Home Grown In the Garden State
Welcome to my web site!
My interest in genealogy began shortly after retiring from the U.S. Air Force in 1987. Growing up, despite having a close knit family, there was never any discussion about ancestors, family history or traditions. By the time I finally got interested, both my mother and father were deceased. I knew very little about my grandparents and wondered just how I fit into the family picture. I began asking other family members questions regarding the family and was amazed by what little they really knew about their parents and grandparents. Thus, armed with a few tidbits of information, I set on a personal quest to find my roots.
When I began this research my goals were twofold: 1) develop my direct Sutton and Jones family lines, and; 2) validate all events and facts with source information. Fortunately, both my Sutton and Jones families where pretty much a fixture in the state of New Jersey from the time they arrived from Europe. This allowed me to focus my research primarily within New Jersey where I was able to acquire facts and source material directly through repeated research trip to the NJ State Archives and, as it continues to develop, from published data on the Internet. Other information was acquired from material extracted from various books and papers and information received from other researchers. This latter information, in many cases, lacked the source information necessary to validate the material but provided many clues. I also found in many instances that the supporting records either did not exist or they may have just eluded my search.
Initially my research focused on my direct Sutton family(paternal father's line), which began with William Sutton who settled in Piscataway, NJ around 1666 having come from Scituate, Massachusetts and my Jones family (paternal mother's line) who arrived from Manchester, England in 1848 and settled in Paterson, NJ.
But the "genealogy bug" hit me hard and my research extended well beyond my direct lines and followed the ever expanding westward migration of the Sutton families from NJ. In addition to my Sutton and Jones lines, I have also researched my father's maternal O'Brien line and mother's maternal Otto line. At about the same time, I began to research my wife's family lines. These are all from Pennsylvania and consist of Eltz, Bush, Connor, and Kelly. All are found on this website.
In 2008, I added DNA as a tool to help with my family research. DNA can be very useful in knocking down those "brick walls", but it can also open that proverbial Pandora's Box. My DNA test results opened that box. When comparing my YDNA (STR) results with those of other Sutton lines, there was quite a disparity. This disparity was too great to be caused by a simple mutation of the genes. Thus the only other possibility was that an occurrence, commonly called a "non-paternal event or NPE", took place somewhere in the paternal line. My thoughts were, given the age of the line, it probably occurred back several generations, as I had a solid paper trail for at least the last three generations.
However, this issue continued to eat at me, so I decided to try to eliminate the chance that this event occurred in the recent generations by first having my brother test. His DNA results matched mine so I knew that Harold Sutton was in fact our father. I had one male cousin in the line who I was able to locate and requested he test. The results, his DNA matched all those other Sutton's but not mine. I now had the answer to where the NPE occurred and that Isaiah Sutton was not my dad's legitimate father despite the birth certificate stating so.
I opted to take DNA testing one step further and took the FamilyTreeDNA "Big Y" test in June 2016. This test proved vital in determining my true paternal line. The results of the Big Y test showed that my dad's father was a member of the McDevitt (McDaid) family. My goal now, while I may never learn my dad's actual father, was to at least find a connection to a direct McDevitt family so I can continue to research and extend this Irish ancestry.
Over the next 2 years, I spent time learning more about DNA as it applies to genealogy. I did DNA tests with most of the testing companies. In April 2018, I received notice of a 2nd cousin match on 23anMe which immediately allowed me to identify my paternal great grandfather. Through further DNA analysis and normal genealogy detective work, I believe I have identify my McDevitt grandfather.
During this same time, we also learned of Marie's true paternal grandfather. Her father, Henry, always felt he was not an Eltz; but if not an Eltz, who?. Again, DNA was key in providing the answer. AncestryDNA alerted us that we had a 2nd cousin match. From this match and extended DNA analysis, I was able to confirm that her great grandfather was a McKenzie from western Pennsylvania and, now believe I also have her grandfather.
So I now continue my family research, looking to expand knowledge on two new families; McDevitt and McKenzie. And while I'm not a Sutton by blood, I still maintain a familiar connection to this line through 69 years of interrelationships. I also continue to present my 35 years of family research on this line and my Marie's Eltz line as a reference for all those who follow.
I dedicate these pages to my family who tolerated my absences while I was away doing research or at the computer at home doing research. Secondly, I dedicate this as a remembrance to all those family members I never met, but, in someway, have all contributed a little to who I am today.
Aerial view of the Bayonne Bridge, which spans Bayonne, NJ and Staten Island, NY. Also in view is the home on Trask avenue where I grew up.
Table of Contents
Individual Report for Dennis Paul Sutton
Index of Names
have attempted to transcribe all the marriage and death information found in
the Hunterdon County Democrat newspaper and offer it here for you to search.
The extracts cover the period 1838-1888. The information not only contains
information relevant to Hunterdon County but throughout New Jersey and other
locations across the United States. I still have microfilm up to 1900 which I
plane to eventually extract the data from. The below link will take you to
extract pages. Click "Ctrl F" to open a search box and enter your
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