After taking Y-37 DNA test at FamilyTreeDNA, I discovered that I matched 37 of 37 markers to descendants of William Adkins, b. 1689 VA. I have a paper trail back to George Webb, b. 1794, VA. I'm thinking the NPE happened in the early to mid 1700's.

Does anyone know of or have any research of any Adkins & Webb's living close to one another during that specific time period?

Thinking that this was most likely one of those "behind the barn events", I really don't think I'll be able to nail this NPE down to a specific Adkins male & a Webb female, but I had to ask.

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    Do you know what counties or regions of VA the two men lived in? What kinds of "paper trail" research (court, land, probate, birth/baptism/marriage/death/burial, tax, voting) have you done, and what did that uncover?
    – shoover
    Commented Jan 13, 2023 at 15:28

2 Answers 2


First off I would be careful in assuming that two matches at 37/37 that share different surnames share a recent common ancestor. Certainly, with ancestors originating in the same area, it is a reasonable hypothesis that there was an NPE, but it is also possible at this level of testing that two separate lines could have developed the same mutations.

Keep in mind that apart from illegitimacy, there are other reasons why someone may have not taken their father's surname. For example, adoptions (whether formal or not) did occur, sometimes people changed their name on immigration, etc. Also keep in mind that you do not know at this stage whether you descend from William Adkins you mentioned. If there is a recent common ancestor it may have been before William Adkins (e.g. an uncle, grandfather, etc).

Have you considered upgrading your test to 111 markers? The usefulness of this would also depend on whether any Adkins had done the same, or if you or they were willing to purchase the upgrade.

The problem with a 37/37 match is that although it is a strong match, the common ancestor could still have occurred anywhere between 1 to 8 generations ago.

Testing more markers would determine whether the matches held, and could help to narrow down the timeline of when the common ancestor likely occurred.

Otherwise, it is a matter of using traditional genealogy methods. I would look in the area of interest for any record of Webb or Atkins illegitimate births or baptisms (again testing more markers might help to narrow down when you should be looking). Check adoption records if they exist for the period of interest. Wills can also often be useful, as it is not uncommon for the testator to mention illegitimate children. In this case I would try to take a look at any Webb or Adkins wills in the area in this period.

It is a bit of a needle-in-a-haystack search, so keep a log of where you've looked, so that you don't keep looking in the same place.


DNA has alerted you to a potential NPE. The Adkins surname provides a clue related to where in Virginia you might look for your Webb ancestor. Back to the paper trail.

Both families are found in the central Virginia area (Henrico, Chesterfield, Hanover, New Kent counties in particular). George Webb of Belvidere (Henrico) made a gift to his nephew George Webb Junior (then of Buckingham County) in 1787. See Cypalcorp, Henrico county Deed Book 3, Iberian Publishing Co. The records of Buckingham were mostly destroyed by fire in the 1870s. Personal property and land tax records survived.

Much depends on how far back and where you can prove your George. Lots of Webbs in VA.

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