ANCESTRY.COM – The Good, The Bad, The Ugly

I’ve been a subscriber of Ancestry for many years. Hopefully I’ll stay a subscriber for many more years. My experience with Ancestry has taught me that it offers great benefits for research, but also provides novices with false and misleading information and can create genealogies that are worthless.

The Good

As a research tool, Ancestry is awesome – as long as you look at original sources and avoid relying on other subscribers’ family trees as shortcuts. On Ancestry you can find census records and voters lists, marriage records, birth records, death records, military records, directories, land and tax records, wills,  reprints of archives, copies of old books, and on and on. Years ago this kind of information required a trip to the courthouse or library and waiting for interlibrary loans to provide microfilm of documents from remote sources.  Today most of this information is available through Ancestry. Ancestry does NOT have everything – trips to the courthouse might still be required – but what Ancestry does provide has been a godsend to researchers.

Continue reading ANCESTRY.COM – The Good, The Bad, The Ugly

The Muncey Project at FTDNA

Family Tree DNA (FTDNA) has a surname project, appropriately named “The Muncey Project.” This project was created on January 1, 2015 in order to determine the history and relationships of the various Muncy families in America and around the world.

This project is for anyone who descends from the Muncey, Muncy, Munsey, Munsy or similarly spelled lines, including people who have taken the FTDNA Family Finder test. We are also looking for males who carry the Muncey or derivative surnames to determine if they share share a common male ancestor through Y-chromosome testing and to find additional cousins and relationships through autosomal testing

This is currently a small group, but with time it will grow – and as it grows it will be even more informative and helpful. Joining the project is easy and there is no charge although you must purchase (or have purchased) a test from FTDNA to participate. You can jump to the join page by clicking “The Muncey Project at FTDNA” menu item in the left column of this page,  or click this link and then click the “Join” button. If you have not yet tested with FTDNA, you will be given the opportunity to purchase a test at the same time you join the project. If you are logged into FTDNA, simply select the “Projects” drop down menu, select “Join a Project” and search for the “Muncey” in the Search by Surname box (note the spelling).

VERY IMPORTANT!  Significant discounts on purchasing tests are given when you join the group so make sure you join the group BEFORE you test.  If you purchase a test this week, and join the group next week, you don’t get the discount. JOIN FIRST!

ALL of the current testers are descendants of Francis Muncy (b. 1630s. d. 1674). We very much need testers who are descendants of William Muncy (b. 1640’s. d. 1698). Until we get a descendant of William Muncy to test, we are not able to compare the results to Francis Muncy to establish a relationship! If you are a descendant of William Muncy and considering testing, please contact me or leave a comment and I will contact you. (When you leave a comment, your email address is not published.)

Of our current members, one member of the project is descended from Thomas Muncey, born in Hertfordshire, England in 1710. This project member lives in Australia and his ancestors never settled in North America. Out of 111 markers tested, he has only three mutations from the profile of our Most Recent Common Ancestor (MRCA). Based on this information, this person is probably my 10th cousin (or closer).

Three members of the project show NO mutations of the 111 markers from the profile of our direct common ancestor.  (I have a single mutation in 111 markers). The more Muncy males that test, the better we will be able to identify different lines and relationships.  If you are a Muncy male, I urge you to take a FTDNA Y-Chromosome test–particularly the 67-marker test if possible, but the 37-marker test will also help.

I maintain a spreadsheet noting mutations and groupings and will provide any members of the Muncey Project with updates if they send me a request to be added to the list. Please use the “contact us” link to request the spreadsheet updates.  (As an incentive to join the Muncey Project, only members of the project will receive the spreadsheet and updates.)


Steve Muncy

DNA Testing, Part 4 – Mitochondrial DNA, The Female Connection

In Part 1 of this series I discussed autosomal DNA, the most common type of DNA tested for genealogy by the major testing companines (AncestryDNA, Family Tree DNA and 23andMe.) Parts 2 and 3 explored Y-DNA and the y-chromosome and its application to tracing the male lines and surname projects.  In Part 4 I conclude the DNA testing series with information about mitochondrial DNA, that DNA that follows the female line.

Mitrochondrial DNA and the Female Connection

As mentioned in parts 2 and 3, Y-DNA defines male-ness. Only males have Y-DNA and they pass this down to their sons. Mitrochrondrial DNA (mtDNA) is the female component and can trace mother-line ancestry – mother inherits mtDNA from her mother, who got that same mtDNA from her mother, and so on.  There is, however, one big difference between the inheritance of Y-DNA and mtDNA. While mtDNA is passed down from mother to daughter, it is also passed down to sons. The big difference, however, is that while sons inherit mtDNA from their mother, they do not pass it on. I carry my mother’s mtDNA but my son does not. My son carries my wife’s mtDNA.

This is an important consideration in DNA testing. I do not have to rely on my mother or sister to provide a mtDNA sample. I can be tested for mtDNA, and it will be the same as if my mother or sister tested. You can see some graphics of how mtDNA applies to mother-line ancestry here.

As with Y-DNA, there are several different levels of mtDNA testing. One can test only HVR1 and HVR2 regions. For a more complete test, Family Tree DNA (FTDNA) offers a full-sequence test that covers all the normal coding regions including the HVR1 and HVR2 regions. The full sequence test can take the results back to almost 180,000 years!

I haven’t seen any definitive statistics on this, but I suspect that mtDNA is the least tested type of DNA (but it is definitely getting more popular). The primary reason for this is that genealogy research tends to concentrate on male lines because typically male surnames remain the same down through generations. Because females have in the past typically changed their surname to match their husband, it becomes easy to lose the connections to their family. This is not to say that mtDNA can’t be very useful. My Mother’s mtDNA can be traced back to her 3G-grandmother, Mary (Polly) Gilliam who was born in Virginia in the mid-1700’s. Using services like FTDNA, matches to her DNA might yield more information about Mary Gilliam and sisters and mother. I already have one perfect match to another woman, Mary Polly Hearn in the 1770’s. I have yet to establish the connection between the two – the connection could be within a relatively few generations but could be a hundred years or more.

Currently FTDNA is the only company in the U. S. that offers mtDNA testing for genealogical uses.


DNA Testing, Part 3 – Sex, Lies and yDNA

In human DNA only males carry the Y-Chromosome so NORMALLY the yDNA follows a particular surname. My GG-grandfather Muncy gave his y-chromosome to my great-grandfather Muncy, who gave that same y-chromosome to my grandfather, who in turn gave it to my father and then to me. Mutations of specific markers happen along the way, but mutations don’t happen frequently. Mutations become key to identifying one branch from another. A mutation in the y-chromosome of my 4G-grandfather will also show up in my y-chromsome. There might be additional mutations during that time, but his mutations will be evident in my y-chromosome. If someone who believes he is my cousin also descended from my 4G-grandfather has the same mutation(s) then we can assume that connection. But if he doesn’t share the same mutations as my 4G-grandfather and me, then we don’t share that descent.

Non-Paternal Events (NPEs)

Non-Paternity Events (NPEs).  I really hate that term because it conjures up virgin birth or something similar. Every child born is the result of a paternal event, but I didn’t create the term and I guess we have to live with it. Think of Non-Paternity Events as situations in which the parent you expected is not the parent you thought was the parent.

You will note that in a paragraph above I said the y-chromsome NORMALLY follows the surname, but there are exceptions. The so-called Non-Paternity Events (NPE) such as adoptions or out-of-wedlock births can result in a person’s surname not matching that expected from the y-chromsome. For those who must deal with these issue, y-chromsome testing and comparisons offer some hope of finding their true ancestry.

Continue reading DNA Testing, Part 3 – Sex, Lies and yDNA

DNA Testing, Part 2 – Y-DNA Explained

In Part 1 I discussed autosomal DNA (atDNA), that DNA that is passed down equally from both parents. In Part 2 I discuss yDNA, the DNA chromosome that is passed down only from father to son .

The Y-Chromosome

The Y-Chromosome is a sex chromosome and defines maleness. Only males carry the Y-chromsome and they pass that chromosome to male children unchanged except for an occasional replication error. The Y-chromosome can go for thousands of years with only a few replications errors (mutations) – but these errors are critical in using yDNA for genealogical purposes. Because yDNA is passed down father to son, it is the most important test for those who are engaged in surname genealogical projects. My yDNA is essentially the same as that of my 10G grandfather Muncy. Almost the same, but not quite.

Continue reading DNA Testing, Part 2 – Y-DNA Explained

DNA Testing – Part 1: Autosomal DNA

This starts a four part introduction to the subject of DNA testing. I’m not an expert. Like many of you, I am still learning this stuff. Some of it is pretty easy to understand, but once you get down into the weeds it can get pretty complicated. I highly recommend exploring and bookmarking the following blogs that cover Genetic Genealogy:

Roberta Estes – DNAeXplained – Genetic Genealogy Genealogy – Roberta is Administrator of the Muncey Project at Family Tree DNA

Kitty Cooper – Kitty Cooper’s Blog: Musings on Genealogy, Genetics and Gardening

One thing is certain. Genetic Genealogy is the future. It can help answer family mysteries and offer new paths when traditional research comes to a dead end. If you or other family members have not been tested — well, you will eventually want to be tested. Trust me. It’s important.

The Basics

If you have turned on a television in the past few years, you will have seen advertising for and 23AndMe – two services that offer DNA testing used in genealogy research. Your may not have seen advertising about Family Tree DNA (FTDNA), but we will talk about it later.  I haven’t used 23AndMe, but I’ve been a long time user of Ancestry – but I didn’t take advantage of DNA testing until a few years ago. Once I took the test and saw how important it can be to family research, I immediately tested my father (now deceased), my mother, and my sister. I’ll get my brother to test eventually.

Continue reading DNA Testing – Part 1: Autosomal DNA

Frank Andrew Munsey: Pulp Fiction, Dime Novels and Munsey Magazine


A descendant of William Muncy, Frank Andrew Munsey grew up in Maine and lived in New York where he became rich and famous.  I won’t repeat all of the details that you can read here in Wikipedia, but he was definitely the most prominent man of the early 20th Century to bear the Munsey name. He made money in dime novels, invented pulp fiction, owned newspapers, and Munsey Magazine. He became very rich due to his hard work and ambition and became a friend of President Teddy Roosevelt, but he admitted near the end of his life that money does not bring happiness.

Before his death Munsey himself summed up his life this way: “I have no heirs. I am disappointed in my friendships. . . . I have forty million dollars, but what has it brought me? Not happiness.”

Frank Andrew Munsey was very interested in his past and his ancestors, and we are fortunate that he hired D.O.S. Lowell to prepare a genealogy – “A Munsey-Hopkins Genealogy: Being the Ancestry of Andrew Chauncey Munsey and Mary Jane Merritt Hopkins” (the parents of Frank Muncy.) The book is now in the public domain and a reprint can be obtained through Amazon. The Munsey portion of the book is available here at Muncy Family Info – a free 10MB download.

D.O.S. Lowell was a very learned and respected genealogist. He was careful in his research and despite the obvious attempts in the book to flatter the family of Frank Andrew Munsey, we should be thankful that this book was commissioned. We don’t know a lot about the early descendants of William Muncy, and we would know a lot less without this book. Descendants of William Muncy will definitely want to review the section on the Munsey family.







Francis Muncy & William Muncy: Are They Related

Francis Muncy, married in Ipswich, Massachusetts in 1659. His son John was born in Ipswich in October 1660. Sometime after that date, probably 1662 or 1663, he and his small family relocated to the community of Setauket (Brookhaven Township) on Long Island, New York. Francis Muncy led an active successful life as reflected in the town records, but he died a young man in 1674. His widow Hannah and two sons, John and Samuel, kept the property for a few years even after moving away after Hannah’s remarriage. Continue reading Francis Muncy & William Muncy: Are They Related


Welcome to the Muncy Family Info site.  There are two main segments at this site – a portal (what you are reading now) – and the separate Muncy Family Database accessible in the left column.

This section serves as a portal to information about the Muncy Family in North America, including alternate spellings of Munsey, Muncey, Muncie and others. Here you will find news, genealogical research, histories, comments, resources and a genealogical database of the descendants of Francis Muncy and William Muncy – all available from the menu in the left column.

While we know quite a bit about the descendants of Francis and William (especially Francis), we don’t know much about their background. We don’t know for sure when they came to America although we can form educated guesses. We don’t know where they came from – almost certainly England, and probably Cambridgeshire, but we don’t know for sure. We don’t know if Francis and William were related — hopefully DNA testing in the future will answer this question definitively — but we can guess that they were probably closely related.

There are a lot of questions, and in time we will begin to get more answers. For now, I urge you to explore the links in the left column. You may find information that you didn’t know about, and you may find information with which you disagree. Please feel free to comment and come back often to discover new information as it is added.