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Nathan W. Murphy, MA, Accredited Genealogist

Areas of Expertise

  •  · Southern United States
  •  · England
  •  · Colonial Immigration
  •  · 19th- and 20th-Century Immigration
  •  · DNA
  •  · Romance Languages


Nathan W. Murphy, MA, AG, is a United States and Canada Senior Research Consultant at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah. His interest in the topic piqued at age eight. Producers of History Detectives (History Channel), How the States Got Their Shapes (PBS), and The Generations Project (BYUtv) have sought his expertise for their TV shows. He answered questions at one of the "Ask the Experts" desks at London's 2009 Who Do You Think You Are? Live! event.

Before coming on board at the genealogy 'Mecca' in 2010, he received a BA in Family History and Genealogy from Brigham Young University, completed an internship in London studying emigration sources through the Immigrant Ancestors Project, and graduated with distinction from the MA programme in English Local History at the University of Leicester. He has completed four years of Ph.D. studies in Colonial American and English history at Leicester and the University of Utah. He worked four years as a researcher and marketing director for Price and Associates Genealogical Services, where he gained 6000 hours of professional research experience.

During his studies, Nathan assisted six professors in their research. His graduate studies have focused on tracing the origins and fates of English men, women, and children who migrated to Colonial America, particularly indentured servants and transported convicts. His project to identify these people Immigrant Servants Database has received international praise from organizations such as Oxford Bibliographies, The Genealogist's Internet, and the New York Public Library. A reproduction of a rare indentured servant contract (1738) his project uncovered was on display at the Ellis Island Museum in New York City in 2012.

At this stage in his career, he has been recognized as an Accredited Genealogist for the Mid-South United States, Gulf-South United States, and England and has lectured at several national and international conferences, most recently the 2011 National Genealogical Society Conference (Charleston, S.C.), the RootsTech 2013 Conference (Salt Lake City, Utah), and the 2013 Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy (Salt Lake City, Utah). He has 'edu-tained' audiences on Norwegian Cruise Line in the Caribbean and Mexican Riviera.

Nathan's twenty years of expertise extends to the British Isles, the former British Empire, Central America, North America, South America, and Southwestern Europe. He has regularly worked with clients whose roots reach back into these parts of the world. His foreign language training includes: Early Modern English, French, Italian, Latin, Portuguese, Spanish, and Welsh and he has conducted onsite research in many American and European archives.

Genealogy courses: Learn how to research from an expert in GeneTech: YDNA Solutions to Common Genealogical Problems.

Nathan is passionate about tracing immigrant origins and promoting DNA. His own DNA, and hence his Colonial Southern Murphy's DNA, matches Murphys from near County Cork, Ireland. Nathan has also learned, using this technique, that two of his other Colonial Southern ancestors originated in Cornwall and Devon England. He has helped manage two Family Tree DNA surname projects. His DNA lecture, given at RootsTech 2012, is available online:

Nathan served a term as a Commissioner for the International Commission for the Accreditation of Professional Genealogists (ICAPGen), during which time he solicited speakers for two of their "Becoming an Excellent Genealogist" conferences at Brigham Young University.

Nathan has published articles in scholarly genealogical journals in the United States and the United Kingdom.

| "Will" Episode, The Generations Project (BYUTV)
The indentured servant ancestor in the "Will" episode of The Generations Project was found in Nathan W. Murphy's Immigrant Servants Database. Click the image to watch the episode.


  • Donald Mosher Memorial Award for Colonial Virginia Research, Board for Certification of Genealogists, Washington, DC (2010)
  • Young Family Historian of the Year, Center for Family History and Genealogy, BYU, Provo, Utah (2007)
  • International Student Scholarship, University of Leicester, England (2004)
  • Immigrant Ancestors Grant, Center for Family History and Genealogy, BYU, Provo, Utah (2004)
  • Office of Research and Creative Activities Scholarship (ORCA), BYU, Provo, Utah (2003)


  • "The English Ancestry of Alice Reynolds, Wife of John Roper of Dedham, Massachusetts," The American Genealogist, Vol. 85, No. 3 (Jul. 2011):222-234. (with Leslie Mahler, FASG)
  • “An Italian Indentured Servant Contract: Thomas Jefferson's Gardener, Anthony Giannini (1773-1778),” National Genealogical Society Quarterly, Vol. 100, No. 3 (Sep. 2012):221-228. (with Robert Lewis Giannini III.) Digital version at NGS website ($).
  • “Using DNA to Find Immigrant Origins,” Becoming an Excellent Genealogist: Essays on Professional Research Skills. ICAPGen, 2012. Online bookstore.
  • “The English Origin of John Josua, Gentleman, 1609 Adventurer to Virginia: An Analysis of the First English Will to Mention American Kin,” The American Genealogist, Vol. 85, No. 1 (Jan. 2011):29-36.
  • “The Devon Seafaring Origins of William Byrd's Mother's Family: Grace (Stegge) Byrd of London, Thomas Stegge of Charles City County, Virginia, and Captain Abraham Read of Charles City County, Virginia; Including Additional Details about William Byrd's Father John Byrd's Career as a London Goldsmith,” The American Genealogist, Vol. 84, No. 4 (October 2010):241-256.
  • “London Foundlings in Colonial America: Overseas Leads to Dead Ends; John Abchurch, William Abchurch, Isaac Jewry, and Henry Woolchurch of Virginia and Maryland,” The American Genealogist, Vol. 83, No. 2 (July 2008): 100-110.
  • “‘To be sent to America,’ Indentured Servants Registered at Lyme Regis, Dorset, England, 1683-1689,” Genealogists’ Magazine, Vol. 29, No. 3 (September 2007): 101-102.
  • “Cornelius McDermott Roe: Indentured Servant to George Washington,” National Genealogical Society Quarterly, Vol. 95, No. 2 (June 2007): 135-146. Digital version at NGS website ($).
  • “Devon’s Supply of North American and Caribbean Indentured Servants, 1655-1660,” Genealogist’s Magazine, Vol. 29, No. 1 (March 2007): 3-12.
  • “Origins of Colonial Chesapeake Indentured Servants: American and English Sources,” National Genealogical Society Quarterly, Vol. 93, No. 1 (March 2005): 5-24. Available online.
  • “The Rise and Fall of Latin in the Kingdom of Hungary,” Federation of East European Family History Society’s Journal, Vol. 11 (2003): 12-28.
  • Early Families of Muhlenberg County, Kentucky: Vincent, Wright, McElwain, Wilkins, and Jarvis. Hanson, Kentucky: David W. Murphy & Associates, 1998.
  • Descendants of Azariah Doss and His Wife Lydia (Ayres) Doss. Hanson, Kentucky: David W. Murphy & Associates, 1997.

Special Projects

Immigrant Servants Database WeRelate source pages
Virginia pages on FamilySearch Wiki Tennessee pages on FamilySearch Wiki
London pages on FamilySearch Wiki Barbados pages on FamilySearch Wiki
Middlesex pages on FamilySearch Wiki South Carolina pages on FamilySearch Wiki
Surrey pages on FamilySearch Wiki New York pages on FamilySearch Wiki
Expert Links: English Family History and Genealogy

FamilySearch Blog Posts

Archival Experience

United Kingdom and Ireland


Murphy has researched onsite in archives in each of the shaded English, Irish, and Welsh counties. Map created using GenMap UK software.

He has extensive experience at The National Archives, London Metropolitan Archives, The British Library, Devon Record Office, Somerset Record Office, Leicester, Leicestershire, and Rutland Record Office, and the Northamptonshire Record Office.


Family Tree

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