as researched, written and defined by

Brian Picton Swann

Identification of Living Male Picton Descendants with Potential for Y-Chromosome DNA STR and SNP Analysis

Go to Picton DNA Project Overview for Update as of August 2017 - by Brian Swann

Research into the various Picton families in Wales for more than 45 years enables certain conclusions to be drawn about their ancestral origins. Almost all Picton families that appear in Carmarthenshire, Cardiganshire, Glamorganshire and Anglesey in the nineteenth century have their origins in Pembrokeshire. There is one, or possibly two families in Monmouthshire whose ancestral origins are from England, around the county of Buckinghamshire. The Picton surname occurs in at least two other clusters in England, one based around and possibly originating from the two hamlets of Picton in Cheshire and Flintshire [Cheshire / Lancashire families] and another from the Buckinghamshire / Hertfordshire area, which has branches into London. There is also a village called Picton in Yorkshire. The surname variant Pickton is almost always found only in the families from the Cheshire / Lancashire area.

The various Welsh Picton families can be arranged into a number of family groupings or clusters, as listed below. These are family clusters are based on proven documentary trails back to gateway Picton ancestors living around 1750-1800, using a combination of research via Census Returns (1841-1911); births, marriage and deaths indexes, 1837-2006 and parish registers, indexed for Pembrokeshire from 1813 at the Pembrokeshire Record Office. The Northern and Southern branch classification of the Picton surname was first used by Francis Green in his pioneering article on the Picton families of Pembrokeshire: The Pictons of Poyston, West Wales Historical Records, Volume X, 1924, which is now available online. Further extensive research into the family was also conducted by J. Glyn Picton (1912-1998) whose research results are now contained in 4 boxes at the National Library of Wales. Y-Chromosome DNA analysis has the best potential to address the question first posed by Green in his 1924 article: ‘Do these different branches of the Picton surname interconnect? ’ Reference should also be made to important articles and books available online in the Journal of Genetic Genealogy and elsewhere, which relate this same approach in the utilisation of Y-DNA analysis in surname reconstruction studies.

Chris Pomery, The Advantages of a Dual DNA/Documentary Approach to Reconstruct the Family Trees of a Surname. Journal of Genetic Genealogy, 5(2):86-95, 2009. http://www.jogg.info/52/files/pomery.pdf

Chris Pomery, Defining a Methodology to Reconstruct the Family Trees of a Surname Within a DNA/Documentary Dual Approach Project. Journal of Genetic Genealogy, 6(1), 2010. http://www.jogg.info/62/files/Pomery.pdf

James M. Irvine, Towards Improvements in Y-DNA Surname Project Administration. Journal of Genetic Genealogy, 6(1), 2010. http://www.jogg.info/62/files/Irvine.pdf

Debbie Kennett, DNA and Social Networking: A Guide to Genealogy in the 21st Century, The History Press, Oxford, 2011.

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The Deep Ancestry of these Picton branches is revealed by their SNP Y-DNA signature, and has been obtained by extensive Haplogroup analysis of Y-SNP markers from samples provided by Owen S. Picton of Nebraska, USA. Interested persons in this area are recommended to read articles and FAQs on the Family Tree DNA (FTDNA) website and elsewhere which explain how SNPs can be utilised to investigate Deep Ancestry. There is no reason to doubt that his SNP Y-DNA profile is not the same across all members of the Picton families below of Welsh origin, and he has tested positive for a very large number of SNPs. It is difficult, however, to assign yet even approximate dates to times for when these individual SNP markers will have arisen. In general the more common they are across different surnames and across populations, the further back in time they are likely to have arisen. Haplogroups provide the detailed classification as to how man journeyed out of Africa and down to the present day. All Picton DNA samples tested are classified into Haplogroup R1b1a2 (current FTDNA and ISOGG nomenclature, 2011) on the basis of their STR profiles at 37 markers. This is done by proprietary algorithms in possession of FTDNA, but correspond in principle to the methodology described by T. Whit Athey in his paper Haplogroup Prediction from Y-STR values using an Allele-Frequency Approach. Journal of Genetic Genealogy, 1:1-7, 2006. For overviews of the R1b Haplogroup tree and its branches, as revealed by SNP analysis, see the most current webpages at: http://www.isogg.org/tree/index.html and http://ytree.ftdna.com/index.php? name=Draft&parent=root.

The Picton family has remained at the forefront of activity in this area and has not failed to participate so far in any new testing advances which will further understanding in this area. The tantalizing possibility is coming into play that it may be possible to bridge even further back by DNA analysis and to cross the Channel into mainland Europe using a combination of Y-SNP and Y-STR DNA analysis. In particular all of the SNPs listed below for Owen S. Picton have also been found in the Y-DNA of the renowned scientist J. Craig Venter. Owen Picton has also taken part in the first Walk The Y DNA sequencing projects run by FTDNA, in which about 100,000 base pairs of his Y-DNA was sequenced to look for novel Y-SNPs, but none were revealed. Results to date show that he has tested positive for the following SNPs: R1b-U106/21+, then L48+, Z381+, Z301+, L47+, L44+, L46+, L45+, L163+, L164+, L237+, L477+, L493+ and L525+. For the nomenclature of SNPs, see the FTDNA website and the International Society of Genetic Genealogy (ISOGG) Tree for Haplogroup R.


Picton of Newport, Nevern, Whitechurch, Meline, Bridell, Llanboidy, Trelech, Penrith, Llanvihangel a’r Arth, Llanelly, the USA and elsewhere

This is the oldest and most senior Picton line, which can probably be traced back to around 1270 at the small town of Newport in Pembrokeshire. The likelihood is that all other Picton lines in Pembrokeshire have their ancestral roots here, but it will prove very challenging to establish this just by documentary examination and pedigree reconstruction. This information is taken from the Picton pedigree available in the Golden Grove Books, now at the Carmarthen Record Office; and which is a fair copy made around 1765 of the same pedigree in the Protheroe V MS Collection at the College of Arms. This was compiled by David Edwardes around 1685.

The pedigree here shows that a Jenkin Picton owned approximately one-fifth of the houses (burgages) of the town of Newport, as recorded in a 1434 survey.

There are a limited number of sources available for Welsh pedigree research before 1600, when Welsh wills proved in the Archdeaconary Court of St. Davids become available and are now online at the National Library of Wales (NLW). Parish registers for Pembrokeshire do not survive in any great numbers before the middle of the 18th century. However there is an extensive series of Manorial Records relating to the Barony of Cemais (Kemes) at the NLW in the Bronwydd MS, some of which pre-date 1600 and have never been examined systematically. Some work has been done on the Pembrokeshire Records in the Court of the Great Sessions, which go back to 1542 – but again this represents a vast, un-indexed resource at the NLW.

All proven lines of descent down to the present day go through William Picton of Whitechurch [d. 1696] and his only known son, Owen Picton [d. 1738] and his grandson John Picton [d. 1793]. All later members of this family also descend from Thomas Picton (1749-1836), with the exception mentioned immediately below. Descendants migrated from North Pembrokeshire into rural Carmarthenshire and on to towns like Llanelly and Swansea in the nineteenth century. One branch, headed by Stephen Picton (1825-1896), emigrated to Kansas in 1870.

Another branch of the family in the USA was started by Thomas Picton (1775-1861), grandson of Owen Picton [d. 1738] and the only son of Owen Picton [1744-1780], older brother to Thomas Picton (1749-1836). He emigrated to New Jersey in 1796 and undertook training to become a Presbyterian Minister from May 1798. His first position was as a Minister at Woodbury, New Jersey, from 1799. He received an MA degree from Princeton University and taught at West Point Military Academy as Professor of Geography, Law and Ethics from 1811 to 1823. He left one son, John Moore White Picton (1799-1859), who went on have a large family, and to form a group of Picton descendants in Louisiana, Texas, Tennessee and elsewhere in the USA; and one daughter, Mary Barton Picton, who married Edwin A. Stevens. She died in childbirth in 1845 and Edwin Stevens remarried. When he died in 1868 he was worth over $18 million dollars, because of the family’s interests in shipping, manufacturing and railroads. Strictly this is the most senior line of all the Picton families and stems from John Picton, son of Jenkin Picton of Newport, fl. 1434.

Owen Picton of Nebraska, USA, DNA analysed.

Living Picton descendants from English family identified and DNA analysed: Living Picton

Male descendants of Owen Picton of Eglwyswrw (1744-1780) and Rev. Thomas Picton (1775-1861) identified. Rev. Thomas D. Picton of Denver, DNA analysed.

All identified living descendants of this branch come through John Picton of Whitechurch (1713/4-1793), even though a document trail exists back to Jenkin Picton of Newport, fl. 1434.

Other Picton descendants would be nice to test. From documentary reconstruction it would appear that Thomas D. Picton represents the oldest surviving male Picton line of this global family.

Summary of Picton Family Pedigree Accounts Available [2012]

Picton of Newport and Nevern -- Northern Branch, 1250-1700.

Picton of Whitechurch and Trelech -- Northern Branch, 1650-present day.

Picton of Martletwy and Rudbaxton -- Southern Branch [Sir Thomas Picton’s family], 1540-present day.

(1) Picton of Martletwy I; Picton of Martletwy II; Picton of Martletwy III; Picton of Martletwy IV; Picton of Martletwy V

(2) Picton of Freystrop I; Picton of Freystrop II; Picton of Freystrop III; Picton of Freystrop IV; Picton of Burton

(3) Picton of Cosheston

(4) Picton of Haroldston West, Lambston and Cosheston; Picton of Herbrandston; Picton of Lewisburg; Picton of Pembroke and Barrow-in-Furness

(5) Picton of Carew, Llawhaden and Anglesey

(6) Picton of Haverfordwest

(7) Picton of Llandissilio

(8) Picton of Steynton

(9) Picton of Dale and Marloes

(10) Picton of Camrose and the USA

(11) Picton of Monmouthshire

(12) Picton of Liverpool (Family of Sir James Allanson Picton)

Picton DNA Overview

Version 1.10 February 2012

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Last Modified February 2012

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