A Family for David #7 of 52 Ancestors

In the 1800’s an unmarried, pregnant woman could be summoned into Court with a warrant and questioned as to the paternity of her unborn child. If she refused to name the father she could go to jail. When she did name the father, a warrant was issued for him to appear in Court. Thus, paternity was determined, a bastardy bond was issued, and the father had responsibilities toward that child.

Today, an unmarried pregnant woman names the father of her unborn child and the first thing he does is request a paternity test. A DNA sample is taken from the child and a sample is taken from the named father. If the results come back 0%, he is not the father. If the results are 99.9% or higher, he is named as the father and ordered to pay child support to the mother.

And now DNA has entered into the field of genealogy, sometimes changing what we thought we knew of our ancestors, or helping adoptees find their genetic ancestors, or, as in my case, finding not only the surname, but the family of an ancestor with an assumed name. I can’t test my great grandfather, David Brazille Plunk, deceased 1955, nor can I test his father to prove paternity. However, I believe that I can be 99% sure that I have found his ancestral family. I would appreciate anyone’s thoughts on the following information, either pointing out errors I may have made, or whether or not you agree with my analysis.

David had twelve children, six boys and six girls. I began with YDNA to start my search using samples from two of his great grandsons. They are second cousins descended from two different sons of David. Their DNA samples were first submitted to ancestry.com. They match each other exactly 37/37 markers giving us David’s YDNA. But as far as matching other men in the ancestry.com Y database, the results were dismal in that the two men they matched with the same surname (not Plunk) were estimated to share a common ancestor with them within 15 and 34 generations. Ouch.

After a few years of desperate searching up and down an ancestral tree that was leading me nowhere, I transferred the YDNA to familytreedna.com. In that database, they matched a descendant of J.M. Boatwright, 1857 – 1907, exactly 37/37 markers. But, David’s grandsons and J.M. Boatwright’s descendant are of German descent (according to their DNA) and the Boatwrights of the boatwrightgenealogy.com DNA project are of English descent. Plus, J.M. Boatwright’s descendant doesn’t match any of the other Boatwrights in the project. In fact, his only DNA match were David’s great grandsons.

I reached out to the person that submitted the YDNA test for J.M. Boatwright and found that her tester descended through J.M.’s son, Thomas Lee Boatwright, 1878-1918. The Boatwright researcher reached out to her family and found another descendent through J.M.’s son, Lawrence Boatwright, who was willing to submit his YDNA sample. The Lawrence descendant matched the other Boatwrights and is of English descent. So, apparently, J.M. Boatwright is a Boatwright, but his son Thomas Lee Boatwright isn’t a Boatwright. Now what?

J.M. Boatwright was the son of Thomas Boatwright and Lucinda Coker. Lucinda married Henry Nepp/Nipp and had three sons, Henry Nipp abt 1845, Andrew Jackson Nipp abt 1846 and Charles E. Nipp abt 1848. I don’t know what happened to her husband Henry, nor her son Henry, but in 1860, she’s married to Thomas Boatwright and has more children, William Boatwright abt 1852, Joseph Calvin Boatwright 1854 – 1923, J.M. Boatwright 1857-1907, Luticia Boatwright abt 1859.

Some research into the Nipp name revealed its variations of Nipp/Nepp/Neff/Knepp/Knipp/Knipe and apparently originated as the German surname Knopp. A clue!

There was a website, genetree.com, where you could manually enter the YDNA markers and search for matches in that database. I did so, and David’s great grandsons matched, 37/37 markers, a man who claimed descendency from Verner/Varner Knipp, through his son Daniel. Unfortunately, there was no email available for that tester and genetree has shut down their website.
Ysearch.org didn’t yield anything when I entered the markers there, but at smgf.org David’s testers matched a Knep descendant. Again, no email but this person did include an ancestry chart that I’m researching.

I posted a request for a tester on the Facebook site, Random Acts of Genealogy Kindness (RAOGK) and found another lovely woman in the Knipp family researching her ancestor Edmund Knipp, 1804-1867). I also started my own Facebook research group, Nipp/Knapp-KIN and allied Families. A descendant of Edmund Knipp submitted his YDNA and he matches the descendants of David Brazille Plunk and the descendant of Thomas Lee Boatwright exactly 37/37 markers.

At this point, I’m sure that the ancestral surname of David Brazille Plunk is Nipp/Knipp, but which family does he belong to?

One of my matches from my atDNA test (autosomal) is a man descended from Leann Knipp and John Adam Bible. Leann is the daughter of Daniel Knipp and Regina Bowers. Daniel is the son of Varner/Verner Knipp and wife Christeener. This fits with the YDNA results of my cousins.

Imagine my surprise recently when I saw a man with the surname of Boatwright listed as one of my atDNA matches! Correspondence with this match reveals that he is descended from Joseph Calvin Boatwright and Emma Dean Carter. Joseph Calvin Boatwright is the son of Thomas Boatwright and Lucinda Coker Nipp Boatwright. Yes! He is the brother of J.M. Boatwright that raised the Thomas Lee Boatwright whose descendant matches the YDNA of my Plunk testers. The way I see it is that my atDNA Boatwright match is related to me through Lucinda Coker Nipp Boatwright. He descending through her marriage to Thomas Boatwright and myself descending through her marriage to Henry Nipps.

So now the question is which of her three Nipps sons is the father David Brazille Plunk. And who was his mother?

A Knip Puzzle – Part Two

In several other posts I’ve explained why I believe my Plunk ancestor is actually a Nipp/Knipp/Knepp. For more information on the YDNA project please see http://www.familytreedna.com/public/NippKnapp-KIN/ or

At smgf.org, I manually entered the markers for the Plunk descendants and we have 3 matches from that database. All of them are 37/37 marker matches.

1. KNEPP[USA-Pennsylvania]: 4gen

I have no way of contacting this Knepp tester to ask him to join our YDNA project, but I hope someone in his family sees this and decides to test.

This person states his ancestry is:

Henry KNEPP b. 6 Jun 1852 Shiloh, Pennsylvania, USA

b. 9 Nov 1893 Clearfield, Pennsylvania, USA

alice Rosalie b. 22 Feb 1856 Shiloh, Pennsylvania, USA

I hope someday there will be enough men in these families to test to accomplish the goal of tying them all to their immigrant ancestor.

What’s mtDNA to do with me?

When I first began my genetic journey I wasn’t much interested in mtDNA. I knew my mother. I was even able to trace her mother’s lines back several hundred years. Honestly, I was quite content to gather some names, facts, a few stories, and some pictures.

I had taken the family finder (autosomal) test at familytreedna.com and adding the mtDNA HVR1 test was not too cost prohibitive. I figured, why not? I may wish I had some day. That particular “some day” is today in that I’m now glad I did it.

According to FTDNA (Family Tree DNA), I belong to Haplogroup W. I didn’t take the full sequence of mtDNA so I don’t know which subgroup of W I belong to, and at the moment, I’m not too interested in finding out, although that’s subject to change down the road at some point.

Utilizing an admixture tool at gedmatch.com for MDLP World – 22, I find that my DNA contains 1.45% Indo Iranian and 2.14% Near East. News to me! But what does it mean?

Apparently Haplogroup W is very rare. http://www.thecid.com/ says that “The first member of what is referred to as the W haplogroup, whom we refer to as Wilma, was born between 15,000 and 19,000 years ago, probably in what is now northwest India or northern Pakistan”. The author of the mentioned website also says “Haplogroup W occurs primarily in South Asia, the Near East, Central Asia, and Europe”.

There you go. Some 15,000 to 19,000 years later, this descendant is walking around with some of Wilma’s DNA. But, can I use this genealogically? I think so.

If using the admixture tools at gedmatch I can identify the segments of chromososomes that Wilma is located on, I think this will tell me which segments I inherited from my mother. If my matches share those with me, then, they must match her mother’s, mother, mother, mother, etc side of my tree, and they won’t be a match for her father’s side of my tree where the elusive biological parents of my great grandfather are hiding.

Nipp Knipp KIN DNA Project

I am so very thrilled to announce the birth of a new DNA project at Family Tree DNA.

My double cousin, Tamara Mitchell, has graciously consented to co-administer the project with me, and she has been working day and night for the last several days designing the accompanying website. She has been tireless in setting this up and making any changes I have requested of her.

It is our goal to utilize paper and genetics to discover the lineages of the surnames Nipp, Nipps, Nepp, Knipp. or any variation thereof.

If you are a male with one of those surnames and have not tested your Y DNA, please go to familytreedna.com and order your kit. When the results are in, come join us!

If you tested with another company, you can transfer your results to Family Tree DNA and join the project. Or, if you are a female and have a male relative from one of those lines, please order a Y DNA kit for him.

Come check us out, then order your kit, as we begin this journey of discovering the many different lines of this historical surname.


Who Were They? DNA solves a families questions.

All of my life I have heard that Grandpa’s biological family were German and the name was Smith.  Grandpa being David Brazille Plunk.

Although it’s possible his biological mother could have been a Smith, I believe I now have DNA proof (not paper) than his biological male line was Knipp/Nipp.  Here’s why:

At Family Tree DNA (FTDNA), the YDNA results of his great grandson match 37 to 37 markers to a descendant of James/John M. Boatwright.  However, our match didn’t match another descendant of James/John.  Looking in the Boatwright family I found their close kinship to Knipp/Nipp which I have written about elsewhere.

In my own autosomal DNA tests I’m listed as a 3rd cousin to a descendant of Leann Knipp.

Then this morning, the holy grail, my Grandpa’s DNA matches 37 to 37 markers to a descendant of Edmund Knipp.

And now the research begins to get to know the biological family of David Brazille Plunk.

Andrew Jackson Nipp and Sarah Hawke

This is my conclusions of this family at the present time. If anyone has information to the contrary, or can help me fill in the blanks, please email nippkin@yahoo.com.

Andrew Jackson Nipp, the son of Henry Nipp and Lucinda Coker, married Sarah Hawke and had the following children:

William J. Nipp, born 1869 AR married Sarah “Sallie” Adeline Looney on 1 Oct 1891 Ripley County, MO
Charles A. Nipp, born 1870 AR married Laura M. Carter, 1896 Lawrence, AR
Eli Nipp b 1875 AR married Lettie Rigsby on 7 Oct 1902, Lawrence, AR
Nancy Ann Nipp b 1877 AR
Thomas Nipp b 1878 AR
James Nipp b 1880 AR married Mittie Love 30 June 1909, Lawrence, AR
Ida Belle Nipp b 1885 AR married William E. Covington

Let’s look at my Family Finder matches from Family Tree DNA to see if I have any genetic matches to the spouses of these children.

There are two matches, listed as 5th to remote cousins, with the name Looney in their list of surnames. Unfortunately, for me, they don’t have the Looney information in their gedcoms. I will email them to see if they have any information. Fingers crossed.

I don’t know much about Laura M. Carter yet, but I have several matches with the Carter surname in their lists. Definitely more work needed on her.

There are no matches for Rigsby at this time.

I have two matches with the surname Love in their lists that I will be contacting.

I also have five matches with the surname Covington in their lists that I am currently working on.

Henry Nipp and Lucinda Coker

I do not have any first hand personal knowledge of this family, but yet, I appear to be genetically connected to them.  Starting with a completely blank slate as to the entire family, this is what I’ve been able to piece together.  If anyone reading this has any information to help fill in the blanks, or to correct any of the assumptions I’ve made, please email me nippkin@yahoo.com.

I apologize for bouncing back and forth because that’s how I tend to work, but hopefully, you can follow me as I learn about this family.

This begins where I started, with Lucinda Coker Nepp/Nipp Boatwright, an ancestor of the YDNA match to my Plunk line. 

In the 1850 US Federal Census, Marion County, AR, living in the household of Charles Coker (her father):

Lucinda Nepp


Henry Nepp


Jackson Nepp


Charles Nepp



The son, Henry, is listed as blind.  I haven’t been able to find any other record of him.

The Turnbo Manuscripts by Silas Claiborne Turnbo (1844 – 1925) http://thelibrary.org/lochist/turnbo/toc.html


“…Lucinda who married Henry Nipps and after his death she married Tom Boatright…”

In the 1860 U.S. Federal Census for Sugarloaf, Marion, AR:

Thomas Boatright, age 33, born TN

Lucinda, age 34, born AR

Jackson Nipp, age 14, born AR

Charles E. Nipp, age 11, born AR

William Boatright, age 8, born AR

Joseph C. Boatright, age 6, born AR

James J. Boatright, age 3, born AR

Luticia C. Boatright, age 1, born AR

I have not been able to find a marriage record between Lucinda Coker and Henry Nipp nor Thomas Boatright.

In a letter dated March 11, 1864, Lucinda Boatright is requesting transportation, along with six children, from the Rolla Refugee Camp, Rolla, MO, to join her husband, Thomas, in St. Louis, MO.  You can view this letter, along with a lot more information on the Boatwright/Boatright family at boatwrightgenealogy.com.

On October 24, 1865, Thomas Boatwright married Rebecca Phillips and had other children.  In the 1870 U.S. Federal Census, Township 33, Range 3 East, Iron County, MO, living with Thomas and Rebecca are:

Joseph Boatwright


James Boatwright


Kassia Boatwright


Mary Boatwright


John Boatwright


Wm H Boatwright


Nancy E Boatwright


Notice that Jackson and Charles Nipp are not living with them, but I want to focus, for the moment, on the above James Boatright.  He was born 1857, AR, and on 27 Feb 1875, MO, he married Mahala Anne Johnson.  The following children are attributed to this couple:

Thomas Lee Boatwright (my Plunk descendant matches the YDNA of one of his descendants)

Florence Elizabeth Boatwright

Clorene L. Boatwright

Lawrence J. Boatwright (neither the Plunk YDNA nor Thomas Lee’s descendant matches a descendant of Lawrence.  However, Lawrence’s descendant matches the YDNA of other Boatwright descendants.)

John Morine Boatwright

Walter Cleveland Boatwright

Mahala Ann Boatwright

Carl E. Boatwright

Zella Cornela Boatwright.

The YDNA results of the descendants of the above two Boatwright brothers, compared with the genetree match of my Plunk to Knipp, the FTDNA  match of my Plunk to Thomas Lee Boatwright but not Lawrence J. Boatwright, the grandmother of Thomas Lee Boatwright first being married to a Nipp, and my autosomal match to a person with the Christian Knipp line in his family leads me back looking at the Nipp/Nepp/Knipp families.

Remember, Henry Nipp and Lucinda Coker had three sons.  Their oldest son, Henry, born abt 1845 was blind, according to the census.  I cannot find a record of him after 1850.

Their other two sons were Jackson, born abt 1847 AR and Charles, born abt 1848 AR.

 I believe that Jackson Nipp/Nepp is Andrew Jackson Nipp.  1870 U.S. Federal Census, Little Black, Randolph, AR is the following family:

Andrew J Nips


Sarah Nips


William J Nips


James H Nips




1880 U.S. Federal Census, Warm Springs, Randolph, AR: (my notes in parenthesis)

Andrew Nipps


Sarah E. Nipps (Sarah Hawke)


William J. Nipps


Charles A. Nipps


Eli Nipps


Nancy Ann Nipps


Thomas Nipps


James M. Nipps


Mary Hawkes (mother in law)


(It’s interesting to me that there was a Baptist circuit preacher by the name of Patterson, whose brother married into the Plunk family, who traveled between Randolph County, AR and Ripley County, MO where my great grand-father was raised.)

The 1890 U.S. Federal Census was destroyed by fire, but other researchers say this couple had an additional daughter, Ida Bell Nipps born abt 1885.

I will pick up with the family of Andrew Jackson Nipp and Sarah Hawke in the next installment.


Why a DNA Project?

There are several reasons for DNA projects. I’m not an expert so I won’t even attempt to go into an explanation for the various projects that exist.

The reason I think there should be a surname project for males with the surname Knopp/Knipe/Knipp/Knepp/Nipp/Nepp/Nipps etc., is to find out if all these families are related to each other.

I’ll be honest, I don’t even know if this surname is one of my lines, although I suspect it is. I’ve mentioned several times that my great grand-father, David Brazille Plunk, is not biologically a Plunk. In an attempt to find out who his biological family is, I had two of his great grandsons do the YDNA test. One man descended from David through his son, Orvan O. Plunk, and the other man descended through his son, Ira Brazille Plunk. They match each other 37 markers to 37 markers, giving me a solid YDNA line to my great-grandfather.

Their YDNA is rare, I’ve been told, because of some unusual mutations within those markers. I’m not even going to try to delve into what that means at this point. But, it’s also rare because of the hundreds of thousands of males who have submitted their DNA, there is only one man who matches them exactly at 37/37 markers and thus the reason I started researching the surname Nipps and all its variations.

This man was a descendant of J.M. Boatwright born 1857, AR, married to Mahala Johnson. Great news because we finally had a match, but no help in finding the biological family of David Brazille Plunk. Why? Because this tester that matched my Plunk didn’t match any of the other Boatwright men who had tested. So did that mean J.M. Boatwright wasn’t a Boatwright? Apparently not. The Boatwright tester descended through Thomas Lee Boatwright, a son of J.M. Boatwright. Luckily, another descendant of J.M. Boatwright, through his son, Lawrence Boatwright, did the test as well. This descendant does match the other Boatwrights which means, for now, it appears that Thomas Lee Boatwright is the one that was unofficially adopted.

By now you’re wondering how I got the Nipps surname out of this, aren’t you? J.M. Boatwright was the son of Thomas Boatwright and Lucinda Coker. Prior to her marriage to Boatwright, Lucinda was married to Henry Nepp/Nipps. Boatwright is apparently an English surname and Nepp/Nipps, from what I’ve researched, is apparently a German surname. The two Plunk men and the Boatwright man are also apparently of German descent based upon the findings of their YDNA tests.

Henry Nepp/Nipps had a brother, Aaron Nepp/Nipps, and I found one of his descendants who agreed to do the YDNA test. To date, this is the only male I know with any variation of that surname who has his test results in and thus I am unable to say without a doubt whether he is biologically of the Nepp/Nipps line.

However, there is a possibility that this man is actually a descendant of Margaret Nipps, the sister of Henry and Aaron. And yes, as you’ve surmised, he is not of German descent, but is apparently of Scottish descent through his paternal line. It’s possible that his ancestor, John Henry Nipps, was actually the son of Pew/Pugh Anderson and Margaret Nipps and was unofficially adopted by a member of the Nipps family when Margaret Nipps died.

Also, I manually entered the Plunk YDNA markers at genetree.com and they matched a man who claimed to be a descendant of Christian Knipps. (genetree is now closed).

It appears to me that however you want to spell the last name Nipp the families came through Pennsylvania to North Carolina and Virginia, on into Tennessee then Arkansas. From there, they have migrated to Missouri, Texas, and everywhere else.

There is a descendant of an Edmund Knipp who has ordered the test and I’m hoping that will help put more of the story together. Eventually, I hope there will be enough men to test that will help put genetics, family folklore, and paper together.

Plunk YDNA – Any Matches? – Part Three

The YDNA results are in from the Nipps tester and I am disappointed that we don’t have a YDNA match to my great-grandfather David Brazille Plunk.

Since my tester is the only Nipps that has tested, I can’t say whether the tester is a Nipps or not.   Nor does it prove one way or the other that David Brazille Plunk belongs anywhere in the Nipps family.

Although the Nipps tester does have some matches that will hopefully provide more clues to the DNA jungle I’m hacking my way through, this particular person is in no way a match to my great-grandfather.

At this point,  I still don’t have the surnames of either of the biological parents of  David Brazille Plunk, but I do have more clues leading me to the right families by process of elimination.

Genetics and Genealogy

I envy those researchers that can say I’m here and descend from there on any given line.  I’m unable to do that because not only do I have a great grandfather with an assumed surname, but I also have Native American ancestry that I haven’t mastered the art of researching yet.

I am not an expert on DNA nor am I a certified genealogist.  I’m learning as I go and finding my way.  There are all kinds of tools available and scientific data that I may be interested in later, but for now I have another agenda in my research.

As far as I know, there are presently three types of DNA being used for the purposes of genealogy research; mtDNA, YDNA, and Autosomal DNA.

mtDNA is passed from mother to daughter to daughter, etc.  In my genetic line it reads Plunk, Haywood, Bridges, Pugh, Routon, Gilliam, Robertson,  and Woolridge,   Women only inherit this from their mother, however, men also inherit this as well.  I have two half brothers and all three of us have different mothers, so each of my half brothers inherited mtDNA from their respective mother, and on up her female line.  The three of us would have totally different mtDNA.

YDNA is inherited only by the male and is passed from father to son to son to son, etc.  If I wanted to use genetics to trace my Native American ancestry, one of my half brothers would have to test since we all have the same genetic male line.

Autosomal DNA is inherited across all lines, male and female, and the results are “genetic” cousins.  The test can’t tell you though which of those ancestors you and a match have in common.  This takes a lot of work finding the connection.  For instance, every one has two parents, four grand parents, eight 2d great grandparents, 16 3rd great grandparents, 32 4th great grandparents.  The test will tell you the degree of kinship you have with your match and then you have to compare your ancestors with theirs to find who you have in common.

I am attempting to use all of these DNA tests in an effort to identify the unknown biological parents of my great grandfather. 

The YDNA test works great if you find a match, but apparently his YDNA is rare in that in all of the hundreds of thousands of men that have tested, I have only found one exact match who is apparently also from an assumed surname line.

The mtDNA test is useful in that I did this along with the Autosomal test.  By comparing my matches from the Autosomal test to the results of the mtDNA I will eventually figure out which one of them match my mtDNA line.

Hopefully, the Autosomal test will lead me to the biological mother, or even father, of my great grandfather.  At present, I’ve been matched with approximately 300 genetic cousins.   Ideally, those matches would have uploaded their gedcom (tree) and I could take a look to see where we might have a common ancestor, or be willing to share their 2d and 3rd great grandparent information.  It’s heartbreaking when you run across the ones that want your information and won’t give you anything in return, but thankfully, the majority of the people I’ve met are very giving and sympathetic to my cause.