The Genealogy Fallout from Nixing Richard Pace of Jamestown Due to DNA

Richard Pace Not Related
Photo I took last fall of the plaque that hangs in the church at historic Jamestown and mentions Richard Pace.

I blogged earlier this week about just receiving the much-anticipated results for a Y-DNA test that proved my husband’s Pace line is not genetically related to the  same line as Richard Pace (1583-1627) of Jamestown, despite a long-time widely perpetuated claim made via an accidental (or possibly even intentional) paper trail error by some Pace researcher.

On the plus side, this DNA test did confirm that my husband Jeff’s family is descended from the same male-line as William Henry Pace (1745-1815), a member of General George Washington’s elite bodyguard unit know as the Commander in Chief’s Guard.

Armed with this new information though, I now face the unpleasant chore of cleaning up my genealogy house due to this fallout.

Wasted Efforts?

I have not invested much time or original research very far back into the Pace line, because a) I knew I’d have to visit local repositories out in Virginia and have not yet had the time, and b) shortly after reviewing what others have researched on this surname, I learned of the DNA controversy and put my research time and dime on hold until we could get our hands on a male-line Pace to test from our family. So no loss there for me.

Jeff With Richard Pace Plaque
Jeff posing with the plaque paying tribute to Chanco and to who we previously thought was Jeff’s 11th great grandfather, Richard Pace.

When Jeff and I traveled with my parents to Washington, D.C. and Virginia last fall, we planned a full day road trip from our Massanutten mountain-top timeshare condo across the state of Virginia to historic Jamestown. Any regrets now? Nope. We would have visited historic Jamestown anyway. After all…. it is historic Jamestown!

On that trip, we had hoped to have enough time in the late afternoon and early evening to take the ferry across the James River to drive by the former location of Richard Pace and wife Isabella Smyth’s Ancient Planter land grant, Pace’s Paines. But we ran out of time and decided against it since it would have has us all back to our condo well past midnight (my parents are usually in bed by 9:00pm). I was a bit bummed at the time. However Jeff and I now joke about how happy we are that we did not waste that extra time.

Cleaning House

I do have a bit of clean-up to do now, most of which will have to wait a couple of weeks until I am done with my summer class.

My Research

  • Deleting all Pace ancestors and collateral relatives from my Ancestry tree (which I consider a “leads” tree, not my confirmed-findings tree), beyond William Henry Pace of the Commander-in-Chief Guard (CnC Guard).
  • Deleting all Pace ancestors and collateral relatives from my research database, extending back beyond William Henry Pace of the CnC Guard.
  • Deleting the same for Richard Pace’s wife Isabella Smyth.
  • For all Evernote notes I have saved over the years:
    • Merge all notes for each ancestor or relative beyond William Henry Pace of the CnC Guard into a single master note for each of those individuals. I do not want to delete all those Notes, lest I ever need them for future reference.
    • Add a “VOIDED” prefix to each newly merged master Note, so that it is immediately clear when viewing a note or viewing a list of notes that these Paces notes are not part of my research line.
    • Remove Anhentafel number tags, the “Pace” surname tag, and any research-action-oriented tags from those notes (ex: “to confirm”).
    • Move those notes out of my active research notebooks, and into a newly created “Voided Research” notebook.
    • Do the same for the Isabella Smyth line (his wife).
Richard Pace - Voided Notes
Updating all of my Richard Pace notes in Evernote.

This Blog

  • Add a prominently featured updated note to the top of every blog post about Richard Pace or his wife Isabella Smyth, noting the false connection. Like my Evernote research notes, I do not want to delete these posts. For one thing, I do not delete blog posts even if they become obsolete–I add a correction or a link to more updated information. I also want other Pace researchers to be aware of this fallacy, so they do not replicate the same error in their own work.
  • Make any necessary corrections to blog posts about William Henry Pace of the CnC Guard, which might reference Richard Pace and Isabella Smyth.
  • Remove the Genealogy Snapshot box from these posts, which displayed the descendancy route down to my husband.
  • Add a “VOIDED” note to the archive view of all blog posts pertaining to these two individuals. Again, I do not want to delete them from lists like our Surnames List, but I want to make it clear to others that these are false findings.
Richard Pace Snapshot Box
Time to delete my Genealogy Snapshot box for Richard Pace of Jamestown.
Richard Pace in Ancestor List
I need to now add a “VOIDED” annotation to my blog’s ancestor list, and an explanatory note to all all posts referencing Pace and Smyth of Jamestown.

Next Steps

After all necessary clean-up, I plan to make this line a major research focus for 2016.

As I mentioned in my last post, the Y-DNA test only proves that my husband’s Pace line is descended from the same line from which William Henry Pace the CnC Guard also descends (the John Pace of Middlesex line). The test does not prove our family is descended directly from William Henry Pace. After the disappointment of learning we can no longer claim the Jamestown connection, I would like to be able to provide my husband’s cousins with a conclusive answer about the CnC Guard Pace. I am hoping the more advanced DNA education I will receive at SLIG this January will help me better analyze the DNA evidence against the paper trail evidence. And I definitely have to now buckle down and study that paper trail evidence myself.

Since the DNA test has proven our Pace line descends from the John of Middlesex line, I need to now begin researching John of Middlesex and his descendants. This is not a name that has been on my research radar until now.

I think this will be a very interesting case to research and study to share!

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0 thoughts on “The Genealogy Fallout from Nixing Richard Pace of Jamestown Due to DNA”

  1. I have the same possible error in my family tree. Question, can we rule out that sometime in the seven generations between these two paces there was an adoption (or a child born of infidelity) who never the less was raised as a biological child? The paper trail “error” could have been caused at the sources. By their willing property father to son as if they were related by blood even if they aren’t. Just something to consider. (The website below is the public version of my family tree last updated in 2012)

  2. So you have any information on the family lineage of Richard Pace;s family before he married and to James town. I have a gap of the SON of John Pace (1523,Norfolk-1590, London), Leicestershire. Would appreciate any early information you may have to fill my gaps.

  3. This was really fun to read. Thank you for sharing. I had a similar experience. Family lore was that my Mother’s father (Pace) was a descendent the Jamestown Richard Pace. Back in the 1930’s an aunt did research for the purpose of DAR membership. She “traced” the Pace line back to Richard and Isabel in Jamestown. It’s surprising how well she did considering there were no computers. She had a couple gaps in the ancestry. She established the Pace participation in the American Revolution (Joel Pace Sr.), however the gaps in the connection to Jamestown broke.

    Over the last 8 years I traced backwards and verified names using everything I could glean from the computer, Finda Grave, the history of Jefferson County, Ill. Pace Society info and updates, ancestry and Wiki, and Geni, found that Joel Pace Jr and Sr who were great (etc) grandfathers found that Joel Sr’s father was William Ingram Pace, and that lead to a literal dead-end with John Pace of Middlesex, Va and Elizabeth Montague. My mother was an only child so DNA test is useless. I documented my findings including the “hole” that I simply couldn’t fill in and sent to my siblings. I wasn’t sure I should send out the information, because 1. I’m not a professional genealogist, or genealogist at all, just an avid researcher and lover of history looking for the truth, and 2. I didn’t want to break the spell of an ancient notable history.

    Finding ever new and updated information on-line and being able to verify and validate and bringing strings together was such fun and learning new history is addictive.

    I recently checked out the Pace Society again regarding John of Middlesex, Va and found more information and updated my research, careful not to delete anything I’d documented over the years, just add a dated amendment. I was looking through all the screen shots and PDFs I’d collected and I’m keeping them but putting them in a file in the computer for “Mother’s Pace History: Collected-Disproved”. Family history stories are stories, fun but still stories. Kind of like the ‘Antiques Roadshow’ on PBS; family histories of their dear inherited stuff that came down in the family for generations and it turns out the thing was made in 1920.

    I’m looking forward to the new information on John Pace of Middlesex, Va that the Pace Society is promising. I’m really curious.

    Again, thank you for your post. I really enjoyed it and it’s a kick to know there are others out there who are as nuts as I am about family research.

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