferryland, Newfoundland;
  • May 1727 there is a reference to a “Nath. Freeman” in Colonial Office Records (CO 194/ 8) at Placentia (in the same set of records there is a petition from Merchants of Bideford and Barnstaples [UK] trading to Placentia signed by Richard Newel);
  • 1748 Isaac Freeman; Master Boston Privateer at St. John’s
  • 1757 Moses Freeman received a license for Public House at Placentia and was appointed Constable;
  • 1761 Elisha Freeman, moved his family to Liverpool Nova Scotia from Massachusetts;
  • 1762 Edward Freeman and Joseph Newell from Newfoundland travel to Boston (see earlier discussion);
  • 1766 Moses Freeman protested a tax on liquor at Louisbourg, Nova Scotia;
  • 1768 Moses Freeman was recorded as a resident of Louisbourg.

Channel Islanders may have also played a part in linking Placentia and Acadia. In the 18th century there were also a large number of settlers from the Channel Islands, at Placentia from which , Jerseyside, a prominent section of the town, derives its name (Wiki).  In a study of the “Anglo-Normans” [Channel Islanders] the author, Frenette, states that: from their base in Newfoundland, the Anglo-Normans moved quickly into the Gulf of St. Lawrence following Canada’s final cession to the English in 1763, taking advantage of their knowledge of French to form alliances with the Acadians.

There is one other possible Newell link to Nova Scotia which is covered in a separate section on James Newell of Halifax. This James arrived in Halifax in 1749 on the Canning (one of the Cornwallis immigrant ships). In this record he is identified as a fisherman. In 1752 James Newal (spelling) was in hospital (Halifax Victualing Records 1753); in October 1754 he was married to Mary Pres at St. Paul’s in Halifax (note: there is a possibility that Pres is a reference to her religion not her last name); in October 1754 they had a daughter Ann; in March 1767 Mary Newall died (note spelling as recorded at St. Paul’s). At this point the trail on Halifax James goes cold which is one reason to suspect that he may have departed Halifax for other opportunities elsewhere. Many of the original Cornwallis immigrants moved on to New England.

There was a James Newell, Captain of schooner Boscowan ,which was used in the Acadian Expulsion of 1755. There is no evidence linking this James to the Halifax James and many of the ships used came from New England; however, someone who was a fisherman in 1749 might have become a Captain of a Schooner by 1755. The Boscawen commanded by James Newell (there was another ship with the same name) ran aground at Piziquid (Pisiquid present day Falmouth) and probably was not used. If this James was a relative it would be nice to assume that he ran aground intentionally.