Where do we come from?

I can answer that now.  A set of maps that demonstrates the geographic spread of my direct ancestry back seven generations, to the early 18th Century.

I used a cropped relief map of England from Wikimedia Commons.  Attribution is: By Nilfanion [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], via Wikimedia Commons.

The red dots mark the locations of each ancestor, preferably a birth or baptism place, if not, then the next best provenance.

Grandparent Generation

All four ancestors of this generation are represented on this map.  All four are located in the county of Norfolk, in the East of England.  These ancestors were born between 1900 and 1910 in England only.  They represent two generations back from myself or my siblings.

Great Grandparent Generation

All eight ancestors of this generation are represented on this map.  Seven are located in Norfolk, in the East of England.  These ancestors were born between 1859 and 1885 in England only.  They represent three generations back from myself or my siblings.

Great Great Grandparent Generation

All sixteen ancestors of this generation are represented on this map.  They are concentrated in Norfolk again, but with single representatives each in Suffolk, Cambridgeshire, London, and Oxfordshire.  These ancestors were all born between 1830 and 1865 in England only.  They represent four generations back from myself or my siblings.


Great Great Great Grandparent Generation

Thirty of the thirty two ancestors of this generation are represented on this map.  The other two were undeclared fathers.  The main cluster is still in Norfolk, with a particularly dense cluster in the east of the county, around the River Yare.  Outside of East Anglia, I also had ancestors at this generation in Oxfordshire, London, and Lincolnshire.  These ancestors were all born between 1794 and 1837 in England.  They represent five generations back from myself or my siblings.

Great Great Great Great Grandparent Generation

Now the paper ancestry starts to fade away, with only 42 provenance ancestors out of 64 biological ancestors for this generation (seven generations back).  Therefore the map might lose some detail.  None-the-less, it seems to show the pattern settling, with most of my ancestry only deepening in Norfolk, and strongly clustering around the River Yare in East Norfolk.  Almost entirely restricted to East Anglia, except for a few emerging clusters in Wessex.

Surnames

The recorded surnames of my known direct ancestors are overwhelmingly of Medieval English form: 

Brooker, Curtis, Smith, Thacker, Tovell, Tammas, Hewitt, Lawn, Peach, Goffen, Norton, Barber, Baxter, Ellis, Hagon, Porter, Becket, Shawers, Key, Rose, Ford, Daynes, Quantrill, Crutchfield, Freeman, Larke, Waters, Ransby, Ling, Rose, Riches, Snelling, Merrison, Cossey, Shepherd, Durran, Edney, Hedges, Dove, Britiff, Harris, Tibnum, Mitchells.Briggs, Nicholes

The surnames Tovell, Thacker, Daynes, Ransby, and Hagon - all from my mother's Norfolk side, could hint at an Anglo-Danish influence.

Fan Chart up to most recent six generations:

Earlier Origins

The years and generations represented on the maps pretty much cover the past three hundred years of industrialisation and globalisation.  Much earlier, I'd expect less movement.  Therefore I feel that it would be safe to assume, that back to at least the medieval period, that my ancestry was concentrated in East Anglia, with a secondary patch in the Wessex area of England.  The recent POBA (People of the British Isles) 2015 study, suggested that the old Anglo-Saxon kingdoms continued to act as localised gene pools into the high medieval period.

Before that, we had a period of immigration waves into lowland Britain.  The POBI study, supported a number of other recent studies based on genetic profiling, archaeology, and place-name study, to suggest that Anglo-Saxon immigration accounted for no more than 30% to 40% of lowland British DNA, and that the majority of English heritage had existed in the British Isles previous - perhaps to influxes of genes during the Bronze Age or earlier.  Genetic profiling of human remains in Cambridgeshire, of people identified as 5th Century immigrant (Anglo-Saxon), suggests the closest present day profile as Dutch or / and Danish.  The kingdom of East Anglia identified with the Angles ethnicity, that historically provenance their origins to the region of Angeln, on the Danish and German borders on the Baltic coast.  However how elites identify their origin, is often not based in fact, neither is their origin always shared by their subjects.

East Anglia fell to the Danish army, and subsequently to Danelaw control periodically during the late 9th to early 11th centuries.  Some parts of East Norfolk such as Flegg, are particularly rich in Old Danish place-names.  POBA 2015 failed to identify a Danish presence with their genetic profiling, but the place-name evidence and historical sources contradict this finding.  The 7th to 9th centuries saw a slight reduction in sea levels, that enabled the draining of new lands in East Anglia for settlement.  The same districts are rich in Old Danish place-names, strongly suggesting immigrant settlement.

Conclusion

POBI 2015 suggests that I have ancestors that have lived in lowland Britain, since at least the Bronze Age, and most likely, much earlier.  That very likely ties me to lowland British ethnicities of the Bronze and Iron Ages.  The dominant power in East Anglia during the Later Iron Age was the Iceni federation, famous for the Boudiccan revolt against Rome.

POBI 2015 and other studies, suggests an Anglo-Saxon immigration that accounts for 30% - 40% of English ancestry.  My strongest cluster is concentrated in the river valleys of East Norfolk, exactly the sort of landscape that I would expect any North Sea immigrants during the 4th to 11th centuries to concentrate.  Therefore, I would expect a high probability of actual Anglo-Saxon immigrant ancestry (based on recent studies, from the Netherlands area, and perhaps North Germany / Denmark).  Based on place-name evidence the area was later heavily influenced by the Danish.

When I receive my 23andMe DNA results, based on their genetic profiling of Y chromosome, mtDNA, and on general autosomal calculators, in their ancestry results, I would expect to see overwhelming British & Irish percentage.  However, will their autosome crunchers also predict a percentage in the Scandinavian, French & German, and North-West European 23andMe categories?  As autosomal DNA is so random, what will the results display?

23andMe

Still waiting for the results.  23andMe are not giving a very rapid service.  For starters, I received a sample kit with a Netherlands return address.  That apparently was a holding depot, where they stockpile some of the European samples, so that they can ship them to the USA cheaper.  My sample reached a US lab, but continues to sit in a queue.  It has now been 37 days since I sent my registered sample off, and the box is still in a queue, waiting to be tested.  Other customers are reporting some long waits further down the process in quality control.  I expect a long wait.

Six Generation Ancestral Fan Chart

Its not going to get any more complete than that.  The only two missing ancestors were unrecorded fathers.  That should pretty much reflect the paper background to my autosomal DNA.  It also illustrates quite well, how a complete ancestry fans out, doubliing in number each generation.  Of course, over enough generations, it starts to reduce again, as common ancestors shared by more than one line, start to appear.  Hence the homogeneous nature for example, of the English.

It is also not a proportional representation of where my autosomal DNA comes from.  At meiosis, I recieve 50% of my DNA from my mother, and 50% from my father.  However, before that, randomness creeps in, along with chromosome exchange, so that it's quite possible that I have inherited no DNA at all from some of my G.G.G grandparents for example, while others may be over-represented in my DNA.

I created the Fan Chart using the Open Source Gramps genealogy database software.  I'm really enjoying that program.

I do wish that 23andMe would hurry up.  Thirty four days since sending my sample, and so far it's reached a queue for testing in an American lab.  Judging by the moans and groans on their forums, I might have to wait for a total of three months in order to see results.

1st February 2016

Photography

The above photograph was captured on my favourite little Olympus XA2, loaded with Rollei retro 400S film.  I have been really concentrating the past three months on compact camera 35mm b/w photography.  On one hand, I use the Yashica T2 AF compact, loaded with Kodak Tmax 400, that I then develop in Kodak Tmax developer; on the other hand, I use the XA2 loaded with Rollei Retro 400S, that I usually develop in Ilford LC29.

The Tmax camera produces smooth, clean, "nice" b/w negatives.  The Retro 400S camera produces high contrast, rough and ready negatives, that often suffer from underexposed / under developed - but above all, high contrast and grainy.  On the latest couple of films, I've been setting the XA2 exposure one stop up to ISO 200, and I've added a minute to developing time.  They look better.  However, it is because Retro 400S looks so odd and high contrast that attracts me to it.  It makes interesting images.  The film (as I understand), was initially produced for aviation aerial photography, and has near infrared range - for better cloud and mist penetration.  Even with no infra red filter, it produces some interesting infra red-like results.  I like it so much, I recently bought a ten pack.

Running with dogs

I've just completing my 23rd run in the campaign.  Last month, with the dogs, I ran over 60 miles.  Go our canicross team.  I feel pretty confident at keeping it up.  I have let the strength training go, but I'll pick that up again when I feel ready.  Nutrition plans, I've been pretty good.  Okay, I slip a little from time to time, but I have eaten one hell of a lot of vegetables and fruit over the past three months.  Weight loss really slowed down after losing a stone and a half.  I'm lucky to lose a pound a week.  Still, I'm not going to let it put me off.  This is a long term thing, not just a weight loss diet.

The below image is from Rollei Retro 400S in the XA2.

Ancestry

 Right at the moment I'm feeling a little concerned and annoyed with 23andMe.com.  I don't think that they are really looking after their European or outside-of-the-USA customers as well as they should be if they are serious about our markets.  All information, updates, and shipping appear to be two class - USA, and Others.  I'll let this journal know how it goes, and to be fair, it is early days.

On the paper maternal genealogy chase, I have today received from the GRO, a copy of the marriage certificate between my great great great grandparents, Reuben Daynes, and Sarah Quantrill, on the 26th April 1848, at Besthorpe parish church.  Reuben's father is confirmed as Reuben Daynes (senior).  It tells me that Reuben Dayne senior was actually a publican.  Sarah's father was a Robert Quantrill, a labourer.

In my search for my mtDNA line, I must return to the Norfolk Record Office next, and search for a family of Quantrill's, headed by a Robert Quantrill.  On more than one census, Sarah claimed that she was born at Wymondham, Norfolk, around 1827.  I'll first look for baptisms of any Quantrill children in Wymondham or Besthorpe, around 1815 - 1840.  I have seen what may have been my Sarah, staying with a family of Long's in Wymondham, age 13, in the 1841 census.

The above photo, taken on the Yashica T2/Tmax 400 film, is of my mother, my surviving mtDNA donor, standing next to (not the donkeys) a headstone for a William Quantrell.  I don't yet know if he was a relative, but this is at Besthorpe church last week, and this William was several years older than my Sarah.  He could potentially be an older brother of Sarah, and therefore my G.G.G.G uncle.  If he indeed is, then his bones in that graveyard would contain the same lineage of mtDNA as myself and my mother here.



Recovered Genealogy

The above portrait is of my great great grandfather Billy Baxter (William Bennet Baxter), who was born in Gressenhall workhouse, Norfolk, in 1846.

Now that I've submitted a DNA sample to 23andMe, while waiting for the results, I keep thinking, and wanting to write about my heritage and ancestry.  Hence maybe the recent posts on my past archaeology work, my interest in our Anglo-Saxon heritage, and now more directly, my past and recent experience with genealogy.

I first became interested in the family tree around the late 1980s.  I was a young married guy, on the brink of rearing my own family, so maybe there was a desire to find out where we came from, entwined with where we were going.  I can remember as a boy being interested in any tales about my alleged ancestors.  As I said in a recent post, I was always fascinated by the past.

I'm probably lucky in some ways.  Genealogy can be so Internet and computer databased these days.  I conducted most of my research before all of that.  I would visit county record offices and archives around England & Wales, and wearing white cotton gloves in reading rooms, sift through the original registers and documents - some of which were in the original handwriting of my ancestors.  Two of my ancestors had been long serving parish clerks in Norfolk.  I'd also visit archives in London, search through indexes of birth, marriage, and death (BMD).  If I wanted to order a BMD certificate, I'd write to a detective or genealogist, that would fetch bundles of certificates from the archives at a cheaper price than I could do it first hand.

With my wife, I'd also travel around the churches, cemeteries, and grave yards.  We'd interview elderly relatives, ask to see any family photographs or certificates.  Most were eager to tell their tales.

A nicer way of researching than sitting at home and paying to see transcript records in an internet database.  However, I made a mistake.  Computers were coming along.  I recorded too much onto obsolete system and using obsolete software.  Then I hit middle age.  I let go of too much, all of my notes, charts, and records.  My marriage collapsed, I moved on.  Holding onto things seemed futile when I have only one life.  I lost much of my genealogy.

Then a few days ago when I was looking at my old archaeology website on the Internet Archive Wayback Machine, I spotted a few pages on my old genealogy.  There was a link to a .gedcom file that included a lot of the data that I had accumulated years ago.  It worked, the Wayback Machine had captured my .gedcom file!  Data on over 1200 ancestors and relatives from both mine, and the ex's family.  I looked for some Open Source software and found the Gramps program.  I downloaded it and the .gedcom file onto both my Windows 7 PC, and onto my Linux netbook.  After fiddling for a little while, the software opened my old gedcom file - there was all of the data, or at least a lot of it.  Charts, resources, BMDs, baptisms, burials, etc.  Retrieved from an Internet Archive, and saved in a format that still works.

The above group photograph is of four generations.  The baby is my Aunt Gladys, the mother is my maternal grandmother, the man is her father, my great grandfather Sam Tammas-Tovell, and the old lady is my great great grandmother Eliza Tammas-Tovell (nee Lawn).  Probably taken in the Halvergate or Tunstall area of Norfolk around 1936

My Genealogy and 23andMe

Most of my recorded ancestry, and most likely, most of my actual ancestry, lived in the English county of my birth - Norfolk.  Seven of my eight grandparents were born in Norfolk. My autosomal data should be pretty typical for a Norfolk born East Anglian.  The exception was my paternal great grandfather, who was born in Victorian London, of mainly Oxfordshire descent.  On the 23andMe results, he should have passed down my Y chromosome haplogroup.  On paper I can go back another three generations, to a John Brooker, who fathered some children between 1815 and 1836 in the parish of Rotherfield Peppard in Oxfordshire.  All that I currently know of his origins, is that he stated that he himself was born outside of Oxfordshire.  He lived close to the county border with Berkshire, and I suspect that he may have originated from there.

My maternal line, which should represent my mtDNA haplogroup, as with most of my recorded ancestry, is very Norfolk.  I can trace it back to Sarah Daynes (nee Quantrill), born at Wymondham, Norfolk circa 1827.  I don't think that it would be too far fetched to suggest that my ancestors most likely lived in the Norfolk area since at least as far back as the old East Anglian Kingdom, and perhaps many of them much back further, perhaps thousands of years.  Some of them however were very likely to have been part of that Anglo-Saxon immigrant Third, and to have arrived from across the North Sea.  Some of them may have arrived a bit later.  East Anglia was very much a part of the Danelaw.  Many villages in East Norfolk - as in parts of Lincolnshire and East Yorkshire, are regarded as having names that were Old Danish in origin.  Apparently even one of my family surnames - Tovell, has been identified as Old Danish, coming from Tofi-son-of-Hilda.  Another family surname Thacker has also been suggested as a Scandinavian form of thatcher.

I'll be interested to see how 23andMe analyse the Ancestry.  In all of my ancestry, I have not found any evidence of anyone coming from outside of England.  It's all Norfolk, London, and Oxfordshire - English surnames.  Therefore I'd expect the 23andMe autosomal results to come out pretty much under the British & Irish group.  However, should we ethnic English, because of our more distant history, expect elements of Scandinavian, French & German, and North West European?  My understanding is that autosomal data mainly relates to the most recent several generations.  My Y chromosome should belong to a common British male haplogroup.  It most likely passed through Oxfordshire in SW Britain.  My mtDNA should belong to a very East English haplogroup.  It might have arrived in Britain in late prehistory, or it might have arrived during the Anglo-Saxon or Viking period.

Too much speculation, I must expect my DNA results to take weeks to process.

Testing for 23andMe

Photograph for today

The above photograph is another one from my day trip to Huntingdon with the Yashica T2, and Kodak Tmax 400 film.  It shows Huntingdon Mill, across the River Great Ouse.  Not too sure how much that I like this one.

Running with Dogs No.16

Ran again today.  Intended to make it a shorter run, but it ended up longer - 5.3 miles long.  The longest run for these dogs yet, or for me for several years for that matter.  Average speed was 5.8 mph, taking 54 minutes, but there were hold ups, particularly near to the primary school, stuck behind mums picking up their kids, and with meeting other dogs.  With the dogs, I've run over 47 miles over the past thirty days.  Cool.

23andMe

The DNA sampling kit arrived today.  For the records, it took under four days for delivery.  I sampled with my spit, registered the sample online, then took it back to the Post Office to catch the afternoon return mail.  Later on, I completed my profile and registrations on the 23andMe website.  I'm really looking forward to the results, and to using the online tools to analyse my DNA sample.

23 pairs of chromosomes

Crease Drain and the Red Tile Wind Farm

I took this photograph yesterday, using the Yashica T2 loaded with Kodak Tmax 400 film.  We actually had a little sun on one of my days off work, so I took a day trip with the Yash to Huntingdon.  The late sun on the way back looked great for shadows and landscapes, so I pulled up here at Crease Drain, to take a few photos of the Red Tile wind farm between Warboys and Chatteris.  I wanted the capture the straight lines and black soils of the Fens here.  I'm quite pleased with this one.  I don't photograph landscapes too often.

23andMe

Night shifts can be a bitch.  Tiredness, upset metabolism, before you know it, you have a break, and you've bought something that you don't need from the Internet.  On a recent night shift, I ordered a 23andMe personal genetic profiling service.  I'm now waiting for the DNA sample kit to arrive.

I've been attracted to genetic profiling for some years.  Particularly for any ancestral data that such a test might provide.  Genealogy was a past interest of mine, and using traditional archiving materials (it was before I had internet access), I had already collated a family tree of over 1300 individuals for my kids - going back on their mother's side to the early 17th Century.  That along with my good knowledge of British prehistory, and landscape archaeology, I'd say that I have a pretty good idea of what my heritage is.  However, at the same time, I have been very skeptical at some of the claims made by Ancestral DNA companies, that appear to target New World customers, with suggestions that they can pinpoint the European (and other) nationalities, and even ethnicity, of their ancestors.  I can't believe such claims, surely in truth, the genetic map of Europe is too blurred from thousands of years of migration and genetic flow, to be used as a tool with such accuracy.

However, what attracted me to 23andMe, is that they don't appear to make such promises with their genetic profiling.  Instead of ridiculous claims to show percentage of Celtic, Slavic, Germanic, etc.  They at most divide Europe into wider geographical zones such as Irish/British, French/German, Scandinavian, East European.  I expect that my 23andMe ancestral profile will be mainly Irish/British, perhaps with a percentage of Scandinavian, and even French/German.  I'll see if I'm correct.  Even then, I hope for more reliable data such as my haplogroups, my mtDNA, my Y chromosome - where they may have been and when.  However, on the Ancestral aspect, what perhaps helped me to plunge into the bank account, was that 23andMe are now producing your percentage of DNA that is believed to have originated in a Neanderthal genome.  Not necessary to know, but for the armchair anthropologist in me - very cool.  I'm guessing around 2.6%.  I'll see again if I was correct.

Another aspect of the 23andMe approach that I quite like though - is that they don't focus just on the ancestral, but instead, offer the service for health information.  This aspect has been very controversial.  Critics have suggested that this could lead to a World where we select DNA for our offspring, where insurance premiums could be set according to your genetic profile.  However, my father's family suffered dreadfully from cancers and Alzheimer.  I would rather know if I should be doing more about my lifestyle, in order to adjust for the genetic probability.  Genetic profiling isn't just about fun, it could extend my well being.

I'll see if I still feel the same in 12 months.  What will I learn, how will I find the 23andMe service, will it change my life at all?  Come back in a year's time if I'm still here.

Running with Dogs No.15


I've been quiet on here the past three days. I actually fell a little bit off the saddle, into a man-well perhaps.  A large glass of brandy, a whole box of chocolate coated brazil nuts, and a bit of cake just made me feel that I'd let myself down.  Then I missed an opportunity for a run.  However, I'm back in the saddle now.  I will cross that twelve stone barrier any day.  Today I ran with the dogs in stormy cold weather (some sleet, 0 C) for 4.5 miles at a pace of 5.9 mph, in 45 minutes.  A slight improvement in performance. The hold ups are now less to do with my poor fitness, and more to do with my lurcher's desire to piss up every tree.

Back on track.