An old indenture, and some DNA, start to unravel old family relationships

by members Harald Reksten & Wayne Parott

For many years, coincidence of time, place and family names led many to believe the American Parrotts were all one family. With the advent of DNA-based genealogy, it has become apparent that most American Parrotts belong to one of two large families, though another half-dozen unrelated P-rr-tts share the name as well. DNA results are posted at:

Nevertheless, while a DNA match can indicate family relationships, it cannot specify the nature of the relationship– e.g., it cannot distinguish between brothers or cousins. To illustrate, one of the American lineages traces back to Luke Parrott, who was born about 1776 in Virginia. Luke’s DNA matches Richard Perrott of Middlesex County, Virginia, patriarch of one the two largest Parrott/Parrett families in the USA. Richard was in York County, Virginia, by 1647. Part of York County became Lancaster County in 1651 and the portion of Lancaster County below the Rappahannock River became Middlesex County in 1669.

The records of Middlesex and its parent counties are very good, having escaped the fate of many Virginia records destroyed during the Civil War or by fire. Thus a paper trail for the first few generations of Richard Perrott’s descendents is easily created.

A recently discovered “Delivered to Luke Parrott” notation on the left margin (see photo, below) of an indenture probated in Pittsylvania county, Virginia, on 16 January 1786, whereby Thorpe Parrott is selling land to his father, Nathaniel, suggests Luke is of that family. Luke is a very uncommon Parrott given name in the United States and there is no known ambiguity in Pittsylvania and neighboring counties.

The origin of Nathaniel Parrott has long been a mystery, as has the origin of Luke Parrott…

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