A Classic Case Study in Genetic Genealogy

Newberry Family DNA Project

A Guest Posting by Sue Simonich

For nearly four centuries, the Newberry legacy has been studied by historians and genealogists. American descendants have pondered ancient progenitors from Normandy and England, to America and back.

Immigration from the West Country of England carried the intrepid Puritans over a rigorous sea to New England. The Newberry family was among those souls, who came to America looking for religious freedom and fortune. Due to lost or poor record keeping, the relationship between Thomas Newberry who arrived in Dorchester, MA 1630-34, and Richard Newbury at Weymouth, MA, circa 1643, has never been clear. This relationship is the major focus of our project. Additional questions raised by satellite families in America are now being addressed and included in the study.

DNA testing has assisted in solving some enduring, thorny mysteries surrounding the Newberry family. Often you will hear historians in lofty places refute stories passed down from one generation to the next – declaring, “impossible!” Often these proclamations are backed up by published historical pamphlets or documented mandates, which unfortunately forget human nature – i.e. “rules are made to be broken”. DNA testing sometimes explodes these narrow paradigms. For my Newberry line, it was intermarriage among the Cherokee. I notice there is a similar message in the post “Egyptian, Greek, Phoenician and Hebrew Origins of Cherokee?” from September 15.


Newberry Family DNA Project

As the first recognized member of the Newberry/Newburgh family in New England, Thomas Newberry, was set to become a high profile character with the Massachusetts Bay Company. Unfortunately, his untimely death in 1635 ended his personal historical record. Leaving a large legacy, his family prospered in Windsor, Connecticut and his wife remarried.

Originally arriving on the Recovery of London in 1634, perhaps undocumented children or young adults may have traveled with Thomas Newberry. To wit, another early planter/settler – Richard Newberry, shows no documentation for his English roots, or how and when he arrived in New England. He only first appears as a land holder/planter in Weymouth, MA circa 1643.

These are the first individuals bearing the Newberry surname to settle New England. Many Puritan families had documented, close inter-family, business and religious ties. The Newberry/Newburgh family was among those.

Thirty years later, circa 1663, Walter Newbury appeared in Rhode Island. Next, in the 18th century, we find Samuel the Irish immigrant clamoring onto the stage along with others who appear in the middle of the eighteenth century in Pennsylvania. With these later, but early Newberry antecedents, the project has expanded, offering exciting insight into various family histories.

On the ground, collateral study in England has taken off as well. We are finding that some of the original work done by Joseph Gardner Bartlett, The Newberry Genealogy, to be in error. His work was called into question in 1929 by the College of Arms. Arguing his case, he later recanted, realizing the evidence was irrefutable. He died before he could publish addenda to his work. Unfortunately, the bombs of World War II, managed to erect new brick walls, when many old wills were destroyed at Exeter, in co. Devon. DNA studies will hopefully help us unravel knots, created by the loss of these documents.

We welcome all males (descended from father to son) bearing the surname Newberry/Newbery/Newbury/Newburgh etc., to join the project and discover how you fit in the web of the armigerous English lines or discover long lost American cousins. If you are interested in testing, please contact me at g*o*l*d*s*a*g*e@aol.com (remove asterisks).

As research continues, a newsletter titled, Newberry Family DNA Project – World Mapping and Research, will be electronically published and emailed to interested parties. If you wish to keep abreast of our discoveries, simply send an email with the subject line “DNA Project”. Back issues are available.

We encourage participants in the project to post their thoughts and experiences here on the DNA Consultants blog by using the Comments form at the bottom of the page.


  Comments: 3

  1. Hi:

    I am trying to locate the actual DNA results for Richard Newberry and Thomas Newberry. I would like to place those results up at Wiki Tree, to help others. So, they don’t continue to make the same mistakes as past researchers have.

    • Sorry, we cannot discuss or share test results with anyone except the customer.

    • Shayne newberry

      I carry the name newberry and am interested in learning more I’ve traced it in some cases to torf the rich his son married the daughter of harold blatand whos Male bloodline in the house of gormson leads to ragnar lodbrok and odin

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