Supported & Unsupported by DNA Testing

One of the learnings we gain from DNA test findings is whether or not a specific branch of COMBS-COOMBS &c. belongs to a specific lineage. For many of us, and for many reasons, we have had to rely on oral history such as “the number of brothers who came to America” to trace our family history. DNA testing can determine the feasibility of such stories and this web page is here to help us understand why a story should or should not be relied on in making assumptions about how we are related to a distinct branch of COMBS-COOMBS &c.

This can make a tremendous difference in what we believe and may bring great relief to us knowing the years of research we relied on certain stories were not in vain. There is also the chance the stories have been misstated over time (embellished, exaggerated or rendered incomplete) or misrecorded or plain wrong. This can go against one's beliefs if these traditions are NOT supported by DNA findings. If you find it difficult to accept the DNA findings as it relates to the lineage you have believed is your own, but is suggested or proven not to be the case, please know we are not intending to offend you in any way by posting this information. DNA can also prove the correct lineage to trace, as well, and open up a whole new avenue of family history.

The following table identifies COMBS-COOMBS &c. lineages, stories relied on in defining family relationships of those lineages, and the credence indicated or suggested by DNA findings that should or should not be placed in the relationships pronounced in the stories. It is anticipated that, factors and assumptions about the lineage, relationships, and story will need to be weighed back and forth carefully in arriving at a conclusion about a story´s viability in conjunction with DNA findings.

For the table column titled:

Lineage The specific ancestor(s) of a lineage described in the story are named. A lineage “snapshot” may appear as a link to the Virtual Archive where more information specific to the lineage is available.

Story & Source “Tell Us” - The account, teller, recorder, timeframe and place given are noted in the table to the extent possible. Details in our family history project may be linked to such details or other information that will assist you in learning more about this branch of COMBS-COOMBS &c.

DNA Test Results “Tell Us” - Based on DNA findings and other factors related to the context of each story, we have classified the lineages as either supported, neither here nor there, or unsupported. Please note that other than relationships pronounced, the story content is not being judged for accuracy.

“Supported” means the DNA markers or “genetic profile”, of researchers who have assumed a lineage as their own based on a story, are deemed a match with a “lineage genetic profile”. If test matches have not been made, then the abbreviation TBD (to be determined) is noted.

“Neither here nor there” means the DNA findings were inconclusive. Mutations may make it difficult to interpret the relatedness defined by the story with a lineage targeted for matching purposes. Non-Paternal events or problems in how a lineage was assembled can also influence this.

“Unsupported” means there is no match between the “genetic profile” of a person who believes he(she) descends from the lineage suggested by the story with the “lineage genetic profile” of the supposed lineage.

The DNA findings or lineage study may be linked to this column.

Abbreviations used: ca. = circa (time period)

Submit this Form if you have a story you would like to include in this section of our Study.


Story & Source "Tell Us"

DNA Test Results "Tell Us"

Ned COMBS Camera
Lived ca.1700s
Of Scotland?
Ned Combs and a brother were of Scots-Irish descent, and came to America from Scotland; that these two brothers became separated, and that Ned Combs settled in North Carolina, on the Yadkin River. See TBD
James Tucker COOMES AKA James T. Coomes
Of Baltimore, MD &
Grayson CO., VA

My mother was Cida Agnes Coomes. Her father was John Durin (Dearing?) Coomes. His father was James Tucker Coomes. The family legend tells that the father of James T. Coomes was the captain of a ship flying the Union Jack. Some time between ca.1817 when James T. Coomes was born and 1843 when James T. was married his father was believed to have been lost at sea. Reported? James T. went to sea for a year or so in search of his father. Failing to find him he returned to find his mother and siblings gone. We do not know the name of either parent.

The story was told by John D. Coomeses son Granville Coomes of Hagerstown, Indiana. I have heard that another grandchild of James T. Coomes told the same story in Iowa. The story likely came from Cidda Coomes who married Sewell Smith Fender in Grayson Co., Virginia and migrated to Iowa.

John William COMBS Camera
Of Washington Co. VA; Patrick Co. VA; Rockford, Surry Co, NC, Stoney
Point, Iredell Co. NC

Story: History from Fannie Combs Brannock, b. 1889 in NC:

"You asked about our forefathers. All I know is that on the Combs side, Grandpa's father or grandfather came from Holland or the Netherlands and his name was Billy Combs."

"Billy Combs claimed his nativity as Irish. Settled in Iredell Co. NC. Stoney Point was post office, and he lived right where town of Stoney Point now is. Came first to Washington Co., VA Then moved to Patrick Co. VA. Moved from Patrick Co. to Rockford, NC. From Rockford to Stoney Point in Iredell Co. NC."

"It seems the Combs family settled in parts of Maryland and Kentucky.

I wish I knew more of our folks but years ago people didn't keep up with relatives as they do today."

The above are excerpts from existing old letters written by Fannie Combs Brannock and in the possession of the descendants of Rufus Edgar Combs to whom the letters where written. Rufus Edgar Combs is included in the Combs &c. Research Project.

Source: Fannie's grandfather was Stephen Rufus Combs, born 1818 in Stony Point, Alexander Co., NC. Stephen's father was William Combs, born in Virginia (1790-1796), married 1814 to Elizabeth Ellis, d/o Ethelred Ellis and wife Elizabeth McKnight (documented). Stephen Rufus' grandfather was William Combs (Billy I) married to Sarah (Bird/Byrd? and/or Nance)

We would like to find out why there has been a long term belief that this line is originally Dutch or from the Netherlands, and that the emigrant William Combs was Irish. This family "story" has prevailed from at least the 1800s and each generation (at least into the 1900s) seemed especially eager for children with blue eyes and blond hair.

The earliest known members appear to have been closely associated with other Irish and Scottish emigrant lines. There is an extremely large number of COMBS descendants in this line who were preachers, deacons and otherwise very involved in church work.

of Bellingham, Norfolk County, MA

Charles Sinnett in his "The History of the Coombs Family of Bellingham, Mass." Purports that John COOMBS (1730-31-2/14/1791) m Mary Bridge(s) (1738-3/28/1831) 4/18/1756 Bellingham, MA. -- (1) Descended from Anthony Coombs through John Coombs and his wife Lydia. (2) Descended from John Coombs and Elizabeth Bennett. OR (3) His parents died on the way to America and he was raised by a Robert Smith.

Joseph Harvey Combs
Gen #3Camera

This is a family tradition with a short story as the explanation for the tradition. On Christmas morning, we compete to see who can be the first to greet other family members with the words: "Christmas Gift!"

The origin of this is said to come from the time when our branch of Combs lived in Loudoun County, VA where they had owned slaves. The story is that Combs family would give each slave a bolt of cotton on Christmas morning, causing the slaves to arrive early at the Combs household, shouting, "Christmas Gift."

Source: I recall being told this by Estella Rebecca Combs (1880-1975) daughter of Joseph Harvey Combs circa 1950. Joseph Harvey Combs was a great-grandson of Andrew Combs Andrew Coombs (1723-1774) of Loudoun Co., VA.

Comments: I have inherited a very old, cherry three corner cupboard which family tradition says has been in my Combs family since their days in Loudoun County, and I would appreciate any suggestions regarding resources for having the age and possible origin of this cupboard assessed.

Jane McCann Walsh

Wilfred Johnson Icome

I am tring to find the origin of my surname Icome. I believe it may be from Icombe as this dates back further and there are only a few people with both surnames living at the same time and the furthest Icombe I can find is John Icombe who married in Combe in aprox 1630's.

Michelle Icome 17 May 2005

Anthony Coombs Camera (b. 1642 in France?)

Story: My mother, Charlotte Hay Coombs (b. 1910, Freeport, Maine) told me that her father, James Parker Coombs (b. 1869, Augusta, Maine) used to say the first Coombs in his family was referred to as a “Black Coombs”. This Coombs ancestor was brought to American as an indentured servant. When the ship came ashore in the Virginia Colonies, he was so tough and so mean that no one would buy his indentures.

According to the story, this Coombs fellow escaped from bondage and fled into the woods where he took up with the Indians. Along the way, he married an Indian woman. The Indians wouldn't have him because he was white, and the whites wouldn't have him because he had married an Indian. So he left the South and worked his way up to New England where he and his wife settled and became the progenitors of the “whole Coombs clan”. (Our family always referred to the family as The Coombs Clan.) See Combs

Source: This story was told to me by my mother, Charlotte Hay Coombs (1910-1979) who was born in Freeport, Maine. She heard it from her father, James Parker Coombs (1869-1935), who was born in Augusta, Maine.

Xana Arango Hansen, Longmont, Colorado

Harvey Newton Coombs

Story: My family has a tradition that Harvey's maternal grandmother, Elizabeth Weir, was a cousin of Samuel Clemens. Harvey's nephew, Charles Hazzard, son of Luella Belle Coombs Hazzard, was “the spittin' image” of Samuel Clemens. I have seen pictures of Charlie that do show a remarkable resemblance to Clemens.

So far I have been unable to substantiate the story. However, I have found what seems to be an extensive connection to the Clements family of Boone County Indiana. Is this where the story originated? A mix-up of names?

I would be interested in knowing if there is a collateral relationship with Samuel Clemens' family. I have so far been unable to find any genealogies that trace his siblings' descendants or any Clemens ancestors that appear on my own family tree.

Source: My grandmother, Harvey Coombs' daughter, told me the story. The older relatives of her family all believed it to be true, pointing to Charlie's resemblance to Samuel Clemens. Charlie himself enjoyed the attention he got from the resemblance and according to my grandmother, his first cousin, he purposely cultivated the look.

Jerry Warrington

Joseph Combs I of Stafford County, Virginia.

Story: According to a biography of William Leslie Combs published in the History of Monroe County [MO]: “The Combs family came originally from Wales. Mr. Combs' great-grandfather [JOSEPH COMBS I] and three of the latter's brothers having emigrated to this country prior to the Revolution. His great grandfather settled to Virginia where he reared a family of children. One of his sons, Benjamin Combs, became the father of Leslie and Fielding Combs of Kentucky, both of whom served to the War of 1812 ...”

This provides a potential location “across the water” to look for earlier “possible” connections in furthering the lineage of Joseph Combs I.

Source: History of Monroe County (Missouri) Biography of William Leslie Combs