KY Tri Racial Society


Hello All!! Below are my GEDMATCH results, which expands the DNA test results a bit. The Middle Eastern here shows up as Mediterranean.

DNA similarities among the Sizemore and Begley families of Eastern Kentucky


I have been doing genealogy research now for 6 years, and last year had the DNA test performed to see what regions of the world my family originate. Once I had this information in hand, I had to determine which family came from where. Here, I have looked at two of these families that have more unique results. When gathering this data, I only used people from one of these families only, this way I could filter crossed results. What I have found is a repeatable pattern among these 2 families. I am, by no means, a professional and do not claim to be. This is a simple study of finding repeatable results among the majority, then seeing how many people had these regions show up in their DNA.


Old Ned Sizemore descendants


The following is DNA matches among descendants of Old Ned Sizemore. A total of six people were reviewed, with all descendants having DNA from Great Britain, Ireland, and Caucasus (area of the Middle East). Five of the six people had Native American, and four of the six had Finland / Northwest Russia.


Great Britain 6

Ireland 6

Middle Eastern 6

Native American ( including regions of Asia, South America, and Eskimo ) 5

Finland/Northwest Russia 4


Hiram Begley descendants


In this group, I reviewed 5 people. Again, the only common tie among these families was the Begley only. We have very similar results as the Sizemore, but with European Jewish as another common tie. We also find that of these 6 regions, 5 showed up in all people. We find less Finland / Northwest Russian in this family than the Sizemore’s.


Great Britain 5

Ireland 5

Middle Eastern  5

Native American ( including regions of Asia, South America, and Eskimo ) 5

Finland/Northwest Russia 2

European Jewish 5


These 2 families did intermarry, but for this example I only used results from each family exclusively. It is worth noting that families descended from both lines carried all noted DNA, which would be expected. Other families that tie into these are Shepherd, Jones, and Bray. So, we can determine that both families do carry Middle Eastern and Native American, with Native American ancestry being passed down in oral history of both the Begley and Sizemore families. So, why is Middle Eastern in these families? DNA performed on Cherokee in Western NC has turned up similar results, along with European Jewish. With Catawba eventually intergrating into the Cherokee, this would explain why these families ( who, by oral accounts, was Catawba ), would share similar DNA

8-14-13. Below is some History on the Shepherd and Sizemore Families. Enjoy!


       The Shepherds and Sizemore’s of          

                   Eastern Kentucky

When people discuss the early history of our state, they often mention early explorers like Thomas Walker and Daniel Boone. These men forged into Native American hunting grounds to create what is now known as the Daniel Boone Trail, or Wilderness Trail. Yes, many people of Scottish and Irish decent followed this trail, but there were a few families with a more diverse heritage that came into this state. Some followed the Wilderness Trail, while most came through Pound Gap. These Tri Racial families moved from the area of Hawkins County Tennessee and Wise Virginia in the early 1800s. Some, like the Sizemore’s, had Native American ancestry, while the Shepherd’s had this plus African American ancestry.

Let’s look at the Shepherds. The earliest picture I have of this family is Henderson Shepherd and his wife Louisa.  Henderson was born in Wise Virginia in 1821. Both he and his wife have ancestors that came from the New River area, primarily through the maternal side. This is where we find women with no last names or history. Through the Paternal Lines, we find these families came to America in in early 1700s, possibly as Indentured Servants from England and Ireland.

What is interesting about Henderson is the picture of him and his family. When we look at Henderson, we can see obvious European and African lineage, and his wife Louisa is said to have been part Native American. The child Henderson holds appears to be a Native American girl, while Louisa holds a little boy that is more Caucasian in appearance. In this picture, we get a glimpse of what a truly Tri Racial family would have looked like. Henderson is my 3 X Great Grandfather.


Henderson’s son Clem Shepherd married Rutha Musselwhite. Rutha has ties to Wilkes County through her mother Tamar Allen. Tamar does show up on early slave records, and was African. Her father, Worley Musselwhite, was born in Roberson North Carolina with no listed parents. My thought would be that both of her parents could be of possible Lumbee origin, as M-White does appear in early documents pertaining to the Lumbee. And by the picture of Clem and Rutha, I think that would be a fair assumption.

Clem would have a son named Elijah Shepherd, who would later marry Ann Jones. Their daughter, Oddie Shepherd, was my grandmother through my father.

So, let’s talk about Ann Jones. Ann was the daughter of Bige Jones and Sallie Woods. Bige was the son of Civil War soldier Edward Jones and a Native American lady named Mary Polly Asher Jones. Sallie was the daughter of Mahala Sizemore-Woods and Lilburn Woods. Through Lilburn Woods we have a connection to a Charity Kennedy from South Carolina, born in 1751 below is a documented description of her and her husband when they arrived in the Cumberland Gap:

From the story seen under William Robinson:

This sketch was written at Castlewoods, Virginia, Oct 11, 1899 by Rebecca W. Semple (?) of Memphis, Tennessee. Dictated by J.J.Dickenson.

William Robinson came from South Carolina about the year 1770, bringing with him his wife who was a Miss Kennedy, also of South Carolina, and was said by some to have been Portuguese blood. She was very dark complected.

With Charity leaving South Carolina in this time frame, we can loosely connect her to the Catawba tribe that started to move around this period. The Kennedy Family was also noted as Catawba in Catawba Indian Genealogy, authored by Ian Watson from the Department of Anthropology, State University of New York at Geneseo in 1995.

Mahala Sizemore is the daughter of Ann Pruitt and Russell Sizemore. Russell’s mother was Rhoda Sizemore, daughter of George All Sizemore and Agnes Shepherd. His father is unknown, but thought to be a Begley. We know by pictures and written history that this family was the Whitetop Laurel band of Cherokee in the late 1800s, so the Sizemore’s indeed are of Native American decent. In fact, this family has been part of a DNA study on Melungeons, and was the only family to show Native American. At this point, many believe the Sizemore’s originate with an Native American man and a Sizemore woman. I also go back to George All Sizemore through my mother’s family, the Begley’s. Her ancestor Winnie Sizemore is Rhoda Sizemore’s sister, so I go back to him 2 times, through both Maternal and Paternal lines. The Begley’s and Sizemore’s seem to cross paths several times in history. There are numerous Tri Racial ties in Ann Jones line, too many to document in this story.


Yes, this has taken many years to put together and document with evidence. Lucky, I also have a cousin that had pictures of these people. When we put a face to the name, the story starts to unfold.  Our Tri Racial ancestry is revealed before our eyes.  With that said, we have to appreciate the journey our family followed.

Mike Fields

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