Sunday, December 15, 2013

You Can't Get There From Here

I've encountered lots of speed bumps on the Murray family journey. But I'm afraid I've encountered something that may end my search--not a brick wall, more like a traffic circle I can't escape from.

I'm stuck at my 3rd great-grandfather, James. I have two clues from census data: that he was born between 1776 and 1794 in Connecticut. I strongly suspect he is the son of David Murray. He was a witness on a deed for a sale of some of David's land and they were both subscribers to North Street Cemetery in Auburn, NY in 1810.

I have been trying to locate David in 1790. He begins to appear in Cayuga County records around 1800. There are a few Davids in 1790 and I have eliminated those in the South. I'm left with one in Maine and one in Hebron, NY. The David in Maine is still there in the 1800 census, so I'm left with David of Hebron in Washington County. It's likely this is my guy, but there's also a possibility this isn't my David who could be living elsewhere, but not as head of household.

I've been trying to uncover any bits from Washington County that could help, but have turned up absolutely nothing. I've been trying to see if I could uncover anything in Connecticut, but also nothing. There are plenty of Murrays in Connecticut, but no leads on David.

This is where I want you to think of entering a traffic circle and where one of the road options takes me to Connecticut and there are unmarked branches shooting off the circle that go who knows where.

In an attempt to augment traditional research, I asked a male relative if he would do DNA testing. I thought if we could connect to one of the Connecticut lines, I might be able to target my research better. We got the results this week.

There are no matches for Murrays that might have come from the Connecticut line, but I can't write that off just yet, because the DNA testing pool is still relatively small. The closest matches were not Murrays at all. They were McMurrays.

The loss of the Mc is not particularly shocking (well, maybe just a little), but the big problem is that I don't know when it was dropped--if it was dropped by David or 10 generations before David. The DNA matches aren't close enough to tell me that information.

So, do I need to go to Murray, Connecticut directly or do I need to go to Murray, NY and then McMurray, CT or is there some other combination that leads me down the correct road?

It reminds me of the first time I drove in England. I entered a roundabout and went around about five times before I found my way out. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that the analogy holds because I finally got to where I wanted to go.


  1. This is very interesting! I know this post is a bit older, but wondering if you were ever successful in linking David to James Murray. I did update my tree to reflect James as being born in Connecticut.

    I want to say thank you again for all the work you've put into this family tree. It makes it all a bit easier for the next generation :-)

  2. You're welcome.
    Unfortunately, I've not made progress. I did a telephone consult with NEHGS, but they didn't come up with much beyond what I've already tried. I've concluded I will have to hire someone, but it's not in my budget right now.