Pruning the McAtee Family Tree

I often refer to myself as the “genealogy axman.” When I find incorrect information in genealogies, it changes what was previously accepted.  It feels like chopping off branches and limbs of a family tree.  Really, it is more akin to pruning the tree, so that all branches can flourish.

There are some MAJOR errors in the McAtee genealogy. These mistakes have been repeated over and over at a rapid pace since the advent of online pedigree charts. Some people just want a long line of names without verifying each generational connection.  Those who want verified and vetted information will welcome these corrections.  Most of the errors come about because two or more men with the same name have been conflated–combined into one person.  Records easily and quickly fix many of the mistakes.  But you have to believe the record (and some people won’t).

People have believed these errors for a long time, so I expect some interested parties to disagree–but the records stand. They are interpreted carefully and correctly.  I believe the steps I took to reach these conclusions are easily traced, therefore others can follow the same path and test the results. That does not mean the case is closed, however; if someone has a primary document that could change the conclusions within,  I do hope it will be shared with me.

This post is designed to link specific corrections to other posts.  A correction on part of the family tree has significant impact on another part.

First, “Two Men Named John McAtee in Prince George’s County, Maryland” separates two Johns who were conflated by Mary Louis Donnelly in her 2006 book My Colonial Relations Plus Others.  It also links to a post about the Rowan County, North Carolina, McAtees which erases a fictitious John created by another researcher.

Second, “John McAtee of Fairfax County, Virginia” mcatee-john-Fairfax  is a proof chart that continues the research about the two Johns above and shows with many records attached that John McAtee who died in 1812 in Fairfax County was born in 1744, not in 1721 as is splashed all over the internet and in some other published works.  This also includes information on a William McAtee, brother to John, born in 1746.

Third, “William McAtee Never Married Charity Anybody!” uses the extant records to name the true wife of William McAtee of Fairfax and refutes every possible Charity that is ever named as his wife.  Again more than one William has been combined in the online trees, and “William and Charity” seem to be a default answer if you get stuck.  At the end of that article comes the fourth part, “The Children of William and Charity:  Where Do They REALLY Belong?”  This takes the individuals who have been appropriated as offspring of William and Charity, and puts them into their rightful families based solely on records.

I am also linking my spreadsheets of information on records in Fairfax and and tax lists of Fairfax and Loudoun County, Virginia.  Seeing who was where, when, helps me determine the most plausible parents/sibling/marital relationships of subjects I research.

This multi-part post is repetitive.  Fixing mistakes on one branch of the McAtee family has effects on other branches.  There is no quick answer.  A person who wants to know for sure if his or her family tree is correct must do the research.  I hope these articles are sourced well enough that anyone can follow my steps and find the right answers.  The right answers are out there!

Dann M. Norton



Patrick McAtee, Uncle and Nephew

I am pleased to announce that my peer-reviewed article, “Patrick McAtee, Uncle and Nephew: Who Died When?” has been published in the latest edition of the Maryland Genealogical Society Journal, Vol 57, No. 3 (2016).


I have created an infographic to explain the main points of the article.  The infographic also presents information on the children of Patrick SR (died 1756) which supports the conclusions in the article. Click the link below.


This correction in the family genealogy will help to clear up confusion by previous researchers and family historians who had contradictory information.