Sunday, January 3, 2016

Musgrove: Why DNA?

The search for James Walter Musgrove

On this blog in March of last year, looking for our* elusive ancestor James Walter Musgrove, we sought a male volunteer descendant for genealogical y-DNA testing. We got responses...and some interesting results.

Our expectations: Musgrave descendants

The ancestor of the Musgrove family of the south-eastern United States is Cuthbert Musgrave 'the Mariner' a descendant of English royal lineage, from antiquity, who sailed to Maryland around 1685 CE.

The Musgrave surname is documented from before the widespread usage of surnames. It's first recorded for Lord Gamel de Musgrave who lived from about 1050 CE. Cuthbert was his twenty-first great grand-son. If our family connects to his, we are Lord Gamel Musgrave's thirtieth generation of great grandchildren.

Richard Graham Musgrove researched Cuthbert's lineage. He published his results in his book The American Family Musgrove  (PDF)in 1993. In that work our family line begins on page 725, under the sub-section titled "Lines not connected to Cuthbert".

We had hoped to connect ourselves through our test results.

Our results: Pinkney Euphrates McMurry

We matched no Musgroves. 

The rumor 

There was a story that our family surname should have been McMurry.. An ancestral grandmother took her maiden name, Musgrove, instead of her child(ren)'s father's name, McMurry. 

Pinkney Euphrates McMurry,
known as "Frate"
We can confirm; our ancestor was a man named McMurry.  We match the test for Pinkney Euphrates 'Frate' McMurry at a distance expected of second or third cousins. That puts our McMurry ancestor around the time of James Walter Musgrove.

According to the descendant which manages their test,
"...David McMurry, our great great grandfather, married (?) our great great grandmother Elizabeth Nichols. Their son Pinkney Euphrates McMurry was born  in 1850 in Jackson County, FL. As the story went, her family migrated to Wayne County MS and she wanted to go too. He was a scout for the group and one day around the FL/GA border, he never returned to camp. "
The family assumed he knew someone around that area, And, according to census records, some McMurry families were living in Baker County, Georgia, home of our mystery ancestor, 'James Walter Musgrove'.

Meet the McMurry family

Pinkney McMurry
family picture

Pictured is Pinkney Euphrates 'Frate' McMurry and his children: William Taylor (Buster) McMurry, John Joseph McMurry, Charlie Clifton McMurry, Jesse Franklin McMurry, Lee Hoyle (Bud) McMurry and Mrs. Ollie Viola McMurry Durmon

This picture was taken in August 1940 at Pinkney's’s 90th birthday party in Sigman Grove, Missouri.

NoteRelationships, such as grandmother, 2nd great, etc., are expressed from the perspective of the grandchildren of Willis Edgar and Carrie (known as) Mae (Merritt) Musgrove.

*Terms of relationship - grandmother, uncle, aunt, cousin, etc.  - are used here generically to include  relatives such as fourth great grandfathers, great grand uncles, second cousins twice removed, etc. 


  1. My name is Alan David McMurry (I go by David). Pinkney Euphrates McMurry was my great grandfather. He is buried in Banks Arkansas (Bradley County).

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    2. my email if you wish to contact me is