Y-DNA Test Results Establish Link Between David Gray and Henry Gray, Jr

By Bob Gray

July 2017


In tracing my fatherís ancestors, I ran into a problem establishing a connection between my 3rd great grandfather, David Gray, and Hezekiah Gray and beyond.† Most of the following information appears in one or more of my ancestorís web pages but this article unifies the information and includes new information obtained from taking a Y chromosome DNA (Y-DNA) test. †A Y-DNA test is a genealogical DNA test which is used to explore a man's direct father's-line ancestry. The Y chromosome passes down virtually unchanged from father to son.† I have included links to other web pages.† If you follow one of them, use the back button on your browser to return to this page.

My search stated with family history, in the form of a family tree that was prepared by sister, Becky, in the mid-1950s.† It showed that David was a son of Hezekiah and that Hezekiah was an officer in the Revolutionary Army in Colonel Thomasí regiment.† Jesse Gray's obituary [1] says his grandfather was Hezekiah Gray who was an officer in the Revolutionary Army.† This supports the family history about Hezekiah being Davidís father.† However, Gray Genealogy [2] does not indicate that Hezekiah Gray who served in the Revolutionary War had a son named David.† It does indicate that the Hezekiah Gray, who was an officer in the Revolutionary Army, may have been a son of Samuel Gray, born about 1704 in Connecticut. †This left two gaps in the line of Grays from David to Samuel.† My focus then was to try to establish the feasibility that 1) Hezekiah had a son named David and 2) that Hezekiah was a son of Samuel.†

War records [3] show that there was a Hezekiah Gray who was an officer in Colonel Thomas' Regiment.† After Hezekiah died, his wife, Abigail Waterbury, married Samuel Barrett.† Samuel Barrett served in the Revolutionary Army under Hezekiah Gray [4].† Bedford history indicates that Hezekiah's wife, Abigail, was left with four small children when he died. It is not known when Hezekiah died. His military records indicate he was alive in 1776 and his will was approved on March 5, 1784.† At least two of the known children of Hezekiah and Abigail would have been in their mid-teens in 1776 (or early 20s by 1783) and probably not classified as small children.†This allows for additional children not reported in Gray Genealogy.† The 1790 census information for Abigail and Samuel Barrett also supports additional children from Abigail's marriage to Hezekiah Gray.† Hezekiah and Abigail's known son was named Hezekiah.† Abigail's father's name was David, making David a likely choice for the given name of their second son, if they had one.

The History and Genealogy of the Families of Old Fairfield [5], page 405/6, states the following about Hezekiah Gray, son of Samuel:

       Born 14 November 1738; died at Bedford, New York, by 1784.

       He married 24 April 1760, Abigail Waterbury, daughter of Captain David of Stamford; perhaps born 14 May 1743.†

       Hezekiah Gray and Abigail his wife of Fairfield conveyed 1764 to brother David Waterbury III, land in Stamford.

       Hezekiah Gray of Bedford conveyed in 1770 land which his father Samuel gave him by deed in 1763.

       Administration granted, 5 Mar. 1784, to Samuel Barrett of Bedford, and Abigail his wife, late widow of Hezekiah Gray.

       Children, first recorded at Fairfield; baptized Westport:

††††††††† Abigail, b. 22 May, baptized 9 Aug. 1761.

††††††††† Lucy, baptized 15 May 1763.

††††††††† Ellen, baptized. 23 June 1765.

††††††††† Hezekiah, baptized 3 May 1767.

This indicates that the family moved to Bedford, NY by the time David Gray was born in 1770, which would explain why he didnít appear in the list of children baptized in Fairfield.† The absence of any records for David in Bedford could be due to the fact that most of Bedford was burned by the British on July 11, 1779 [6].† It is assumed that any record of David's birth would have been burned with the rest of the town.

The Genealogy of the Gray-Hort Family [7] states that David Gray is the son of Hezekiah Gray and Abigail Waterbury.† Mary Louise Gray Hort was a granddaughter of David Gray and a daughter of his son, David D. Gray. †Her granddaughter, Ruth Ann Hort Strong, is acknowledged as the source of the information in reference [7]. ††Reference [7] also shows Hezekiah as a son of Samuel and states that Samuelís grandfather, Henry Gray Sr., b. 1618 in London, England, was one of the five farmers of Machamux.† This reference provides good support to David Gray being a son of Hezekiah Gray, who in turn was a son of Samuel Gray, son of Henry Gray Jr.

I still wasnít happy that I couldnít establish a firm link between David and Hezekiah and between Hezekiah and Samuel on up.† In discussing this issue with another researcher, they suggested that I look at the Gray Y-DNA project and strongly encouraged me to take the Y-DNA test.† I had resisted taking any DNA tests in the past because of their expense and I was uncertain of their value.† However, when I looked at the list of participants for the Gray Y-DNA project, I noticed one person identified Henry Gray Sr., b. 1614 in England, as his most distant relative.† So, I decided to take the plunge and ordered a 37-marker test kit earlier this year.† When I got the results of the test, I was pleased to find that my Y-DNA was a match within one genetic distance of the person who identified Henry Gray Sr. as their most distant relative.† A 36 out of 37 Y-DNA match between two men who share a common surname (or variant) means they share a common male ancestor.†

I contacted the person with the matching Y-DNA and he provided me with his family information.† He has a clear line between himself and Henry Gray Sr. born 1614 in England.† The table below presents the two lines of Grays up to Henry Gray Sr. †As the table shows, we join up at Henry Gray Jr. born in 1653 in Connecticut.† The percentages shown in the second row of the table are the likelihood that we share a common ancestor at that level.† By the time we reach Henry Gray Jr., the likelihood that he is our common ancestor is at 97%.† Given the quality of the other researcherís line between himself and Henry Gray Sr and the published evidence supporting the link between David Gray and Samuel Gray, the Y-DNA result provides an excellent verification of the family line shown in the table below.† This confirms that David was a son of Hezekiah who was a great grandson of Henry Gray Sr.


























Robert B

b. 1912

d. 1999


Edward T

b. 1881

d. 1956



b. 1838

d. 1924



b. 1803

d. 1894



b. 1770

d. 1813



b. 1738

d. < 1784



b. ~ 1704

d. ?


Henry Jr

b. 1653

d. 1731

Henry Sr

b. 1618

d. ~ 1858



b. 1685

d. 1761



b. 1723

d. 1777



b. ~ 1755

d. ~ 1818


Jonathan D

b. 1803

d. 1876


John K

b. 1833

d. 1911


Frederick B

b. 1865

d. 1927







1.       The Oswego Daily Palladium, The Late Jesse Gray, 28 December 1894.

2.       Raymond, M. D., Gray Genealogy: being a genealogical record and history of the descendants of John Gray, of Beverly, Mass., and also including sketches of other Gray families, Tarrytown, New York, 1887.

3.       National Archives and Records Administration, Revolutionary War Rolls, 1775-1783, Publication Number: M246 -76

4.       Pension Application for Samuel Barrett, S.12052, State of New York, Westchester County, Town of Bedford, 3 Oct 1832.

5.       Jacobus, Donald Lines, History and Genealogy of the Families of Old Fairfield, New Haven, Connecticut, Tuttle, Morehouse & Taylor Co., Volume I, 1930, Volume II, 1932

6.       History of Bedford from the Bedford Historical Society

7.       Genealogy of the Gray-Hort Family


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