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Frequently asked questions about
the Maybury/Mayberry/Mabry family


  1. How are you related to the Maybury/Mabry family?

    My mother died in 2014 at the age of 100. Her maiden name was Loretta9 Mabry (Roger8, Daniel7, Russell6, Patrick5, Joel4, Ephraim3, Hinchia2, Francis1). When I began doing family history about sixty years ago, a number of her cousins were especially responsive to my questions and I became fascinated with the Mabrys. Some years later I became "the expert" on the family.
  2. Has your new book been published?

    My third and final book, The Mayburys, was published by Otter Bay Books in September 2011. It traces the family back to our common ancestor in 16th century England and then follows the expansion of the family to Ireland, America and Australia. For more information about the book and how to order it, see The Mayburys.
  3. Does the book contain information about my family?

    The Mayburys begins with the story of our common ancestor, John Maybury of Sussex, who was born about 1540. Today there are easily more than a million people who are his descendants! If it were possible to trace even half of these descendants, the data would fill several volumes! Thus The Mayburys includes only 4-5 early generations for most major branches of the family. However, published with the book is a CD that contains much more information on later generations of the family. For reasons of privacy we have not published information on persons born after about 1930.
  4. Was Francis Maybury of Virginia the son of Richard Maybery of Shropshire?

    NO, HE WAS NOT! Several years ago a careless researcher looked at the International Genealogical Index and found a Francis Maybury, baptized to Richard and Elizabeth Maybery on 17 May 1647 in Longnor, Shropshire. The researcher jumped to the conclusion that, "this must be Francis Maybury who came to Virginia". So he submitted this information to "The World Family Tree", where it was published on a CD. Since then dozens of other researchers have copied this erroneous information and posted it for others to see. While, it can now be found in many places on the internet, IT IS NOT TRUE!

    Just because something is in print or found on the internet doesn't make it true! We asked the Shropshire Records Office to examine the original 1647 parish register and they reported to us that, the record actually says: "Francis, daughter, of Richard and Elizabeth Maybery....". "Francis" is usually the masculine spelling today but in the 17th century this spelling was commonly used for females as well. Thus we know that Francis Maybury who came to Virginia was NOT the son of Richard and Elizabeth of Shropshire. Please help us inform others about this error.
  5. Do all Mayburys, Mayberrys, Mabrys, etc. share a common ancestor?

    Our Maybury DNA Project, combined with conventional genealogical research shows that:

    1. Most Mayburys, Mayberrys, Mabrys, etc. descend from John Maybury, who married his first wife in Sussex in 1565.
    2. Some Mayberrys in the U.S. descend from Frederick Mayberry (ca 1730-1801), thought by some to have come from Germany about 1750. Others believe he was of English ancestry. While the DNA signature of his descendants differs from that of the English Mayburys, Frederick could still belong to the English Mayburys. Hopefully, additional research in Pennsylvania and New Jersey records will provide the answer to this vexing question.

    In the meantime any male Maybury (Mayberry, Mabry, Mabery, Mabray, etc.) can take a simple "Y-DNA" test to determine whether he descends from Frederick Mayberry or from a branch of the larger English Maybury family.
  6. What does it mean if my DNA does not match a known Maybury/Mayberry DNA signature?

    We have had a few participants in our DNA Project whose DNA does not match either the known DNA signature of the "English Mayburys" or that of the Frederick Mayberry family. The most likely explanation for a non-matching DNA signature is a "paternal event" -- which often means an adoption or an illegitimate birth among one's male ancestors which occurred in a past generation. It could also point to another family which changed its surname to some variant of Maybury. While the family would then be known as Maybery, Mabry, Maberry, etc., its DNA signature would still be that of the original family.
  7. How can you do a DNA test on someone who has been dead for a long time?

    It is not necessary to have a DNA sample from an ancestor who died decades or even centuries ago. Every male passes on to all his sons a family "DNA signature" which is found on the Y chromosome. Except for minor "mutations" which occur infrequently, that family DNA signature remains unchanged over many generations. The "DNA signature" found on the Y chromosome of a contemporary male is virtually identical to that of his direct male ancestors who lived several centuries ago.
  8. Can a DNA test show whether or not an African American Mabry has a European ancestor?

    Possibly. If the oral history of an African American family suggests that an ancestor was a slave or that the family may be descended from a white slave owner, a Y-DNA test may be helpful. If the oral history is accurate, the test should point to the DNA signature of the European ancestor. The test may also show whether or not that European ancestor was a Mabry.

    It is also possible that a modern African American family may descend from a European ancestor who was not a slave owner. In either case, a Y-DNA test might provide helpful information.
  9. Are the Maybury and Marbury families related?

    DNA tests show that the Maybury family and the Marbury family are not related. Most American Marburys/Marberrys descend from Francis Marbury who came to Maryland from England about 1680. A separate Marbury/Marberry DNA Project has been established to learn more about the relationships in that family. If you would like to know more about the Marbury/Marberry DNA Project, please contact John Marberry.
  10. Are the Maybury and Mowbray/Moubray families related?

    The Maybury and Mowbray families are both subject to numerous variant spellings, especially in early English records. This has led to speculation that the two families are related or that the Mayburys somehow descended from the Mowbrays. However the two families are not related. The Mowbrays appeared in England much earlier and, for the most part, in different parts of England. In addition, DNA studies of both families show that the two families have distinct DNA signatures.
  11. Is there a "coat of arms" or a "family crest" for the Maybury/Mayberry/Mabry family?

    A number of Mabrys, Mayberrys, etc. have published information about their family, either in a book or on the internet. Sometimes they include a "coat of arms" or "family crest" which is said to belong to the Mabry/Mayberry family. However, these are not authentic and are not related in any way to our family.

    The Mayburys were not landed gentry and no branch of the family ever had a "coat of arms" or "family crest". However, that doesn't stop people from trying to make a buck by designing one for you! A number of unethical companies advertise "authentic coats of arms" for various families, including the Mayburys, Mayberrys, Mabrys, etc. on the internet. Most of these have a search engine where you can type in almost any surname and come up with an attractive family crest, coat of arms, or shield. These are usually sold with a "family history" which someone has improvised from easily available sources. And, of course, you are invited to buy numerous products with your "authentic family crest" on them (ash trays, glassware, plaques, belt buckles, etc.) Don't be fooled. It's just another scam.
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Please contact me if you have other questions that you would like to see answered here.

Don Collins






April 2016