Old 96 District Descendants 

  The Sheila Hightower-Allen DNA Memorial Fund is dedicated to bringing families together of all ethnicities who are connected to what was originally known as the 96 District. The 96 District covers families from Abbeville, Aiken, Anderson, Barnwell, Edgefield,  Greenwood, Johnstons, Laurens, McCormick, Newberry, Orangeburg, Pickens, Saluda, Spartanburg, Union. We have found connections to several family members in Darlington, Greenville, Kershaw, and Oconee.


Contact us at: dnamemorialfund@gmail.com 

Donya P. Williams 


Brian Sheffey 


Sharon Rowe

Team Member

Loretta Bellamy 

Team Member 

  For more than 20 years Donya Williams has researched her roots in Edgefield, South Carolina. According to Donya Genealogy is a calling that has been requesting her attention since a little girl, but it wasn't until 1996 that she finally began to answer the call.  Her genealogical makeup is African, European, East Asian and Native American. Over the past 20+ years her Genealogical resume has grown exponentially Donya has submitted articles to the oldest running newspaper in South Carolina; Co-host to a growing online genealogy show "Genealogy Adventures" and Author of her first book Comes to the Light: Learning About the Entangled Families of Edgefield, SC. Donya is also a single mother of four children who continues her research for herself and for others. 

  Brian Sheffey has expertise in DNA, mid-Atlantic, and Southern research, with an emphasis on the intersection of white, black, and Native American genealogy. He has used his knowledge to solve cases of unknown parentage from Colonial America to the present day utilizing DNA and paper trail evidence. Brian has been, and continues to be, a popular speaker at genealogy conferences and seminars, as well as the popular international host of “Genealogy Adventures.” Brian has deep family roots in colonial Virginia and the Carolinas: from his Jamestown-founding European ancestors to his earliest African ancestors who arrived in 1619 to the Powhatan, Choctaw, and Creek tribes and his colonial Quaker ancestors in the mid-Atlantic region.  His passion for genealogy was inspired by his father, and his father's drive and desire to discover the story of his family. Brian combines years of experience in marketing research and academia with a passion for genealogical research - and a unique ability to solve seemingly impossible cases. Behind his passion for research lies the belief that genealogy is an opportunity to connect with Americans from different backgrounds to enable them to connect with each other – and make connections around the globe.

  Sharon Rowe is a librarian and professional genealogist, born in Laurens County, with deep roots in Abbeville, Aiken, Edgefield, Greenwood, McCormick, and Saluda Counties, all in South Carolina. She holds a B.S., Political Science, from Valdosta State University, and a M.L.S. from the Florida State University. Since 1987 she has been a professional librarian: her specialty is reference services. Currently she is the Library Manager at Alamogordo Public LibraryAlamogordo, New Mexico. Her ethnicity is primarily British Isles, with some French/German and Scandinavian, and trace amounts of Western Asian, North African/Arabian, and West African. The DNA testing has yielded thousands of cousins, from a variety of ethnicities and nationalities. Thankfully, the paper trail has been validated for the most part.

  Loretta Bellamy is a self-taught genealogist specializing in African American research for more than twenty years with expertise in obituaries, slave ship migrations and manifest records, sealed adoptions, finding living people and family reunion organization. Loretta’s own personal quest to find her mother who gave her up for adoption started her on this journey called genealogy.  After a successful sixteen-year career as a manager/underwriter for a major insurance company and an eight-year manager for a clothing retailer, now retired, her main focus is on genealogy research and raising her autistic grandson.Loretta is available for any genealogy research project, private consultations and can be reached at loretta04703@att.net.