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.

Generation Eight. The great great great great great grandparents.


Above, the parish church of Strumpshaw in Norfolk.

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

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


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

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

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


Genetic Genealogy - verifying the family tree with shared DNA segments

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

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

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

Brooker Surname and a new project

Above map modified from "© OpenStreetMap contributors".  The red dots represent baptisms of BROOKER (including derivations such as Broker, Brocker, etc) between 1550 and 1600.  The larger the red dots, the more baptisms in that parish.

The area focuses on South-East England.  There was also a secondary cluster in Warwickshire, and stray families in Manchester, Yorkshire, Devon, and Norfolk.  However, I have not catered for all of those on the above map.  See the below larger scale map for Brooker baptism counts in those areas by county.

The Blue dots and notes mark ancestral birthplaces and dates of my recorded surname ancestors in Berkshire, Oxfordshire, and Deptford, London.  My line traces back reasonably securely to a John Brooker born at Long Wittenham, Berkshire, circa 1722.

The Purple dot and text represents Thomas Chandler of Basingstoke, Hampshire.  Living there circa 1740's, he appears to have shared my Y-DNA markers L-SK1414 judging by some of his Chandler surname descendants that have tested.  At some point before 1722, we must have shared Y line (paternal) ancestors.

From this map I can conclude that during the late 16th Century, the BROOKER surname was most common in Sussex, Kent, Surrey, and Hampshire.  There was a secondary cluster in Warwickshire.

Distribution of BROOKER baptisms AD 1550 - AD 1600 by English County.  County boundaries modern, but East and East Surrey united for historical purposes.  Includes records of derivations of Brooker surname.

Surname Origin

This interesting surname derives from two possible origins. Firstly it may be of English topographical origin from the Old English word "broc", a brook, stream, plus the agent suffix "-er", used to describe a dweller at, hence "dweller at the brook". There is also a place called Brook in Kent and Wiltshire, from the same Old English word "broc" as above. Also the name may be an occupational name used to denote a broker, originating from the Anglo-French word "brocour", one who sells an agent in business transactions. The earliest recordings of the surname appear in the 13th Century (see below). John le Brouker was recorded in the 1327, Subsidy Rolls of Sussex. William le Brocker was listed in the 1326, Feet of fines Rolls. The Close Rolls in 1332, record a Elena Brocker. Kirby's Quest for Somerset recorded an Adam Brocker in 1328. Geoffrey Broker, aged 17, an immigrant to the New World, sailed aboard the "Merchant's Hope", bound for Virginia in July 1635. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William Brokere, which was dated 1296, Subsidy Rolls of Sussex, during the reign of King Edward 1, "The Hammer of the Scots", 1272 - 1307. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.

Source: Surname.com

Discussion

A weakness with the data will be that the sources may be selective and biased, due to incomplete transcripts, register survivals, etc.  However, it gives me an indication of just where my surname may have originated before John Brooker married Mary Gardiner at Oxford College chapel, on the 1st November 1746.  They were recorded as residing at Long Wittenham, Berkshire.  Mary Gardiner appears to have hailed originally from a family a few miles to the south of Wittenham, at East Hagbourne in Berkshire.  I also found families of Brooker in that same parish, including a suitable John Brooker candidate born in 1722.  However, on reflection, and in discussion with another researcher that also claims descent from the Hagbourne John Brooker, I decided to delete that connection.  Hagbourne John Brooker married another woman, not Mary Gardiner, and did not move to Long Wittenham.

I then chose the next best candidate.  Further afield, a John Brooker born 1722 at Chieveley in Berkshire.  I have to confess a bias to that direction as it lead towards Basingstoke (I'll get back to that further down).  However, once again, I can see evidence to eliminate him.  I need to consider another John Brooker at Oxford next.  So many John Brookers!

Why am I looking for a link to Basingstoke?  Because several people that have tested their Y chromosome DNA with Family Tree DNA, appear to have the same Y DNA data as myself.  Incredibly rare, and hailing from Western Asia, L-SK1414.  These several other testers are all from the paternal surname Chandler.  They form a small but distinct cluster in the Chandler Surname Y-DNA projects, very distinct from other Y-DNA in the group.  Some of them have traced their surname lines to a Thomas Chandler, that lived at Basingstoke early to mid 1700s, the same time as my 6 x great grandfather, John Brooker that married Mary Gardiner and settled at Long wittenham.  Basingstoke is about 32 miles south east of Long Wittenham as the crow flies.

At some point, the Y-line descendants of Thomas Chandler, and myself, must have shared a common Y grandfather.  Some point most likely between 2,000 years ago, and 400 years ago, and most likely, in Southern England.  Convenient for the Coast and for ports that our Asian Y ancestor may have arrived at by vessel.  Most likely I feel, in the Sussex or Hampshire region.  Look at the clusters in the top map around Southampton, Chichester, and Brighton during the 16th Century.

That I haven't found many Berkshire, and only one Oxfordshire Brooker baptism between 1550 and 1600 could suggest that my surname most likely trails down through Hampshire between 1600 and 1746.  There is always however, the possibilty of a relationship in the other direction to the Gloucester cluster.  That goes against the Basingstoke Y hypothesis, but it is a possibility.  Where did the Gloucester cluster originate?  For that matter, where did the more significant Warwickshire cluster originate?  Did it move there from South East England during the medieval, or does it converge from an independent surname origin?

If the surname line is still true to my Y-DNA at Generation 9 (John Brooker of Long wittenham), and the existence of the Chandler L-SK1414 does support that my Y-DNA most likely would have been in that part of Southern England at that time, then just when did the Brooker and Chandler families last share a common Y-DNA father?  The convergence could be the result of a non parental event in either direction.  Even a series of non parental events.  Alternatively, it could predate the emergence of peasantry surnames during the 14th Century.  The above quote from the surname website suggests some aristocracy were using the surname as early as AD 1296.  However, many peasant and commoner families would have been slower at adopting a surname.

Some more recent Brooker surname distributions.

From PublicProfiler.org.

1881 Census of Brooker


Modified from PublicProfiler.org.  © All Rights Reserved

1998 of Brooker

Modified from PublicProfiler.org.  © All Rights Reserved

Brooker Surname Study

But for now, I'm stuck at that marriage in 1746.  Therefore I'm launching a longer term surname research project, starting with collecting baptisms of Brooker, Brocker, Broker, Browker, etc. Between 1550 to 1600, and then moving forward.  Screenshots of my baby database below:


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?