The Doty-Dunham Connection

The Doty-Dunham Connection

 Our objectives in establishing this website are:

1.    To identify the boy who at some time in the past took or was given  the surname of Doty, but whose biological father was a member of the Dunham family, and

2.    To determine as best we can the likely identity of the boy’s father.

That there was such a boy is clear from the fact that we’ve discovered three members of the Doty family whose Y-DNA profile is essentially the same as the Y-DNA profile of many members of the Dunham family.

Our working hypothesis is that one John7 Doty, generally believed to have been born about 1787 in or near Sharon CT to a Dr. Ezra6 Doty and his presumed first wife Damaris6 Hamlin, may well be the boy in question.  If he is, the number of Dotys living today with Dunham DNA could be quite large, as over 200 years have passed since the first child of John7 Doty and his apparent wife, Sallie (or Sarah) Stebbins was born. 

If you have done or heard about research that you think might be relevant to our project, we hope you will share it with us.  We in turn plan to share your information on a new page of our website as we learn of it.

In addition, if you are a direct male descendant of David5 (Samuel4, John3, Joseph2, Edward1) Doty or Jonathan2 (John1) Dunham, we hope you will consider participating in one of the following family DNA projects, both of which use Family Tree DNA for their testing.  Comparisons of DNA profiles of descendants of these men and their close relatives may prove essential to the achievement of our goals.

  • For direct male descendants of David5 Doty, we would suggest the project of the Doty Doughty DNA Group. If you have any questions we would be happy to try to answer them as would Jerry Doty, the webmaster of this site.
  • For direct male descendants of Jonathan2 Dunham, we would suggest the project on the Dunham/Singletary Family Connections website.  Again, if you have any questions we would be happy to try to answer them, as would the webmaster of this site, Paul Dunham.

Research Summary

John7 Doty

Some of the reasons for our focus on the idea that John7 Doty may not have been fathered by Ezra6 Doty are summarized in the bullet points below.  We would stress the fact, however, that our concentration on John7 at this point should not be interpreted to mean that the matter has been settled.  On the contrary, we hope that anyone with evidence indicating that John7 was or was not the individual we are hoping to identify will share it with us.

Traditional Genealogical Evidence

  • The three Dotys that we have found with Dunham DNA believe they are descendants of John7 (Ezra6, David5, Samuel4, John3, Joseph2, Edward1) Doty.
  • John7 does not appear as a member of Ezra6 Doty’s household in the 1790 census even though, as noted above, he supposedly was born about 1787.
  • No birth or baptismal document indicating that John7 was a son of Ezra6 has been found to our knowledge.  We have, however, seen baptismal entries in the Pastoral Records of the Westminster Presbyterian Church of Mifflintown PA clearly indicating that John7’s two supposed brothers apparently born in or near Sharon CT were sons of Ezra6 Doty.  These brothers, or perhaps half-brothers, were William Henry7 Doty and Ezra7 Doty.
  • John7 did not accompany Ezra6 and his supposed brothers on their apparent move from Catskill NY to Mifflintown PA in the early to mid-1790s after Ezra6 and Damaris6 Hamlin apparently separated.  One plausible explanation for this split in the family could be that John7 was a biological son of Damaris6 Hamlin, but not of Ezra6 Doty.  There could be other explanations as well, of course.
  • None of John7’s three sons or his apparent wife, Sallie Stebbins, were included in Ezra6 Doty’s will(Note that John7 predeceased Ezra6 and thus would not have been in his will.)  The two other sons of Ezra6 Doty by his presumed first wife Damaris6 Hamlin were included in the will.  Also included in Ezra6’s will were his second wife, Rebecca North Lewis, their four living children and their heirs, as well as a nephew, Philo7 Hamlin.  Two sons of Ezra6 Doty and Rebecca North Lewis later married and had heirs, and they were Edmund Southard7 Doty and Horace7 Doty.  Given all the individuals included in Ezra6 Doty's will, and particularly his possible grandchildren by his second wife, we rather doubt that his first wife and the children of their first born son would have been left out for no reason.  The best explanation in our opinion is that John7 was not Ezra6's biological son.  Again, their could of course be other explanations as well.
  • Judge Ethan Allen Doty in his highly regarded book published in 1897 entitled “The Doty-Doten Family in America” commented that “…the Mifflintown family lost all knowledge of the existence of John[7], while the descendants of the latter had but imperfect knowledge of the Pennsylvania families”.  Had John7 been Ezra6’s son, and his first born son at that, we doubt that the families would essentially have lost track of each other, particularly in view of the fact that Ezra6 did apparently retain ties with members of the Hamlin family as well as others in Sharon CT.

DNA Evidence

Based on DNA evidence, we can say with about a 90% level of confidence that the boy who was fathered by a Dunham but took or was given the surname of Doty was born sometime between the Revolutionary and the Civil Wars.  The only three boys in the direct line of Dotys with Dunham DNA of which we are aware who were born during this inter-war period are listed below.  Of the three, we believe the evidence we cite in the following bullet points suggests that John7 is the most likely candidate.

  • John7 Doty: born about 1787.  As noted in the bullet points above, we have found no primary source document indicating that John7 was a son of Ezra6 Doty.
  • Ezra8 Doty: John7s third son born in 1811.  In the Index to the Records of Baptisms, Marriages and Deaths of the Trinity Church Episcopal of Athens, NY, Ezra is listed as one of the sons of “John Doty & his wife Sarah …..”
  • Charles9 Doty: Ezra8’s fourth son born in 1843.  The following statement appears in the will of Harriet Taber, wife of Ezra8 Doty: “To pay over another of said equal shares or portions of my estate unto George Doty the son of my deceased son Charles Doty.”

The Dunham Father

On the assumption that John7 Doty was born in or near Sharon Connecticut sometime in the 1780’s and that he was indeed fathered by a Dunham, we turned to Gratia Dunham Mahony, a Professional Genealogist, for help in identifying Dunham males who may have lived in that area at some time during the last half of the 18th Century.  Gratia is in the process of compiling a new history of the Dunham Family in America, and her work on the first three generations of the Family may be seen at  Her help has been invaluable.

Traditional Genealogical Evidence

Early in our investigation, Gratia identified one Samuel6 Dunham (William5 Johathan4, Jonathan3, Jonathan2, John1) as someone who might well have been the biological father of John7 Doty.  Some of the elements of what is largely a circumstantial case which we’ve put together supporting this conclusion are outlined in the bullet points below.

  • In 1779 Samuel6 Dunham of Colchester CT became a widower when his wife, Mary Johnson, died shortly after giving birth to their only child, Jacob7 Dunham.
  • In early 1783, Samuel6 Dunham apparently left Colchester after he sold land sold to him by his father in 1780.
  • Two years later, in 1785, Samuel6 Dunham arrived in Catskill NY and built a home on what is today the northwest corner of Church and Main streets.  At the time there were but seven houses in the town of Catskill; a village that was about to change dramatically.
  • On his way from Colchester to Catskill, we believe that Samuel6 Dunham may well have stopped for a couple of years in Sharon CT.  Sharon was on a direct and well-travelled path during the 18th century between Colchester and Catskill, and his grandfather, Jonathan4 Dunham (Jonathan3, Jonathan2, John1) had played a major role in the formation and incorporation of the Town in 1739.  All three of his paternal uncles and three of his four aunts had moved from Colchester to Sharon by the very early 1740’s, and while many of his cousins had apparently left Sharon by the 1780’s, his uncle Samuel5 and a number of his relatives were still there.
  • During his time in Sharon, if indeed he and his son Jacob7 had stopped there, Samuel6 Dunham would undoubtedly have become acquainted with Damaris6 Hamlin who we believe probably was the mother of John7 Doty.
  • The relatively short distance between Sharon and Catskill and the strong Dunham family presence in Sharon would have made it both easy and appealing for Samuel6 Dunham to travel between the two towns throughout the latter half of the 1780’s.
  • In addition to Samuel6 (William5 Johathan4, Jonathan3, Jonathan2, John1) Dunham, we have considered a number of the sons and grandsons of the three Dunham families listed below who apparently lived in or near Sharon during the second half of the 18th century.  To date, however, we have not identified a more likely father of John7 Doty than Samuel6.  We would like to investigate a few descendants of these families further however before ruling them out, and we would appreciate learning of research that others may have done on them.

o   Jacob4 Dunham (Daniel3, Jonathan2, John1) and his wife Elizabeth Pettit,

o   Hezekiah4 Dunham (Jonathan3, Jonathan2, John1) and his wife Jane Pease, and

o   Jonathan4 Dunham (Jonathan3, Jonathan2, John1) and his wife Mary Spencer

  • Beyond these three families, we recognize that there were male descendants of other closely related Dunham families who lived in Northwestern Connecticut and across the borders into New York and Massachusetts who could have fathered John7 Doty.  Further research into these families is in order as well.

DNA Evidence

A comparison of the Y-DNA profiles of the three members of the Doty family who we have asserted carry Dunham DNA with Y-DNA test results shown on the Dunham/Singletary Family Connections Website at is consistent with the idea that John7 Doty was fathered by a descendant of Jonathan4 Dunham and his wife Mary Spencer.  The data is not sufficient, however, to rule out the possibility that John7’s father was a member of some other Dunham family line.  For the possible alternatives to be eliminated, we need DNA samples from more Dunham males than we currently have, and their DNA tests must include at least 37 markers.


DNA evidence indicates without doubt that a branch on the Doty family tree belongs on the Dunham family tree. 

Using both DNA analysis and traditional genealogical methods we have suggested in the preceding paragraphs that this branch may have originated with one John7 Doty likely born in the 1780’s in or near Sharon Connecticut.  We have also suggested that perhaps it should be grafted onto the Dunham family tree along with the other grandchildren of Jonathan4 Dunham and his wife Mary Spencer.  If our hypothesis about John7 proves correct, the size of the branch to be moved could be quite large, as over 200 years have passed since the first child of John7 Doty and his apparent wife Sallie or (Sarah) Stebbins was born.

To become more certain of and specific about our tentative conclusions, or to reject them, we need more information.  If you are aware of any traditional genealogical research that would corroborate or contradict the information we’ve presented, we hope you will share it with us.

In addition, if you are a direct male descendant of any of the Dotys or Dunhams that we’ve included above, or more broadly if you are a direct male descendant of any other branch of the families of David5 Doty or Jonathan2 Dunham, we hope you will participate in the family DNA project of the Doty Doughty DNA Group, or of Dunham/Singletary Family Connections.  We strongly recommend that your test include a minimum of 37 markers to insure definitive interpretation of the results.

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