Overton DNA Project
  Overton DNA Project

Thanks....Overton Y-DNA Project Administrators


Facts about the Overton Surname, based on Federal Census Figures:


The first chart above indicates the ports from which immigrants to the U.S. with the surname of Overton originated; the second chart displays the most common occupations of Overtons reported on the 1880 Federal Census and the last chart indicates the immigration numbers, by year, for Overton immigrants.  (Above facts and charts thanks to Ancestry.com)

According to the 2000 Federal Census records, there were 18,094 individuals within the United States with the surname of Overton; about 69% of them were white and the single largest contingent of minority Overtons were African Americans, as over 26% of respondents in the 2000 census indicated this ethnic background.  According to census figures, there were 490 Overtons engaged in the Civil War; 263 served in the Confederacy and the balance of 227 served in the Union.


Tribute to Lee Overton
Known Overton Lines
Clan Lineages
Mutation Analysis
Frequently Asked ?


HERE'S WHAT THE OVERTON DNA PROJECT MEANS TO YOU, THE OVERTON FAMILY GENEALOGIST:  If you locate a common ancestor in any one of our DNA participants' family files, you can be assured that whatever "proven" documentation and research that is available through that participant (or any fellow Clan member) is absolutely pertinent to your research.  Equally importantly, you can discard without fear any and all Overton research that pertains to other members of the other Clans.

Are you a Descendent of this Illustrious Overton?

Colonel Robert Overton was of noble birth.  Born in 1609 in Easington, he later lived in London and Yorkshire, England.  A Puritan, he was one of Oliver Cromwell's officers, and commanded a brigade of foot at Dunbar in the cause of the Commonwealth.  After a disagreement with Cromwell, Overton resigned his command and was subsequently demoted to the rank of Colonel.  Because of his strong political beliefs, he was twice imprisoned in the Tower of London and later on the Isle of Jersey.  His Majesty King Charles II eventually signed a release, ordering that Robert be turned over to the custody of his brother-in-law.

Among the many offices held by Overton were Governor of Hull, 1647, Governor of Edinburgh, 1650 and Governor of Aberdeen, 1652.  Robert Overton was a confidante of Milton, the great English poet and scholar. 

Based on documented research undertaken by one of our Overton DNA Participants, any male Overton whose DNA results put him into our Overton Clan 2, may state with relative certainty that he is related to this Robert Overton.  Contemporary genealogists suggest that Robert Overton had eleven children by his wife Anne Gardiner.

Further, at least two of Robert’s children (William and perhaps Robert) made their way over to America and thus began the long line of Overton descendents who exist to this day in modern America.

Additional Overton Genealogical Research Sources
There are many excellent resources for extended research into the Overton surname.  The following three are recommended for Overton genealogists with an eye toward improving their knowledge within specific clans:

The OvertonsOnly website contains detailed genealogical information on all the known Overtons in the United States.  Currently there are 25 family lines (called Trees) identified on the site with more Trees to be added.  Information on this site is a accumulation of years of research collected by Nevel Overton-Slack and being made available to any Overton researcher.  Nevel is well known as The Overton expert, and he is always willing to help another in their family quest.
(Registration Required)

Steve's Family Tree website contains detailed genealogical information on Clan 3.  This Clan first appeared in Virginia in the early 1700s with the appearance of Moses, Aaron and John Overton in Amelia County, Virginia.  Moses and John died in Mecklenburg County, Virginia in 1810 and 1809 respectively and Aaron died in Franklin County, North Carolina in 1823.  The site is managed by Steve Randall Overton, a member of Clan 3 and an Overton DNA project administrator.
(Registration Required)

The Childress/Mathis Photo website contains considerable information about Overton lines within Clan 1.  Moreover, the website is a repository for many historical family photographs in addition to providing external links to research articles on the Jesse Overton families who were pioneers in the early establishment of townships in East Texas during the Republic (later to become a state) of Texas.  One of the most interesting aspects of the research covered in this website is the exhaustive introspection of Dr. Samuel Egbert Overton's 19th century medical practice in the small town of Omen, Texas.  Patrick Childress administers this website.

The OVERTON surname in America

The 1990 Federal Census listed about 20,000 Overton citizens in the USA, making Overton the 1,542nd most popular name.  We have no idea how many family lines are represented in this number.  Surnames have been used for only about 800 years and were oftentimes chosen as a reflection of an occupation, a location or a personal characteristic.  Thus, an Overton male may be more closely related to a “Smith” male, for example, than another Overton male living in the same neighborhood.

Several of the above Colonel Overton’s descendents assumed the mantle of greatness in the early days of the American Colonies.  Overton Clan 2 members (and their relatives) may also lay claim to being a cousin to the following notable Americans:

1.  General Thomas Overton (1753 – 1825) was the second great-grandson of Colonel Robert Overton.  Overton served throughout the Revolutionary War in the Continental Army.  He was an original member of the Society of the Cincinnati in Virginia and served in the legislature for many years while living in Moore County, North Carolina.  Thomas was an intimate friend of Andrew Jackson and served as his second in the duel between Jackson and Charles Dickenson in 1806.

2.   Judge John Overton  (1766 – 1833), brother of the above Thomas Overton, also was a friend of Andrew Jackson and served as his closest advisor through most of Jackson's presidency.  Judge Overton owned much of the real estate where the city of Memphis, Tennessee was founded.  He is known as the “Father of Memphis.”  His home, ”Traveller’s Rest,” is now owned and operated as an historical site by the Colonial Dames of America.

Of course, we're hoping that through the administration of this project, we'll be able to identify and document many more illustrious Overton ancestors!

Determination of OVERTON "Clans"

"Clans" are by definition "groups of people who have a common ancestor."  The intent of this project is to place individual Overton DNA participants into their proper Clan.  This will then allow others in the same Clan to compare notes with one another and move forward in finding the most recent common ancestor.

NOTE:  In order for an individual to be assigned to any Clan, their 25-marker DNA test results must demonstrate at least a 25% probability of having a Common Ancestor within the past 24 generations with any other individual in a Clan.

Currently, we have eight (8) different clans, with each one containing as few as two male Overtons and as many as nine male Overton participants.

Participation in the Overton Y-DNA Project

All Overton males are welcome to participate in this study!  Many surnames cut across traditional boundaries of race, creed and/or color.  We welcome participation of all Overton males regardless of racial or ethnic background.  Black Overton males may wish to explore their heritage amidst the confusion that arose during slavery.  Likewise, rumors abound in the Overton history concerning Native American blood and we welcome the opportunity to document these cases.

Administration of this Project

The Overton DNA Project is an all-volunteer endeavor dedicated to identifying the various Overton lineages existent today in the USA and abroad.  The DNA technology used in this project is state-of-the-art and in some cases, cutting edge.  An 8-marker test for the Y-chromosome DNA was used to confirm the probability of at least one child born out of a  relationship between Thomas Jefferson and his slave Sally Hemings.  We will use a much higher resolution 25-, 37- or 67-marker DNA test for our project.

We have initiated this project under the auspices of FamilyTreeDNA (FTDNA), a Houston-based company specializing in the commercialization of DNA technology.  FTDNA will provide us the tools of analyses and the internet web space to facilitate this search for our Overton ancestral lines.

Click here to review FTDNA’s overview of the value of DNA testing as it relates to our genealogical endeavors.  Pay particular attention to the interview with Professor David Roper and his quest for the descendents of Benjamin Franklin.

Want to join the project?  Click here to go to the FTDNA website for the Overton project.  Review the Overton material online to decide if you (Note:  the Participant furnishing the DNA sample MUST be a non-adopted male with the surname of Overton, or derivative thereof!) want to participate, then place your order for your kit (25-, 37-marker or 67-marker recommended).  The kit will be mailed to your home address the next day.  Payment will be due only upon your return of the kit to FamilyTreeDNA in Houston, Texas.

Results will be posted on this web page and/or the web page on the FTDNA website.  Individual DNA results will be posted only if the participant has agreed in writing to divulge his DNA test results.

Complete data sets on all the Y-DNA markers on all the Participants in the Overton DNA Project may be viewed by clicking here.  You can download these values into an Microsoft Excel spreadsheet or to a pdf file.  The results you see on the above-referenced website should be identical to those on this website, other than a possible time delay in posting the results on this website.  On this same page, you'll also see a Google map image of where each participant's most distant ancestor lived.

Call for Your Support!

If you, or some other Overton family enthusiast would like to contribute any amount of money to our Overton DNA General Fund, please click here and you'll be directed to the secure FamilyTreeDNA web page that will allow you to contribute via credit card, PayPal or a mail-in check.  Your donation will be used to subsidize future DNA sampling and could well provide the impetus to some reticent Overton male to submit their DNA for testing.

Another Overton line may well be proven to exist due to your consideration!

Contact information for content corrections and for Project Administrators

For additions, corrections or comments regarding this specific website, please send an e-mail to:

Patrick Childress, website author & Overton DNA Project Co-Administrator.  You may also e-mail Overton Project Co-Administrators Steve Overton or Dot Donegan


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This site was last updated 08/06/11