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Genealogy of Jefferson DAVIS, President CSA
The Conflicting Claims of Relationship to Jefferson DAVIS Can Finally Be Resolved!
See Description of Y-Chromosome DNA Surname Project Below
This section of my web site consists almost entirely of genealogical family group sheets;
it contains very little biographical or historical information.
Site content can be accessed using the finding tools given on this page.
See especially the Index to Kin of Jefferson DAVIS.
Myths Regarding the Genealogy of Jefferson DAVIS
Please note that everything I know of the genealogy of Jefferson DAVIS is posted here at my web site.  I have no additional information.  If you would like to add to or correct what's here — and have documentation to prove it — please feel free contact me; you will receive full credit for any contribution you make.  But please do not ask me for further information.  I have none.  If your pedigree does not intersect with the one below — if you cannot forge a solid paper trail to an individual given in the pedigree chart below — you are not related to Jefferson DAVIS, so please do not write me to ask if you are. And please consider…

You are related to someone by blood only if you have a common ancestor, so work on solidly documenting your own ancestral pedigree.  Then, if your pedigree intersects with another solid one, you know the connection is real.  It is complete and utter folly to pick a famous person, then try to work your way down from that person to yourself because they may have thousands of descendants and, after all your work, you will likely find you aren't one of them.  At least if you work on your own ancestry, the time spent will not have been wasted, even if you have to abandon the family legend of being related to someone famous.  And now that we have DNA testing, the best way to keep from wasting years working on the wrong family is to start your research with a DNA test.

Ancestral Pedigree of Jefferson DAVIS
Jefferson DAVIS
b 1807/8, Fairview, KY
d 1889, New Orleans, LA
Samuel Emory DAVIS
b 1756, GA
d 1824, Woodview, MS
Evan DAVIS, Jr.
b 1729, Philadelphia, PA
d 1756-62, GA
Evan DAVIS, Sr.
b bef. 1695, Wales
d 1743-47, Philadelphia, PA
Mary __?__
b bef. 1700, Wales
d 1758, Philadelphia, PA
Mary EMORY
m1. Mr. WILLIAMS
m2. Evan DAVIS, Jr.
 
 
Jane COOK
b 1761
d 1845
William COOK  
 
   
 
Many have claimed relationship to Jefferson DAVIS through descent from sisters of his father, Samuel Emory DAVIS, yet no one has ever proven that Samuel Emory DAVIS had any sisters (or full brothers).  Samuel Emory DAVIS did have two half brothers (viz., Isaac WILLIAMS and Daniel WILLIAMS), who were sons of his mother, Mary EMORY, by a former husband (identity unknown).

Many have claimed relationship to Jefferson DAVIS through descent from siblings of his grandfather, Evan DAVIS, Jr., yet of Evan Jr.'s five siblings, three have been proven not to have had any children (no children are named in their wills), and there is no evidence that the other two ever married or had children.  To quote the leading authority on the genealogy of Jefferson DAVIS:

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"The outstanding characteristic of the Davis family seems to be that its members were as short lived as they were unprolific.
(Barb 1971: 499)
The majority of those who can legitimately claim kinship — as cousins — to Jefferson DAVIS will be doing so through one of Jefferson's own siblings (except for his brother, Benjamin, who had no surviving children).  Jefferson's siblings with descendants were:
Only two of Jefferson DAVIS's siblings left descendants named DAVIS beyond one generation, namely, Samuel A. DAVIS (b. 1788/9) and Lucinda (DAVIS) DAVIS (b. 1797).  So, the bottom line is that if your surname is DAVIS and you have traced your DAVIS ancestry back into the 1800's without connecting to the grandsons of Samuel or Lucinda, it's probably time to bury the family legend of being cousins to Jefferson DAVIS.  You have a better chance of being blood-kin to Jefferson DAVIS if your surname is BRADFORD, MITCHELL, SMITH, or WHITE than you do if your name is DAVIS. 

The genealogy of the DAVIS wives, Jane COOK and Mary EMORY, remains virtually unknown.  Uncovering their ancestry would certainly provide many more people with a connection to Jefferson DAVIS.  Ditto the descendants of Mary EMORY's two sons, Isaac WILLIAMS and Daniel WILLIAMS, who were "half uncles" to Jefferson.   And while there is no evidence that Joseph DAVIS or Benjamin DAVIS, brothers of Evan DAVIS, Jr., ever married and had children, neither is there conclusive proof that they did not, which matters I discuss on their web pages.  These avenues are certainly worthy of further research. 

DAVIS Y-Chromosome DNA Surname Project at FamilyTreeDNA

At long last, genealogists have a scientifically objective tool with which to measure the degree of relatedness between men:  by comparing genetic markers on their male Y-chromosomes.  The male Y-chromosome is handed on intact and unchanged from father to son down through the generations (except for rare mutations).  The more closely two men are related, the more their Y-chromosomes will resemble each other, which means we can not only prove whether or not two men had a common ancestor, we can estimate how many generations back that ancestor was.

The problem we face with claims of relationship with Jefferson DAVIS is finding a male DAVIS relative of Jefferson's whose relationship to Jefferson is undisputed to use as the standard to match.  I urge anyone surnamed DAVIS to participate in the project, but most especially, I would implore any DAVIS male who is descended from Jefferson's brother, Samuel A. DAVIS, to participate in the testing.  Why Samuel? 

Samuel A. DAVIS (1788/9-c1830) is the only brother of Jefferson DAVIS who is proven to have had surviving male offspring.  There may be other DAVIS'es who connect to Jefferson further up his ancestral line, but Samuel is the closest and least questionable.  We cannot use a descendant of Jefferson DAVIS, himself, because he had no surviving male offspring; and we cannot use a descendant of Jefferson's sister, Lucinda Farrar (DAVIS) DAVIS, because her male descendants carry the Y-chromosome of her husband, Hugh DAVIS, not of her brother, Jefferson DAVIS. 

So please, if you are a male DAVIS, join the DAVIS Y-chromosome DNA Surname Project at FTDNA and get tested.  And if you are a descendant of Samuel A. DAVIS, I beg you on bended knee to get tested and put an end to the disputed claims of relationship to Jefferson DAVIS!  If you will come forward and can satisfy me that you've a solid paper connection to Samuel, I am willing to pay for your testing!

Please Note:  the administrator of the DAVIS project at FamilyTreeDNA is not challenging the pedigrees submitted by project participants, so do not automatically accept the "paper" genealogies there as proven.  For example, test subject #23060 is claiming a "proven" connection to Jefferson DAVIS on a line that has already been proven untrue.

Further Explanation on How DNA Testing Aids Genealogy

Jefferson DAVIS and His Surviving Descendants
(i.e., those surviving to marry and have children)
Self Jefferson DAVIS  (1807/8-1889)  m.  Varina Banks HOWELL  (1826-1906)
Child Margaret Howell DAVIS  (1855-1909) m. Joel Addison HAYES, Jr.  (1848-1919)
Grandchildren Varina Howell Davis
HAYES
(1878-1938) 
m. 
Gerald Bertram
WEBB
(1881-1948)
Lucy White
HAYES
(1882-1966) 
m. 
George B.
YOUNG
(1874-1941)
Jefferson Addison
HAYES-DAVIS
(1884-1975) 
m. 
Doree
DEWITT
(1886-1970)
William Davis
HAYES
(1889-1955) 
m. 
Elizabeth M.
DAVIS
(1891-1959)
Great-
Grandchildren
Varina WEBB
Frances WEBB
Eleanor WEBB
Joel WEBB
Margaret YOUNG
Harvey YOUNG
George YOUNG
Lucinda YOUNG
Nancy YOUNG
Addison HAYES-DAVIS
Adele HAYES-DAVIS
Elise HAYES
Jefferson DAVIS had no surviving sons and only one of his daughters married.  His only descendants surnamed DAVIS would be the children of his grandson, Jefferson Addison HAYES, who had his surname legally changed to DAVIS.  With only four grandchildren surviving to marry and have children, descendants of Jefferson DAVIS are a rare commodity. 

Note that the four Jefferson DAVIS grandchildren lived well into the 20th Century.  If you are alive today and your parents or grandparents are not among the above, then you cannot possibly be descended from Jefferson DAVIS.

Main Sources for the above:

1.  Kirk Bentley Barb.  1971.  "Extract from Genealogy of Jefferson Davis."  Appendix III, pp. 488-508 in Papers of Jefferson Davis, Volume 1, 1808-1840.  Haskell M. Monroe, Jr., & James T. McIntosh, eds.  Louisiana State Univ. Press, Baton Rouge. 

2.  Genealogy of the Davis Family online at the Rice University web site.

3.  Additional sources are given on each individual family group sheet.

Site Map (Table of Contents)

Family Group Sheets

Every-Name Index to Kin of Jefferson DAVIS
Court Records
1743 - Will, Evan DAVIS, Sr.
1758 - Letters of Administration, Mrs. Mary DAVIS
1758 - Will, Samuel DAVIS
1762 - Indenture, William DAVIS
1764 - Will, William DAVIS
1767 - Indenture, William DAVIS
1772 - Will, Mrs. Christiana DAVIS
Biographical Sketches
Jefferson DAVIS (20th Century Biographical Dictionary of Notable Americans
Robert Packer BRODHEAD (Colonial and Revolutionary Families of Pennsylvania)
Miscellaneous
Summary of Bogus Jefferson DAVIS Genealogies

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