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Last Updated:     11 Jun 2006   

Teass Family Genealogy Research Site

Family Stories - Teass Heritage

H. A. Teass, Jr. 

Information in part set down during a Family trip to Scotland, June 28 to July 18, 1988.

On one of my earlier business trips to Europe, I purchased a detailed road atlas for England and Scotland. My interest was focused on Scotland by a visit to a Charlottesville, Virginia museum. Before this, much of our family supported the theory of the family coming over from England and entering the Virginian coast. However after much research and finding absolutely nothing in that quarter of the state, I welcomed the idea that entrance into Virginia came via the northern entrance of the Valley of Virginia. Since that time more and more evidence demands the Scotch-Irish path out of Ulster and into America.Teass Family Genealogy Research Site - Family Stories

By long habit, I searched its location index for the name Teass. I was surprised that the atlas' index showed a small dot in eastern Scotland called Teasses. It was two or three miles just south of the lowland hamlet of Ceres, which is 20 miles south west of the famous St. Andrews Golf Course and about 50 miles north east of the Scottish capital, Edinburg. It is in fact in the modern district of Tayside (also the ancient Pictish kingdom of Fife). At that point in time, business pressures wouldn't release me to go north and search out this place of promise.

For some several years I would muse as to how we, the American Teass, would fit into all of this Scottish lowland countryside. Because of Scottish migration paths into Shenandoah Valley, Virginia and the lack of connection to tidewater Virginia, I felt with reasonable certainty that our family name came originally from Scotland via Ulster and Pennsylvania not England in to Virginia Piedmont (as had been put forward by others).

Did you know there is an area in Scotland called Tayside? Scotland's longest river Tay goes down its center starting from Lake Tay. The Tay River name and Teass family name sound the same suggesting a common root. According to several authorities, Teass means "moist place" and it is associated with a people found in Europe before the modern speaking European.

It is hard to believe that the ancient Roman mapmaker Ptolony recorded this remote northern place in 150 AD. On this list, and in the same place as is now, Hill Teasses can be found as the Pitisch tribal name of Tazesali. It was on this tribal land that in the summer of 84 AD Tazes with aid of other Pict tribes fought to a standstill the northern advancing Roman Legions under General Agricla. This battle is well recorded by his son in law. It is recorded, as a great Roman victory - however it must be noted it was the Romans, and not the Picts, who removed themselves southwards from the battlefield. All these connections may sound farfetched but there are other Scotch families who claim they can trace their name back to these ancient times. It can be recalled that genetic studies in England supported a modern family's connection to 5000-year-old ancestors.

An old map showed the earlier spelling Tais for both family and hill. The pre 17th-century spelling Tais was along aside the modern Teas. There are spellings all over the place. In Ireland, Tees was an alternative spelling between brothers. Teays is a misinterpretation of the German Ley spelling of Teass. Our family made the trip to Scotland and spent the afternoon driving about seeing the Teas hill, mill, farm, manor house, museum and great house. The area contains about 2000 acres of farmland. The great house overlooks the sound of to the south.

By archaeological analysis, the Pictish people were found in the eastern area from northern Scotland down to Edinburg. One can still visit original Pictish buildings. These early people left their homes almost intact on the shores of Orkney Island. Home walls at the Island site date back 5,100 years. This would mean that these stone clan homes and monuments were 200 years old before the Egyptians started their first pyramid. They are there to be seen today.

What a wonderful family experience it is to visit such fascinating places and to realize that our surname passed through 1900 years. There is so much left to see, but as I write a development of Teasses Hill, is underway. The Teass people a part of a very long family chain. We all realize that Teass is a rare name, but few realize how long it has been around.

On close questioning, my father supported a Teass northern entrance into America by a Pennsylvania or perhaps the port of New Castle, Delaware. Only when researching in the right area was it relatively easy to find John Teas, with his son Thomas. John's will is on file in Pennsylvania. His signing location is Hanover Township Lancaster. The wills date is of 1740. Accordingly, the name Teass (or as it was spelled Teas) is on the well-established Scotch-Irish westward path. Family history recalls Thomas Teass, our ancestor, being issued marriage bonds in Augusta and marrying the German Katherine Ley. The Thomas documented trail through the valley of Virginia and into New London looks ever more likely to be Scottish and less likely English. It is of interest to know that Thomas lived a long and very adventurous life. (There is a 19th century book where his travel companion Crawford's trials are recorded). More evidence has come to support the Scotch-Irish Teass family background. A good one is the revolutionary record of a Nelson County, Virginia, Teas, expressly stating that he came from Ireland and he called out his families' original location as county Donegal of Ulster where present Teasses are still found.

Published 22 October 2003 .