A Family History Newsletter

Volume 3, Number 3

3rd Quarter 2004


Moses Tullis Was Scottish!
A Tullis Family Tree DNA Update

by Thomas S. Tullis, Editor

As described in the last issue, the Tullis Family Tree DNA project tests the Y chromosome of male Tullises to determine if they share a common male ancestor. (See http://www.tullistrees.org/SurnameProject/ for more information.) As of my last update, the tests for only two of us had been completed: Craig Tullis and myself. We came back as an exact match, confirming what we both believed: that we are both descendants of Moses Tullis (b. abt. 1725) of New Jersey and Virginia. Since then, we have received the results of three more tests: Peter John Tullis of Australia who traces his line back to Scotland, Richard G. Tullis of the U.S. who traces his line back to Claudius/Cloud Tullos of Virginia, and John Philo Tullis of the U.S. who traces his line back to Scotland.

Peter John Tullis traces his line back to Alexander Tullis (1819-1891) who was born in Cupar, Fife, Scotland. Alexander and his brothers were profiled in Tullis Trees, Vol. 2, No. 4. Peter’s results came back as NOT a match with Craig or me. Of the 12 “markers” tested, all 12 were different, so the results were not even close. This led to the hypotheses that either Moses Tullis (ancestor of Craig and me) was not from Scotland, that he was from Scotland but from a completely different Tullis line, or one of the paternal lines involved isn’t exactly what we think it is.

Richard G. Tullis, who has done extensive research into the Tullis/Tullos families in the U.S., traces his line back to Claudius/Cloud Tullos of Virginia. This line is often referred to as the “Virginia Migration” while the Moses Tullis line (and his presumed father, Robert Tullis) is referred to as the “New Jersey Migration”. One of the interesting questions is whether these two lines were somehow connected. Richard’s test results came back as indicating a “genetic distance” of 2 from Craig and me. This means that of the 12 markers tested, 10 of them matched. Unfortunately, this doesn’t give us a very clear-cut answer. It means that we might be related, but that it would be many generations back. According to the Family Tree DNA website, the probability that we shared a common male ancestor within the past 500 years is about 60%. We could possibly get more information by enhancing our tests to the 25-marker or 37-marker versions. The more of these markers that match, the closer the connection. We’re currently awaiting the results of a test by Lindsey Lee Tullos, who also traces his line to Claudius/Cloud Tullos.

John Philo Tullis is a descendant of David Tullis who came over to the U.S. from Scotland in the 1800's. So at the time David came over, the descendants of Moses Tullis had already been in the U.S. for over 100 years. The surprising finding is that we got an exact match on all 12 markers between John, Craig, and myself! This means that we all share a common male ancestor. The DNA testing people tell us there is a 50% probability that the common ancestor is no more than 14 or 15 generations back. In essence, this proves that Moses Tullis and his presumed father, Robert Tullis, were of Scottish extraction! See the chart below that shows John’s line as far back as he knows it and my line as far back as I know it.

Chart showing paternal ancestors of Thomas S. Tullis and John P. Tullis

It could even be possible that John's earliest known ancestor, a John Tullos who was born about 1644 in Leuchars, Fifeshire, Scotland, was the father of our Robert Tullis. (Only three children of John Tullos are currently known, none of which is a Robert, but the name Robert was used in the next several generations of John's descendants.) More research in Scotland is needed to try to figure out the exact connection.

Stay tuned for more test results! And we still want more Tullis males to participate in the study. Contact me (TomTullis@aol.com) for more information.


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