On November 1, 2013, I attended a Family History Conference at Brigham Young University in behalf of the Redd Family Organization. My primary purpose of attending the conference was to learn about ResearchTies.com, a website that allows a genealogist to organize his or her research logs all in one place. In addition, I was notified that I would be given a free half-hour consultation with a family history expert. So I went to the conference and attended the consultation along with two other Redd family invites, Melanie Mayer, daughter of Dr. A. Mason Redd, and Christopher Utley, a professional genealogist. It was during this consultation that we explained what we knew about our Redd family origins. When we told the consultant that one of our Redd ancestors had the given name of Whitaker, she told us that Whitaker was an unusual given name and that it might have been a family surname. She then suggested that we look for anyone with the surname of Whitaker in the counties that our Redds lived in.
I got home late that night but elated to have another research strategy. I went to the internet the next day and started looking for any Whitakers that might be tied to our Redds. My initial searches came up empty but somehow I found a website that mentioned that there were two indentured servants that lived in Chesterfield County, Virginia that intermarried and they were named John Rudd and Avis Whitaker. The website is: http://genforum.genealogy.com/rudd/messages/1388.html. Even though John’s surname was spelled Rudd, I thought that it was still possible that our family surname might have been Rudd at one time. It was then that I decided to check and see if there was anyone out there that could prove their relation to John and Avis Rudd and at the same time have had their Y-DNA results to compare against our Redd family members that have already tested.
My thoughts naturally turned to the DNA testing effort being spearheaded by Dr. Mason Redd. I’m grateful for all the work he is doing in finding more people to test. I just reread the Redd Alert newsletters and loved reading about Mason’s contacts in England. Too bad we haven’t matched any Redds there so far.
I didn’t know exactly how Dr. Redd was keeping track of all of the Y-DNA data so I decided to put together a spreadsheet of what I’ve been able to find on the internet. My sources for my spreadsheet come from three websites: ysearch.org, familytreedna.com, and smgf.org. Y-search and FamilyTree DNA websites are connected. Ysearch is the public search tool mainly for those who tested with FamilyTreeDNA. Users of FTDNA can export their results directly to Y-search, while everyone else has to manually input their data. The FTDNA website only displays public DNA results through their surname projects. I just happened to find one for the Redd family and was delighted to learn that Mason is the administrator of that project. SMGF was a popular DNA testing institution that was founded by James L. Sorensen, but since his passing, SMGF has discontinued taking new samples and now Ancestry.com owns the rights to their DNA related assets.
While putting together my spreadsheet and searching on SMGF.org, I was amazed to find there a Mr. Rudd that matched Dr. Mason Redd’s DNA markers perfectly. Not only that, Mr. Rudd also posted a family tree and at the top of his family tree, he shows a relationship to John Rudd and Avis Whitaker . If this Mr. Rudd is truly their descendant, then it must means that our Redds tie into his family tree sometime in that era. It’s possible that our William Redd of Nansemond County, Virginia might have been a son, nephew, or cousin of John and Avis, but more research will need to be done to confirm this.
Another discovery I found while making my spreadsheet was learning that DNA submitted by a Mr. Joseph Reed to FamilyTree DNA shows that he is a good genetic match to our Utah Redds. In addition to that, he was able to prove that his ancestor Andrew Reed (1809-1867) was born in Ireland. Could our Redds possibly come from there instead of England and Scotland? No matter what country our Redds emigrated from it is safe to say that they came from the British Isles.
Tom Brown, Great-Grandson of Benjamin Franklin Redd, Sr.
P.S. For those Redd family members interested in viewing the spreadsheet I put together, it is available for download on reddfamily.org. The spreadsheet does not list all Y-DNA markers, just the ones that I found that mismatched with the entire group.