Father to Son documented genealogy V LDNA test results

I received my son Edward's Living DNA results yesterday, 26 days before the deadline (albeit second sample as first failed. Edward was born severely disabled with severe development delay and doesn't always want to give a swab sample). Here I review all of the Living DNA results against what I believe ancestry is based solely on documented genealogical sources. These documented sources are supported only by family history, interviews, thirty years of documentary research - much of it very local, photographs (likenesses), social background (mainly rural working class, many very localised), local social history, and also in my case by DNA cousin matching:



NPEs and genealogical mistakes (particularly over six generations ago) are possible. However, bearing in mind the above factors, I feel that I have a reasonably good documented record to compare DNA-tests-for-ancestry against.

The two tests in the table below, are my son Edward (left), and myself (right). We are both British by nationality and English by ethnicity. We live in East Anglia, home of many of our documented ancestors. I am mainly of East Anglian ancestry, but with some Oxfordshire, Berkshire, Northants, and Swiss lines. Edward's mother by ancestry is half English (Berks, Wilts, East Anglia, Beds, Somerset) and half Irish.

The "actual documented ancestry" are percentages divided into LDNA sub regions, based on Generation 6 (32 x 3rd great grandparents) with some references to Generation 7 when noteworthy.



Discussion.

Living DNA has made great commercial headway through the use of the POBI dataset, that had been acclaimed by the original team, as demonstrating a distinguishable pattern that aligned well with the Anglo-Saxon period British kingdoms. The reference samples were well chosen, with geographically local born grandparents, and a bias to rural testers over urban (that see more mobility). However, LDNA, we know, have made lot's of alterations with their sub regions.

In both the case of Edward's and my documented East Anglian ancestry, the LDNA saw less than 50% of what I'd expect. I believe that some of our EA went elsewhere - Lincs, SE England, Germanic, Scandinavian, etc.

Edward got a big chunk of Lincs and SE England that I just do not think is real.

I got 10% Tuscan that I don't believe. Something could however correlate to a Swiss 3 x great grandparent. But that percentage? I know it is possible. Edward got no Tuscany.

Edward, with his 25% actual Irish ancestry received 98% GB & Ireland. His father, myself, although 97% actual, received only 70% GB & Ireland. I think that rather like with other test companies - Ireland, Scotland, and Wales look more "British" than do the English on tests. Yet Edward only received a mere 2% Irish on the test! That is an even more serious underscore.

Before I tested with Living DNA, I really was starting to lose faith in autosomal DNA testing for general ancestry. When Living DNA launched, my hopes were raised that with the right references, computing power, and chips, that one day, they could be much more accurate and meaningful than they have been up to now.

After Edward's results, I'm starting to lose a bit of faith again. I feel that these tests are good for pin pointing a corner of Europe at best. Beyond that, there may be average PCA plots, but they are far too fuzzy to base "ancestry composition", my origins", or "ethnicity estimate" percentages on with any degree of certainty or accuracy. Fun yes. Useful to build a personal DNA "ancestral population flavour and PCA plot" yes. But that's all. Beyond that is a roll of the dice. Too many testers take their results far too literally. Too many testers also display brand loyalty.

As for haplogroups, Edward's results were disappointingly basic.

Y-DNA L1

mtDNA H (only 4 mutations listed on the csv file).

Genetic Genealogy - DNA Relative Matches

I have new DNA cousin "matches".  This is a very important avenue of DNA testing for genealogy and ancestry that I have simply missed until recently.  Up to now, I've concentrated on DNA testing for general ancestry (or ethnicity as some businesses will call it).  The problem was that I first tested with 23andme, and simply, using their heavy USA customer base, and user unfriendly "experiences", I couldn't find any DNA relatives that actually had paper trails that could correlate to my own.

One of the problems is I feel, is that an awful lot of Eastern English migration to the Atlantic Coast of North America, occurred very early - late 16th to early 18th centuries AD.  As a result, although some generous matching systems (such as 23andme's) suggests much more recent shared ancestry, in reality, our links to our distant USA cousins are so old, that all they do is reflect that my distant cousins have Puritan, New England, and Virginian ancestry from Eastern England.  Even for those that do claim to trace ancestry to those pilgrim fathers - I can't.  Certainly not for the thousands of my direct ancestors for Generations 11 - 14.  I don't think any of us can.  Chuck in a bit of genetic folding, and all that these distant relationships is really telling us is, that we both have some ancestry from south east England between 300 and 600 years ago.

Then I tested with Ancestry.com, Ancestry.co.uk, AncestryDNA or whatever you want to call that genealogy mega-business.  Their matching system is dumbed down to the frustrating level.  No chromosome locations or chromosome browsers for painting.  Instead however, they have the fattest database of testers and customers - some of whom, will like myself, be subscription slaves to their family tree and documentary genealogical services.  Their matching systems may cut out chromosome data - but on the flip side, you can browse trees, surnames, ancestral locations, of your DNA matches.  As a consequence, I've found 14 matches that share DNA, with predicted relationships - that correlate to a paper trail relationship.

In addition I am now scouring GEDmatch, 23andme, and FT-DNA Family Finder for more relative DNA matches.  I'm recording everything (including chromosome locations when available) onto a spreadsheet.  The image at the top of this page demonstrates my DNA matches where they share ancestry so far.  The darker the shade, the stronger the verification.

I'm starting to see how this is a better tool to understanding, or verifying ancestry, than any stupid ethnicity / ancestry composition by DNA.  Family isn't always biological.  However, finding a genetic correlation is the ultimate evidence to strengthen a tree.  It's fascinating to see actual paper research turning up as segments of inherited DNA on matches.

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.

The K12 Ancient Admixture Calculator

By Dilawer Khan, and available on GenePlaza.

My K12 results and populations

ANCIENT FARMERS 58.9%

West European Farmers (4000-5000 years)  25.2%  References include Neolithic genomes from Portugal, and Chalcolithic genomes from Spain. The similarity between these farmers and other Mediterranean farmers points to a rapid spread of agriculture in Europe around 7000 years ago.

East European Farmers (5000-8000 years)  22.9%  References consist of genomes from Turkey, Greece, and other parts of SE Europe from the Neolithic period. These represent descendants of the first farmers to colonize Europe from the Near East.

Neolithic-Chalcolithic Iran-CHG (5000-12000 years)  6.7%  Based on Neolithic and chalcolithic period samples recovered from Northwest Iran. The farmers from the Zagros mountain Iran region descended from one of multiple, genetically differentiated hunter-gatherer populations in southwestern Asia.  They are estimated to have separated from Early Neolithic farmers in Anatolia some 46,000 to 77,000 years ago, and show affinities to modern-day Kurd, Iranian, Pakistani and Afghan populations.  The Neolithic Iranian references used for this component, were recovered from the Kurdistan region of Iran, and appear to be around 9000 years old. The Chalcolithic Iranian references have been dated to around 5000 years old. The Caucasus Hunter Gatherers (CHG) appear to have genetically contributed to present day Europeans, W Asians, and S Asians.

Levant (4000-8000 years)  4.1%  Based on neolithic and bronze-age period samples recovered from the Levant area in the Middle-East. The references for the bronze age Levant farmer (BA) samples were recovered from the Ain Ghazal, Jordan area and were dated to about 4300 years ago.  The first farmers of the southern Levant (Israel and Jordan) and Zagros Mountains (Iran) were strongly genetically differentiated, and each descended from local hunter-gatherers. By the time of the Bronze Age, these two populations and Anatolian-related farmers had mixed with each other and with the hunter- gatherers of Europe to drastically reduce genetic differentiation. The impact of the Near Eastern farmers extended beyond the Near East: farmers related to those of Anatolia spread westward into Europe; farmers related to those of the Levant spread southward into East Africa; farmers related to those from Iran spread northward into the Eurasian steppe; and people related to both the early farmers of Iran and to the pastoralists of he Eurasian steppe spread eastward into South Asia.

STEPPE CULTURES 30.8%

Andronovo-Srubnaya (3000-4000 years)  14.3%  The Andronovo culture, which are believed to have aided in the spread of Indo_European languages, is a collection of similar local Bronze Age cultures that flourished around 3000-4000 years ago in western Siberia and the west Asiatic steppe. This culture overlapped with the Srubna culture in the Volga-Ural region of Russia.

Yamnaya-Afanasievo-Poltavka (4000-5000 years)  10.1%  Believed to be among the first Indo-European language speakers. The Yamnaya genetically appear to be a fusion between the Eastern European Hunter Gatherers that inhabited the western Siberian steppe, and a populations from the Caucasus region. Descendants of the Yamnaya would later change the genetic substructure of indigenous Neolithic Europeans via invasions of Europe from the Eurasian steppe.

Karasuk-E Scythian (2000-3000 years)  6.4%  This cluster is based on ancient genomes from the Karasuk culture, supplemented with two Iron-Age Eastern Scythian samples. The Karasuk percentage should be interpreted as a diffusion of DNA from the Eastern Eurasian Steppe populations post Bronze Age, via Turkic expansions, as well as more subtle diffusions via NE Caucasus populations.

WESTERN EUROPEAN & SCANDINAVIAN HUNTER GATHERERS (4000-5000 years)  8.8%

These were the indiginous populations of Europe that substantially contributed to the genetics of modern Europeans. It is believed that these hunter gatherers arrived in Europe around 45000 years ago from the Near East.

EASTERN NON AFRICANS (modern)  1.5%

Eastern Non Africans are one of the earliest splits from humans that migrated out of Africa to the Near East around 100,000 years ago. It is believed that ENAs split from the population in the Near East around 50,000 years ago. Populations such as Papuans and Aboriginal Australians are modern descendants of ENAs. The ENA component here is based on Papuan and Aboriginal Australian references.

AFRICAN - 0%
SOUTH EAST EURASIAN - 0%


Henry Shawers - timeline of an ancestor

The above image I took recently at the medieval festival in Bayeux, France.  My great great great grandfather, Henry Shawers is described as a narrow lace or trimming weaver.  Does the above represent his trade well?  Here I'm going to record all of the evidence so far for Henry, who I believe, is the first non-English ancestor that I have discovered, out of 270 direct ancestors, researched for over 25 years.

I'm going to present the evidence in a time line.

1826-1828

1827 +/- 1 year, The approximate birth year of Henry Shawers, in Switzerland.  His father was a coppersmith named John Shawers.  Their names have most likely been anglicised with immigration.  Henry was illiterate.  Their surname could for example, have been:   Soruhes, Schwarz, Schwares, Shaers, Souers, Seuers, Scherrais, Shavier, Cerrier, or Soyers

1829
1830
1831
1832
1833
1834
1835

1835-10-11 (Oct 11th), Elizabeth Durran, born in this year, was baptised at Deddington, Oxfordshire.

1836
1837
1838
1839
1840
1841

1841-06-06 (Jun 6th), 1841 Census of England & Wales.  No sign of John Shawers or his son Henry.  Elizabeth Durran was 5 years old, living in Deddington, Oxfordshire.  Henry would have been about age 14.

1842
1843
1844
1845
1846
1847
1848
1849
1850
1851

1851-03-30 (Mar 30th), 1851 Census of England & Wales.  No sign of Henry Shawers.  Elizabeth Durran was age 15, still living with her parents and siblings in Deddington, Oxfordshire.

1852

1852-08-11 (Aug 8th), passengers on the Lord Warden, disembarked at Folkestone docks.  The ship had carried them across the Channel from Boulogne, in France.  The List of Aliens recorded as arriving with this ship included a Monsieur Shawers, recorded as having French nationality.  Unfortunately all of the passengers had their occupations lazily recorded as Gents, but I wonder, not a lot of immigrants coming into the country by the name of Shawers, and only five years before our Henry married Elizabeth Durran in Bethnal Green.

1853
1854
1855
1856
1857

1857-09-20 (Sept 20th), Henry Shawers married Elizabeth Durran at St Philip, Bethnal Green, London.  I have the GRO Certificate copy.  I also see the church register entry on Ancestry.com.  They tally.  He stated:

  • He was a bachelor, and age 31, born about 1826.
  • He was living with Elizabeth at Banner Square, London
  • He was a Narrow Weaver.
  • His father was called John Shawers who was a Coppersmith.
  • He signed X - he was illiterate.  Elizabeth, age 22, was a spinster and also signed X
  • They married by banns.
  • Witnesses were James Brown and Mary Tilsely.  Both signed X.

1858

1858-09-11 (Sept 11th), Elizabeth Rosina Shawers was born at 29 Pownall Road, Haggerstone, London.  I have the GRO birth certificate.  Daughter of Henry Shawers and Elizabeth (nee Durran)

  • Henry Shawers was a Narrow Weaver Journeyman.
  • Elizabeth the mother registered the birth.
  • They were addressed to 29 Pownall Road, Haggerstone, London.

1859
1860

1860-01-08 (Jan 8th), first son, Henry Shawers (junior) was born at 29 Pownall Road, Haggerstone, London.  I have the GRO birth certificate.  Son of Henry Shawers (senior) and Elizabeth (nee Durran).

  • Henry Shawers was a Narrow Weaver.
  • Elizabeth the mother registered the birth.
  • They were still living at 29 Pownall Road, Haggerstone.  That's at least between 1858-09-11 and 1860-01-08

1861

I believe that sometime between his birth in January 1860, and late 1861, that Henry Shawers (junior) had died, but the death is not registered in any way that I have yet found it.

1861-04-07 (Apr 7th)  1861 Census of England & Wales.  2 Sun Row, St Mary, Islington, Finsbury, London, England. Henry Soruhes Head. Mar. 33. Trimming maker Switzerland. Elizabeth Soruhes. Wife. Mar. 26. Oxfordshire.  Rose Sohures. dau. 2 Dalston. Henry Sohures. Son. 15 months
  • His name is recorded as Henry Sohures.
  • His son, Henry (junior) is still alive age 15 months.
  • He is recorded as being born in Switzerland.
  • He was 33 years old, born about 1828 in Switzerland.
  • They were living at Sun row, Islington, London.
  • He is recorded as a "Trimming weaver".

I believe that their son Henry Shawers (junior) died between April 1861 and April 1862, but I have not yet located his death or burial.

1862

1862-04-07 (Apr 7th), Second son, William (Henry) Shawers is born south of the Thames at Hospital York Road, Waterloo Road Second, London, Surrey.  I have a copy of the GRO birth certificate.

  • Reported by mother E Shawers (nee Durran) of 4 Austen Terrace, St Johns Road, Upper Holloway, North London.
  • Henry Shawers recorded as Narrow weaver of fringe and trimmings journeyman.

1862-10-31 (31st Oct), Henry Shawers is imprisoned at Wandsworth Prison, London with a sentence of one month, for the offence of begging.  I found this on a digitilised image of the Prison Register at FindMyPast.co.uk.

  • Henry Shawers was a Lace Weaver
  • He was age 34, born about 1828
  • Height five feet, two and three quarter inches.  Grey eyes, fresh complexion, no marks.  Weight, a eight stone, ten pounds.
  • He was a vagrant, no address.
  • He was registered as F born.  Foreign born, not British Empire judging by other entries in the register.
  • His crime was begging.
  • He was illiterate.
  • He was Christian.
  • He was sentenced at Wandsworth, London, by C Dayman, magistrate.

1863

1863-05-15 (May 15th) Second son, William Henry Shawers died at Bletchingley, Surrey.  I have his GRO birth certificate.  Son of Henry Shawers and Elizabeth.  He was recorded as 1 years old.  His cause of death was ?Caucrumous? certified.  See his burial which states Small Pox.

  • Henry Shawers was a Trimming Weaver
  • Registered by mother, Elizabeth, present at death.

1863-05-18 (May 18th) Second son, William Henry Shawers was buried at Bletchingley, St Mary, Surrey.  Found on Ancestry.com including digitilised image of registry.  William Henry Shawers was recorded as "a stranger's child', 13 months old at death.  Buried in the north side of the grave yard.  Died of Small Pox.  A number of burials at that time, both child and adult were recorded as Small Pox.

  • They had moved south, out of London.
  • "A stranger's child" could refer either to the family being on the move, travelling, or alternatively hint that the father was a foreigner.

1864

1864-11-07 (Nov 7th), Third son, Arthur Henry Shawers was born at 11 Thomas Street, St Peter, Brighton, Sussex.  I have the GRO birth certificate.  The son of Henry Shawers and Elizabeth (nee Durran).

  • Henry Shawers was a Trimming weaver Journeyman.
  • Registered by mother, Elizabeth of 11 Thomas Street, Brighton.
  • They were living at 11 Thomas Street, St Peter, Brighton, Sussex on the South Coast.  In 1871 on the census, 11 Thomas Street is full of tenants and appears to be a lodging house in Brighton.

1865

1865-04-06 (Apr 6th), Third son Arthur Henry Shawers died at Baker Street, Enfield, Middlesex.  I have a copy of the GRO death certificate.

  • Sometime during the winter of 1864/5, they had moved from Brighton on the south coast, up to Enfield, north of London.
  • Reported by father, Henry Shawers signed X.  Of Baker Street, Enfield
  • Henry Shawers recorded as a Lace Weaver journeyman.
  • Arthur died age 5 months of pneumonia.
  • This is the last record I find of Henry with his family intact.

1866
1867
1868
1869
1870
1871

1871-04-02 (Apr 2nd), 1871 Census of England & Wales.  I cannot find Henry or the family.  

    1872
    1873

    1873-07-21 (Jul 21st), A Henry Sayers, Lace Maker is imprisoned for seven days at Wandsworth Prison, London.  Sentenced for being drunk on the highway.  Is this our Henry Shawers?  Is he still alive?

    • Five foot two inches, blue eyed, Fresh complexion, no marks.  Weight, nine stone, seven pounds.
    • Lace Maker
    • Age 45, born about 1828.
    • Born in Switzerland.

    Is this our ancestor, Henry, still alive in 1873, while his wife and daughter lived in Kent under different names?  I think it is.

    1874
    1875
    1876
    1877
    1878
    1879
    1880
    1881

    1881-04-03 (Apr 3rd), 1881 census of England & Wales.  I cannot find Henry.  I find his wife and daughter, living as Elizabeth and Rosa S Hayes.  Now they are in service, in Fulham, London, working for a middle class Portuguese family.

    • Elizabeth states that she is married.  She is now 45 years old.  No sign of Henry Shawers or a Mr Hayes.
    • They are both working as servants.  Rosa S Hayes (Elizabeth Rosina Shawers, my great great grandmother) is 22 years old.

    1882
    1883

    1883-09-29 (Sep 29th), Henry and Elizabeth's daughter, Elizabeth Rosina Shawers, marries my great great grandfather, Henry Brooker at St Johns, Fulham, London.  They live at 49 Estcourt Road, Fulham.

    • Elizabeth states that her name as Elizabeth Rosina Shawers, not as Hayes.
    • Her father is recorded as Henry Shawers
    • Her father's occupation is recorded as a Weaver.

    1884
    1885
    1886
    1887
    1888
    1889
    1891

    1891-04-05 (Apr 5th), 1891 Census of England & Wales.  No sign of Henry Shawers.  His wife Elizabeth Hayes (nee Shawers, nee Durran) is living at 1 North Street, Deptford, London, with her son-in-law and daughter, Henry and Elizabeth Rosina Brooker

    • Elizabeth Hayes (nee Shawers, nee Durran) is recorded as a 55 year old widow.  I suspect Henry Shawers has passed away by now.

    1892
    1893
    1894
    1895
    1896
    1897
    1898
    1899
    1901

    1901-03-31 (Mar 31st), 1901 Census of England & Wales.  No sign of Henry Shawers.  Elizabeth Hayes is living at 33 Loampit Vale, Lewisham, with her son-in-law and daughter Henry and Elizabeth Rosina Brooker

    • She is recorded as a 65 year old widow.

    1902
    1903
    1904
    1905
    1906
    1907
    1908
    1909
    1910
    1911

    1911-04-02 (Apr 2nd), 1911 Census of England & Wales.  No sign of Henry Shawers.  Elizabeth Hayes is living at 78 Cold Bath Street, Lewisham with her son-in-law and daughter Henry and Elizabeth Rosina Brooker.

    • She is recorded as a 75 year old widow.

    1912
    1913
    1914

    1914-05-11 (May 11th), Elizabeth Hayes, of 78 Cold Bath Street, Lewisham, born 1836, is admitted to Greenwich Workhouse by her daughter Mrs Brooker.  From Ancestry.co.uk.  Digitilised image of workhouse entry register.

    • Elizabeth is described as a widow of "Henry, an Actor".  Is this a Henry Hayes, the "sailor", or some sort of referral to Henry Shawers?

    1915

    1915-12-01 (Dec 1st), Elizabeth Hayes dies.  I have the GRO death certificate.

    • Age 80 years.
    • Died of senile chronic bronchitis
    • Death registered by her daughter E.R Brooker in attendance at 31 Caradoc Street.
    • Addressed to 78 Cold Bath Street, Lewisham.
    • Records that she was "Widow of Henry Hayes (an actor".

    Henry and Elizabeth's son, my great grandfather, John Henry Brooker, was in the Royal Field Artillery at this time.

    John Henry Brooker and partner Mabel, at Sheerness, Kent, in 1933.  John was the only grandson of Henry Shawers.

    Conclusions

    Henry Shawers, Henrich Schwarez, Henri Cherrais, or whatever name that he was born with, was a 19th century lace weaving immigrant from Switzerland, into the East End of London.  He was illiterate, a christian, and he suffered terrible poverty during his life in England.  He was short and slight, only around 5 ft 2" (158 cm) tall, with a fair complexion, no marks, and perhaps grey-blue eyes.  He may have been the Monsieur Shawers that arrived from Boulogne, France, at Folkestonedocks in 1852.  He met and married a young woman from rural Oxfordshire, a tailor's daughter named Elizabeth Durran in Bethnal Green, close to the Spitalfields weaving centre of London's East End.

    Their first child was a daughter that they named Elizabeth Rosina Shawers - known as "Rosa".  She was to be their only child to survive infant hood to adulthood.  My great great grandmother Brooker, born on Pownall Road, Haggerstone, London, during September 1858.  A second child, a son named after his father, Henry Shawers the junior, was also born at Pownall Road in January 1860.  I don't see the family settle again after this date.  In April 1861, they were living in Islington.

    During early April, 1862, they were now living in Waterloo, south of the bridge in Central London.  Their second son, William, was born there.  I believe that their first son Henry, had already passed away by this time.

    Weaving was in decline in the removal of protectionism, the rise of the power loom, and factory production.  Henry survived by specialising in the lace trimmings and fringes, perhaps of dresses and skirts.  But it wasn't easy.  He resorted to begging, a crime of poverty that was punished by a spell in Wandsworth prison that October.  

    Something made them move south, out of London.  Was it an attempt to return to the Continent?  Perhaps visit a relative of Henry's on the South Coast, a work opportunity, or were they pushed by the gruelling poverty and disease?  Their second son William, was buried it appears, on this journey, from small pox, and was buried "a stranger's child" in the Surrey village of Bletchingley.

    They ended up for a while in a lodging house on the South Coast in Brighton.  Their third son Arthur, was born there.  Then they moved northwards again over the winter of 1864 / 1865.  In early April, 1865, they were now living at Baker Street, Enfield, to the north of London.  Arthur, age five months died there of pneumonia.  Their third son.  The third to die as an infant.  Only their daughter, Elizabeth Rosina Shawers still survived.

    I don't see them as a family again after the death of Arthur in Enfield, 1865.

    Then in July 1873, a Henry "Sayers", a lace maker of very similar physical description, born about the same time, appears briefly in Wandsworth Prison, for being "drunk on the highway".  It sounds so much like our Henry - and he was foreign born, only this record tantalizingly records him as "born in Switzerland".  Was this our Henry, estranged from his wife and daughter?

    That's the last possible sighting of Henry on record.  He evaded both 1861 and 1871 English censuses.  I can't find his death or burial.

    As for his wife Elizabeth, she continued to live under the name Elizabeth Hayes for many years at her daughter and son-in-law, Elizabeth Rosina and Henry Brooker's home in the Deptford then Lewisham area.  Shortly before her death in Greenwich workhouse during 1915, her daughter recorded for her, that she was the widow of Henry, an Actor.  A final puzzle to her life story.  Was this really a Henry Hayes, or was it Henry Shawers?  Why actor?

    Henry Shawers, - a weaver in the tree

    The above image, St Philips, Bethnal Green, in London's East End, where Henry Shawers married Elizabeth Durran in 1857.

    I've been researching my family history and genealogy, on and off for around 29 years.  I'm very pleased, that in the first few years, that I took the chance to interview elderly relatives that are no longer here to interview.  One of the stories that came out on my father's side, was that there was a "foreigner" in the tree.  One version said French, another said maybe Russian.  One late uncle even thought maybe German.  I hoped to find this exotic ancestry, and started to research documents.  I never found one non-English ancestor.  That is I hadn't ... until a few days ago!  He is on my father's side, a great great great grandfather of mine.

    I discovered the Shawers line way back.  My great grandfather John Henry Brooker, born at Deptford, London in 1884, was the son of Henry Brooker and Elizabeth Rosina (nee Shawers).  Elizabeth Rosina Shawers was born at Haggerston, London in 1858, the daughter of my 3 x great grandparents Henry Shawers, and Elizabeth (nee Durran).

    My 3 x great grandmother Elizabeth Shawers (later Elizabeth Hayes), was born at Deddington in Oxfordshire in 1835, the daughter of a tailor.  She was one of many rural Oxfordshire people that made the brave trip downstream into the growing 19th century metropolis of London.  She encountered Henry Shawers, a Harrow weaver.  I'm still trying to find out what that mean't, but Henry recorded Harrow weaver as his occupation more than once, as though it had a meaning to himself.  They married at St Philips, a poor East End of London church, built recently as a chapel-of-ease for St Matthews, in 1857.  Pictured at the top of this post.

    So who was Henry Shawers?  My first clue, many years ago, was that his father was named John Shawers, who worked as a copper smith.  Other than that, I couldn't find them.  Before 1857, no trace of either Henry or his father.

    Something really early in my research, I can't remember what, suggested Huguenot.  That feeling eventually faded away.  More recently, I wondered if he was connected to some Shawers at Cornwall, or to Shawers / Shores in Yorkshire.  He and his father were my dead end.  The only members of that generation, for who I could not give origins.  A brick wall in genealogy.  For over 25 years.

    A Break Through

    Then this week, FindMyPast.co.uk had a promotional free access period.  I've had a subscription there before, but revealed nothing new on this line.  Perhaps new archives have been added.  I searched for Henry Shawers, and I found a surprise.

    It was in the Wandsworth Prison Register for 1862.  A Henry Shawers, lace weaver, age 34 (born about 1828).  Height five feet, two and three quarter inches.  Grey eyes, fresh complexion.  Christian.  Illiterate.  Weight, a mere eight stone, ten pounds.  A homeless vagrant.  He had been convicted at Wandsworth by C Dayman, magistrate, for the crime of "Begging", and sentenced to one month's imprisonment in the new Wandsworth Prison.  But what really caught me eye was that in the Where born column, most inmates had E for England, a few I for Ireland ... our Henry very clearly had an F for what looks by other entries to be Foreign Born.

    What do I know about Henry Shawers in 1862?

    He had married Elizabeth Durran five years earlier at Bethnal Green.  He was recorded as a 31 year old Harrow weaver, the son of John Shawers, a copper smith.  Both groom and bride were living at Banner Square, Bethnal Green.  There is no Banner Square today, but there is a Banner Street (see below map).  They lived and married in London's East End.  Silk and lace weavers had been attracted to Spitalfields, Globe Town, and the Bethnal Green area for centuries - many of them from the European continent.  they had included Huguenots, Jews, French, Walloon, and Flemish.  For some time they had weathered the rise of the power loom, silk and fabric factories, through protectionism from overseas markets - but now this protection was lifted.  Many weavers were made destitute, many looked for other work.  By 1862, it appears that Henry had hit rock bottom.

    On his way down, he had met and married Elizabeth at the now demolished East End church of St Philips.  They moved from Banner Square, Bethnal Green to 29 Pownall Road, Haggerston, near to Dalston. Their first child was my great great grandmother Elizabeth Rosina Shawers, was born there in September 1858.

    (“© OpenStreetMap contributors”.  Modified)

    Elizabeth gave birth to a second child that they named Henry Shawers, at Pownall Road in January 1860.  He was still recording himself as a Harrow weaver.  I cannot find any reference to what this was.  Perhaps a form of weaving associated with Harrow in West London?  Silk weaving was the tradition in the East End.  In 1862, he was described as a Lace Weaver

    I haven't yet been able to find the Shawers family on the 1861 census.  However' in April 1862, Elizabeth gave birth to their third child, baptised as William Henry Shawers.  They were now living at Austen Terrace, Lambeth, London.

    Henry was convicted of begging and vagrancy less than eight months later, and received a one month sentence in Wandsworth Prison.  It looks on paper as though he hit disaster in 1862.

    What happened to his family?

    I think that they managed to hold out for a few more years.  But they kept moving.  Their third child, William Henry Shawers died in May 1863, age 13 months at Bletchingley, in the Surrey countryside far to the south of London.  His burial recorded that he was "a stranger's child".  Did this mean that they were travelling, or that his father was foreign born?

    They turn up the following year much further to the south, on the South Coast in fact, where a fourth child is baptised Arthur Henry Shawers in November 1864.  That they kept giving their son's the name Henry makes me ask where had their first son Henry Shawers gone?  I don't find him again after his birth.  I suspect that he had died earlier.

    They didn't stay on the South Coast for long.  Five months later in April 1865, young Arthur died.  He was buried at Enfield, North London.

    After 1864, I lose any references to Henry Shawers, at least with that name.  He had emigrated to England, lived in the East End of London as a lace weaver, been imprisoned for begging on the streets.  He had two, most likely three sons die as infants.  Had Henry himself now passed away?

    In 1871, I find his wife and daughter, living at Charlton, Woolwich, South London.  Only they were now living under the names of Elizabeth Hayes, and her daughter Rosa Hayes.  Elizabeth is recorded as a wife of a seaman.  A Mr Hayes presumably, I haven't found this marriage yet.  Does this indicate that Henry Shawers has died?

    Ten years later, Elizabeth Hayes and her daughter (my great great grandmother) were now live-in servants for a Portuguese family living in Fulham.  Her daughter is recorded as Rosa S Hayes.  I wonder if the S was for Shawers?  A few years later, in September 1883, also at Fulham, she married my great great grandfather Henry Brooker, under the name of Elizabeth Rosina Shawers.

    Where did Henry Shawers originate from?  What was his nationality?

    So I've discovered from that prison record that my ancestor Henry Shawers was not British, but regarded as a foreigner.  Where did he come from?  He was a lace weaver in the East End of London, where many Huguenots, and other French and Dutch weavers, had been settling for centuries.  His surname is unusual, but I have found it in both the North of England, and in the West Country - just very rare.  Could this surname in his case however, have been anglicized?  Possibly for example, from Soyers (French), Schwarz (Germanic), or Shaers (Belgian).

    I have found two clues to his origin.

    On the 11th August 1852, passengers on the Lord Warden, disembarked at Folkestone docks.  The ship had carried them across the Channel from Boulogne, in France.  The List of Aliens recorded as arriving with this ship included a Monsieur Shawers, recorded as having French nationality.  Unfortunately all of the passengers had their occupations lazily recorded as Gents, but I wonder, not a lot of immigrants coming into the country by the name of Shawers, and only five years before our Henry married Elizabeth Durran in Bethnal Green.  My bet is that this was him, and our Henri was French.

    However, before I close the book on that one.  There is just some evidence, that could dispell that, or even his death around 1865.

    In July 1873, a 45 year old lace maker was imprisoned in Wandsworth Prison for seven days.  His crime? Drunk in the highway.  His name?  Henry Sayers.  He is described as five foot two inches, blue eyed, no marks.  In 1852, our 34 year old Henry Shawers, in the same prison was described as a lace weaver, five feet two and three quarter inches, grey eyed, no marks.  Both men were 1) Henry Shawers / Sayers, 2) lace weavers, 3) born about 1828, 4) similar desciption, and 5) Foreign born.  Were they the same man?

    Only in this record, he is recorded as from Switzerland.

    I never did find that marriage of Elizabeth to a sailor called Hayes.

    Post Edit:  Just after publishing this post - I find a fresh clue!  In 1914, her daughter Mrs Brooker registered her elderly mother Elizabeth Hayes, into the the Greenwich (Woolwich Road) Workhouse.  Elizabeth's registration includes the following.  What is that saying?  Widow of Henry ?

    Living DNA - June 2017 updates

    Living DNA produced their first update.  An update by a "DNA for Ancestry" business can sound like an admission of failure.  To some, it could sound like a recall due to product failure.  "Your previous ancestry was a mistake".  This only applies if you have bought into some marketing campaigns, that autosomal DNA tests for ancestry actually work even close to 100%.  Surprise, they don't!  They are cutting edge, in development, and far from accurate below a Continental level. They are still somewhere in the twilight between being nothing more than a genetic lottery, and actually becoming a tool that is useful.  Therefore "updates" are to be welcomed.  They are a sign that the business wants to improve the test accuracy.  That is to the credit of Living DNA.

    My latest results?  First of all, a quick recap on my actual ancestry, as supported by family history, local history, ethnicity, and by a traditionally researched record based family tree that includes over 270 direct ancestors over the past 380 years.  I'm English.  Indeed, all of my direct ancestors, appear to have been South East English.  More precise, I'm East Anglian.  On family history and recorded genealogy, I'd suggest that between 75% and 85% of my direct ancestors over the past three centuries were East Anglian, almost all from the County of Norfolk.  Others on my father's side, if not in East Anglia, still in Southern England.

    That I feel, makes me an interesting subject for ancestral auDNA testing.  You see, my ancestry is very localised here in South East England.  DNA tests such as 23andMe that claim to accurately plot ancestry over the past 300 - 500 years should get me.  But they don't.  This is because their algorythms, and reference data set designs fail over different ages.  They also (although they sometimes deny it), fail to discriminate against older population background.  We East Anglians and South East English have been heavily admixed with non-British populations on the European Continent.  Not so much over the past 500 years, so much as over the past few thousand years.

    The new Results.

    Below are my Living DNA regional ancestry, based on Standard Mode.

    Below are my Standard Mode results broken down into sub regions.

    Below is a table, comparing my recorded ancestry, with my early Living DNA results in Standard, now my revised results.

    Living DNA has now introduced two new modes of confidence called complete and cautious modes.  First the Complete results:

    Below are my Complete Mode results in regional:

    Below are my Complete Mode results for sub-regional:

    Now the Cautious results:

    Below are my Cautious Mode results in regional:

    Finally, below are my Cautious Mode results for sub-regional:

    Conclusions

    No auDNA test, by any DNA-for-ancestry company has yet come close to assigning me 100% English or even British.  They don't get me.  23andMe gives me 32-37% "British & Irish".  FT-DNA gives me "36% British".  Therefore, to be fair, Living DNA, giving me 70% "Great Britain or Ireland", give me the best result.  However, Living DNA has started out with the largest, best quality British data-set of any DNA-for-ancestry company, and is often accused of a bias towards Britain in it's results.  If so, then my 70% still looks weak.  They are planning on producing similar quality data sets soon for Ireland, Germany, then France. Therefore any results, will as I started out saying at the beginning of this post, be perpetually progressive.  Businesses that do not improve data sets or algorithms, will not get any better.  They are not progressive.

    I get Southern European in other tests besides this one.  Living DNA points to Tuscany.  FT-DNA before a recent update gave me 32% Southern European, although they have revised this down to a little noise from South-East Europe!  23andMe gives me 2% Southern European - but this appears nothing unusual for an English tester.  None-the-less, I am interested in trying to better understand, why some of these tests give me this "Southern European" admixture, for which my family history, local history, and recorded genealogy has absolutely no account.  It equally reflects in ancient calculators that give me a little bit more Neolithic Farmer than for other English, which on average, already have a little more Neolithic Farmer than other British or Irish populations do.

    The New Complete and Cautious Modes

    How do I feel about these?  At Sub-Regional level, the Complete mode starts to get silly.  For the first time, Living DNA at this level, starts to even suggest some ancestry from Wales, SW Scotland, and Northern Ireland.  Only small percentages - but I just don't buy them.

    However, the Cautious Mode, I start to like.  My British ancestry doesn't increase, but it looks more realistic, although with strange enigmatic suggestions still of Italian ancestry in the mix.  At Sub-Regional level, Cautious Mode also looks a little more likely.  My East Anglian remains at 37%, I however, lose Lincolnshire (which does exist in my record), but retain Cornwall.  I think Cornwall unlikely - however, there is just a small hint that something could be there, in surname evidence of a brick-walled great great great grandparent.  So maybe, just maybe.

    East Anglia

    I seriously doubt that my East Anglian ancestry over the past 300 years genuinely falls much below 75%.  Living DNA only appears to recognise a half of it at 37% - but they claim to be easily able to identify East Anglian DNA.  They call it "Distinct" because of it's high levels of Continental admixture.  They have admitted that based on their early data sets, that it was hard to separate from Germanic.  I don't know why it isn't stronger in my results.  I honestly do believe that the test underplays it on my results, even though it is the strongest of any population in my test results.  My East Anglian ancestors lived mainly in Eastern, Central, and Southern Norfolk.

    Living DNA also provide a chart of the Continental "contributing regions" to East Anglian ancestry:

    Finally, a chart breaking down their proposal of my British ancestry at Cautious mode:

    I'm not disappointed with Living DNA.  That it does identify me as 37% East Anglian is I believe, incredibly good, and far advanced over any other DNA-for-ancestry test.  I'm looking forward to more updates in the future.  Well done Living DNA.