Though some might dispute the term "founder of  Jamestown" to describe Thomas WEST, 3d Baron De La War (1577 - 1618), his instrumental role in establishing the first permanent English settlement in North America is well documented.  The association of our WEST surname with the De La War family dates to 1384, when Thomas WEST (1335-1405) married Joan De La War, heiress to the De La War title.


      In the spring of 2007 we obtained DNA samples from two descendents of Thomas WEST (1556-1602) 2d Baron De La War.  One of these individuals, W136, descends through Thomas WEST, (1577-1618) 3d Baron De La War, to George John WEST (1791-1869) who married Elizabeth SACKVILLE in 1813, later assuming the surname Sackville-West.  The other descendent, W115, descends from John WEST (1590-1659), brother of Thomas WEST (1577-1618).  John WEST was governor of Virginia 1635-1637.   In January of 2010 we received another DNA sample (W229) from a De La War descendent who traces his ancestry to Thomas de WEST, born about 1300


    W115, W136, and W229 do not have matching DNA as shown below.  They cannot descend from the same paternal WEST ancestor.  There are many possible causes of this DNA mis-match, some of which are discussed on our DNA matches and mis-matches page.  At this time we can only conclude that each of these individuals descends from a De La War WEST male, and that there have been adoptions or other undocumented events resulting in differences in the Y-DNA signature of these three men.


Line of descent for W115


1. Thomas WEST, 1553 - 1602

    + Ann KNOLLYS

     2. John West, 1590 - 1659

         + Anne

          3. John West, 1632 - 1689

             + Unity CROSHAW

               4. Thomas WEST, abt 1670

                   + Agnes

                      5. Francis WEST

                         + Jane Cole

                          6. William WEST, abt 1735

                             + Letitia MARTIN

                                7. Thomas WEST

                                    + Ann THORNTON

                                       8. Francis Thornton WEST, 1814

                                           + Ariana CHILES



Line of descent for W136


1. Thomas WEST, 1553 - 1602

    + Ann KNOLLYS

    2. Thomas WEST, 1577 - 1618

       + Cecily SHIRLEY

       3. Henry WEST, 1603-1628

         + Isabella EDMUNDS

         4. Charles WEST, 1626 - 1687

            + Anne WILD

            5. John WEST, 1663 - 1723

               + Margaret FREEMAN

               6. John WEST, 1693 - 1766

                   + Catherine MacCARTHY

                   7. John WEST, 1729 - 1777

                       + Mary WYNARD

                       8. John Richard WEST, 1758 - 1795

                           + Catherine LYELL

                            9. George John WEST, 1791 - 1869

                                + Elizabeth SACKVILLE



Line of descent for W229


1. Sir Thomas de WEST, of Roughcombe in Tisbury and Swallowcliffe

   2. Sir Thomas de WEST, 1300-1343, Lord of Okehanger

      + Eleanor de CANTILUPE

      3. Sir Thomas de WEST, 1321 - 1386

         + Alice Fitz-Herbert,  - 1395

         4. Sir Thomas de WEST, 1365 - 1405

            + Joan la WARRE  - 1404

            5. John de WEST, Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire

               6. Charles WEST, Aylesbury Buckinghamshire

                  + Joane

                  7. Thomas West,  Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire

                     + Joane PIGOT

                     8. Thomas West, Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire

                        + Joane BELSON

                         9. Alexander WEST,  - 1532, of  Cotton End, Northampton

                            10. John WEST,  - 1603, of  Cotton End, Northampton

                                 + Agnes

                                 11. Thomas WEST, 1585 - 1614, of Cotton End, Northampton

                                     + Susanna WILLOWES

                                     12. Thomas WEST, 1594 - 1670, of  Cotton End and Wootton, Northampton

                                          + Maria LANE

                                          13. Richard WEST, 1633 - 1707, of  Creton, Northampton

                                              + Elizabeth PYKE/PIKE

                                              14. Dr. Richard WEST, 1671-1716, of Great Hendred Berkshire

                                                   + Maria TEMPLE, 1680 - 1763

                                                   15. Temple WEST, 1714 - 1757

                                                        + Frances BALCHEN, 1710 - 1793

                                                        16. John Balchen WEST, 1746 - 1793

                                                             + Mary FFOLKES

                                                             17. Martin John WEST, 1788 - 1870

                                                                  + Lady Maria WALPOLE, 1797 - 1870

                                                                  18. Algernon Edward WEST, 1832 - 1921

                                                                       + Mary Elizabeth Caroline BARRINGTON

                                                                       19. Reginald Jervoise WEST, 1861 - 1921

                                                                            + Ida Agnes Vane HAY,  - 1938

                                                                             20. Algernon Henry Pascoe WEST, 1886 - 1983

                                                                                  + Gladys YOUNG, 1887 - 1975




In April, 2013, I obtained a YDNA sample from a descendant of John's son Jesse who lives at Lynch Station. I received results a month later indicating that his 12-marker YDNA is an exact match with the W115 sample listed in the above website, and a week later, results on a 37-marker test showed only a mismatch of two markers with the W115 sample. There were matches to two other Wests, who as it turns out were also descended from this John West. Had I known two from my line had already been tested, I would not have obtained the sample, but one of the submitters, now deceased, failed to furnish to Dennis West his lineage  all the way back to John West, stopping at John's son Charles, who was his great-grandfather, and the other submitter, a descendant of my ancestor Obediah West, had submitted his sample after the West DNA Project website was last updated. However, it was good to have YDNA results for patrilineal descendants of three of John's sons (Obediah by his first wife and Charles and Jesse by his second), to learn that they closely match one another, and to compare these with the W115 sample. It would have been better if our samples and W115 matched the British descendant of the 3rd Lord Delaware above, but without more samples, it is impossible to determine where the nonpaternity event or events occurred and whether there were nonpaternity events between John West's immediate male-line ancestors and Gov. John West's father or perhaps only in the lineages of the British male lines. But the fact that John West of Campbell County matches someone with a documented connection with the Wests of King William is encouraging. However, the closest matches of his descendants and the W115 sample are to several men with the Leigh or Lee surnames, no other Wests, but as the administrator of a Leigh YDNA Project has advised, the genetic distance of three or greater with all these Leighs indicates that the common ancestors probably lived before the 1600s.


When I first viewed these matches to Leighs, and then noticed in the West chapter of  "Adventurers of Purse and Person" that Martha Cole, widow of Thomas West, Jr. who died  before 1745, married (second) to Ferdinando Leigh (1715-1779), and that there was a Col. William Leigh family in King William prior to Ferdinando's generation, I was convinced that one of my West ancestors in King William was probably fathered by one of these Leighs. But male-line descendants of these Leighs have also undergone YDNA testing, and they do not match the Wests or the Leighs who match the Wests. Therefore, this is another strange coincidence.


The W115 sample was for Francis Thornton West (1920-2007) of Martinsville and Roanoke, Virginia, a descendant and namesake of the Francis Thornton West listed above who resided in Louisa County, Virginia. "Adventurers of Purse and Person" delineates this West lineage down to William West who married Letitia Martin and lived in King William. It was his son Thomas who founded a branch of Wests in Louisa. Because John West of Campbell County and William West of King William were born around the same time, William's wife was named Letitia, and John had a daughter named Letitia, it is possible that John and William were brothers. But the genetic distance of two on a 37-marker test, and the likelihood, based on Indian descent traditions, of John's descent from the Col. John West-Cockacoeske illegitimate branch, might indicate they were more distantly related, perhaps half-second cousins or half-third cousins if the latter is John's lineage. The latter might be the more desirable lineage if one wishes to claim Native American ancestry and to feel more peace of mind that any nonpaternity events in the West lineage may have been prior to Col. John West, Jr.'s generation if they in fact occurred at all in this line. In other words, the more distantly related John of Campbell County was to William of King William County, the more biologically and patrilineally accurate our West lineage is, especially if the closest common ancestor of John and William was Col. John West, Jr.


Whether John and William West were very closely related (such as brothers) or as distant as half-second or half-third cousins if their closest common ancestor was Col. John West, Jr., there is good news regarding John's likely ancestry. If John was a brother of William, then he would probably be descended from the Croshaws, Coles, and Roscows (if William was a son or grandson of Thomas West, Jr. and Martha Cole), and possibly the Claibornes, since some sources indicate that Thomas West, Sr.'s wife Agnes may have been descended from Col. William Claiborne. But if he and William were this closely related (brothers), then one could also have a higher degree of doubt about their lineage back to the Delaware-Wests being patrilineally and biologically sound. On the other hand, if John and William were second cousins and had Col. John West, Jr. as their closest common ancestor, then their West lineage in the Virginia generations is biologically and patrilineally valid, except for the first generation (meaning it may be possible that Gov. John West did not father Col. John West, Jr.) or the preceding English generation (that Sir Thomas West, 2nd Lord Delaware, did not father Gov. John West). But the fact that "Adventurers or Purse and Person" and other genealogies have failed to account for John West of Campbell County among the early generations of Gov. John West's descendants, the fact that there is a genetic distance of two between the John West and William West descendants on a 37-marker test, and the fact that there is a strong tradition of Indian ancestry in the John West family, lean in favor of John being descended from Col. John West, Jr. and his relationship with Princess Cockacoeske. Unfortunately, this also means there is a gap of two or three generations in between in which the names of the males and their wives in the intervening generations are unknown.


In spite of the excellent reliability of information in "Adventurers of Purse and Person," I must mention that the lineage delineated for William West in the latest 2007 edition of this book, showing him as a great-grandson of Col. John West, Jr.'s son Thomas, conflicts with earlier genealogies that delineate more plausible lines of descent from Col. John West, Jr.'s son Thomas, showing William as Thomas' grandson instead. I wanted to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that William was indeed descended from the Delaware-West family, even though he has been listed as such in several genealogies. When I called the author of the latest three-volume edition of "Adventurers of Purse and Person", Mr. John Frederick Dorman, he mentioned that most of his information on the West family came from the research of George Harrison Sanford King (1914-1985), most of which is available in the Virginia Historical Society. Earlier genealogies, such as Letta Brock Stone's 1929 book "The West Family Register" and Malcolm Hart Harris, MD's 1977 book "Old New Kent County: Some Account of the Planters, Plantations, and Places," show William West, born 1735, as a son of Col. Francis West (ca. 1702-1796), the latter book by his first wife, Susannah Littlepage, born circa 1717. "Purse and Person" lists William as a son of Col. Francis' nephew Francis, who was a son of Thomas West, Jr. and Martha Cole. If Thomas West, Sr. was born around 1670 as most genealogies suggest, it seems unlikely that William was his great-grandson and that chronology makes it more likely he was Thomas' grandson. However, he may have been listed as a son of this Francis rather than of Col. Francis simply because, according to Dr. Harris in his book, a granddaughter of Col. Francis, Elizabeth West Richeson Moss, had apparently stated that her grandfather Col. Francis West had no sons. But Dr Harris indicates he probably did have at least three sons, William, John, and Francis, Jr., by his first marriage to Susannah Littlepage, for they were living on her family's "Wales" plantation near Calno and Mangohick in northwestern King William. If William was a son of the younger Francis West rather than of Col. Francis West and Susannah Littlepage, then why was he living on a Littlepage property in 1762? Col. Francis lived at "Drury Lane" in King William, a plantation previously owned by his father Thomas and grandfather Col. John West, Jr. Or, is it possible that it was not Col. Francis West who married Susannah Littlepage, but rather his nephew Francis who married her? She was about 15 years younger than Col. Francis. Col. Francis' daughters Susanna, Agnes, and Frances could have been by an unknown mother, not Susanna Littlepage, and Susanna Littlepage instead may have been the wife of the younger Francis West and mother of his sons William, Francis, and (perhaps a) John, which explains how William and Francis came to own the Littlepage farm "Wales."


Or, regarding the ancestry of William West who married Letitia Martin, it also seems likely he was a son of Thomas West, Jr. and Martha Cole rather than their grandson. There is no extant record of all of Thomas' children, and court records mention Col. John West having younger brothers and sisters. Indeed, William and Letitia named children Martha, Thomas, George, and Susanna, the latter two being the names of her probable parents, but none of their children were named Francis. The name William may have been given to him if his maternal grandfather was Col. William Cole of Warwick County, father of Martha Cole West. This seems like the most probable scenario, but the only glitch is how one explains William West and his probable brothers, Francis and John, owning and residing at "Wales," on the opposite end of King William County from West Point, if they were not sons of Col. Francis West and Susanna Littlepage; perhaps they or their father purchased that land from the Littlepage family or from their uncle Col. Francis West, rather than acquiring it by inheritance.


Trying to determine which lineage of the William West family is correct has been a challenge, but for the John West family of Campbell County, it is more important to realize that William's connection to the Delaware-West lineage is fairly substantiated not only by his residence in King William, but also a plethora of land records, family records, etc., plus the likelihood that his wife Letitia was the daughter of George Martin and Susanna West who was probably an unidentified daughter of Thomas West, making her a cousin of William. Therefore, if John's descendants match William's, and William has a paper trail (albeit limited to conflicting secondary sources) showing his connection to the Delaware-West lineage, then this fairly well validates John's connection to that lineage, especially if they were cousins rather than brothers because the former would reduce the possibilities of nonpaternity events in the Virginia generations of this lineage.


It appears that the proven male line of descendants of Gov. John West was carried down beyond the late 1700s only among his great-great- (or perhaps great-great-great) grandsons William West and Col. John West, who died in 1786 at Blunt Point in Warwick County (present-day City of Newport News on the James River), Virginia. This Col. John West, who married Elizabeth Seaton, has been listed in "Adventurers of Purse and Person" as a son of the second Francis West and brother of William West, whereas he is listed in "West Family Register" as a son of Col. Thomas West, Jr. and Martha Cole. The latter seems more plausible, especially in view of the fact that his Blunt Point plantation was land previously owned by the Coles and Roscows, ancestors of Martha Cole West. It appears this Col. John West's male line died out with his grandsons but that they were proud to claim the Delaware-West ancestry because Delaware was used as a first or middle name in this branch. Therefore, it appears that the William West branch is the only branch of the accepted descendants of Gov. John West who continue to have a male line, so YDNA testing of additional Wests in America is unlikely to yield any results that may furnish more information on paternity issues for the early Virginia generations of the Gov. John West family. If in the future YDNA testing reveals Wests in America who match the Sackville-West descendant of the 3rd Lord Delaware but not the descendants of William and John West, then that might indicate a nonpaternity event(s) somewhere in the immediate ancestry of William and John.


Even if the YDNA of John West's and William West's patrilineal descendants matched that of the two English Wests who have tested (who as shown above do not match one another either), the results alone would be insufficient for their descendants to join  hereditary societies such as the Jamestowne Society, Descendants of Colonial Governors, etc. based on very high probability of descent from Gov. John West. Most such societies require written records proving descent in each generation with no gaps in between the applicant and the ancestor for which one is applying. However, one may be able use other descents for such societies and be content knowing that the YDNA results, in combination with the written records and circumstantial evidence for the William West family, corroborate that John West's family is the same as that of the distinguished Delaware-West line. But more YDNA tests are desirable to hopefully determine whether the nonpaternity events occurred in the 3rd Lord Delaware's lineage somewhere between him and the inheritor of his title, in our line, or both.


Source; Comments by double great6-grandson Bryan Scott Godfrey.