Thursday, December 6, 2007

Email to Helen...

Appreicate you taking a look at my posting.®ion=&excludeuid=DUXRV

My userid is [removed]. You can also find it by looking for Amelia Co, VA under "origin". Do you think it wise to include my maternal line as well as paternal in the posted GEDCOM. Thought maybe including only my "Mitchell" line or "Mitchell" and "Belew" line. It is more work but it is possible to submit a partial pedigree. Ysearch, however, requires I include myself in the pedigree.

Monday, July 2, 2007

You all,

[It's all right for me to use that phase because after all we are a "Southern" family]

I have wanted to let all of you know something about the status of the Renny Belue/ Belew DNA Project.

To do this, please see the Word attachment which is a three plus page narrative. I have inserted some not very readable truncated data tables into the Word document. This is to give you a preview. I am also attaching an Excel file with three different full up versions of the data tables for those of you that have Excel on your computer. I can send hard copies if you would like to see it that way. Just send me your address.

Helen B. of Tishomingo, AL has been my co-partner on this project. Much of the success of this endeavor has been because of her. Both of us have had great fun and some days so exciting we couldn't stand it.

You all take care and have a great July. We hope to have another update out soon as soon as we make some sense of all the data that we are collecting.


Ron Mitchell

Copied from the Word document...

July 2007 Update on Renny Belew DNA Project

Three known direct-male descendants of Renny Belew submitted DNA samples for analysis. They are Thomas Dale Belew of Loveland, Co; Paul Lee Belew of now Cripple Creek, CO (until recently of Woodward, OK); and Herschel (Bud) W. Belew, Jr. of Huntsville, Alabama.

Immediately, we discovered matches with two other individuals already in the Ballew Family DNA Project database. They are Troy Belew of Oneonta, AL, and Thomas Malon Ballew of Dacula, GA. Troy and Thomas M., however, have not yet discovered how they are connected to Renny. The connection could be a generation or two, or possibly, even three or four generations back. The task is now to use more traditional genealogical research on their lines to see where and when our lines may have intersected. All 5 participates tested at the 37-marker level and now together constitute “Group 2” on the Ballew Family DNA website.

We also discovered DNA matches with several other individuals that have non-Ballew/Belew surnames i.e., Farmer, Jackson, Cardwell, and Pruett/Pruitt. We are currently in correspondence with these individuals to learn about their respective family genealogies. Helen B. of Tishomingo, MS, my close partner in this endeavor, has now had some contact with each of the “non-Belew” lines and collecting family history information from each one. We hope to identify some common thread that links these lines. This may be in the form of kinships, common geographic locations, and time frames when our our Belew line may have been in close contact with these other lines. It was not uncommon for neighbors and extended families to intermarry and live near each other for several generations. Sometimes several of the same families in an area relocated to new lands together. We are hoping this information may provide valuable clues to Renny’s pre-Union County, SC, origins.

Table 1 shows the DNA results for the Ballew/Belew and non-Ballew/Belew surname participants. Here immediately below is a truncated version of the table.

Table 1. Renny Belew DNA Project Test Results with Non-Belew Surname Matches

Loci Number: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14

Hershel Belew a 12 24 14 11 11 14 12 12 11 13 14 29 18 9
Paul L. Belew a 12 24 14 11 11 14 12 12 12 13 14 29 18 9
Thomas L. Belew a 12 24 14 11 11 14 12 12 12 13 14 29 18 9
Troy Bellew 12 24 14 11 11 14 12 12 12 13 14 29 18 9
Thomas M. Ballew 12 24 14 11 11 14 12 12 13 13 14 29 18 9
L. Jackson 12 24 14 11 11 14 12 12 12 13 14 29 18 9
David Lee Farmer 12 24 14 11 11 14 12 12 12 13 14 29 18 9
H.G. Farmer 12 24 14 10 11 14 12 12 12 13 14 29 18 9
Rand Cardwell 12 24 14 11 11 14 12 12 12 13 14 29 17 9
T. Pruett 12 24 14 11 11 14 12 12 12 13 14 29 17 9
E. W. Pruitt 12 24 14 11 11 14 12 12 12 13 14 29 17 9
Modal Values 12 24 14 11 11 14 12 12 12 13 14 29 18 9

The full up version of Table 1 can be seen in the Excel attachment, showing data for all 37 markers. There are a lot of numbers in the table, and for us lay people the numbers do not have much meaning. To the DNA expert, the specific numbers are a type of shorthand description of the complex patterns found at a specific location on the Y-chromosome. What is important for us to note is how closely the DNA patterns match. There are four exact matches and five individuals with only one number different out of 37 markers. What this means to me is that we have a good set of numbers that well represent Renny’s DNA values for these 37 markers and we have strong matches.

Table 2 compares the 7 distinct subgroups, representing a total of 47 individuals, in the Ballew DNA Project data base, against the Group 2 or “Renny” group. The “nn/25” show the degree of agreement with the Group 2 set of numbers on the basis of 25 markers with 25/25 being a perfect match.

Table 2. DNA Project Group Modal Haplotype Results
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25
1 13 24 14 10 11 13 12 12 11 11 13 27 17 9 10 11 11 25 15 19 29 15 15 16 18
2 12 24 14 11 11 14 12 12 12 13 14 29 18 9 10 11 11 25 15 19 30 15 15 17 17
3 14 24 15 10 14 15 11 13 12 13 12 29 14 8 10 11 11 25 14 20 28 11 14 14 15
4 13 24 15 11 11 15 12 12 10 13 13 29 16 9 10 11 11 25 15 19 29 13 15 16 18
5 13 23 14 10 14 14 11 14 12 12 11 28 16 8 9 8 11 23 16 20 28 12 13 15 16
6 13 26 15 11 11 14 12 12 11 13 13 30 17 9 10 11 11 25 15 20 29 14 15 17 17
Irish Origin 13 24 16 11 13 17 11 13 11 12 11 28 18 8 10 10 12 25 15 21 28 14 14 15 15
Matches to Group 2 shown in blue & non-matches in red.
Source: Ballew Genealogy DNA Project -- Results Page

A more readable version of Table 2 is included in the Excel attachment. Use the tab at the bottom of the Excel file labeled “Table 2 Group Comparison.” To see the full Ballew DNA project data base results go to

What we have learned from the analysis.
With the DNA results from Renny’s direct-male line we are now able to state with a high confidence that Renny’s line is not connected to several specific Ballew/ Belew lines. Among those his line is not associated with are:
-- Leonard Belew, b. 1646 (Group 1);
-- Dave Ballew, 1789 (Group 3);
-- Rice Merideth Ballew, 1706 (Group 4);
-- George Washington Ballew, 1847 (Group 5);
-- Abraham Bellew, 1745 (Group 6);
-- or with any of the individuals shown in Group 7 on the Ballew Family website.

Knowing to whom Renny Belew is not connected is an important step forward in discovering Renny’s heritage and focusing further research.

What we don’t know.
The type of DNA analysis we are using for genealogical purposes is not all that helpful in identifying specific individuals in the past. It is not the same as a DNA paternity test in which a specific individual at hand is tested for many more markers and that are unique to that particular person. The type of DNA analysis we are focuses on markers that remain the same through many generations from father-to-son. The problem is when we have a match we can not tell when that association occurred. A match with Renny’s DNA line could have occurred in Renny’s era, a generation before, or even from hundreds of years earlier.

What’s next.
First, further research on Troy Belew’s and Thomas Ballew’s lines is needed to see if we can find a historical connection. Second, we need to collect pertinent information on the non-Belew/Ballew surnames where DNA matches to Renny’s line occurred. When we assemble the details we may have a better idea of what the common thread might be. For example, we may be able to identify common locations for the Farmers, Jacksons, Cardwells, and Pruitts that could help us pick up Renny Belew’s trail.

On another note, some of the information on the non-Belew/Ballew surname matches may help confirm, or refute, speculation about Giles and Judith Chastain Belew of Goochland County, VA, as potential parents to Renny. Giles Beloe, died in 1728, leaving one child of record – Peter Belew. According to multiple court appearances in Amelia and Goochland counties in the 1730s and early 1740s, however, Judith Chastain Belew continued to have children some ten years after Giles’ death. Could Renny be a legitimate child of Giles and Judith, just not recorded? Or could Renny be one of these post-1728 offspring?

Again thanks to DNA analysis, we may know in a few weeks if Renny was indeed a legitimate child of Giles. Helen B. was able to locate a direct male descendant of Peter Belew, and by extension Giles Belew. Terry Belew, the living male descendant of Peter, readily accepted an invitation to participate in our DNA project. We are now awaiting the results of his 37-marker test from Family Tree DNA. If Terry’s results match what we have for Renny’s line, we can then say with a high probability that Renny was indeed a child of Giles Beloe. If the results do not match, then we can rule out that Renny was from Giles once and for all.

Important Support Received.

I want you to know that Helen B. has been a tremendous source of encouragement and motivation. She also has been a great recruiter – very often the initial contact for many of the people we contacted. Helen also has been great in following up, collecting information, and, in general, keeping things organized and moving forward.

Of course, the project could not have moved forward at all without Tom, Paul and Herchel submitting their DNA samples for analysis. We are most grateful for their willingness to take a chance and parting with some of their treasure to advance this cutting-edge approach of finding Renny’s origins.

We have also had great support from many others who have spent years of effort acquiring information on the Belew family and have been most generous in sharing this information. We will need more of that knowledge now to follow-up on what the DNA analysis has revealed. Thank you all for your encouragement and other support.


In short, this experiment has turned out better than I had expected. I do believe we now have some good clues that we can use to discover Renny’s pre- Fairforest origins. It has been a lot of work but at the same time very exciting and gratifying for Helen and myself.

Thank you all for your support. I am most pleased.


Ron Mitchell

P.S. Tab 3 in the Excel file labeled “Table 3 DNA Results…” shows the same data as Table 1 but is arranged in columns rather than rows for each of the individuals. Some might find that table easier to read.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Email to Matt M...

There is a lot happening right now with my DNA Project. I should tell you about it. So call me some time.

Maybe you have seen some of my updates. I am also forwarding an email from Helen B. my collaborator on the Renny Belew DNA project.

We recently recruited a direct male descendant of Peter Belew. Peter Belew is the son of Giles Beloe and Judith Chastain. What is interesting here is we think that Judith may have been Renny's mother. His father may or may not have been Giles. You see Giles died in 1728. But Judith continued to have Belew children at least through 1744. I suspect with several different men. One of them probably was Thomas Pruitt. See Helen's email for the particulars but note paragraph numbers 7 and 8. I expect to get Terry Belew's DNA results back in 3 to 5 weeks that once and for all show us that Giles was or was not his father.

The DNA matches from our Renny Belew group match descendants of Thomas Pruitt, and others surname's such as Farmer and Cardwell.

Also Saturday, I was so excited when I got the email from a Wayne Pruitt. Because the Pruitt also tied into the Chastain family. They have the Pruitt line traced back to 1775 and it also sounds like they have a lot of data on the Chastain's of Amelia Co, VA. Naturally, I thought maybe one of these Pruitt folks might have data on the Chastains that will tie into our Shatteen Mitchell line. So I am very excited.



Email from Helen B....


Judith had court cases in both Goochland and Amelia counties. I am listing info. from James Hamlin's book dates and places: If you visit these places knowing the OB and page no. might be of some help:
1. 18 Nov. 1729, Goochland Co. VA OB 2, p8.
2. May 1731, Goochland Co.
3. 6 Nov. Deed from Judith to Peter Guerrant. (This was from "Notes and Queries" in the Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, Vol. 22, no. 3, July 1914, p.315)
4. 19 March 1733/34 - case of Judith vs. Thomas Dickens, Goochland Co.VA OB 3, p268, 283. (This case was dismissed).
5. 14 May 1736 - Judith having a bastard child. Amelia Co. VA OB 1, p10.
6. 20 April 1739 - Church Wardens of Raleigh Parish vs. Judith for having bastard child. Amelia Co. VA OB 1, p70. (Thomas Prewitt security for this one).
7. Nov. 1740 - Judith having bastard child. Amelia Co. VA OB 1,p132. (Paul Pigg security).
8. 15 Feb. 1744 - Judith witness for Thomas Prewitt vs. Thomas Bassett. Amelia Co. VA OB 1, p304.

I am not sure if Judith ever remarried or not. I have seen somewhere that she died in
Chesterfield Co. around 1784, but no proof on this.

A tidbit I want to pass on to you regarding Renny being a Huguenot is from an excerpt I found on the web from a book of Dr. J. O. Landrum " Migration to Spartanburg, SC. You may already have this. If Terry's DNA should match our group then we may have to start looking for Giles, and to me it seems possible that he was a Huguenot. Here is the quote:

Another minor migration group of which there are a few families that settled along the Enoree River was of Huguenot descent. These families probably came from the Charleston or the Abbeville area and not directly from France. The Buice, Burdette, DeShield are families with Huguenot ancestry. The Ballew (var. Belue, Bellew, etc.) was another Huguenot family started by Rene Balleau who settled in what is present day Cherokee Co., SC.

Maybe we can get a few days rest but I don't know if I really want that or not. I think the excitement is lots of fun.

Take care and keep in touch.


Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Email to Family...

I know you all want to know what my current passion is, right? OK I am expecting too much. But I am still on my DNA kick. Please read my appeal for someone who is a female descendant of Peter Belew, who is the son of Giles Belew and Judith Chastain. Giles died in 1728 but Judith continued to have children (5 exactly according to early Virginia court records over the next ten years). Maybe she had bodily manifestations from beyond the grave.

One interesting thing is that one of the DNA matches to our five participants is a Pruitt family. A figured that played in one of the Judith's court cases as a benefactor. Our Renny could be in fact a Pruitt, and not a Belew. But then we would know Renny's origin. So this is the current holy/unholy grail I am currently chasing.

I am enjoying the work, or should I say fun, that I am paid for. Something said at my brother Bob's funeral by his son Bill. Bob never contemplated retiring because what he did for a living was so much fun he could not imagine himself wanting to do anything else. And of course, he was lawyering right up until he took his death bed. He was a happy man. That's how I am feeling about my 007 life right now.


Forwarded Message to Mildred...

Subject: Belew Family History & DNA

Mildred. It was nice for me to chat with you on Sunday.

I want to explain a little about what we are trying to do with this DNA testing thing.

Some of us who are descendants of Renny Belew (in Union Co. SC 1769-1799) have been most anxious to learn his origins prior to his arrival in Union County. We suspect he came from Virginia but can not prove it. Some of us even think he may be an offspring of Giles Belew and Judith Chastain. Again we can not find any documentation that would indicate that.

After years of effort, I decided to try DNA testing. The theory behind the DNA testing is that the patterns for certain parts of the Y-chromosome, which comes from the paternal side, do not change, or change very little, from father or son and from one generation to the next. So if you test a living direct-male descendant the DNA values for these particular spots will be the same, or very close to the same, as their gg grandfather.

I and Helen also after much effort recruited three direct male descendants to do the DNA test. We now have their results. Much to our surprise there were also two others already in the Ballew Family Association sponsored DNA database that also matched the three known direct-male descendants of Renny Belew. This suggest that these two also have some connection to Renny Belew's line. We just don't know how.

I am attaching a table showing the results.

First let me say something about the DNA test. The individual orders a kit from the Family Tree DNA Company. The key contains simple instructions, a stick to do the cheek swab, a container that protects the stick with the cheek swab, and a mailer. The container is mailed back to Family Tree DNA. They analyze the results, which produces a set of numbers -- one number for each of say 37 locations or markers on the Y-chromosome that are tested. Each location is given a number that corresponds to the pattern observed. So if one is tested for 37 markers one gets back a set of 37 numbers. These numbers can be compared with the results of other testers. The chance of having 37 markers match some one else accidentally are very small, if they don't share a common ancestor. Especially, if you have other information that suggests a common place and time, or say the same last surname.

The table I am attaching shows a series of columns. The first column is just the numbers 1 through 37 each representing one of the markers tested. The next is a reference number to the particular marker. Then the next five shows the numerical results for the five in our Renny Belue/Belew sample. The last column shows the most representative value of the 5 samples.

What I am looking for is a direct male descendant of Peter Belew who is willing to do the DNA testing. By the way, the test is self-administered and done at the time and place of one's own choosing. It is just brushing the inside the tester's mouth in the cheek area. Then after several weeks the FT DNA company will send the results in the form of 37 numbers. What I want to know is are the numbers of a direct male descendant of Peter similar to those of our Renny descendants or to some other. By the way the Family Tree DNA company also sends the tester any exact or close matches that are already in its database along with an email address for each one. In our case that is how we learned about Troy and Thomas.

Please if you can direct me toward someone who is a known male-descendant of Peter, I would be most appreciative. I am personally willing to pay for the cost of testing. That shows you how desperate or obsessed I am to learn more about my ancestor Renny Belew.

If you have any questions please contact me or my colleague Helen. Her email address [removed] and phone number is [removed]. My phone number is [removed]. Let me warn you Helen is as passionate and obsessed about the DNA project as I am. We often joke, it's like Christmas or New Year's every time we learn something new. It's been wonderful.

In a day or two I will send you a separate email with the web address (URL) for the Ballew Family DNA Project. It has some good explanations and shows the DNA results for about 41 individuals in its data base that have some connection to Ballew or different spellings of Belew.

If your Belew line is not related to Renny's, it may be related to another one of the lines shown. That itself would be wonderful to know.

Have a wonderful week. And please let's keep in touch.