Welcome to our Thornton family

In this blog we attempt to create a visual history of a main southern Kentucky Thornton branch, descended from Scots-Irish Thorntons who may have arrived in Pennsylvania in the mid-1700s. If your goal is to check whether or not you or a family member are listed in our genealogy file, the first eight posts contain more than 1,500 names, listed generationally. Use the 'find' command to scroll through the material...Good luck.

Also, if you have photos, corrections, or inquiries, please feel free to contact us at thorntonsoky@gmail.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Thornton Q & A

1) Where did our line originate?

Thus far, all the available research indicates that our Thornton ancestors were Scots-Irish immigrants who arrived in Pennsylvania/ Delaware (in what would now be the greater Philadelphia metropolitan area) in the mid 1740s. For current research interest, there are several counties: Lancaster, Chester, and Bucks. Owing to an increase in land prices due to the arrival of German immigrants, in the 1750s, many Scots-Irish immigrants accepted land grants in Virginia, North Carolina, and later South Carolina and Georgia. This was also favorable to the local gentry because the Scots-Irish acted as a buffer between prosperous farming areas and Native Americans.
Not surprisingly, the four confirmed DNA lines of our ancestors are found along this route: the McKelvey-Thorntons in Pennsylvania; the Thorntons of Pulaski, Virginia; Samuel Thornton’s line (Penn>N.C.>S.C.>Indiana/Illinois/Ohio); William Thornton’s (N.C.>Tenn.>KY). Samuel’s and William’s respective families also traveled with other prominent Scots-Irish families and cousins: Allisons (Ellisons), Rays (Wrays, Rheas), Simontons, Sloans, and Huffines.

2) Are we related to Mathew Thornton, signer of the Declaration of Independence?

Even though this is a pervasive family myth that has been passed along in several of the family lines, no one has proved a relationship. There isn’t any DNA evidence, and Mathew’s family tree indicates more of a York-Irish connection than Scots-Irish. My great-grandfather used to tell his children that we had originated with the arrival of two brothers from Ireland. I suspect this may partly explain why many have assumed the two brothers to be Mathew and his brother, Samuel. However, both of those lines are well researched, even though Samuel lived in Canada and had more than 22+ children!!! The only way to clarify our connections to other Irish arrivals is to encourage Thornton males to take the DNA test: http://www.familytreedna.com/public/Thornton. Spread the word!!!

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