Saturday, July 9, 2011


My earliest confirmed ancestor is John Watson (ca.1758-1842), who lived in North Carolina & Alabama. His descendants claimed he also went by "Old John Watts". This appears to be reflected in my numerous genetic matches who go by either Watson or Watts. No explanation exists as of yet, and the national origin of the family is currently unknown, though it is very likely British (Ulster Scots). The Watson/Watts male DNA type is R-L48, and is most common in the Netherlands(15%), Belgium(12%), England(10%), Germany(10%), and Denmark(10%), with smaller populations throughout Europe. In Scotland, it is (6%), mostly in the Lowlands & the Borders. Based upon its modern distribution, it is typically associated with Germanic ancestry. If the Watson/Watts family is indeed Ulster Scots, then the original ancestor was likely an Anglo-Saxon or Danish Viking.  

Family Tree:
John Watson "Old John Watts" (ca.1758-1842) - NC to AL
Eli Watson / Watts (1795-1875) - NC to AL
Daniel Dodson Watson / Watts (1820-1901) - NC to AL
Daniel Oscar Watts (1867-1951) - AL
Huey Britton Watts Sr. (1908-1995) - AL to TN
Huey Britton Watts Jr. (1932-present) - AL to GA
Perry Britton Watts (1958-present) - AL to GA
Matthew Britton Watts (1986-present) - GA

*Some researchers believe that John Watson (ca.1758-1842) was the son of another John Watson (d.1802), who recorded his will in Rutherford County, NC. He listed his children as John Jr., Jenny, Philadelphia, Sawncy, Obediah, Matthew, Joseph, William, and David. Evidence: John Watson (ca.1758-1842) recorded his will at the Ashville, AL courthouse, the same building that holds the will of a William Watson. This William is a proven son of John Watson (d.1802), due to the appearance of the same slave names (Cate & Caesar) in both wills. Moreover, the wife of John Watson (ca.1758-1842) was Mahalia Long, and the region of Rutherford County, NC where John Watson (d.1802) lived was full of Watson & Long families, most of them buried at Brittain Presbyterian Church. These families were Ulster Scots, having immigrated from Northern Ireland to PA and then NC. Based upon the settlement patterns of other Watson/Watts families in NC, SC, TN, GA, KY, AL, and AR, an Ulster Scots origin seems the most likely for the first ancestor. Finally, John, Joseph, William & Matthew are common names in the family across generations. 

*The question of Cherokee ancestry has always caused controversy in many branches of the Watson/Watts family. Several living descendants (including my grandfather) have Native American features which have been confirmed through genetic admixture analysis. In the 1890s, a judge determined that James Britton Watts (son of Daniel Dodson Watson/Watts) and his family were "of Cherokee descent", just unable to prove a relationship with a living member of the tribe. As the Watson/Watts male DNA is European type R-L48 (see above), the Cherokee ancestry would therefore have to be maternal.

Daniel Dodson Watson / Watts 
Detailed Watson/Watts Records
Watson/Watts DNA Video (R-U106)
Ulster Scots Culture - Most Likely Watson/Watts Origin