Generation Eight. The great great great great great grandparents.


Above, the parish church of Strumpshaw in Norfolk.

5 x great grandparents (Generation 8)! Now that is difficult. My percentages really start to fall away at this generation - only 51% named (compared to 89% of Gen. 7). What a challenge.

Right, what I do have:
  1. Edward Brucker. b.1757 Long Wittenham, Berkshire, England.
  2. Elizabeth Brucker (nee Gregory). b.1761 Long Wittenham, Berkshire, England.
  3. brickwall
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  5. John Edney. b.1743 Whitchurch, Oxfordshire, England
  6. Mary Edney (nee Crutchfield). b.1740 Whitchurch, Oxfordshire, England.
  7. brickwall
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  11. David Durran. b.1782 Steeple Ashton, Oxfordshire, England.
  12. Ann Durran (nee Lardner). b.1782. Lived Deddington, Oxfordshire, England.
  13. William Waine. b.1770. Lived Tadmarton, Oxfordshire, England.
  14. Elizabeth Waine (nee ?). Lived Tadmarton, Oxfordshire, England.
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  19. Henry Baxter. b.1763 Dereham, Norfolk, England.
  20. Mary Baxter (nee Bennett) b.1763 Norfolk, England.
  21. brickwall
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  24. Jane Barker. Norfolk, England
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  28. Sarah Barber. b.1782 East Tuddenham, Norfolk, England.
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  30. Elizabeth Harris. b.1768 Swanton Morley, Norfolk, England.
  31. John Smith. b.1731 Attleborough, Norfolk, England.
  32. Judith Smith (nee Dennis). b.1745 Coston, Norfolk, England.
  33. Richard Smith. b.1775 Attleborough, Norfolk, England.
  34. Mary Smith (nee ?). Lived Attleborough, Norfolk, England.
  35. William Hewitt. Lived Attleborough, Norfolk, England.
  36. Elizabeth Hewitt (nee ?). Lived Attleborough, Norfolk, England.
  37. John Freeman. Lived Attleborough, Norfolk, England.
  38. Anne Freeman (nee ?). Lived at Attleborough, Norfolk, England.
  39. Peter Peach. b.1730. Maxey, Northants, England.
  40. Mary Peach (nee Rippon). b.1734 Maxey, Northants, England.
  41. brickwall
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  43. Peter Riches. b.1755 Old Buckenham, Norfolk, England.
  44. Mary Riches (nee Harrison). b.1756 Old Buckenham, Norfolk, England.
  45. William Snelling. Lived Carlton Rode, Norfolk, England.
  46. Mary Snelling (nee Lewell). b.1753 Kenninghall, Norfolk, England.
  47. brickwall
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  51. brickwall
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  61. John Goodram. Lived Morningthorpe, Norfolk, England.
  62. Lydia Goodram (nee Hammond). b.1749 Morningthorpe, Norfolk, England.
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  65. John Curtis. Lived Hassingham, Norfolk, England.
  66. Ann Curtis (nee Annison). Lived Hassingham, Norfolk, England.
  67. John Rose. b.1775 Strumpshaw, Norfolk, England.
  68. Martha Rose (nee Rowland). b.1779 Strumpshaw, Norfolk, England.
  69. Benjamin Larke. b.1751 Cantley, Norfolk, England.
  70. Mary Larke (nee Marsh). b.1769 Norfolk, England.
  71. Thomas Dingle. b.1757 Moulton St Mary, Norfolk, England.
  72. Mary Dingle (nee Ginby). Lived Strumpshaw, Norfolk, England.
  73. Henry Rose. b.1779 Strumpshaw, Norfolk, England.
  74. Margaret Rose (nee Ling). b.1781 Acle, Norfolk, England.
  75. brickwall
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  79. Benjamin Merrison. b.1759 Repps-with-Bastwick, Norfolk, England.
  80. Lydia Merrison (nee Norton). b.1774 Strumpshaw, Norfolk, England.
  81. brickwall
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  83. John Briggs. b.1753 North Burlingham, Norfolk, England.
  84. Elizabeth Briggs (nee Jacobs). Lived Strumpshaw, Norfolk, England.
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  89. Alexander Goffen. b.1705. Lived Rollesby, Norfolk, England.
  90. Anna Goffen (nee ?). Lived Strumpshaw, Norfolk, England.
  91. James Shepherd. Lived Reedham, Norfolk, England.
  92. Judith Shepherd (nee Maye). b.1749. Lived Reedham, Norfolk, England.
  93. William Nichols. Lived Halvergate, Norfolk, England.
  94. Elizabeth Nichols (nee Thurkettle). lived Halvergate, Norfolk, England.
  95. brickwall
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  97. Thomas Tovel. Lived Wrentham, Suffolk, England.
  98. Hannah Tovel (nee Brown). Lived Wrentham, Suffolk, England.
  99. George Smith. Lived Toft Monks, Norfolk, England.
  100. Elizabeth Smith (nee Wittham). Lived Toft Monks, Norfolk, England.
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  107. James Porter. b.1727. Lived at Blofield and Limpenhoe, Norfolk, England.
  108. Elizabeth Porter (nee Mollett). Lived at Blofield and Limpenhoe, Norfolk, England.
  109. William Springall. Lived at Strumpshaw, Norfolk, England.
  110. Susanna Springall (nee Mingay). Lived at Strumpshaw, Norfolk, England.
  111. Jacob Wymer. b.1756 Moulton St Mary, Norfolk, England.
  112. Elisabeth Wymer (nee Moll). Lived at Moulton St Mary, Norfolk, England.
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  117. John Thacker. b.1764 Woodbastwick, Norfolk, England.
  118. Ann Thacker (nee Hewitt). b.1774 Salhouse, Norfolk, England.
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  121. Abraham Daynes. Lived at Wicklewood, Norfolk, England.
  122. Elizabeth Daynes (nee Moore). b. 1748 Wymondham, Norfolk, England.
  123. brickwall
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  127. Robert Page. b.1752 Wymondham, Norfolk, England.
  128. Elizabeth Page (nee Hardment). b.1751 Bunwell, Norfolk, England.


Who were my great great great great grandmothers? Generation 7 Female ancestors

Above.  One of my daughters posing in workhouse pauper attire, in the very workhouse that some of her own ancestors lived.  Gressenhall Rural-Life Museum, Norfolk.

Here I will attempt to list as many of my 4 x great grandmothers, who they were, where they lived, and something about them.

  1. Elizabeth Brooker (nee Seymore).  b.1797 Drayton, Oxon. England.  Mother to seven children.  Wife of an agricultural labourer.
  2. Hannah Edney (nee Hedges)  b. 1784 Enstone, Oxon, England.  Wife of a thatcher.
  3. Brickwall.  Switzerland.  Wife of a copper smith.
  4. Susannah Durran (nee Waine) b. 1809 Tadmarton, Oxon, England.  Wife of a tailor, mother of seven.
  5. Anne Bennett (nee Neale).  b. 1786 Norfolk, England.  Farmer's wife.
  6. Frances Baxter (nee Shilling). b. 1778 Gressenhall, Norfolk, England.  Bricklayer's wife and mother of four.
  7. Mary Barker (nee Bligh). b. 1797 Scarning, Norfolk, England.  A shoe maker's wife.
  8. Jemima Barber (nee Harris).  b. 1800 Swanton Morley, Norfolk, England, an agricultural labourer's wife, and mother of eight.
  9. Mary Smith (nee Smith).  b. 1775 Attleborough, Norfolk, England.  An agricultural labourer's wife, and mother of seven.
  10. Elizabeth Hewitt (nee Freeman).  b. 1779 Attleborough, Norfolk, England.  An agricultural labourer's wife, and mother of five children.
  11. Ann Peach (nee ?)  b. 1779. Northants, England.  Wife of a Shepherd, mother of four.
  12. Elizabeth Riches (nee Snelling) b.1781 Banham, Norfolk, England.  Wife of an agricultural labourer, mother of nine children.
  13. Elizabeth Barber (nee ?) Lived at Halesworth, Suffolk, England.
  14. Brickwall
  15. Elizabeth Beckett (nee ?)  b.1770.  Lived at Tasburgh, Norfolk, England.  Wife of an agricultural labourer, mother of seven.
  16. Frances Gooderham (nee ?) b.1790 Saham Toney, Norfolk, England.  Wife of an agricultural labourer, mother of eight.
  17. Mary Ann Curtis (nee Rose) b.1806 Buckenham Ferry, Norfolk, England.  Wife of a marshman and agricultural labourer, mother of nine.
  18. Elizabeth Larke (nee Dingle)  b.1795 Strumpshaw, Norfolk, England.  Wife of an agricultural labourer. Only two children found.
  19. Elizabeth Rose (nee Brooks) b.1806 Postwick, Norfolk, England.  Wife of agricultural labourer, mother of nine.
  20. Hopeful Barker (nee Morrison) b.1804 Lingwood, Norfolk, England.  Wife of an agricultural labourer, mother of eight. 
  21. Susanna Key (nee Briggs) b.1781 Strumpshaw, Norfolk, England.  Wife of an agricultural labourer, mother of four.
  22. Elizabeth Waters (nee Ransby) b.1772 Freethorpe, Norfolk, England.  Wife of a mole catcher, mother of four.
  23. Judith Goffen (nee Shepherd) b.1772 Reedham, Norfolk, England.  Wife of a carpenter, mother of six.
  24. Emily Nichols (nee Beck) b. 1795 Halvergate, Norfolk, England.  Wife of an agricultural labourer, mother of only two known.
  25. Elizabeth Tovell (nee Smith) b.1795 Toft Monks, Norfolk, England.  Wife of an agricultural labourer, mother of six.
  26. Ann Tammas (nee Dove) b.1786 Norfolk, England.  Wife of an agricultural labourer, mother of five.
  27. Ann Lawn (nee Porter) b.1763 Limpenhoe, Norfolk, England.  Wife of an agricultural labourer, mother of four.
  28. Mary Springall (nee Wymer) b.1789 Mouton St Mary, Norfolk, England.  Wife of an agricultural labourer, mother of seven.
  29. Brickwall
  30. Catharine Thacker (nee Hagon) b.1797 Shipdham, Norfolk, England.  Wife of an agricultural labourer, mother of three (died 1832, husband remarried).
  31. Sarah Daynes (nee ?) b.1783 Witchingham, Norfolk, England.  Wife of an agricultural labourer, mother of ten.
  32. Mary Quantrill (nee Page) b.1791 Wymondham, Norfolk, England.  Wife of a weaver, mother of four

What I will also say, is that these ancestors could have had more children, that I have not found baptism records for.  Also, that in addition to looking after the household, and rearing so many children, they would have to contribute to income whenever they could, be it by laundering for others, tailoring, and seasonal casual work on the fields.

Who my great great great great grandfathers were, and what they did. Generation 7. Male ancestors.

Just who were my Generation 7 direct male ancestors - my 4 x great grandfathers?  What were their occupations?  Where were they, and how did they support themselves and their families?

  1. John Brooker. b.1788, Long Wittenham, Berkshire, England. Agricultural labourer.
  2. Thomas Edney. b.1785 Whitchurch, Oxfordshire, England. Thatcher.
  3. John Shawers (Shuarze?). b. circa 1800 Switzerland. Copper smith.
  4. Benjamin Durran. b.1810 North Aston, Oxfordshire, England. Tailor.
  5. John Bennett. Lived Norfolk, England. b.1788. Farmer.
  6. Samuel Baxter. b.1787 Dereham, Norfolk, England. Brick layer.
  7. Charles Barker. b.1795 Dereham, Norfolk, England. Shoe maker.
  8. James Alderton Barber. b.1803 Swanton Morley, Norfolk, England. Agricultural labourer.
  9. Raphael Smith. b.1775 Attleborough, Norfolk, England. Agricultural labourer.
  10. Robert Hewitt. b.1782 Attleborough, Norfolk, England. Agricultural labourer.
  11. John Peach. b.1770 Maxey, Northants, England. Shepherd.
  12. Benjamin Riches. b.1779 Old Buckenham, Norfolk. Agricultural labourer.
  13. Benjamin Barber. b. circa 1772. Lived Halesworth, Suffolk, England. No trade found in records.
  14. Brick wall
  15. John Ellis. b. 1773 Lived in Tasburgh, Norfolk, England. Agricultural labourer.
  16. James Gooderham. b.1786 Hempnall, Norfolk, England. Agricultural labourer.
  17. William Curtis. b.1808 Hassingham, Norfolk, England. Marshman, agricultural labourer, and steam engine driver.
  18. Samuel Larke. b.1795 Cantley, Norfolk, England. Agricultural labourer.
  19. William Rose. b.1804 Brundall, Norfolk, England. Agricultural labourer.
  20. Thomas Barker. b.1801 Moulton St Mary, Norfolk, England. Agricultural labourer.
  21. William Key. b.1778 Postwick, Norfolk, England. Agricultural labourer.
  22. Robert Waters. b.1771 Freethorpe, Norfolk, England. Mole catcher.
  23. Richard Goffen. b.1731 Strumpshaw, Norfolk, England. Carpenter.
  24. John Nichols. b.1786 Halvergate, Norfolk, England. Agricultural labourer.
  25. Thomas Tovell. b.1785 Wrentham, Suffolk, England. Agricultural labourer.
  26. Edward Tammas. b.1774 Langley, Norfolk, England. Agricultural labourer.
  27. William Lawn. b.1761 Norfolk. Lived at Halvergate, Norfolk, England. Agricultural labourer.
  28. William Springall. b.1788 Halvergate, Norfolk, England. Agricultural labourer.
  29. Brick wall
  30. William Thacker. b.1796 Salhouse, Norfolk, England. Agricultural labourer.
  31. Reuben Daynes. b.1781 Brandon Parva, Norfolk, England. Agricultural labourer.
  32. Robert Quantrill. b.1797 Norfolk, Lived Wymondham, Norfolk, England. Weaver.


The Roman Contribution

I took the above photo of a Roman tombstone at Colchester.  It's the image of a Roman cavalry officer, ruling over a defeated Briton.  It had apparently been damaged during the following Boadiccan Rebellion.  No doubt the Iceni-led rebels against Roman authority would have found this image a tad humiliating.  The point that I want to make here though, is that the cavalry soldier that this tombstone commemorates, may have been Roman, may have died in South-East Britain, but actually hailed from what is now Bulgaria!

The archaeological and historical evidence suggests that as a foreigner in Roman Britain, he was far from alone.  There are a number of similar stories, that suggest that Roman Britain was visited by many other people from across the empire -  not only people from what is now Italy and Bulgaria, but also from what is now the Netherlands, France, Greece, Syria, Lebanon, Germany, Spain, Tunisia, Algeria and Iraq.  Visitors appear to have included not just military, but merchants, specialists, politicians - they all occasionally stare out at us from the archaeology and histories of Roman Britain.

We know that they were here.

Previous anthropological investigations at Trentholme Drive, in Roman York identified an unusual amount of cranial variation amongst the inhabitants, with some individuals suggested as having originated from the Middle East or North Africa. The current study investigates the validity of this assessment using modern anthropological methods to assess cranial variation in two groups: The Railway and Trentholme Drive. Strontium and oxygen isotope evidence derived from the dentition of 43 of these individuals was combined with the craniometric data to provide information on possible levels of migration and the range of homelands that may be represented. The results of the craniometric analysis indicated that the majority of the York population had European origins, but that 11% of the Trentholme Drive and 12% of The Railway study samples were likely of African decent. Oxygen analysis identified four incomers, three from areas warmer than the UK and one from a cooler or more continental climate. Although based on a relatively small sample of the overall population at York, this multidisciplinary approach made it possible to identify incomers, both men and women, from across the Empire. Evidence for possible second generation migrants was also suggested. The results confirm the presence of a heterogeneous population resident in York and highlight the diversity, rather than the uniformity, of the population in Roman Britain.

Leach, Lewis, Chenery etal 2009

I could have alternatively used more historical evidence of individuals - the General from Tunisia, the Syrian in Northern Britain, with a Southern British born wife, the York woman that appears to have had mixed African ancestry, etc, the recurrent Greek names, the Syrians, Algerians and Iraqis that patrolled Hadrians Wall.  As Charlotte Higgens stated in Under Another Sky, Journeys in Roman Britain 2013:  

"In Roman Britain, you do not have to look far to find traces of people sprung from every corner of the empire.  Because of the Roman's insatiable desire to memoralise their lives and deaths, they left their mark.  Some fell in love, had children, stayed.  Many no doubt to, were brief visitors, posted to Britannia and then off to the next job, in Tunisia, perhaps, or Hungary, or Spain.  In the Yorkshire Museum is an inscription made by a man called Nicomedes, an imperial freedman and probably Greek, to go by the name.  He placed an altar to the tutelary spirit of the provenance - 'Britanniae sanctae', sacred Britannia.  Also in York, a man called Demetrius erected two inscriptions in his native Greek - one to Oceanus and Tethys, the old Titan spirits of the sea; the other to the gods that presided over the governer's headquarters.  The Roman empire was multicultural in the sense that it absorbed people of multiple ethnicities, geographical origins and religions.  But Roman-ness - becoming Roman, living as a Roman - also involved particular and distinctive habits, architecture, food, ways of thinking, language, things that Romans held in common whether they were living in York or in Gaza.".

South east Britain was a part of the Roman empire for no less than 370 years, and was strongly influenced by it both before and after that membership.  That represents quite a few generations, maybe around 12 to 18 generations.  So in AD 410, as locals in Britannia fretted about their Brexit, Germanic immigration, and were petitioning Rome to send the troops back, some of their pretty distant ancestors, had witnessed the arrival of Rome with the Claudian Invasion.  That's a long time for contact and admixture to drip feed.

Did this long membership of the empire leave a genetic signature in Britain?  The current consensus is no!  We have not yet found anything in the British admixture, that can be ascribed to Roman Britain.  Not on an autosomal DNA level.  The given explanation is that the Romano-British admixture experience was so cosmopolitan, and diverse, that no one contributing population managed to leave a lasting signature.  Each case was apt to be washed away by the phenomena of genetic recombination.  It hasn't left a background admix in modern South-East British populations that has yet been detected and recognised.

However, enthusiasts that test their DNA haplogroups do often find results that are not easily explained by conventional British population history.  Odd haplogroups turn up.  My own Y-DNA, L-SK1414, with a Western Asian origin, is just one example.  Perhaps some of these rogue haplogroups in Britain, are a smoking gun of Roman Imperial experience. 

The site of Venta Icenorum here in Norfolk.

Genetic Genealogy - verifying the family tree with shared DNA segments

This is an aspect of Genetic Genealogy that I'm sure is well known to some researchers, but that, I'm only just starting to appreciate.  I've been DNA testing for ancestry heavily for a year or two, but my prime interest has been older ancestry, admixture, and population genetics.  All of my early attempts to contact matches through 23andme and GedMatch, resulted in frustrated conversations with North American testers, that had no paper trail back before their ancestors emigrated.  Today, I matched on AncestryDNA with a third cousin.  The DNA prediction was fourth cousin, but the relationship on paper is third cousin.  This was my third match, confirmed by both shared DNA segments, and by a shared paper trail to common direct ancestors.  How cool is that?  Finding that yourself, and other researchers, share segments of the same DNA that appear to have been inherited through recent common descent.  Finding each other through the code of Life that is in our cells, and being able to see where that DNA came from in our family trees!

The image at the top of this post represents the biologically verified tree, as represented by colour shaded areas of my pedigree fan.  This is based on descent from shared ancestry found in DNA matches.  There is always the slight possibility that we share DNA from other unknown or unrecorded routes.  But the probabilities are high, that these shared segments of DNA do come from the known common ancestral roots in our trees.  The stronger the verification, perhaps through multiple matches, the darker the shade.

This discovery of a third cousin on AncestryDNA, combined with my mapping of the correlations between paper trail and DNA matches serves as an incentive to work harder on finding and contacting matches.  I've also spotted common DNA segments with someone that flags up as a fourth cousin ... but according to our shared paper trails, and family lore, should be a second cousin.  I'm trying to get a response from the tester.  But have I uncovered another family secret?

Has Y-DNA testing been useful in your Genealogy?



Yes and no. Not in traditional genealogical terms of simply adding names on that line of the tree, but in connecting to another English family, and in presenting an interesting unexpected history that I would have never have expected.

My great grandfather Brooker's origins were a bit of a mystery that inspired my interest in family history 30 years ago. He was estranged from his wife and family, and was my only great grandparent not born in Norfolk. I found his origins on the East side of London, south of the river. His father was born during 1864, in an agricultural labouring family in rural Oxfordshire. His grandfather was born several miles up river, and on the opposite bank in Berkshire, again in an agricultural labouring family. I trace back securely to my 6 x great grandfather John Brooker, born circa 1724. However, sorting out which parish he was born has already been an incredible chore, involving more than one prime suspect, only for further evidence to emerge that discredits the candidate.

I have no idea how people can claim to discover their entire genealogy dating back to the Early Medieval, in weeks! It's taken me 30 years so far, and chasing my paternal line further is a long term project - I'm not hurrying.

So my Y-DNA was a bit of a surprise. L1b2c or L-SK1414. Incredibly rare (only named since I tested, and the SK1414 SNP correlated with one found on a survey in Makrani), and associated with an origin in Western Asia between the Levant and Pakistan. Found so far in Balochi, Druze, Mountain Jew, and Parsi, in Pakistan, Iran, Lebanon, Azeribaijan, and Saudi Arabia. But it's also found in two Southern English families. Mine (Brooker), and a Chandler family that share an ancestor that lived in Basingstoke, Hampshire, during the 1740s. He was contemporary with my 6 x great grandfather Brooker, who lived in Berkshire only 32 miles away as the crow flies.

Our two families clearly share a common Y ancestor before 1720. Our STR are close. I'm sure that there must be many more of us, untested with ancestry in Southern England. I doubt that it was more recent than 400 years ago. But looking at Yfull, and STR age predictions (I know they are unreliable), I doubt that our line has been in Europe for more than 2000 years.

Some other L-SK1414 have turned up in the USA in people with European Y ancestry, including one from a believed Mennonite ancestry in Central Europe, and an other from the Portugese Azores (with an STR marker that is shared with some Parsi). However... their STRs look different from the English, and those SNP tested don't have my terminal SNP FGC51036 (which FT-DNA added to the L SNP pack).

So at the moment, I still think it's possible that my Y line (shared with the Chandlers) moved direct from Western Asia to Southern England, in one or two generations, between 2000 and 400 years ago. Until more results suggest otherwise. An Asian traveller (no, not yet found in Roma - and more associated with the area of Iran). Yes I've speculated, Roman soldier from Syria, Crusader's slave, Persian merchant, mason from the Byzantine Empire - but the fact is, you can't guess these things, or always pin them to great historical events. History doesn't record every individual with itchy feet.

I've started a Brooker surname project. I've so far added all English Brooker on baptism records between 1550 and 1600. What the distribution maps (and later examples on surname distribution websites) suggest is that the Brooker surname had not been in Berkshire very far back, but may well have spread right through Basingstoke and Hampshire from the South Coast. It's tempting to see the Y ancestor as arriving at a South Coast port of England, and his descendants moving up through Hampshire where both the Brooker and Chandler lines could have still shared the line - bringing it nearer to 400 years ago, than to 2000 years ago. But that's an awful lot of conjecture.

It does support that my biological line stays true to the surname, at least to Oxfordshire / Berkshire, as it's so geographically close to the known origins of my closest Y cousins, the Chandlers.

Distribution of BROOKER in Southern England between 1550 and 1600 at the top of this post.