Recent DNA Evidence
Brings Big Surprise
By Richard L. Steadham
[This article originally appeared in Issue 23, Summer 2004, of the Timen Stiddem Society Newsletter.]
Joseph Earle Steadman, Sr. (JES), wrote the book, Barton and Stedman, also Steedman and Steadman Families. It is a fine hardbound book at 137 pages and was published in 1987. It covers in great detail the Scottish branch of the Steedman family that settled in the American South in the 18th century, with much of the book centering on John Steedman and his descendants, but also covers John's brothers, Robert and James, and some of their descendants. The spelling of the surname Steedman, eventually became Steadman for most of these lines. As Steedman and Steadman are similar to Stedham, Steadham, and Stidham, Mr. Steadman early in his research came into contact with Jack Stidham and his work on the Stidhams*. Thus began a long relationship between the two by sharing information they came across while researching these two, similarly-spelled families.
In a letter dated 19 Dec 1974, he wrote to Jack: "Since my correspondence with your uncle, the Rev. J. H. Stidham, I have received conclusive proof that I am not a descendant of the Stidham family. My immigrant ancestor was John Steedman (now spelled Steadman) who was born in Saint Monace Parish, County Fife, Scotland, and was baptized there on 5 May 1715. Among his children he had two daughters who married men (brothers) of the name Stidham/Stedham. These men were Zachariah Stidham/Stedham, John Stidham/Stedham, who were sons of Zachariah Stidham/Stedham, Sr., and grandsons of Christopher Stidham/Stedham of York County, Pa. Christopher was a son of Adam Stidham/Stedham and a grandson of Dr. Timothy Stidham ( originally Tiddens) the Swedish settler in Delaware. Zachariah Stidham/Stedham, Sr., was a brother of the Adam Stidham/Stedham (of North Carolina) from whom you and the Rev. J. H. Stidham are descended.”
Now, DNA evidence provides conclusive proof that JES really was a descendant of Timen Stiddem after all, and not John Steedman.
A few months ago, I was reading through some of the posts on the STEADMAN Surname Message Board on Roots Web when I came across one that intrigued me. The message-poster listed the name and phone number of Elizabeth (Steadman) Taylor, sister of JES. As the "Group Administrator" of the Stidham Surname DNA Study, I'm always on the lookout for leads as to who may be interested in participating in our study. I figured Elizabeth might be helpful in pointing me to one of her Steadman relatives who just might be willing to take part.
Why would I be interested in Steadmans participating in our Stidham DNA study? After learning from results we received from Family Tree DNA (FTDNA) in February of 2001, that descendants of Samuel  Stidham -- which by far comprise the largest line of Stidhams*--did not match others in the study, I eventually came to the conclusion that maybe this line could be descended from one of the three Scottish Steedman brothers. In order to prove this, however, I would need several Steadman/Steedman participants to join the study to see whether or not their Y -chromosome pattern matched those of Samuel  Stidhams' participants. If they did, it would prove the theory. If they didn't, it would prove they were not descended from the Scottish Steedmans but rather came into the Stidham* family by way of a non-paternity event.
Joseph Earle Steadman, Sr. (1893-1995)
I gave Elizabeth a call, bought a copy of her brother's book, and asked her if she could give me any contacts that might be willing to join our DNA study. She was very nice and graciously gave me the number of a man in South Carolina, a first cousin, twice removed from JES (his 2nd-great-grandfather, John Marcellus Steadman, is JES's grandfather). I then called him and explained who I was and the purpose of our study. He said he was interested in helping us out by taking part. I placed the order at FTDNA to have a test kit sent to him. About six weeks later we received his results. I nearly fell out of my chair! His results matched those in the study descended from Timen Stiddem, NOT those descended from Samuel  Stidham, as I believed they would. I immediately contacted David Stidham to give him the news and to get his thoughts on these developments.
David said JES, for most of his life, believed he was a descendant of Timen Stiddem but later changed his mind, as reflected in his 1974 letter to Jack. For our study participant's part, he said at first he was disappointed to learn that he wasn't descended from Scottish Highlanders as he was led to believe, yet at the same time, excited now about learning his real genetic roots from Sweden — and beyond.
What our Stidham DNA study needs now more than ever is for more Steadmans from other document lines of the immigrant John Steedman to come forward and join the study to see where this all leads, and find out scientifically, who is related to whom.