After 20 years of studying my family genealogy through historical records and DNA research, I’m inspired by the information collected and I have begun the first stage of a new series of portraits. These new portraits depict the “imagined” DNA strand each of the men in my direct line of ancestors. Each Dorsey male before me has passed on an exact copy of his DNA markers, from father to son, generation to generation . With less than a .001% possibility of mutation over the course of 20 generations, it is fascinating to know that I share something unique and perfectly preserved with these men.

Beginning with the pioneer John Dorsey, who moved his family from Maryland to the wilderness of Virginia, this project includes the next 8 generations of Dorsey men who, for the most part,  lived their lives near the very same banks of 20 Mile Creek that John originally settled on.  It could be called a 200 year history of the Dorseys of West Virginia. Their wives and children and occupations and every bit of information I know of them are all elements of consideration as I create these Imagined DNA Portraits.

Here are some studio images of the first stages of the canvases as works in progress.



John/Arah Stocksdale Dorsey – Pioneers

Married Sept 28, 1791 in Baltimore, MD

Samuel/Nancy Nutter Dorsey – Blacksmith

Married August 30, 1823 in Nicholas County, Virginia

Franklin/Nancy Surratt Dorsey – Farmer

Died in a sawmill accident – 1877

Samuel W/Mary Fitzwater – Horse Trader

Married December 19, 1878 in Clay County, WV

Benjamin H/Elizabeth Kennedy Dorsey – Cobbler

Married June 1906 in Clay County, WV

Robert W/Mildred Dorsey – Accountant

Union Carbide

David/Diane Dorsey – Salesman

Hitch Hiked to Florida

Robert W/Katy Hernandez Dorsey – Artist