Y-DNA Analysis of Chisholm Families

The following Y-DNA Analysis of Chisholm lines is taken from the following papers and reproduced here.

1) Barren County Kentucky’s Mill Creek Chism Family & Their Virginian Ancestors. A Genealogical Investigation Part I The Parents
2) Barren County Kentucky’s Mill Creek Chism Family & Their Virginian Ancestors. A Genealogical Investigation Part II The Ancestors
3) Barren County Kentucky’s Mill Creek Chism Family & Their Virginian Ancestors. A Genealogical Investigation Part III Y-DNA Review, Including Chisholms of the Olde Dominion of Virginia

The following is a reproduction of the 3rd part of the above “Barron County Kentucky’s Mill Creek Chism Family & Their Virginian Ancestors”.

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Barren County Kentucky’s Mill Creek Chism Family & Their Virginian Ancestors. A Genealogical Investigation Part III Y-DNA Review, Including Chisholms of the Olde Dominion of Virginia

This is a paper written for educational and research purposes not intended for profit and not intended for publication. None of the contents within this paper, in part or in whole, may be used for profit or commercial purposes. All Intellectual Property & copyright to original works within are retained by the author. Copying in accordance with Fair Use is permitted (please accredit where appropriate)

Printed 30 May 2021
Researched and authored by Robert Chisholm
Administrator of Clan Chisholm DNA Project
Genealogical and historical content edited by Warren Atkinson

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Barren Co KY, Mill Creek Chism Family: Y chromosome study.

Jacob Chism was, as Israel Mitchell wrote in his autobiography, “one of the “wild & disolute [sic] young men” who grew to manhood in newly formed Barren CO., KY. His parents moved the family from Virginia to the wilds Pre-Kentucky by 1791, when and where his father’s name was recorded among the tithables in what at the time was still Nelson County, Kentucky Virginia. Kentucky gained it’s statehood in 1792 and in 1793 Green CO., Kentucky was formed from part of Nelson CO. Green CO., KY. is where Jacob’s oldest brothers first began appearing in county records. All except one of this Chism family were living in that part of Green CO., when Barren was formed out of parts of Green & Warren CO.s, KY. in 1799. With the forming of Barren CO. adult Chism men from this family obtained grants for land along Mill Creek, land on which they’d almost certainly previously lived and made improvements. It’s here where these Chism children met and married their wives and began raising their own children.

Some time ago, one of Jacob Chism’s descendants asked me about the Y chromosome as displayed by various DNA project members who descended from William Chism, one of Jacob’s brothers. This information was obtainable in the public pages of the Clan Chisholm DNA project. The salient feature was that there were no matches to any other Chisholms, neither from North America, nor from the Old World.

This Y chromosome was classed as J-M172, and was the only one of its type within the Chisholm surname project. My first suggestions was to get a direct male line descendant of Rev Jacob Chism to join the Chisholm DNA Project. A sample was obtained, and it provided a match to the William Chism descendants, thus proving that, at the very least, the father of these Chism brothers had the same J-M172 chromosome. The question then arose, if this Y chromosome is not matching other Chisms with Virginian origins, or any Old World Chisholms, where did it come from? Could the identification of this chromosome assist in ironing out any of the apparent discrepancies in the hitherto generally accepted family history?

Part I of the genealogical investigation “ Barren County Kentucky’s Mill Creek Chism Family & their Virginian Ancestors” sought to answer the question; Who was the father of the Mill Creek Chism family?; and Part II looked to find the answer to the follow up question, “Who was the ancestor?

The answer given in Part I is John Chissum from the Orange–Culpepper areas of Virginia. In Part II, the father of this John is not specifically named, but his mother is: Keziah Chissum, and she is named as a daughter of John Chissum of Little Fork. The repetition of John Chissum names rightly causes confusion and so descriptors are applied, these are outlined below. The spelling of the surname varies from document to document; nothing should be read into spelling variations during this era.

The assertions set out in Part I and Part II are in stark contrast to the family history which was developed by the Chism Family Association (CFA) over the last half of the 20th century. The CFA history asserts the following: The father is James Chism, a rev war veteran, who is the son of a James Chism who died in Halifax Co VA in 1786. This James (d. 1786) is said to be a son of John Chisum/Elinor Gillentine of Amelia Co VA, and this John is said to be a son of John Chissum, who (was errantly claimed to have) died in Caroline CO., VA. in 1734/5 by both the CFA & in Boddies’ Historical Southern Families.

Both versions begin with the same person, John Chissum, who obtained a 1733 land grant in the Little Fork. The CFA tradition followed that shown in “Southern Historial Families,” errantly showing this grant’s location on a little fork of the Sherando River, the 2nd version showing the correct location of this grant in the “Little Fork” area of what at the time was still Spotsylvania CO., VA.

Between John Chissum of Little Fork and the Mill Creek Chism children are two generations in the recent research paper, and three generations in the CFA tradition. In both versions there is common ground on the identity of many of the children. The research paper provides, very significantly, two children not found in the CFA version; John (Junior), and daughter Keziah. Both versions agree on the two sons who are most important with respect to DNA analysis, William and Jacob. There is irrefutable evidence for these sons, and that they are brothers. Likewise there is agreement, and evidence, that the sons George and James are part of this family. The son James is significant, as his very name provides a potential for a confusion. All indications it was son James’ given name which led to earlier confusion among the authors of the 1922 SAR & DAR membership applications. Nothing in the evidentiary documentation produced thus far indicates a “senior” or “junior” associated with only adult James Chism found in the period records of Barren CO., KY.

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To help avoid confusions, the following descriptors have been applied to the various Johns as referred to in Parts I and II:

Constable John: John Chissum who purchased the Land at Little Fork and served as a Constable.

Infant John: Son of Constable John, so named because he is referred to as Infant in legal documents, where Infant refers to someone under the age of legal adulthood.

John Senior: Grandson of Constable John, nephew of Infant John, son of Keziah, and father of the Mill Creek Chism family. So called because he is named as John senior in legal documents, to distinguish him from his son of the same name. (John Senior appears as the key person in the Part I & II research, but he makes no significant appearance in the CFA tradition)

John Junior: Son of John Senior, who moved to Lauderdale Co AL. (with his father John Senior, and mother Mary. The surname was spelt as Chisholm in Alabama, and direct male line descendants of John Junior have the “Chisholm” spelt surname. Descendants from John Chisholm Junior of Alabama would be a welcome and important addition to the Clan Chisholm DNA Project.

Other John’s.

Amelia John or Gillentine John: John Chisum of Amelia County, who married Elinor Gillentine. He has many descendants in the Chisholm DNA Project. His first appearance in the historical record was given by Colkert as 1743, with a deed from Nicholas Gillentine to his daughter Elinor. The author of Part II has located an earlier reference, on a list of tithables for Deep Creek and Flatt Creeks (Amelia Co.) in 1742. Claims made in “Southern Historical Families” of connections to Polecat Creek and Little Fork are lacking in any evidence to back them up. This John Chisum is the person who, according to the research paper, has been incorrectly intermingled into the Mill Creek Chism family. Many descendants are part of the YDNA project, and significantly do not match with descendants of William & Jacob Chism from Barren Co. Kentucky, and nor do they match the descendants of James Chissum of Caroline County. Descendants of John Chisum, Amelia Co. are to be found in a completely different chromosomal Haplogroup. (R-M269)

John Chisum of the Watauga Association and Eastern Tennessee: son of Amelia John. No connection to this narrative.

John Chisholm Red Buck: Probable grandson of Amelia John and nephew of Watauga John. (son of Elijah) In the 1820’s he moved from Tennessee to Alabama and lived in close proximity to John Chisholm Junior, giving rise to some thoughts of a family connection.

Blind John Chism: no connection despite his appearance is some narratives. Generally attached to the Adam Chisholm of Hanover Co family. This family has representatives in the Y-DNA project, with no matching to Barren Co Chisms, or the Caroline-Orange Co Chissums.

John D Chisholm of Knoxville TN, grandfather of Jesse Chisholm. No known connection. (Nothing in the historical record to show a connection; Y- DNA from direct male line descendants is not yet part of the Clan Chisholm DNA Project.

DNA Discussion J-M 172 Haplogroup.
Descendants of William Chism and Rev Jacob Chism.

The assertion in Part I of the research paper is that this chromosome entered the Chism family with the birth of John Senior in 1738.

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Mitigating against the possibility that the J-M 172 chromosome originated in this Chism family at an earlier generation in Virginia, or in the Old World, is the complete lack of any other matches in the project, either to Chisms of Virginian descent, or to any Old World Chisholms. It is theoretically possible that such an event occurred before 1738. However the probabilities not only reduce with each generation back in time, and there is also strong evidence suggesting such an event did occur around 1738. This evidence is laid out in Part II. Primary records show Stubblefields were living in close proximity to the “Little Fork” area Chissum family during the same time period in which John Chissum, Sr. was conceived.

It shows evidence of how Keziah Chissum was treated, and shows evidence that this treatment was consistent with the customary treatment at the time for mothers with children born out of wedlock.

The Y-DNA matching between the J-M172 Chisms, and the J-M172 Stubblefields is consistent with such a conclusion. In two instances, there is a 67/67 match between Chism and Stubblefield. This would be consistent with a common male biological ancestor at any time between the birth of the project member, and a few hundreds of years in the past. With each generation the probability of perfect 67/67 matching decreases. The common ancestor for the entire Chism J M172 group is the father of William and Jacob; therefore it is possible to say that this chromosome did not become part of the Chism DNA landscape after his birth. The probabilities that it occurred with his birth are the highest, as for each preceding generation there is the increased chance of mutation, and there is the increased chance of finding the chromosome in a Chism outside of the Mill Creek family. The 67/67 match between two of the Chism group (Kits 97371 & 109808), and one of the Stubblefield group, affords the conclusion that these are the exact 67 markers which were carried by the father of the Mill Creek Chisms, there having been no mutations in those generational line since that birth. Kits N61891, 821216, 935570 have at least one mutation, and Kit 128983 has at least three. These low rates of mutation are also consistent with probability rates since 1738.

See page 9 for chart showing estimated kinship and relationships between Chisholms of the Middle Neck.” Middle Neck is used to describe the approximate locations in the Virginia Colony. The narrative starts in Caroline County, and moves northwards to include Spotsylvania, Orange, and Culpepper, the latter two Counties becoming part of the Fairfax Northern Neck Grant once a survey had determined in favour of Lord Fairfax, that the South Branch of the Rappahannock was wider than the North Branch, when measured at the Great Fork.

Amelia County Chisums

John Chisum Amelia County/Ellender Gillentine descendants have tested R-M269. The common male biological ancestor between descendants of Amelia Co Chisums, and descendants of Mill Creek Chisms, lived in pre-ice age Mesopotamia. For the Mill Creek Chisms, and the Amelia Co Chisums to be directly connected, there would need to be an adoption, or a maternal descent similar in process to that described in Part II of the Research Paper. As far as Y chromosomes are concerned, there is no connection between the descendants of the Amelia Co. VA Chisums, and the Mill Creek KY Chisms.

It seems only natural that people living in the same places at the same times may believe they must be related. The very topic was explored by two John Chisholms (or their family members) living in close proximity near Florence Alabama, the John Chisholm Junior family and the John Red Buck Chisholm family. The Research Paper places John Chisholm Junior as part of the Mill Creek Co Chism Family, whereas Red Buck as a descendant from the Amelia County Chisum family. There are two separate notes found in the Eva Turner Clarke Files: “A complication presents itself from the fact that another John Chisholm, said to have been born in Rockingham Co VA on 28 Jan 1779, spent his last years in Lauderdale Co AL, yet descendants of the two Johns do not know of any connection between them”. In another file from the collection, the following can be found: ..” Another John Chisholm had long been living in Lauderdale Co AL, but had died in 1828. His son John was a resident of the county when “Red Buck” settled there, though he died in 1847. Its is said that they, or their children, attempted to unravel the skein of relationship between them, but gave it up as to knotty a problem”. (Note: Eva Turner Clark Files)

These attempts to establish whether a relationship existed between Barren County KY Chisms and Amelia Co VA Chisums all failed at a time when the step back in time was not great, people had more recent memories,bible records were more commonplace, and both the two John Chisholms who lived contemporaneously near Florence were Virginia born, both born while John Chisum and Ellender Gillentine were living. The DNA project results backed up the logical if reluctant conclusion, that these two families were not related.

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1: There is no direct line male connection (Y chromosome) between the father of the Mill Creek Chism family, and the John Chisum who married Ellender Gillentine and lived in Amelia County, Virginia.

2: The father of the Mill Creek Chism family has a very close biological relationship to the ancestral family of the Stubblefield Project members who have ancestors in Virginia. Most 67/67 Y chromosome matching occurs within 6 generations to the most common recent ancestor. From the birth of the father of the Mill Creek Chism family, to the birth of the Chism Project members who provided 67/67 matching to Stubblefield, there are 8 generations inclusive at both ends. Between the two, is exactly six generations.

The Y chromosome DNA project can be specific in ruling out certain propositions, but it cannot be 100% specific about ruling in certain propositions. What can be said is that the proposition outlined in Part II of the research study, that the father of the Mill Creek Chisms was born to the daughter of John Chism of Little Fork, and the biological father of this child was named Stubblefield, is highly probable. It is theoretically possible that the J-M172 chromosome associated with these families entered the Chism line at an early generation, even in the Old World, with the likelihood receding at each generation back in time. Because this chromosome has not appeared in any other Chisholm/Chism, other than descendants of William Belew Chism and Rev Jacob Chism, that possibility is very remote. Because of the historical, genealogical and cultural factors outlined in Part II, when combined with the Y chromosome analysis; the probability of this Y chromosome entering the Chism line at this specific point in time (the birth of the father of the Mill Creek Chisms) is extremely high. Of the Chism Project members who tested 67 markers, 2 of them have 67/67 matches to a Stubblefield, the other 3 have 66/67 matches. There are close matches to 6 Stubblefield named people at this level of testing. Two of the Chisms tested to 37 markers, and the matching is 36/37, with matches to 8 Stubblefield named people.

There is a match to a Cooke surname, the matching varies from 64 to 66, with just 1 Cooke named person. At the 37 marker level, the two Chisms have 35/37 match with Cooke and there are 2 Cooke named persons at this level of testing. Checking through the Cook Surname DNA Project, these two persons refer to Shem Cooke Snr and Shem Cook Jnr as ancestors. In the Cook project, these two are very much outliers, forming their own subgroup of just two members, amongst a very large group.

Shem Cook also appears as ancestor for two others in the Cook DNA Project, but these two are part of a more populous R1b subgroup, and do appear in the Virginian locations mentioned in the narrative of Part II. As given in the Cook Project there is a Shem Cook of Orange County 1720, and a Shem Cooke of Amelia County in 1750. There is no specific location given for the Shem Cook ancestor of the two J-M172 project members. Because of the more distance matching, in addition to the outlier status within the Cook Project, the probability of direct connection is remote. There is no doubt that that the Chisms of Mill Creek share a common male ancestor with the J-M172 Cooks. The evidence on the ground gives cause to ponder that this chromosome entered the Cooke line in the same manner it entered the Chism line. The evidence lies in the clues mentioned; the two J-M172 Cooks are outliers in the Cook Project, their Y chromosome does not match any other Cooks, and more specifically it neither matches the Cooks of Orange Co 1720 nor those of Amelia County. Orange Co was the location of Constable John, Amelia County was the location of the Amelia John. Orange County 1720’s (Spotsylvania) was also home to many Stubblefields.

At some point however, the common male Y chromosome ancestor between all Chism in the J–M172 Haplogroup and Virginian Stubblefield or Cook descendants in this same group was undoubtedly Symon/Simon Stubblefield who’d emigrated from England to Colonial Virginia by Mar. 27, 1672.

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I-M253 Haplogroup

In addition to examination and comparison of the J M172 chromosome, the genealogical investigation of Rev Jacob Chism’s ancestry spurred a re-examination of other Chisholm Y chromosomes identified with Virginian ancestry, in particular those Chisms associated with the Rappahannock Counties. The results were astounding, and have wide ranging implications for a great number of Chisholm/Chisolm/Chism families found throughout the USA, most particularly with those who can trace an origin not only to Kentucky and Virginia, but also to South Carolina and Georgia.

For a general appreciation of Virginia Chisholm ancestry, a very good starting point is Meredith Colkert’s essay on the National Genealogical Society Quarterly of 1984. Most importantly, he begins the chapter III Chisholms in Virginia, page 88) by advising that it is not presented as a definitive treatment of the subject, but a foundation for future research. Colkert also places a strong caveat against reliance on information obtained from the works by Dr Arnold E Hayes, as published in Vol 17 (1972) of Southern Historical Families, edited by Mrs John Bennett Boddie. Colkert warns against the lineage from John Chisum back to a Richard Cheesome, he acknowledges that there is no satisfactory identification of John Chisum at Amelia County prior to 1743, and casts further doubt that James Chism who died at Halifax County in 1786, can be considered a son of Amelia John Chisum.

What is particularly interesting with Colkert’s account on Virginian Chisholm genealogy is how he breaks it down into 3 distinct groups;
A: North of the James River (Hanover County)
B: Orange County
C: South of the James River (Amelia County)

See overpage for Chart to illustrate these groups.

The Chisholm DNA project has found 4 distinct groups for Virginian Chisholm ancestry; R-M269 associated with Adam Chisholm of Hanover County, I-M253 associated with Orange County, J-M172 associated with the Mill Creek Chisms, and another R-M269 group associated with the Amelia County Chisums. The finding from Part II of the Mill Creek Chism research study is that the J-M172 group is a maternally descended branch from the Orange County I M-253 group, specifically descended from John Chissum of the Little Fork. The CFA version makes the same claim, descent from John Chissum of the Little Fork, but have said John Chissum dying in 1734/5, prior to his move to the “Little Fork”, evidently having relied on T. E. Campbell’s faulty interpretation of Caroline CO., VA. court records in his “Colonial Caroline” There is agreement that the Barren Count Kentucky Family descend from the Chissums of the Little Fork.

With the attachment of the J-M172 group as a maternally descended sub-group of the I-M253 group, the DNA project which has developed from 2007 to the present, reflects the same findings which Meredith Colkert made in 1984: three distinct Chisholm Family Groups.

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3 Chisholm Family Groups in Colonial Virginia as identified by Meredith Colkert

Page 7 with 3 Chisholm Family Groups in Colonial Virginia as identified by Meredith Colkert

Page 7 with 3 Chisholm Family Groups in Colonial Virginia as identified by Meredith Colkert

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It is the I M253 group( Group B on the Colkert chart) which provides information of interest to a much wider group of Chisholms in America. This Haplogroup is identified as lineal descendants from the first named Chisholm, or founder. These descendants first populated the Borders of Scotland from the later 1100’s and onwards, and some hundreds of years later, a leading member became established in the Highlands, and from there a Highland Clan developed. By the time of the Union of Crowns, Chisholms were to be found in many Scottish locations, but with that Union in 1603, came also the opportunity for Chisholms to move back to England, particularly those in the Border areas. During this century, England began the colonisation of Virginia, and amongst the colonisers would be included a small number with the surname Chisholm.

Simultaneous was the colonisation and settlement of Maryland, and given its proximity to the Virginian Counties in the Middle Neck, an origin point from that Colony cannot be ruled out. Chisholms were known settlers in Maryland.

In the first few decades of the 1700’s, the Chisholm name can be associated with Caroline County, on the southern side of the Rappahannock River. Here James Chissum was the “agent & sometimes lawyer for the former Lt. Governor of Virginia, Alexander Spotswood. The Chissum name followed as settlement continued along the south bank of the Rappahannock River, through Spotsylvania, then across the South Branch of the river into Orange, and Culpepper Counties. In the post-revolutionary period, Virginian Chissums moved in numbers into Virginia’s former western province, the wilderness of Kentucky. It is from Kentucky that we pick up the DNA trail.

With respect to James Chissum of Caroline, and Constable John Chissum, both formerly of Caroline and later of Orange, a proven relationship has not been established. Descendants of both Constable John Chissum & James of Caroline remained together in the Orange/Culpeper CO. areas through the end of the 18th century. Primary records show these families of similarly named individuals lived near each other in both Virginia and Kentucky over several generations. While circumstantial in nature, sufficient evidences strongly suggest a kinship existed. John Chism, Sr. & Richard Chism moved to Nelson/Green CO.s, KY, while Thomas Chism who married Lucy Crim was followed to Clark CO., KY. by Gabriel Chisham/Chism (Sr.). Within the DNA project are two descendants of William Marion Chism (Kit# 199375 & Kit#262287), and one from his brother Gabriel (Kit number 101381). William M and Gabriel are linked to James Chissum of Caroline as sons of Gabriel senior, who was a son of William, Sr., one of two known and proven sons of James Chissum of Caroline.

Closely related in the DNA Project is Kit#556934, descended from “Commodore” James Chism, and Kit #718484 descended from Thomas Daniel Chisham. While there are suspicions regarding the fathers of these two ancestors, appearing in Kentucky in the same era as the other Virginian migrants, nothing has yet been proven. Their unmistakeable Y chromosome resemblance to the three descendants James Chissum indicate they are of the same family, however wide that family may be. A schematic descendant chart is shown overpage. Note that there are more Chissums than those shown on the chart, those appearing on the chart are those for whom strong evidence exists. The chart page needs to be rotated clockwise for comfortable reading.

Note also that the chart is schematic in nature, particularly with respect to the descent of the DNA project members via James “Commodore” Chism, and Thomas Daniel Chisham. The Y chromosome tells us that they come from this family group, but it does chart the specific pathway. More of the old fashioned genealogical detective work would be required to establish that path.

It is the modern genealogy which may be helpful with descent lines via John Chissum of the Little Fork. Two children have been ascribed to him, it is possible that he had more, unknown thus far in the extant historical record. A key addition to the data would be a Y-DNA test result from a descendant of “Infant John”, in order to firmly establish kinship between James Chissum of Caroline, and John at the Little Fork. The best chance for such a test would be to find a male Chism named descendant from Thomas Chism /Lucy Crim, Clark Co Kentucky.

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Virginia Middle Neck, estimated Chisholm kinship chart

Pg 9 Virginia Middle Neck, estimated Chisholm kinship chart

Pg 9 Virginia Middle Neck, estimated Chisholm kinship chart

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Another chart is placed overpage, and the 5 DNA Project members discussed in the preceding paragraphs, forming Colkert’s “Group B” make up the grouping highlighted in yellow fill near the bottom of the chart.

This chart is a contracted form of the spreadsheet showing the I-M 253 Chisholm Founder group. In order to comfortably fit on one page there is vertical contraction by eliminating many of the kits which are not relevant to this topic. Horizontal contraction has also occurred, with many of the columns not visible. If visible, these columns would by and large show the two highlighted groups at the bottom of the chart to be by and large indistinguishable from those shown above them on the chart.

The blue and red colour coding of fields within the chart serves a purpose, it highlights where there has been a deviation away from the mode, where the modal number is that which is shown by the majority within the group. The modal numbers are those numbers on white fields. These blue and red fields generally indicate a mutation from the mode. A blue colour would indicate a reduced number of “repeat DNA strands” at a specific location on the Y chromosome. A red colour would indicate an increased number at that location. If the colour is darker shade, this indicates a greater deviation from the mode.

This numbering occurs at conception, where DNA is copied, and with the Y chromosome it’s mostly an exact copy. Every now and then the copy is not exact. Where for instance the parent chromosome might have a count of 28 repeats at a certain location, a copy could be made where there is one less, 27, or one more, 29. If the new male child at conception has this mutation, it is passed on down his line of descent. Some locations on the chromosome are more prone to mutation than others, some are very stable with mutations being very rare. These mutations are what make genetic genealogy such a valuable tool.

This point can be immediately illustrated on the DNA chart by looking at the location DYS 449 in column 19. It can be seen that 28 is the modal number of the group. There is a subgroup near the top of the chart where the number is one less than the modal. This subgroup is not relevant to the current topic, but it allows us to distinguish a group of descendants specific to Berwickshire, the eastern region of the Scottish Borders, where in feudal times, Chisholme was a Lord. At the bottom of the column there is a large subgroup where the modal number has increased by 1, from 28 to 29. The yellow subgroup maintains the original number of 28, and the 29 at this location clearly distinguishes the green group. We shall return to this vital distinction later.

It is important to first look at the other highlighted columns, 5, 27, and 29

Column 27, DYS570, is one of those markers which does exhibit some volatility. Looking down the column there is the mode number 20, with a mutation range from 19 to 22. A comment on this can be made, but first of all it is necessary to consider column 5, DYS 385, and Coumn29, DYS442. On column 5, the mode is 14-14, whereas the yellow/green group at the bottom of the chart shows 14-15. No other Chisholm project member in this Haplogroup has 14-15 at this location, just those grouped together as yellow/green. Likewise when considering column 29, DYS442. The number 11, one less than the mode of 12, is unique to the yellow/green group.

We have seen that the yellow group is all of Virginian descent, not one member of this subgroup is found elsewhere. With the green subgroup, all are from Southern US descent, some from South Carolina, and many from Georgia. Those from Georgia descent report Lt Col Thomas Chisolm of Burke County, as their ancestor. None of the green group, or yellow for that matter, can legitimately document an Old World ancestor. No I-M253 Chisholm with documented Old World ancestry has the mutations shown by the Virginia/Georgia (yellow/green) group; these mutations are, to date, unique to these subgroups.

There is a conclusion which appears to be inescapable, and that is that the Virginia and Georgia subgroups descend from the same immigrant ancestor. Given the later settlement of Georgia, and Thomas Chisolm’s own de facto admission that he was an immigrant to Georgia(see footnote), this original immigrant has to be a Chisholm immigrant to Virginia, or potentially to Maryland.

Footnote: The Colonial Records of the State of Georgia, Vol 12 . Allen Daniel Candler et all.
Page 267… Petition of Thomas Chisolm for 100 acres, setting forth that he had been for some time resident in the Province, …………………….. desirous of obtaining land for…… The Grant Book I, page 701 shows Thomas Chisolm was granted 100 acres in St Mathew Parish on August 4th, 1772

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Clan Chisholm Project: Partial Spreadsheet I-M253 Haplogroup
Direct Male line (Y chromosome) descendants of the Founder of Chisholm

Pg 11 Partial Spreadsheet I-M253 Haplogroup

Pg 11 Partial Spreadsheet I-M253 Haplogroup

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Common Immigrant Ancestor Scenario

Consider the following scenario: A Chisholm named person comes to Virginia, and most likely in the 1600’s. This immigrant brings with him the Y chromosome with the three mutations shown in columns 5, 27, and 29. At a subsequent generation, one son has the mutation shown in column 19, where 28 increases to 29. This son, or descendant(s) moves southwards, and is the branch line progenitor for those shown in the green group, those with ancestry traceable to South Carolina and Georgia.

The branch line which remained unchanged at DYS449 (column 19) forms the Chissum cluster on the Southern side of the Rappahannock Peninsula. (Colkert Group B)

Where this original immigrant came from is currently outside the scope of this research. There are Chisholm names in Virginia and Maryland in the later 1600’s and early 1700’s who can be suspects, and those families with names John, James, or Thomas would be high on the list of suspects. The likely Old World source is England, given that Virginia was an English colony, and that Chisholm immigration from Scotland into England was occurring in the 1600’s, if not earlier in some instances. Maryland had however, a known immigrant from the Scottish borders. A schematic chart to illustrate the Virginia scenario is provided overpage.

Should a DNA test come to light, where there is a match to the “unique” markers DYS385 = 14-15 and DYS442 =11, from a project member with documented old world ancestry, then that may shed more light on the subject. While it may be tempting to find some meaning in the marker DYS227=21, this would not be wise given the volatility of that marker. Checking through the ancestry of those other 7 Chisholms who exhibit 21 at this location, there is nothing to tie them together, while the majority are Highland in origin, there is also lowland (Berwickshire) ancestry in this mix.

In one case from this SC-GA subgroup, there is a mutation in the more volatile location DYS570 on column 27, where the previously mutated 21, loses 1 repeat and returns to the mode of 20.

The Georgia Colony was established 1732, one year beforeJohn Chissum was granted land at Little Fork. The Petition of Thomas Chisolm in Georgia 1772 states he “had been for some time Resident in the Province”, and there may be more information for serious researchers into the ancestral origin of Lt. Col Thomas Chisolm. 1772 is the earliest Land grant or Platt found thus far for Thomas Chisolm. His signature on the Treasury Bond of 1777 shows that he is literate, and his literacy may be indicative of an education an upbringing is an established part of Colonial America. There are strong indications that Thomas Chisolm’s plantation is on the peninsula formed by the Savannah River and the Brier Creek, now Screven County but formerly Burke County.

Pg 12 signature of Thomas Chisolm

Pg 12 signature of Thomas Chisolm

A thorough, evidence based review on the ancestry of Lt Col Thomas Chisolm is warranted. There is in circulation a version of family history linking Thomas Chisolm to the family of Rev Thomas Chisholm, Minister of Kilmorack. This is a history which can be demonstrated to be incorrect.

Kit numbers 97245, 124731, 685739, 723775 descend from Lt Col Thomas Chisolm GA

Kit 113647 descends from James Chism, Laurens Co SC 1795.

Kit 127345 believed to descend from John Chisolm, on the SC side of the Savannah River.

Kit96039, Kit 126692, Kit 281078 , Kit 7152011 are closely related, descending from the same ancestor as Thomas Chisolm of Burke Co GA and James Chism of Laurens Co SC, but their lines of descent have not been established. This unknown group of 5, plus the Thomas Chisolm of Burke Co, and James Chism of Lauren Co, descend from the unknown Chisholm person, one or more generations below the immigrant ancestor, where the DYS 449 marker mutated from 28 to 29.

(Pg 13)
Sketch Map Y Chromosome Dispersion from I-M253 Chisholm immigrants.
Schematic only display for numbers of generations, numbers of siblings.

Pg 13 Sketch Map Y Chromosome Dispersion from I-M253 Chisholm immigrants

Pg 13 Sketch Map Y Chromosome Dispersion from I-M253 Chisholm immigrants

(Pg 14)

Y chromosome matching shows that the Barren Co Mill Creek Chism descendants shared a recent common male ancestor with many people named Stubblefield.

This Y chromosome could not have entered the Chism family in a generation after the birth of William and Jacob Chism. Data from the DNA project indicates that the most probable time this Y chromosome entered the Chism family was with the birth of William and Jacob’s father.

The research paper, PART II, presents a strong argument for how this may have happened, but it’s up to the reader to examine the evidence and make their own judgment.


This chromosome indicates direct male line descent from the Founder of the Chisholme name.

It cannot currently be determined where the Chisholm immigrant to Colonial America came from in Britain, but it is certain that he came from Britain. Nor is it determined exactly when and where he entered colonial America. Chesapeake Bay in the second half of the 17th century remains a reasonable assumption based on evidence gathered thus far.

Two unique markers (DYS 385 & DYS 442) indicate that most likely the Chism family groups characterised as Group B in the Colkert chart, stem from the same immigrant ancestor as those with the same unique markers who descend from a Georgia or South Carolina source.

DYS 449 provides a clear branch line distinction between the Middle Neck Virginian part of the group, and the more southerly group with South Carolina and Georgia ancestry.

Further DNA evidence


While the findings of the Research Paper may generate some controversy in view of long held beliefs, a DNA test result on Chisholm named descendants from John Chisholm Junior of Florence Alabama would be greatly beneficial. Should a test confirm a J-M172 result then that would provide rock solid support to the proposition espoused in the research paper. Should the result match a different Chisholm family group, then that would be cause for reassessment.


The origin of the immigrant ancestor first of all needs more traditional genealogical work, examining all of the known Chisholm colonists associated with Chesapeake Bay. More DNA tests results which provide matches cannot hinder, some may assist if they can be linked to a specific person from the pre revolutionary era. Tests would be most welcomed from those Chisms with Kentucky ancestry to Scott Co, Meade Co, Clarke Co and Madison Co. Descendants of Thomas Chism and Lucy Crim are urgently sought, as they are likely to descend from “Infant John”, the brother of Keziah Chissum.

Should a random test result arose from a project member with documented old world ancestry, where the DYS 385 & DYS 442 markers match the Colonial America group, then that may assist in identifying the Old World origin of this wider group of Chisholms.

Based on numbers within the DNA Project, the progenitor of all the American Chisms and Chisolms, listed overpage by Kit number, would be the greatest identifiable progenitor in the whole Clan Chisholm DNA Project (outside of the original Founder).

(Pg 15)
Clan Chisholm DNA Project members relevant to this research paper

These Project members share the same Chisholm progenitor

J-M172 Haplogroup members, all descend from the father of the Mill Creek KY Chism Family.
Kit 96189 (67 markers) Descended via William Chism 1784-1867
Kit 97371 (67 markers) Descended via William Chism 1784-1867
Kit 109808 (67 markers) Descended via William Chism 1784-1867
Kit 109809 (67 markers) Descended via William Chism 1784-1867
Kit 129828 (37 markers) Descended via William Chism 1784-1867
Kit 821216 (37 markers) Descended via William Chism 1784-1867
Kit 935570 (37 markers) Descended via Jacob Chism 1782-1847
(Note that Brass plaque at Versailles and Findagrave Memorial have incorrect death date for Jacob)
Kit N61891 (12 markers) Descended via William Chism 1784-1867

I-M253 Haplogroup members
Kit 556934 (25 markers) Descended from “Commodore James” Chism, VA & KY
Kit 101831 (37 markers) Descended from James Chessum Caroline Co via Gabriel
Kit 199375 (37 markers) Descended from James Chessum Caroline Co via William Marion
Kit 262387 (67 markers) Descended from James Chessum Caroline Co via William Marion
Kit 718484 (67 markers) Descended from Thomas Daniel Chisham KY
xxx Above this line DYS 449=28 xxx Below this line DYS 449=29 xxx
Kit 723775 (37 markers) Descended from Lt Col Thomas Chisolm GA
Kit 126692 (37 markers) Descended from ..
Kit 7152011 (37 markers) Descended from …
Kit 127345 (67 markers) Descended from John Chisolm SC ?
Kit 113647 (67 markers) Descended from James Chism, Laurens Co SC 1795
Kit 685739 (67 markers) Descended from Lt Col Thomas Chisolm GA
Kit 96039 (67 markers) Descended from ….
Kit 97245 (67 markers) Descended from Lt Col Thomas Chisolm GA
Kit 124731 (111 markers) Descended from Lt Col Thomas Chisolm GA
Kit 281078 (67 markers) Descended from…

This is a paper written for educational and research purposes not intended for profit and not intended for publication. None of the contents within this paper, in part or in whole, may be used for profit or commercial purposes. All Intellectual Property & copyright to original works within are retained by the author. Copying in accordance with Fair Use is permitted (please accredit where appropriate)

Printed 30 May 2021
Researched and authored by Robert Chisholm
Administrator of Clan Chisholm DNA Project
Genealogical and historical content edited by Warren Atkinson