Recent update from our genealogist, Coralee Griswold:

When we originally started the study only the Y-DNA test was available, so only males who still carried the GRISWOLD surname were eligible. Since then FamilyTree DNA has come out with the “Family Finder” DNA study which can be used by both female and male descendants and has been tremendously helpful in the GRISWOLD DNA study.

Research & DNA From GFA Genealogist Coralee Griswold (October 2019)

Once again, DNA has given us another exciting study. A male individual tested who we had been unable to place based only on the written documentation. His DNA showed he was definitely of the Michael line and so the research began. What he did know and could trace was his earliest ancestor was a Watson GRISWOLD born between 1821-1825. Because we have such a wonderful resource of family records there was one potential, very strong match in our records. In March 1997, a descendant/member provided information on his ancestor William GRISWOLD MK491/825 who with his submission provided a casual byline “William had 4 brothers, Samuel, Henry, George, John A, and a half -brother, Watson”. Our sources showed this William as a descendant of Michael (Mk #491/825) b. 1894 in Herkimer county, New York. Williams’s mother had been murdered in 1816 and their father Samuel (1769-1844) had died in Herkimer Co., NY in 1844. Given there were 28 years between his wife’s death and his own there was a strong probability he had married again and fathered more children. Heretofore the GFA had not been aware of another family for Samuel and certainly no further information on Watson other than the simple referenced byline. It turns out our DNA subject’s ancestor had been born in Herkimer county, NY sometime between 1821 and 1824 and further research revealed he had a sister Emeline born about 1822, both later residing in Putnam, Illinois. In studying the 1830 and 1840 census records for Samuel there were indeed children residing in the household to be of proper age to be Watson and Emeline. Before our individual did the DNA study we thought his line traced to Edward for he had indicated in his earliest submission Watson’s father was believed to be Matthew. There are not many “Matthews” with lineage to the Michael line and our subject has not been able to identify his source to explain where this theory came from. Finally there was absolutely no Matthew of proper age who matched his DNA lineage. Based on the DNA and our continued research I remain fairly convinced Watson is the same Watson as son of Samuel. While our subject’s lineage continues to be based on circumstantial evidence, the science is getting better in supporting our working theories and shows how GFA records continue to improve with individuals who provide lineage, test, and support our research


The Griswold Y-DNA study is still active and strong. I encourage every Griswold male to participate if not for themselves then for their descendants. A relatively new study called Family Finder is an exciting alternative for females and males who aren’t falling neatly into the “surname” they had hoped. As we have more males test we also have more test into what is called a Non-Paternal Event (NPE). Generally this occurs when either a male child is given the female’s surname or a non Griswold woman marries a Griswold man and gives the child his surname. Either way it is opening another dimension into the world of genealogy study and of course provides introspection as an Association – are these individuals who were raised and thought themselves GRISWOLD any less GRISWOLD due to blood vs paper? Currently some of the research for GFA members has been in assisting these individuals to find where their line may have gone awry. Historically the GFA has been inclusive in our research and DNA is certainly providing an interesting take on this direction. The NPE’s may cause us to review our mission. . . where does the blood line end but the paper trail continue?

Family Finder can also be beneficial when your surname is still your surname but not the line you thought. A couple years ago I was very disappointed when my husband’s Y-DNA did not match any MILLER in the database. Such a common name and no match, what gives? Then luck struck, in 2016, I upgraded his DNA study with the Family Finder study and there was a match on a female descendant. A whole new world of study has opened, so if you think you are stuck, think DNA.

Coralee Griswold, who works with Becky Griswold on our DNA project, sent her explanation of the DNA questions concerning the English Griswolds:

I have spent the last week looking into the research on the GRESWOLD/GRISWOLD families and the ways in which those families connect to Malvern Hall. I seemed to recall that there was an inheritance of Malvern Hall where the male took the female surname.  Sure enough the most complete  reference we have in our library is from:  Family Histories and Genealogies on the Families of Griswold, Wolcott, Pitkin, Ogden, Johnson and Diodati, Vol II, by Edward & Evelyn Salisbury, 1892, privately printed, p.6 –

“The late Col. Chester, to whom the question of the English origin of the GRISWOLDS was referred some years since, wrote from London:  “I thought I had already explained about the GRISWOLDS of Malvern Hall.  The first one who had Malvern Hall was Humphrey G. (son of Rev. Marshall G., descended from the family at Solihull, co. Warwick), who died unmarried in 1746.  It then went to his brother John, who died without issue in 1760, when that branch of the family, in the male line, became extinct, Malvern then went to their sister, Mary, wife of David LEWIS, Esq., then to their son, Henry Greswold LEWIS, who died in 1829 without issue.  Malvern then went to his very distant kinsman Edmund Meysey WIGLEY, who also assumed the name of GRESWOLD.  He died, unmarried, in 1833, and Malvern then went to his paternal uncle Henry WIGLEY, who also assumed the surname of GRESWOLD, but who never had a drop of GRESWOLD blood in his veins.”  The present (1886) possessor of Malvern Hall is John Francis Williams GRESWOLDE, Esq., who assumed the name of GRESWOLDE under the Will of an aunt MIss GRESWOLD – Walford’s County Families, London 1886, p.1110.”

I have several sources documenting the succession of Malvern Hall to be as attached (succession).  What is most important to understand about succession is that those individuals in bold were NOT GRESWOLD/GRISWOLD by blood but took that surname in the line of succession for Malvern Hall which could explain the differences in DNA.  Put another way, there are going to be those with ancestry “title” to Malvern HALL who carry the surname of GRISWOLD, but which more likely may be genetically WIGLEY or WILLIAMS.

Further, this still gives credence to the work of Robert French who compiled The Greswold Family, 12 Generations in England, because he never carried forth the descendants of Humphrey GRESWOLD, believing  they did not immigrate to the New World.  However in doing this work, I did carry Humpreys line forward, and while they do not have a straight line GRISWOLD relationship, they do have a relationship through the female . Finally I have a pedigree for the “Greswold, of Malvern Hall” done in 1881 which provides a more visual line of succession.

General Information From Coralee

We have had a great response to the call for participants in the DNA study.
There is NO doubt now that Edward and Michael are related. In fact they are so closely related that the clearest determination of a line split seems to be in the “CDY b” marker and is as we would expect since Family Tree DNA states that this is one of the markers that “show a faster mutation rate then the average, and therefore these markers are very helpful at splitting lineages into sub sets, or branches, within your family tree.”
Michael descendants – appear to carry a 36 or 37
Edward descendants – appear to carry a 38

This also underlies why we prefer the 37-marker test, since it is the only test to carry out far enough to get this result. I would love to see some Matthew participants. Some of the interested parties have said they would like to participate but simply cannot justify the $150 for the test at this time. A couple of the tests that have been done are in fact due to the benevolence of a female who wanted to give substance to her line. I can say unequivocally, Michael and Edward are related, which is something we couldn’t say before August 2008, when we made the presentation to the membership.
Editor’s Note: If you have any interest in either testing (if you are a male with the Griswold name) or in funding the testing for someone in your family or another GFA member, please contact Coralee Griswold at We have a rare opportunity to test across the genetic lines before some family connections are lost. What is achieved now will give direction to all our future research on the Griswold Family in America.

An interesting discussion thread regarding our DNA project….this gives us some idea of the complexity of interpreting the results and the importance of testing as many male Griswolds as possible on both sides of the Atlantic.

Wally Grisold of Toronto, Canada writes:

This email is to inform you (although I am not a member of your Assoc.) that my ancestors at one time carried the name Griswold. It was also spelled Grizwould, Griswould, Grizwold and there is even a Grizzle listed. The “W” in my line was apparently dropped in the 1700’s. It appears we started in the Banbury/Cropredy area of Oxfordshire. I have a sixth cousin (Sonia Howson) her maiden name was Grisold. She lives in Oxford England, we correspond regularly. I believe she is a member of your group. I have just received my DNA results from Family Tree DNA. You will find them listed in the Familytreedna. I have also submitted them to I am sure that at one time or another there was a connection…Unfortunately I started this family stuff after my parents had passed on… My Great-grandfather Frederick John Grisold was born in Banbury, Oxfordshire about 1852 and came to Canada in 1884, his wife and children arrived a year later; he was a baker by trade. He died in 1894. And I can’t find where he was buried…
Coralee Griswold responds:

As I explained to Sonia we were following your results with high hopes that it might bring us closer to the England-American connection. Regretfully, you did not make a match to the GRISWOLD’s who have tested in America which was somewhat surprising and disappointing. All the Griswold males without exception (at this time) have an exact match on the first 12 markers those being: 13, 23, 14, 10, 11, 14, 12, 12, 12, 14, 13, 30. With 24 and 37 markers we start to see some deviations but there is still a definite pattern…
In a nutshell, I guess what I’m saying is that we have no match on GRISWOLD. I was going to recommend that you next log into your account at Family Tree DNA and change your search from surname study to complete database but I just checked it, and either you or someone else has all ready done that. On that same page you will see “Y-DNA” results, click on “matches” and you will see all the individuals that make at least a partial match with your results. I see there are two individuals (John Michael Baillie-Hamilton and Gregory Scott Malban) with a genetic distance of two under the “25-marker” test. This means that there is a 54% chance you share the same ancestor within 12 generations and a 72% chance you share the same ancestor within 16 generations. Neither of them have their genealogy posted, so if I were you I would lay out my line with as much as I knew then I would e-mail them (e-mail shown by their name) and start working with these individuals to see if you could narrow it down to what ancestor you might share.I HAVE MY RESULTS, WHAT DOES IT MEAN?
If your first 12 markers show the following, then you can be very, very sure that you descend from a GRISWOLD line.
393 390 19 391 385a 385b 426 388 439 389-1 392 389-2 13 23 14 10 11 14 12 12 12 14 13 30
While our sample is still relatively small (24 individuals) We now KNOW that Michael and Edward were definitely related. However, there have been some unexpected results with a couple individuals who were Griswold on paper, but “not so” in DNA. As you might imagine this has caused some consternation for those individuals. Therefore, I caution those who take the test to be prepared that a small percentage do not test as expected.

We had one Griswold/Grisold test with close European connections. I was very excited about getting this participant, but the results were disappointing in that he did not match the rest of the known Griswold pool. Before jumping to the conclusion that this eliminates American families from ties to England families I would like to see more participants from the English pool. When the first “Edward” descendent tested, his test did not match any of the known participants, which at that time were mostly Michael descendants. Initially we thought that meant Edward and Michael were not related but now that we have more data for comparison it is more likely that the first individual is not a DNA Griswold. With more markers (25 and 37) we start to see some slight variations but our pool is not large enough at this point to show a definitive pattern that can segregate individuals within one line or the other (Edward or Michael). If you want to understand your results log into Error! Hyperlink reference not valid. with your kit number and password. Go your home page and midway down the page under “Y-DNA Results” click on <matches>. At the top of the next page you will see all exact matches on a 12-marker test, and if you did a 25 or 37 marker test, then as you scroll down the page you will see the same for those markers. At the right of each name for which you “match” you will find an icon that gives a calculation for the power and precision of estimates of “Time to the Most Recent Common Ancestor.” While it sounds complicated, I guarantee that it is not and by simply being adventurous you will start to gain some understanding of your results. It is a simple concept in that the more markers you match on the more closely related you are. It is however, in proportion to the numbers you had tested. For instance a 33/37 match on a 37 marker test indicates you are probably related vs. a 21/25 match where you are probably NOT related.

I will also make a plug here, if possible attach your ancestry chart to your DNA so that those who cannot trace their ancestry might find answers through yours. It is easy to upload your GEDCOM file and exclude all living members. Here is where the GFA can help. If you don’t know how to do this, and assuming we have your ancestry, then please e-mail me with permission to do this for you.

Then again you need to log into your home page (as above) and on the right hand side of the page click on <user preferences>. Under “Please choose your preference for matching purposes” click on <I want my matches to be set against the entire database>. You should also upload your file to which is a free public service so that people who have tested with different companies can compare their results. Again, you will log into your home page, click on <matches> and under “Additional possibilities for searching matches” click <click here to upload to >, from that point it will walk you through the process but again this is where the GFA can help. If you feel overwhelmed – e-mail me:

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