Thursday, September 22, 2016

From Musgrove to McMurry: The Journey

The Journey Starts

When I started researching our family in 2014, everything I knew about our history I had learned in primary school.

Second grade Georgia History covered Mary Musgrove; the bi-lingual Yamacraw Indian translator for James Oglethorpe, founder of the Georgia Colony.
My father said we weren't descendants. All Mary’s sons with John Musgrove died in childhood.

Further, he said, we may not be Musgroves at all. Rumor had it a Musgrove woman had a child with a McMurry man but, for whatever reason, gave him her maiden name.

So with this knowledge in 2014 we created an account on is basically Genealogy for Dummies.   You start a tree with the family information you have and their site will connect you to records and others searching this family. When it finds a match, a 'hint', in the form of a ‘leaf’, buds on your family tree branch.

Our tree sprouted and we followed the 'leaves'.

Our Revolutionary War History

These 'hints' led back through three boys - David, Charles and James W - of Baker County, Georgia. They were sons of the James Walter Musgrove. His grandfather, John Musgrove, Jr., moved from South Carolina to Georgia after the Revolutionary War. The elder John Musgrove, Sr., a British Loyalist, was killed after the war and his land in South Carolina was taken by his neighbor, a Patriot.
The Patriots were victorious in Clinton, South Carolina at the home of John Sr's. brother, Edward Gordon Musgrove. The site of that battle is preserved today at Musgrove Mill State Park

The Unbroken Chain

Edenhall, England

The Musgrove brothers' grandfather*(see relationship notes below), Cuthbert Musgrave, sailed from Edenhall, England to the colony in Maryland around 1660 ad. Cuthbert came from a long line of Musgrave Lords and Barons. The family was named after their ancient home Great Musgrave in Cumbria, England. There are records of our family dating back to 1200 AD.

The Discoveries

Minnie Lee (Musgrove) Dial courtesy Jacquie (Dial) Foster
This was exciting, We were accepting every 'hint' that wiggled it's 'leafy little self' and our tree was growing.

The first clue we might be acting hastily came from another member, who wrote,
"My grandmother was not black."
We had attached a record to her for a black woman named Minnie Musgrove.

That was my first contact with Jacquie (Dial) Foster, a descendant of John and Minnie Lee (Musgrove) Dial. We've met since then and she's been instrumental in gathering our family history.

Embarrassed, we went back to review the records we'd discovered. We found there was a missing link; James Walter Musgrove.

The Chain Breaks

Richard Graham Musgrove
Richard Graham Musgrove thoroughly researched the American Musgrove ancestors of Cuthbert Musgrave in his seminal family history book American Family Musgrove (hosted pdf file) Our family line starts on page 725. He begins by admitting what all our family historian know;
James Walter Musgrove, Sr. has been reported by descendants to have come from Baker County, Georgia. However, I have been unable to tie him back to one of the many Musgrove families from that area.
Our search for proof of James Walter Musgrove turned up nothing. So, we took a DNA test at  A few Musgrove matches returned; all known to descend from David's line. Though Baker County Musgroves had tested on Ancestry DNA, we didn't match them. We couldn't follow any clues farther back.

Breaking Down Walls

David Moore
Manager-Wiregrass Musgrove
Surname Project
Through a connection on ancestry dna we met David Moore, descendant of Janet Musgrove,. He researches y DNA at Family Tree DNA. He started 'The Wiregrass Musgrove Project' at their Musgrove Surname Project.

He tested four Musgroves; all male descendants, through an all male line, of one of the three Musgrove brothers . My father tested for David's line. One descendant tested for Charles' line and two for James'.

The results were conclusive. 

The two descendants of James match. None of the brothers' descendant matches any other brother. And no test result matches any other Musgrove test.

From McMurry to Musgrove

"Pictured is Pinkney Euphrates/Euphratus McMurry his children: William Taylor (Buster) McMurry, John Joseph McMurry, Charlie CliftonMcMurry, Jesse Franklin McMurry, Lee Hoyle (Bud) McMurry and Mrs. Ollie Viola McMurry Durmon. This picture was taken in August 1940 at PE’s 90th birthday party in Sigman Grove."

The closest match to my father's y DNA test is a test for a relative of Pinkney Euphrates McMurry . Our y DNA results match these at a genetic difference of two mutations - 109/111 - at 111 markers tested - the highest possible.
A 109/111 match indicates a close relationship. Most matches are 7th cousins or closer, and over half are 4th or more recent cousins.            
At this point a y DNA connection between any of the three brothers hasn't been proven. All testees come from a different surname lineage.  There is no connection to any other tested Musgrove line.

The Journey's End

We're now wrapping up our research and assembling our history. Our known Musgrove family name history starts in Clinch County, Georgia with David and Betty (Collins) Musgrove one year before the Civil War.

Tell us what you think in the comment section below or at our Musgrove Family Facebook site.

NoteRelationships 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.

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