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Searching For The Wrights Of Oyster Bay

Oyster Bay residents may be able to help solve a local mystery that spans centuries. One famous Revolutionary-era Oyster Bay resident is currently a dead end in genealogical research, but someone out there probably has DNA that would match, and tie together two loose ends of Oyster Bay history.

Much is known about the early history of Oyster Bay, such as how it was settled by a small group of Quaker families who came here from Cape Cod and how those families started a prosperous settlement which has thrived to this day. But in the Wright family, a connection has been lost between those early settlers and their descendants who spread far and wide across America in the succeeding years.

Today, genealogists are trying to put the pieces back together and to find out which Wrights are descended from the family of brothers Peter and Nicholas Wright of Oyster Bay; in some cases their search is rewarded with documentation, written in spidery handwriting and viewed on microfilm or online and in other cases, genealogists from times past have written up their family histories and documented their connection to Oyster Bay. However, not everyone is fortunate enough to find resources like this. This is where DNA testing comes in to fill in the gaps.

There are Wright families living today in Oyster Bay who are likely descended from the original Wright settlers. Those trying to make the connection would appreciate it if someone among them would assist family historians all over America by taking a Y-DNA test, and thus provide a benchmark result for the Oyster Bay Wrights.

The most accurate DNA test to follow a family name line is a Y-DNA test taken by a man who bears the surname. The Y-DNA from all men descended from the same family line will closely match no matter which branch of the family they are from or how many hundreds of years have passed since their ancestors were closely related.

The author of this article has taken up the challenge of solving the mystery of her family’s roots spurred on by the desire to share this with her nonagenarian father who has spent most of his life on the opposite shore of Long Island Sound  in Connecticut. After tracing her Wright line back to Captain Peter Wright (b. 1740 Hempstead, Long Island) she has reached what genealogists term a ‘brick wall’ where no further written documentation is known to exist. Captain Peter Wright is a well-known figure in American Revolutionary times and he is reported to have had as many as 16 children, although only 11 or so are documented. His descendants are many but his ancestry is unknown.

 Circumstantial evidence points to his father being Joseph Wright of the Oyster Bay Wrights. Unfortunately, Joseph died before Peter was born, although Joseph’s will mentions that his wife is carrying a child. Was that child Captain Peter? This is where Y-DNA testing can help. A Y-67 DNA test has been taken by this author’s brother as the Y-DNA carrier of her branch of the Wright tree. The results are posted on the website of the Wright DNA Project www.wright-dna.org. Test 235938 in the bright pink section sits with other results, but none so far are from a documented Oyster Bay Wright descendant. So the search is on to find a direct male line descendant of Peter or Nicholas Wright of Oyster Bay who can trace his lineage. Such a tester will help to solve not just one but two genealogical mysteries, the second one being whether or not the Wrights who settled Oyster Bay and Flushing are related.

If there is someone among the Wright descendants interested in taking the test, please email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it to discuss how to go about this. A swab of cheek cells is all that is needed to solve this mystery and the privacy of the tester is maintained during testing. Further information about genealogical DNA testing can be found here: www.dnaexplain.com/publications/pdfs/dnatestingforgenealogybasics5-19-09.pdf

The first direct paternal line tester to come forward with a verifiable line to the Oyster Bay Wrights will be eligible for a free DNA test.