by Nathan W. Murphy, MA, Accredited Genealogist®
There is a great deal of confusion about Roach families in the South on the web. We wish to dispel a few ideas we have encountered during this project that we have not been able to verify:
Myth One: All Roaches in Virginia descend from a man named Littleberry Roach who was Irish and came to Virginia from Italy in the late 1600s. We have never found a document listing the name Littleberry Roach before a baby by this name was born in New Kent County, Virginia in 1754. There were several men named Littleberry Roach who were born in the Revolutionary War generation of Roaches, but we have not found a common ancestor for all of them named Littleberry Roach, see: Littleberry Roach of New Kent County, Virginia, Littleberry Roach of Virginia and Kentucky, and Littleberry Roach of North Carolina and South Carolina. One of our project’s primary objectives is to test the DNA of descendants of each of these lines to see if they are all one related.
Myth Two: The Roach family of Rockingham County, Virginia descends from a man named Littleberry Roach born in the 1720s who married Mary Magdalene See. As we studied this family, we learned these Roaches descend from Reuben Roach (c1733-1795) as documented in his will. We have yet to find the name “Littleberry” used in this family, though Reuben did name a son “Mickleberry.” Ashcraft Roach, from New Kent and Amherst Counties, Virginia, had a wife named Mary Magdalene, as documented in a deed we found in Amherst County, Virginia.
Myth Three: The various Roach families in Orange County, North Carolina in the late 1700s are brothers: Lewis, Littleberry, James, and William. This does not appear to be the case. At this stage in the project, we have tested descendants of James and Littleberry and they are not genetic matches. One participant is believed to descend from William Roach and he matched the descendant of James Roach. William and James appear in some of the same documents together, indicating they knew each other, so they were likely related.
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