Guthrie Genealogy




There seem to be many versions of the tale of the Three Brothers Guthrie: Robert, James, and John who were from a family of ironmongers in Edinburgh, Scotland. Just how much truth exists in the old family story is anyone's guess, but traditional research only leads to that old brick wall. DNA is providing a method of proving and disproving which Guthrie lines belong to the same large Guthrie Family Group 2 tree and which don't. More specifically, it is providing a detailed look at which Guthrie lines belong to the same branch. That is especially important here with the descendants of Robert Guthrie (Branch B).


The foremost important thing any "Branch B" descendant must know is that the first and second generations of this lineages are grouped together based solely upon the hypothesis posed by 'American Guthrie and Allied Families' author Laurence R Guthrie. See the section of AGAF beginning on p.169 on Robert Guthrie of Fallowfield Twp.

Robert Guthrie is supposed to be one of the three brothers of the "Three Brothers Theory". Robert is supposed to have married a Miss Darlington. This couple is named as the presumed parents of 4 men who have something in common with Robert's place of residence or with each other. These are Adam Guthrie (Mary Irwin), William Guthrie (Elizabeth Barnett), James Guthrie (Jeanette Wilson Moore), and John Guthrie (Margaret Brown).

LRG theorized that the four men were brothers, but added a statement claiming that even if they were not brothers it was very likely that they were closely related since kinsmen frequently traveled and settled in groups. That appears to be precisely what has happened in the case of Branch B where at least one of these four "sons" has been proven via DNA testing of descendants to be a cousin rather than a brother to the others. 

One other interesting finding is that of all of the Guthrie lineages in GFG2A the only ones whose descendants possess Mode DNA (the most common result found at any given genetic marker) are those associated with the Three Brothers Theory. All descendants of Robert, James, and John Guthrie.

THE DNA PROJECT: Guthrie Family Group 2A - Branch B - Cluster 1 - Mode DNA / Three Brothers Theory

Genetic Matches: 5

Click on the links to access ancestor details. 

Douglas Lee Dalton

Larry Lee Guthrie 

Peter Macdonald Prenzel-Guthrie

Richard Gray Guthrie 

Robert Elton Guthrie 

We still need a DNA project participant for the lineage of 'presumed son' John Guthrie. 

UPDATE: 2/2016: Our newest participant for this group is the 1st cousin of PPG, another descendant of Adam Guthrie & Mercy Irwin. As expected, their Y-67 marker tests are almost identical at 66/67 with only one unique difference in REG's results compared to MODE DNA. 

UPDATE: 1/2013: Recent results from the Y-DNA 111-Marker Upgrades have revealed significant findings that directly impact Branch B lineages. This branch has now been separated based upon DNA results and matching lineages placed either in Cluster 1 or Cluster 2. The original grouping of the Branch B lineages was based upon the 'hypothetical family' suggested by 'American Guthrie and Allied Families' author Laurence R Guthrie whereby Robert Guthrie & a Darlington wife were presumed parents to 4 suggested sons: Adam, James, William & John. We still need DNA from the lineage of John Guthrie, but the others all match GFG2A.

Y-111 testing shows that the descendants of 'son' James Guthrie & wife Jeanette Wilson are a close match to Branch G's descendants. They share 2 unique pattern markers proving a shared ancestry. Therefore, James & Jeanette's descendants are now linked to Cluster 2 along with the rest of Branch G. The DNA of 'sons' Adam & William remains associated with Cluster 1 at this time. Adam's descendant has 'Mode DNA', which is the most common result at any given genetic marker. One of William's descendants also has 'Mode DNA', while the other has a few genetic variances, but no specific patterns, suggesting they are random and/or recent changes that are insignificant for our purposes.

Cluster 1 consists of lineages with Mode DNA or those linked to the same locations as the people with Mode DNA. These locations: CT and Nantmeal & Brandywine Twps, PA. As it turns out, all of them are also associated with the Three Brothers Theory. 


Robert Guthrie & Miss Darlington

Branch B of the MD/PA Group has one distinct disadvantage to its paper trail. There is no single document, such as a will or a family register, that proves the parent-child relationship of the first and second generation. Laurence R. Guthrie (LRG) in his book, American Guthrie and Allied Families, indicates that Robert, wife and 4 sons are a "presumed" family identified by their proximity to one another while living on Back Creek, Hamilton Township, Cumberland (now Franklin), Pennsylvania.

There is no solid documentation providing evidence that Adam, James, John and William Guthrie were the sons of Robert Guthrie.

However, the Guthrie DNA Project is now 3/4 of the way to proving that these 4 men shared a common ancestor further back on the Guthrie Family Tree. DNA revealed that the two descendants of 'son' James Guthrie are actually more closely related to Branch G than they are to Adam & William Guthrie.

Peter MacDonald Prenzel-Guthrie is a descendant of 'son' Adam Guthrie who lived in West Nantmeal and Brandywine Townships, Chester County, Pennsylvania. The Nantmeal connection seems to be the only link to presumed father Robert Guthrie. 

Douglas Lee Dalton, genetically a Guthrie since his Dalton father was actually a Guthrie adoptee, descends from 'son' William whose only connection to Branch B appears to be that his wife Elizabeth Barnett's father owned property along Back Creek where 'brothers' James and John also owned land. However, DLD also has Mode DNA results that exactly match that of Adam's descendant PPG.

The DNA of William's descendant RGG is not the perfect Mode Results represented by DLD's DNA, but likely represent recent changes that have taken place in the subsequent generations after the birth of DLD and RGG's most recent common ancestor.

Larry Lee Guthrie Sr is a descendant of William Guthrie & Elizabeth Barnett. His DNA test is in progress, but is 12/12 with Mode DNA. 

The writings of LRG provide Branch B with an ORIGIN THEORY that could potentially open up a whole new avenue of research for Guthries of the MD/PA Group because it comes with ties to Guthrie lines with more detailed roots in Scotland and Ireland. When we take out the lineage of presumed son James Guthrie we are still left with the rest of the Cluster 1 lineages that include the remainder of Branch B (Adam Guthrie & Mercy Irwin and Wm Guthrie & Elizabeth Barnett), Branch F (John Guthrie & Abigail Coe), and Branch I (James Guthrie & Ann_____). Each of these lineages are linked to the Three Brothers Theory which indicates that brothers Robert, John and James Guthrie who were associated with the Iron Manufacturing trade in Edinburgh came to America either directly or by way of Ireland, stayed in Boston for an undisclosed period of time and then settled in either Connecticut or Pennsylvania.

I have removed 'James Guthrie' from the list of children belonging to Robert Guthrie & Miss Darlington.


Adam Guthrie married Mercy Irwin.  He was associated with West Nantmeal and Brandywine Twps, Chester, PA. 4 known sons and 6 daughters.

William Guthrie was born c1726 in Fallofield, Chester, PA. He married Elizabeth Barnett. They emigrated to Waxhaws, Lancaster, SC.

John Guthrie married Margaret Brown. Owned Back Creek property. They lived in Cumberland, Bedford & Franklin Counties, PA. DNA Needed.

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