By: Ross Hadley (Admin of the Hadley Group Project)

With new members in the Hadley Group Project, many questions have been answered for our subgroups. However, new possibilities have been uncovered, helping to shape our 2023 goals.

We were able to make some progress in our DNA research with the Hadley surname project this past year. Over the course of 2022, we reached the 200 member threshold by adding 17 new participants.

The History of the Hadley Family

This project originally focused on trying to determine if the two largest Hadley family groups in the United States shared a common origin. We have since determined that the New England line descending from George Hadley of Massachusetts and the Quaker Hadleys descending from Simon Hadley of Ireland and Delaware are separate families. In addition to these two largest groups, the Hadleys of Eastern Shore, Maryland, and south central Kentucky, descended from John Hadley of Talbot County, Maryland. They have been added as a third subgroup to the project.

Participating members and I have continued to reach out to Hadleys all over the world this past year. While Hadleys from lineages ranging from Australia to the Caribbean have been added over the past few years, the majority of our outreach efforts have been focused on the West Midlands region of England. In order to expand these efforts, we’ve added a third administrator to the FamilyTreeDNA project, Mr. David Hall, based in England. David has been a great partner for outreach efforts in England to Hadleys and related families.

Findings from the Hadley Project

Over the years, we’ve been able to reach several conclusions:

  • Verifying that Simon Hadley of Dublin’s origins were likely in the West Midlands region of England, and not in Ireland.
  • Identifying that John Hadley of Eastern Shore, Maryland was not the same person or a near relative of Simon Hadley’s son John Hadley of Ireland.
  • Confirming that all three families (Quaker, Eastern Shore, and Halesowen/Oldbury) of Hadleys share a common paternal ancestor in England as long ago as 1400 CE.
  • Concluding that it is very unlikely that the Hadleys of Hadley, Withycombe, Somerset had any surviving male line descendants beyond the mid-1500s.
  • Proving that the son Simon named in John Hadley of Quatt, Shropshire’s 1630 will died c1647 without children, and therefore, could not have been the father of Simon Hadley living in Dublin, Ireland in the 1670s.

Hadley Project Lineage Test Coverage

The Hadley DNA project has identified at least six distinct lineages, each with its own Y-DNA signature.

The most represented Hadley subgroup in the project continues to be the “Simon/John/West Midlands” lineage. This group has been the most active over the past few years and has nearly doubled its membership from about 20 to over 40. So far, we have identified six branches of this family in the Black Country region west of Birmingham, England. Y-DNA testing suggests the branches of these Hadley families separated as far back as the early 1400s.
FamilytreeDNA has built a new visualization tool showing the relationship between these branches going back to the Middle Ages.

Hadley Project Discoveries

As we expand our testing coverage in England and around the world, we continue to verify and identify previously unknown Hadley lineages interspersed with the main group from villages around the West Midlands region.

A New Hadley Lineage

In 2022, two new testers, one from Canada and one from New Zealand, were thought likely to connect to the large West Midlands group, but instead were perfect matches with one another, forming a previously unidentified Hadley lineage in the Rowley/Halesowen area going back to the early 1800s.

Y-DNA Verifies Hadley Lineage

Slightly south, a recently added participant’s Y-DNA test results helped to verify the Y-DNA signature of Hadleys descended from Edward Hadley, b. 1735, in the Cradley, Herefordshire, area of England. Several Hadley landmarks to the north, near Salwarpe, are suggestive that this Hadley family had a separate origin in the area going back many years.

Confirming A Hadley Lineage Theory

Data from additional participants tracing their Hadleys back to other villages in Staffordshire, Shropshire, and Herefordshire is beginning to suggest that a second large grouping of Hadleys sharing a common ancestry distinct from these other groups might have arisen in the West Midlands. Determining whether these disparate Hadleys do in fact share a common origin within a genealogically relevant time frame will be one of our goals in 2023.

The Origins of George Hadley of Ipswich

Finally, it now appears the origins of George Hadley of Ipswich, Massachusetts, are likely to have been in the north of England, near the Scottish borders. We have recently come across Y-DNA matches of men having the Hall surname that appear likely to share a close enough connection with this Hadley subgroup to suggest they share a common origin.
A manual review of our Hall Big Y-700 tester’s results is likely to show he and the George Hadley families shared a common ancestor 400–600 years ago in England. Our hope is that further research will be able to determine whether this connection occurred prior to or following the widespread adoption of surnames in the region.

Remaining Hadley Project Research Questions

While we have made some progress this past year, a number of gaps remain in our knowledge of the various Hadley families and their origins. Below is a summary of key research questions we’re hoping to make progress towards answering in 2023 (organized by lineage subgroup):

George Hadley of Ipswich, Massachusetts

  • Are George’s origins in the north of England? And if so, does this lineage connect to the Headleys and Halls living in the vicinity of Elsdon, Northumberland? Which of these three surnames appeared first in this family’s lineage?

Simon/John/West Midlands

  • Do the Hadley lineages centering on Halesowen, Oldbury, and the surrounding villages of the Black Country area represent only a branch of the overall Hadleys of the region?
  • Does the fact that the Simon Hadley and John Hadley of MD lineages seem to have branched off from the main group of English Hadleys around Halesowen and Oldbury as long ago as the late Middle Ages suggest they shared an origin point further afield in the West Midlands?
  • Do Hadleys from villages further to the north and west (Wolverhampton, Kidderminster, Shrewsbury, Wednesbury, Uttoxeter, etc) share the same origin as the Hadleys from the Halesowen and Oldbury areas?
  • Were the prominent gunmaker and clockmaker Hadleys from Birmingham connected to this group in some way? Do any male line descendants of these craftsmen still exist?

Hadleys of North Nibley, Gloucestershire

  • Do the Hadleys of North Nibley, Cam, Droitwich, and Salwarpe represent a separate Hadley family taking its name from the local village of the name?
  • How far back can the appearance of the Hadley surname in this area be estimated using Y-DNA?

Other Hadley groups

  • As the project has expanded its coverage of Hadley participants from villages around England, the Anzac diaspora, and more recent emigrants to the United States, we have continued to come across Y-DNA signatures that have yet to be grouped into a single family tree.
  • Do these Hadleys represent a yet to be discovered Hadley lineage?

Looking Ahead to 2023

As we move into 2023, we will remain focused on increasing the reach of our project membership. We hope to find Hadley families not yet represented in our project database. To do so, we will optimize our testing strategies to efficiently use limited monetary resources.

In practical terms, this will mean identifying willing project participants from each of our major lineages. Those participants who we identify should have family trees that are well-documented and results that would potentially provide the most insight into the origins and specific Y-DNA markers representing each Hadley family group.

Our approach will highly encourage members to become acquainted with the numerous DNA tools available. For example, FamilyTreeDNA’s new Discover reports enable researchers to visualize connections between testers, place testers into logical subgroups, and use age estimations to provide researchers with additional context with which to research more efficiently.

We encourage our current members, as well as any Hadleys or Hadley descendants interested in learning more about their family history, to reach out to us to see how they can contribute to or join the project. Please continue to monitor our website and our Facebook Group for updates.

We wish you all the best for the New Year. May it be one of new connections and discoveries for our Hadley families.

Privacy Preference Center