My Walloon Ancestor of Norwich

I'm going back a bit with this one.  I've written about the Norwich Strangers before (known elsewhere as the Elizabethan Strangers).  Well I may have traced one on my family tree.  On my paternal grandfather's side, back on his maternal line a bit, to a 9th great grandfather:

The Strangers were invited to Norwich during the 16th and 17th centuries.  Protestant refugees from what is now the Netherlands and Belgium.  They were fleeing persecution from the Roman Catholic Spanish Crown.  They were invited to Norwich, and to other towns in South East England, partly in protestant solidarity, and partly as an economic measure, to poach their lucrative skills and trades, particularly in the production of fine cloth and linens.  It was a brain drain event.  Eastern English towns and cities had been economically waning ever since the 14th century, and cloth production was in decline.

Most of the Norwich Strangers were Dutch-speaking Flemish, but a minority of the Strangers were French-speaking.  They were known as the Walloons.  In 1637, they opened their own French-speaking protestant church in Norwich, in a disused medieval church, St Mary-the-lesser.  The Walloons were known for their dry, colourful clothes, that in Norwich, developed into a style known as Norwich Stuffs.  I cannot yet say, that my 8th great grandfather John Rosier, was without doubt, the son of the Norwich based Walloon, Jean Rosiere, but it looks highly likely.  The surname Rosiere has elsewhere been associated with British Huguenot families - a slightly later emigration event.  That John Rosier appeared to move around Norfolk somewhat, suggests that he had a trade other than the usual farming.  Jean Rosiere of Norwich had a son baptised at the French Protestant Church in 1667, also named Jean Rosier - just the right age for my 8th great grandfather.  I can find no other references to any other Jean Rosiere nor John Rosier in Norfolk at that time.

This is only the second non-English born ancestor that I have so far traced, out of some 420 direct ancestors.  I feel enormously proud to have found a link back to the Norwich Strangers.

The Rosiere Family appear to have been a French Protestant (Walloon) family living in 17th Century Norwich.  I can see references to a Jean Rosiere, and a Philipe Rosiere.  Both appear to have had children in the City, that appear to have married into English families.  There is a later reference to a Rosiere in Norwich, listed as a wool comber, so indeed, they appear to have been involved in the cloth and linen trade.  My reference to the baptism of Jean Rosier in 1667, is unfortunately only a transcription, but it does state Walloon.  An earlier baptism in 1662 of Ollende (Holland) Rosieres to Jean Rosieres is however available online, and comes from the registers of the French Protestant Church in Norwich.  This looks like an older sister of John Rosier.

The next record for my 8th great grandfather, John Rosier, appears over in Swaffham, Norfolk in 1696.  It was his marriage to Elizabeth Fen:

Both John and Elizabeth were recorded as widow and widower.  I have not yest found their earlier marriages.

He moves again.  Their daughter, Rachel Rosier, is baptised at Watton, Norfolk, in 1709:

That is currently my last record for John and Elizabeth.  But Rachel is my 7th great grandmother.  She appears to move to East Dereham, Norfolk - the last move for this line for several generations.  But for some reason, she marries Allen Bradfield of Swanton Morley (just outside of Dereham) several miles away at Necton, Norfolk:

They have a daughter named Elizabeth Bradfield, born 1745 at Dereham:

Elizabeth Bradfield, goes on to marry Solomon Harris at nearby Swanton Morley in 1767:

For some reason, her parish is recorded as Holme Hale.  The family appear to have some sort of connection to the Necton area.  Perhaps inherited property?

They have a daughter named Elizabeth Harris, at Swanton Morley, in 1768:

In 1800, Elizabeth Harris gives birth to an illegitimate daughter, my 4th great grandmother, Jemima Harris:

In 1825, this daughter, Jemima Harris, married my 4th great grandfather, James Alderton Barber at Swanton Morley.  They lived there, and Jemima had no less than eight children.  James was a farm labourer.  Their oldest child was my 3rd great grandmother, Harriet Barber.

Harriet Barber gave birth to an illegimate daughter that she also named Harriet Barber, at the nearby workhouse at Gressenhall in 1846.  I have a copy of her birth certificate.  Harriet the younger, was my 2nd great grandmother.  The family line appears to have fallen on hard times.  In later years, a William Barker was named as her errant father.

My 2nd great grandmother Harriet, ended up back in Gressenhall Union Workhouse as a young mother herself.  She gave birth to two illegitimate daughters herself, before marrying their father, William Bennett Baxter, whio had also been born illegitimately in that same workhouse himself.

The couple settled at Swanton Morley, after living for a little while at Denton, Norfolk (perhaps chasing work).  They had a total of at least eight children.  The youngest, was my great grandmother, Faith Eliza Baxter, born 1885 at East Dereham:

Faith was the mother of my grandfather, Reginald Brooker.  There is my claim of descent from one the Norwich Strangers.

East Anglian Ancestry for far-away genealogists

User:Ras52, OpenStreetMap, Amitchell125 [CC BY-SA 1.0], via Wikimedia Commons

This guide is really aimed at distant cousins with ancestry from the English counties of Norfolk and Suffolk. It's the perspective of a present day East Anglian from the ground.  My ancestors were the ones that usually stayed in East Anglia.

First - definitions of what constitutes East Anglia.  One modern governmental definition: "the counties of Norfolk, Suffolk, and Cambridgeshire".  Estate Agents, trying to sell properties in idyllic East Anglia, often go even further, also including Huntingdonshire, Rutland, parts of Lincolnshire, and Essex.  The ancient Anglo-Saxon kingdom of East Anglia (see above image), didn't really include these add-ons.  I go with that, but include parts of northern-most Essex.  Why?  Because on the ground, those areas still feel (and sound) East Anglian.  Norfolk, Suffolk, eastern Cambridgeshire, and northern most Essex.  That feels East Anglian.  But it's heart remains the English counties of Norfolk and Suffolk.

East Anglia is situated on the North Sea coast of South-East England.  It is lowland.  A chalk bed lazily slopes down from west to east, with a layer of  boulder clay on top running through mid Norfolk and high Suffolk.  I say high, nowhere in East Anglia is high.  This is Low Country.  Our hills are in the main, very gradual, slight affairs.  To the west of the chalk bed, lays even lower country - the ultra-flat landscape of the East Anglian Fens.  Wetlands that have been drained for agriculture in rich peat and silt soils.

East Anglia is rural.  It is agricultural.  Largely arable, with favoured crops of wheat, barley, sugar beet, and oil seed rape.  Medium size agri-business fields of crops across a very gently rolling lowland landscape, with parish church towers around every corner, and a buzzard in every copse of trees.  Ancient narrow roads with bordering hedgerows, twist around long forgotten open fields and farmsteads.  Mixed farming enters the river valleys, where cattle are fattened on rich grasses.  Intensive pig and poultry broiler units also dot the landscape.

What about the East Anglians?  That is one of the subjects of this post.

East Anglia isn't on the road to anywhere, but East Anglia.  You don't pass through East Anglia on the way to the Industrial North, Scotland, Cardiff, Manchester, Birmingham, or London.  It's far out on the periphery of Hub.co.uk.  It's main urban centres are the small City of Norwich, and the towns of Ipswich, Kings Lynn and Bury St Edmunds.  They are all, 'small'. Norwich comes in at a lowly 48th in English town by population size.  You see, small.  Far more medieval towers than modern high rise towers.

After the urban centres, most modern East Anglians probably live in or near the market-towns.  These are really tiny "towns" some little more than villages.  Some are lovely, ancient, with unspoiled centres and market places.  Places such as Wymondham, Holt, Diss, Woodbridge, Swaffham, Beccles, Pulham Market, Laxfield, Long Melford, etc.  There must be dozens scattered across East Anglia.

Wymondham market-town centre.

The rest of the East Anglians live in the countryside, outside of the market-towns.  Trying to explain this to American genealogists where the old Roman ideal of planned city prevails, is difficult.  We have villages.  We have lots of them.  Most are early Medieval in origin.  They are set in ancient divisions known as parishes.  Many East Anglians now live in suburbs on the edges of towns - but until a century or two ago, most of them lived further out in the countryside, in these villages.

How many villages have we got in East Anglia?  Would you believe, somewhere around 1,300, with over 700 in the county of Norfolk alone.  They absolutely dot the East Anglian countryside.  Living in the countryside, in farmsteads and villages - that really is the Anglo-Saxon way of Life.  Look at the below snip of a part of south Norfolk.  See all of those red circles.  Villages.  The Blue circle is a market town on the old Roman road (A140).

© OpenStreetMap contributors

Until a few centuries ago, most East Anglians lived in the countryside.  Most of these villages will have a medieval church.  There are more than 600 of them in Norfolk.  They'll also often have a later non-conformist chapel as well.  Over 600 medieval religious buildings in Norfolk!  Possibly the highest density of medieval churches anywhere in the World.  This is because Medieval Norfolk was central.  It wasn't so peripheral before the Industrial Revolution.  The medieval City of Norwich was the second or third largest city in England after London.  All of those empty medieval churches.  Where did the populace go?  Some of them may have been your ancestors.

How about the origins of the East Anglians themselves?  Who are they?

There are very few "Celtic" place-names in East Anglia, other than the Ouse river system.  Most of the villages and place-names in East Anglia are of Anglo-Saxon origin, dating to between the 6th and 10th centuries AD, around 1,200 years ago.  In addition there are a number of place-names that are Anglo-Danish in origin, dating to the 9th - 11th centuries AD, with a cluster of them in eastern Norfolk.  See the map below, of the area called Flegg, an Anglo-Danish place-name in itself.  All of those -by place-names - they were most likely settled by "Viking" Danish immigrants during the 9th to 11th centuries.

© OpenStreetMap contributors

Previous to the arrival of the Anglo-Saxons during the 5th century AD, the region that we know call East Anglia had for centuries,  been a part of the Western Roman Empire.  Even further back than that, at the turn of prehistory to written history, the northern parts of the region were the home of the Iceni tribal federation, and the southern part to the Trinovante.  These Late Iron Age peoples were descended from an immigration event from the Continent into the British Isles that took place some 2,000 years earlier.  Call their ancestors Bell Beaker, Celt, British Celt, or Ancient Briton - their DNA is still the most dominant aspect of the modern British, and even English gene pool.  The Roman occupation appears to have had little impact on their genetic make up.

Then the Anglo-Saxons arrived.  They came from what is now Northern Germany, Denmark, and the Netherlands.  Early Anglo-Saxon artifacts found in East Anglia, have their closest correlation on the Continent with artifacts in Northern Germany, south of the Danish border.  This was the origin of the Angles - which the early kings of East Anglia clearly identified with.  Saxo-Frisians in what is now the Netherlands were well placed to migrate to the region, and contributed to this migrant community.

The most recent genetic studies suggest that rather than displace the Britons in the lowlands, that the Anglo-Saxons admixed with them in marriage.  Indeed, as I said, genetically, the DNA of the earlier Britons is still the majority component, even in England.  There was no genocide.  However, an Anglo Saxon identity, culture, and language was adopted by all during following centuries.

West Stow reconstructed Anglo-Saxon village in Suffolk.  The birth of the East Anglian village.

Not all of the Continental DNA in East Anglia arrived here during the 5th or 6th centuries AD.  Some may have already been here from the Empire, or earlier.  Some arrived during the 9th to 11th century settlement of Danes in the region.  Then the Normans.  The Medieval saw Angevins from Aquitaine, and other French arrive.  Then during the 16th century, there was a significant settlement of Elizabethan Strangers (protestant refugees) from what is now the Netherlands.  Huguenots followed.  Asides from these noteable immigration events, there would have been a drip-drip feed of foreigners into the region.  Dutch herring fishermen and engineers, Lithuanian timber and fur traders.  Drovers from the Midlands.  Indeed surname studies suggest that during the late medieval and following Tudor periods, there were a number of people moving into the Norfolk countryside - from the Continent, but also from other parts of England such as for example, Yorkshire.  East Anglia isn't on the way to any where, but neither is it totally isolated from ingress of new settlers.

The consequence of the location of East Anglia in the North Sea World, is that Genetic Genealogists looking at their DNA "Ethnicity Estimates" or "Ancestry Composition" results might see high levels of DNA matching the panels for the Continent, rather than for the British Isles.

How did the East Anglians live?

Many genealogists proudly brag of documented descent from early medieval kings and emperors (usually Charlemagne).  The lines that they trace in order to claim this must be those of the minority of the medieval European population - the titled and landed nobles, with their heraldic records.  This elite weren't really representative of the entire population.

East Anglians were mainly rural, untitled, and really didn't have a lot of wealth.  During the feudal Medieval, most East Anglians would have been within the ranks of the common peasantry, owing a range of fealties to their lords, in return for protection.  Not all were particularly free, although there were high percentages of freemen peasants in eastern Norfolk.  Others were tied in levels of servitude to their manors.  They tilled their strips in the communal open field systems.  They grazed their meagre livestock on the commons.  They also worked the lord's land, supplied him with sheep fencing, ale, fuel, and grains.  When called on, the men would have served the lord in wars against the Scottish, French or other houses.  Life was hard, brutal, and often too short.  However, the abundance of medieval churches across the region testify to the wealth that their labour actually created.  It testifies to the success of their medieval economy here in East Anglia.

Two men threshing sheaf - Luttrell Psalter c1325-1335 f74v - BL Add MS 42130

Two men threshing sheaf - Luttrell Psalter (c.1325-1335), f.74v  See page for author [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons.  Originally published/produced in England [East Anglia].

Most peasant families didn't even adopt hereditary surnames until around the 13th to 15th centuries AD.  Except for brief mentions in manorial records, tithes, and polls, most don't even enter the records until 1538, when parish registers were introduced with the English Reformation.  So unless you tie into an aristocratic line - you are not going to trace your East Anglian ancestry much further back than 1550.  Indeed, many parish registers are damaged, lost, or destroyed.  Many records are illegible.  There is no guarantee of making it back that far.  I find it difficult to trace back rural East Anglian roots with a high degree of certainty much earlier than 1720, for the lack of correlative evidence from censuses, transcripts, etc.
Hoard of 12th century (Henry III) hammered silver coins recovered in Norfolk, and recorded by my late father.

Not all East Anglians worked the soil.  There were skilled crafts people such as the cordwainers, potters, smiths, and weavers.  Some based in villages, others in the towns.  Protestant beliefs and practices spread across Eastern England following the Reformation, particularly in urban areas.  This was re-enforced during the late 16th century AD, when protestant refugees from the Roman-Catholic crown, in the Netherlands, were invited to settle in Norwich, Ipswich, and elsewhere across East Anglia and south east England.  One poll of Norwich at this time suggested that as much as one third of the City population consisted of these Dutch and French protestants.  They were invited not only as allies against Roman Catholic Europe, but to bring their valuable crafts and skills to East Anglia.

Their protestant vigour was infectious.  East Anglia became a hot bed of Protestantism.  As the Crown and Establishment turned down the Reformation, opting for keeping Conservative values in their Anglican Church, so the Protestants ... protested.  Some hopped back over the North Sea to the Netherlands, which had for the time being, repelled the Catholic powers.  However, some of these most puritan protestants then asked the English king for permission to set up their own colonies in New England.  Permission was readily granted.  The Puritans left Eastern England en mass.  The point though is that this particular chapter of East Anglians migrating away, was centred in main, on urban classes, skilled workers, and  those that could actually afford the voyage.

Norfolk saw little bloodshed during the 17th century English Civil War, as it was safely Parliamentarian. Except for a riot and explosion in Norwich when the Puritans tried banning Christmas. 

Back to the countryside...

Between the 16th and 19th centuries AD, the descendants of the old East Anglian peasantry had to adapt to a number of economic changes that were not in their interest.  The great land owning families were enclosing and renting out their lands to free tenant farmers, breaking up the old manorial estates.  Some fields were enclosed, and the peasants found themselves replaced by more profitable sheep.  Even the commons were enclosed and privatised.  While the more entrepreneurial freemen rented out land to farm themselves, as tenant farmers, many others found themselves surplus to requirement, and alienated from the soils that had fed their ancestors for generations.  They became farm hands, the great army of "ag labs" (agricultural labourers) of the 19th century censuses.  Not all  labourers were equal.  The more fortunate, loyal, and skilled might find themselves almost in full employment, with a regular wage and a tied cottage.  The less fortunate were the paupers.  Seasonal workers that had to constantly look for work, or beg for parish relief.  The rural poor didn't always accept these changes without resistance.  In 1381, Norfolk and Suffolk peasants joined in a rebellion that threatened London.  In 1549, Norfolk peasants rose into an army that captured the City of Norwich.  In 1830, East Anglia was a centre of the Swing Riots.

Many agricultural labourers and their families still married and baptised as Anglican at the Church of England, but although much of the puritanical fervour had by now swept away from East Anglia, many were increasingly turning to non-conformist chapels of the Baptists, Congregationalists, and Methodists.  The Primitive Methodists were particularly successful in East Anglia during the 19th Century.

If you had rural working class East Anglian ancestors during the 16th to 19th centuries, imagine them very poor.  Following the Agricultural Revolution of the 17th and 18th centuries, new machines and technologies replaced much seasonal and manual labour on the fields.  The commons, where the poor had grazed their animals had been taken away.  Poor relief was ceased, and the desperate were forced to enter prison-like workhouses, in order to be fed - families split into separate dormitories, the poor harshly penalised, and discouraged from asking for relief.

How the land owners, farmers, and parsons saw it - the East Anglian countryside simply had a large surplus of unwanted labour.  They were encouraged to leave.  Some to far away colonies - Australia and Canada.  Others to feed the factories and mills of the Industrial Revolution in places like Newcastle, Yorkshire, or London.  For many - the railways arrived just in time to escort them away.

Example of East Anglian Accent.

Researching rural East Anglian ancestry

Understand that:

  1. Most East Anglians were not titled, nor recorded in heraldic records.
  2. Parish registers online are incomplete.  Not all parishes or registers have even been digitally photographed.
  3. Some parish registers have been lost, destroyed, or are badly damaged.
  4. The transcriptions of the registers on some online genealogical services are sometimes incorrect.  Always if you can, try to see scans of the original registers online.  Because of these frequent errors, the databases often fail on searches.
  5. If your ancestor was rural, use OpenStreetMap.org and magnify down to get to really know the area that they lived in.  Appreciate distances by foot.  People did sometimes move more than several miles - but very often in East Anglia, didn't!  It's not unusual to see one family in the same small parish for several generations.  Sometimes marrying cousins.  It was the arrival of the railways, that sometimes allowed families to finally escape the rural poverty.
  6. You find Harry X marries Mary Z in a village.  You search the online databases for his baptism (and parentage).  You find a baptism of a Harry X in the same county.  You add him and his parents to your tree.  Problem is ... the baptism was 23 miles away, and you don't realise it, but there were a number of Harry X at the same time, several closer to the place of marriage - you have made an error.  You just saw the one on the database.  More research might have uncovered a more likely candidate, with siblings named like his children, in the village next to that in which he married Mary Z.  Getting to know the area really well may have made you search harder.
  7. Illegitimacy is a surprise to some.  You will see plenty of it in 18th and 19th century East Anglia.  It was generated by poverty, poor housing, poor education, and desperation.
  8. Most of your rural working class ancestors will be illiterate, and sign with an X.  Education of the labourers was discouraged.  However, now and then, you will find one that served as the parish clerk.  Some could read.
  9. Widows and widowers, with children in tow, would frequently remarry quickly.  Support for the children was vital to keep them out of the workhouse.
  10. Infant mortality can be very depressing or sobering.  Expect some high rates.
  11. Don't be surprised to find ancestors listed as paupers, or as inmates in workhouses, gaols, or even the asylum.
  12. Check non-conformist church records, as well as the Anglican.  The Methodists operated by "circuits".

And another breakthrough - more Wymondham ancestry

This one is on my mother's side, close to my maternal line.  The ancestor below is my mother's, mother's, mother (my 2nd great grandmother), Sarah Thacker of Rackheath, born as Sarah Ann Elizabeth Daines, at Besthorpe, Norfolk, in 1849.

Her parents were Reuben Daynes and his wife, born Sarah Quantrill.  3rd great grandfather Reuben had moved to Besthorpe from the nearby parish of Brandon Parva.  The Quantrill family were a Wymondham family.

Rueben Daynes (the junior) was the son of Rueben Daynes (the senior), my 4th great grandfather, and Sarah (nee Lake) of Brandon Parva. My 4th great grandfather Rueben had also been born at Brandon Parva, back in 1781.

The church at Brandon Parva on a bike ride last summer.

Rueben Daynes (senior) was the son of Abraham and Elizabeth Daynes of Brandon Parva, Norfolk.  That far I had discovered.  Now I have extended back on Elizabeth's ancestry.

I now know that my 5th great grandmother Elizabeth, was born Elizabeth Moore, and that the couple were married at Wicklewood, Norfolk back in 1764.  Rueben was a late child:

Quite clear, it states that she married Abraham Daynes of Brandon Parva.

Elizabeth herself was born at Wymondham, and was baptised there in 1748, the daughter of William and Abigail Moore:

My 6th great grandparents William Moore and Abigail Blasey, had been married a few years earlier, in Wymondham during 1745:

Abigail Blasey was local, and had been baptised at Wymondham, the daughter of Samuel and Bridget Blasey in 1724:

My 7th great grandparents, Samuel Blasey / Blazey and Bridget Lord, were married at Wymondham in 1722:

Samuel Blasey was baptised in Wymondham in 1700, the son of my 8th great grandfather, Charles Blasey.  The paper trail runs out.  I suspect that Charles Blasey / Blazey had also been born at Wymondham, around 1672, quite likely the son of a Robert Blazey.  But I haven't found that documentary evidence.

I will say that during the late 17th Century (1670's - 1701), there were Blasey, Quantrill, Moore, and Page families in Wymondham.  That might suggest that we have some pretty old Wymondham ancestry on mother's side of the tree.  Some of father's were not far off either, with some of his ancestors in nearby Attleborough, Coston, Great Hockham, Swanton Morley, and East Dereham.

I'm really pleased to find this breakthrough, the second in recent weeks, even after 29 years of researching family history.

It's also great to find such a strong ancestral link to a Norfolk market-town that I especially love.

Wymondham

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.