Ancestry Research

  • 347 Views
  • Last Post 09 August 2015
Halo Stickman posted this 02 August 2015 - Last edited 15 July 2016

A few years ago I developed an interest in tracing my ancestors and was quite surprised by how much information can be gleaned from online sources. I didn't uncover any particularly startling revelations but I did discover some interesting things and also put the lie to a few long-standing family-myths. As well as this, I think it's fair to say that my research gave me a greater sense of who I am, so to speak, and also a sort of 'personal connection' to historical events.

The other thing I discovered - if my own extant family members can be used as a yardstick - is that most people don't seem to be particularly interested in ancestry research, and prefer to look to the future.

Any fellow Sotonians spent time researching their ancestry?

21 Comments
Order By: Standard | Newest | Votes
Sadoldgit posted this 02 August 2015

A guy in America did some digging and got in touch with my uncle over here as we have an unusual surname. We thought it was of Frech or Flemish origin but found out that we came from Germany in the 17thC and ended up here after moving through the lowlands when the Huguenots migrated. They settled in Ireland then some (our lot) came to London and others settled in N America. Most of us have olive skin and dark hair so assumed we were Mediterranian, but no, it seems we are Krauts!

pap posted this 02 August 2015

I had a big leg up in my research because my uncle had done a lot of my Dad's side.    Very interesting.   One half has been in the area since the 1700s, if not before.   Another branch moved slowly south from the Stockton area.   One thing that research provides is context.  One of my relatives, dead now, had a fearsome reputation and caused plenty of hurt while about.    Found out that her ma died almost the moment she was born.   It has changed my opinion of her.

saintbletch posted this 02 August 2015

I haven't, Halo, but my sister has.

Through her efforts and through those in other parts of the family, we've learned that we were descended from a funster that naively enabled sacking of Wexford in Southern Ireland by Oliver Cromwell. 

The shame of it.

My father's side are mainly farm labourers through the ages in and around the Andover area, but I do know that my surname comes from us having been pub landlords at some point in time.

It explains a lot. 

Halo Stickman posted this 02 August 2015

Originally posted by pap

I had a big leg up in my research because my uncle had done a lot of my Dad's side.    Very interesting.   One half has been in the area since the 1700s, if not before.   Another branch moved slowly south from the Stockton area.   One thing that research provides is context.  One of my relatives, dead now, had a fearsome reputation and caused plenty of hurt while about.    Found out that her ma died almost the moment she was born.   It has changed my opinion of her.

Yes Pap, I agree; the more tenuous nature of life in previous times does set things in context and helps with perspective. For instance, around the 1880s, my maternal great x 2 grandmother lost two of her children to diphtheria within the space of a few days, one to whooping cough and another to tuberculosis. Thing is, to lose four out of six children in this way wasn't actually that uncommon back then - just a little more than five generations ago.

  • Liked by
  • pap
Fowllyd posted this 02 August 2015

I have little idea of my own antecedents, other than that my mother is from the Lake District and my father is from South Wales (so there is indeed an element of Welshness to me, isn't it).

However, here's a good ancestry-related tale. A few years ago, I was talking to my mother on the phone and she asked if I knew of a band called the Eagles.. Yes, I replied, they are reasonably well known I do believe, She then went on to tell me that one of her sisters, who still lives near Shap, had a call from her husband's sister, saying that they had an American chap staying with them. He (the American chap) had traced his family's roots and found my uncle's lot in the north-west of England. So, they all came up to my aunt and uncle's farm; when they asked the visitor what he does for a living, he told them he was a rock musician who plays in a band called the Eagles. The visitor, it turns out, was none other than Joe Walsh. The best part of the story, to my mind at least, was that my aunt and uncle had never even heard of the Eagles.

Halo Stickman posted this 02 August 2015

Originally posted by saintbletch

I haven't, Halo, but my sister has.

Through her efforts and through those in other parts of the family, we've learned that we were descended from a funster that naively enabled sacking of Wexford in Southern Ireland by Oliver Cromwell. 

The shame of it.

My father's side are mainly farm labourers through the ages in and around the Andover area, but I do know that my surname comes from us having been pub landlords at some point in time.

It explains a lot. 

 For various reasons, I concentrated on researching what I call my mitochondrial family line - my mother's mother's mother and so on - and within that line we have lots of agricultural labourers and one pub landlord as well, Bletch!

That line came to the Island around 1770 from the delightfully named Sherfield English, which is near Romsey.

Have Irish ancestors on my father's side.

  • Liked by
  • lifeintheslowlane
CB Saint posted this 02 August 2015

My family on both sides are agricultural workers. They both started in Basingstoke and migrated southwards following the work. One interesting note, is that I believe my mum and dad are related courtesy of a common nine times great grand parent.

PhilippineSaint posted this 03 August 2015

Originally posted by CB Saint

My family on both sides are agricultural workers. They both started in Basingstoke and migrated southwards following the work. One interesting note, is that I believe my mum and dad are related courtesy of a common nine times great grand parent.

 CB Saint should really be a Pompey supporter by his own admmission.

CB Saint posted this 03 August 2015

I'm pretty sure that the gills and webbed feet was bred out of us half a dozen generations back.

 

lifeintheslowlane posted this 03 August 2015 - Last edited 03 August 2015

Well yes I was/am involved in my family history. I've always been involved since childhood. My Victorian GG grandfather was quite a well known London publisher and had a biography written in the 1930s. The inherited remnants of his estate, mostly books, portraits etc were heavily featured in my grandparent's house and as a child I asked questions.

When my dad retired in the 1980 he threw himself into his hobby of local history...he was already a Southampton registered "Blue Badge Guide" but I managed to persuade him to put some of his efforts into family research too. Through research carried out in the 1930s for my ancestor's biography we knew another branch of the family had an extensive, unpublished account of the family history. My dad set out to find that branch of the family.

Very looooong story short...my dad and his newly found cousin started our Named Family History Society in 1986...It held it's first "gathering" at Leeds University in 1989. The missus and I are going to the next one in Bury St. Edmunds in September...we go to most.

I'm not a genealogist...we have enough in the family already...you could say, I'm just a "social member."

lifeintheslowlane posted this 03 August 2015

Originally posted by Halo Stickman

 For various reasons, I concentrated on researching what I call my mitochondrial family line - my mother's mother's mother and so on - and within that line we have lots of agricultural labourers and one pub landlord as well, Bletch!

That line came to the Island around 1770 from the delightfully named Sherfield English, which is near Romsey.

The line my mother's decended from came from Lockeley and Sherfield English...maybe we're related wink 

  • Liked by
  • Halo Stickman
Halo Stickman posted this 03 August 2015

Originally posted by lifeintheslowlane

Originally posted by Halo Stickman

 For various reasons, I concentrated on researching what I call my mitochondrial family line - my mother's mother's mother and so on - and within that line we have lots of agricultural labourers and one pub landlord as well, Bletch!

That line came to the Island around 1770 from the delightfully named Sherfield English, which is near Romsey.

The line my mother's decended from came from Lockeley and Sherfield English...maybe we're related wink 

Well, you never know, slowlane!

One of the women in my mitochondrial line, with the initials EB, was also born in Lockerley in 1683, and got married in Lockerley to a man with the initials JM in 1707. Some time very shortly after that they moved to Sherfield English.

NB I've limited myself to initials in case you prefer me not to reveal names on here.

lifeintheslowlane posted this 03 August 2015 - Last edited 03 August 2015

Originally posted by Halo Stickman

Originally posted by lifeintheslowlane

 

The line my mother's decended from came from Lockeley and Sherfield English...maybe we're related wink 

Well, you never know, slowlane!

One of the women in my mitochondrial line, with the initials EB, was also born in Lockerley in 1683, and got married in Lockerley to a man with the initials JM in 1707. Some time very shortly after that they moved to Sherfield English.

NB I've limited myself to initials in case you prefer me not to reveal names on here.

 I'm not bothered about revealing names...my mother's family name was Sillence and is quite a common name around the Romsey area. BTW my name is John if you're fed up with typing "lifeintheslowlane" wink

Halo Stickman posted this 03 August 2015

Originally posted by lifeintheslowlane

Originally posted by Halo Stickman

Originally posted by lifeintheslowlane

 

The line my mother's decended from came from Lockeley and Sherfield English...maybe we're related wink 

Well, you never know, slowlane!

One of the women in my mitochondrial line, with the initials EB, was also born in Lockerley in 1683, and got married in Lockerley to a man with the initials JM in 1707. Some time very shortly after that they moved to Sherfield English.

NB I've limited myself to initials in case you prefer me not to reveal names on here.

 I'm not bothered about revealing names...my mother's family name was Sillence and is quite a common name around the Romsey area. BTW my name is John if you're fed up with typing "lifeintheslowlane" wink

Ok, John, seems like we're not related.

Halo wink

lifeintheslowlane posted this 03 August 2015 - Last edited 03 August 2015

Originally posted by Halo Stickman

Originally posted by lifeintheslowlane

Originally posted by Halo Stickman

Originally posted by lifeintheslowlane

 

The line my mother's decended from came from Lockeley and Sherfield English...maybe we're related wink 

Well, you never know, slowlane!

One of the women in my mitochondrial line, with the initials EB, was also born in Lockerley in 1683, and got married in Lockerley to a man with the initials JM in 1707. Some time very shortly after that they moved to Sherfield English.

NB I've limited myself to initials in case you prefer me not to reveal names on here.

 I'm not bothered about revealing names...my mother's family name was Sillence and is quite a common name around the Romsey area. BTW my name is John if you're fed up with typing "lifeintheslowlane" wink

Ok, John, seems like we're not related.

Halo wink

 Well we all know this is all a load of bollocks really because if you go back far enough we are ALL related. smile

Having said that I have actually had a DNA test to establish a family history link. My dad and another "suspected" cousin (i.e. a link not confirmed through documented evidence) had long searched for the link to connect two branches of the family tree. Everything lined up...village of birth...dates...name patterns...virtually every classic indicator of a family link without the written record in the Parish Register. 

Our family history society started a project to link many of the recorded family trees together where these missing links existed. My father never lived to see the link confirmed but the society paid for around a dozen DNA tests and our "suspected" cousin and myself underwent a simple saliva test and it proved conclusive.

Of the 37 tested "markers" 36 were exactly the same value and the one different "marker" deviated by "1". This indicates we share the same common ancestor within 7 generations...the missing document relating to the 6th generation.

It's fun when that happens. smile

saintbletch posted this 03 August 2015

I'm pretty sure that some of my Irish relations (and not too many generations back) are that inbred that they are their own cousins.

  • Liked by
  • lifeintheslowlane
lifeintheslowlane posted this 03 August 2015

Originally posted by saintbletch

I'm pretty sure that some of my Irish relations (and not too many generations back) are that inbred that they are their own cousins.

 I'm sure there's an element of truth in that for most families pre-industrial revolution...they just didn't move out of their local areas. My mother's Sillence family were recorded in the Lockerley Parish register for 400 years...add up the chances. Inevitable I would have thought.

Halo Stickman posted this 03 August 2015

HTH smile

Richard Dawkins's explanation on how to calculate relatedness (excerpt from the Selfish Gene):

Suppose you contain one copy of the gene G. You must have received it either from your father or from your mother (for convenience we can neglect various infrequent possibilities - that G is a new mutation, that both your parents had it, or that either of your parents had two copies of it). Suppose it was your father who gave you the gene. Then every one of his ordinary body cells contained one copy of G. Now you will remember that when a man makes a sperm he doles out half his genes to it. There is therefore a 50 per cent chance that the sperm that begot your sister received the gene G. If, on the other hand, you received G from your mother, exactly parallel reasoning shows that half of her eggs must have contained G; once again, the chances are 50 per cent that your sister contains G. This means that if you had 100 brothers and sisters, approximately 50 of them would contain any particular rare gene that you contain. It also means that if you have 100 rare genes, approximately 50 of them are in the body of any one of your brothers or sisters.

You can do the same kind of calculation for any degree of kinship you like. An important relationship is that between parent and child. If you have one copy of gene H, the chance that any particular one of your children has it is 50 per cent, because half your sex cells contain H, and any particular child was made from one of those sex cells. If you have one copy of gene J, the chance that your father also had it is 50 per cent, because you received half your genes from him, and half from your mother. For convenience we use an index of relatedness, which expresses the chance of a gene being shared between two relatives. The relatedness between two brothers is J, since half the genes possessed by one brother will be found in the other. This is an average figure: by the luck of the meiotic draw, it is possible for particular pairs of brothers to share more or fewer genes than this. The relatedness between parent and child is always exactly 1.

It is rather tedious going through the calculations from first principles every time, so here is a rough and ready rule for working out the relatedness between any two individuals A and B. You may find it useful in making your will, or in interpreting apparent resemblances in your own family. It works for all simple cases, but breaks down where incestuous mating occurs, and in certain insects, as we shall see.

First identify all the common ancestors of A and B. For instance, the common ancestors of a pair of first cousins are their shared grandfather and grandmother. Once you have found a common ancestor, it is of course logically true that all his ancestors are common to A and B as well. However, we ignore all but the most recent common ancestors. In this sense, first cousins have only two common ancestors. If B is a lineal descendant of A, for instance his great grandson, then A himself is the 'common ancestor' we are looking for.

Having located the common ancestor(s) of A and B, count the generation distance as follows. Starting at A, climb up the family tree until you hit a common ancestor, and then climb down again to B. The total number of steps up the tree and then down again is the generation distance. For instance, if A is B's uncle, the generation distance is 3. The common ancestor is A's father (say) and B's grandfather. Starting at A you have to climb up one generation in order to hit the common ancestor. Then to get down to B you have to descend two generations on the other side. Therefore the generation distance is 1 + 2 = 3.

Having found the generation distance between A and B via a particular common ancestor, calculate that part of their relatedness for which that ancestor is responsible. To do this, multiply J by itself once for each step of the generation distance. If the generation distance is 3, this means calculate 1/2 x 1/2 x 1/2 or (1/2)3. If the generation distance via a particular ancestor is equal to g steps, the portion of relatedness due to that ancestor is (1/2)g.

But this is only part of the relatedness between A and B. If they have more than one common ancestor we have to add on the equivalent figure for each ancestor. It is usually the case that the generation distance is the same for all common ancestors of a pair of individuals. Therefore, having worked out the relatedness between A and B due to any one of the ancestors, all you have to do in practice is to multiply by the number of ancestors. First cousins, for instance, have two common ancestors, and the generation distance via each one is 4. Therefore their relatedness is 2 x (1/2)4  = 1/8.  If A is B's great-grandchild, the generation distance is 3 and the number of common 'ancestors' is 1 (B himself), so the relatedness is 1 x (1/2)3 = 1/8. Genetically speaking, your first cousin is equivalent to a greatgrandchild. Similarly, you are just as likely to 'take after' your uncle (relatedness = 2 x (1/2)3 = 1/4) as after your grandfather (relatedness = 1 x (1/2)2 = 1/2).

For relationships as distant as third cousin (2 x (1/2)8   = 1/128 we are getting down near the baseline probability that a particular gene possessed by A will be shared by any random individual taken from the population. A third cousin is not far from being equivalent to any old Tom, Dick, or Harry as far as an altruistic gene is concerned. A second cousin (relatedness = 1/32) is only a little bit special; a first cousin somewhat more so (1/8). Full brothers and sisters, and parents and children are very special (1/2), and identical twins (relatedness = 1) just as special as oneself. Uncles and aunts, nephews and nieces, grandparents and grandchildren, and half brothers and half sisters, are intermediate with a relatedness of 1/4.

...Estimates of relatedness are also subject to error and uncertainty. In our over-simplified calculations so far, we have talked as if survival machines know who is related to them, and how closely. In real life such certain knowledge is occasionally possible, but more usually the relatedness can only be estimated as an average number. For example, suppose that A and B could equally well be either half brothers or full brothers. Their relatedness is either 1/4 or 1/2, but since we do not know whether they are half or full brothers, the effectively usable figure is the average, 3/8. If it is certain that they have the same mother, but the odds that they have the same father are only 1 in 10, then it is 90 per cent certain that they are half brothers, and 10 per cent certain that they are full brothers, and the effective relatedness is 1/10 x 1/2 + 9/10 x 1/4 = 0.275.

Since all humanity is one species, we are all cousins of one another by definition.  Every marriage is between a husband and wife that are cousins to some degree and the closeness of the relatedness in the marriage will help in determining the relatedness of everyone.

  • Liked by
  • Areola Grandee
lifeintheslowlane posted this 03 August 2015

Originally posted by Halo Stickman

HTH smile

Richard Dawkins's explanation on how to calculate relatedness (excerpt from the Selfish Gene):

Suppose you contain one copy of the gene G. You must have received it either from your father or from your mother (for convenience we can neglect various infrequent possibilities - that G is a new mutation, that both your parents had it, or that either of your parents had two copies of it). ........

Since all humanity is one species, we are all cousins of one another by definition.  Every marriage is between a husband and wife that are cousins to some degree and the closeness of the relatedness in the marriage will help in determining the relatedness of everyone.

 WTF...I'm betting Richard Dawkins is a close cousin of Redslo. wink

  • Liked by
  • Halo Stickman
Halo Stickman posted this 03 August 2015

Originally posted by lifeintheslowlane

Originally posted by Halo Stickman

HTH smile

Richard Dawkins's explanation on how to calculate relatedness (excerpt from the Selfish Gene):

Suppose you contain one copy of the gene G. You must have received it either from your father or from your mother (for convenience we can neglect various infrequent possibilities - that G is a new mutation, that both your parents had it, or that either of your parents had two copies of it). ........

Since all humanity is one species, we are all cousins of one another by definition.  Every marriage is between a husband and wife that are cousins to some degree and the closeness of the relatedness in the marriage will help in determining the relatedness of everyone.

 WTF...I'm betting Richard Dawkins is a close cousin of Redslo. wink

Lol, yeah, I think the interesting point he's making is that people are no more related to their third cousins  than they are to any old Tom, Dick or Harry - after all, we share 99 percent of our DNA with chimpanzees and over 50 percent with bananas smile

Btw, there is an error contained within that cut and paste job I did; I tried to edit it but couldn't because apparently I'd exceeded the character limit. An upvote for anyone who spots it!