Thursday, 22 December 2016

Paternal side DNA mapping progress (lack thereof) snapshot

Decided to stop work on the DNA matches temporarily and produce a snapshot of DNA segments (10cMs and above) identifiable as being Paternal (see embedded WikiTree Widget below for Dad's pedigree) and able to be allocated to a grandparent, or not as the case may be (see the Chromosome Map Key).

Way too many grey spaces as yet!

Update: I forgot to add the "why".
By identifying as finely as possible where each bit of my dna comes from, it gets much easier to slot new matches into place.
Those of them matching at a spot that therefore looks to be a hint to a brickwall ancestor is then a prime target for further investigation as to how our trees may connect, and/or for any commonality between the trees of the matches at that spot for further leads on the connections.

The prime paternal brickwall ancestors:
Archibald HENDERSON blacksmith at the Bridge of Allan married 1804 to Margaret McEWAN from the Drip Moss, Kincardine by Doune
Amelia MILLAR, born Kippen, Stirlingshire about 1815, mother supposedly Miss CHRYSTAL
John DAVIDSON born Chirnside, Berwickshire about 1817 mother Ann COLLINS .

Some day I'd also like to find out more about:
Jane WIGHT's WIGHT side, Jane being the wife of Peter SINTON
Ann ROBINSON, mother of Walter FAIRBAIRN

Click on the image to enlarge, and check below for an interactive pedigree overview linked to WikiTree
 Looks like I need to recruit more cousins back up from my paternal grandmother Agnes Manson DAVIDSON - ie my Caithness BAIN and MANSON etc lines, or more FAIRBAIRN/DAVIDSONs, where the latter are in rather short supply.
Good sale on at FamilyTreeDNA until the end of the month - give yourself, and me, a Christmas present-  FamilyFinder down to $59US - any takers?

Paternal Grandfather Archibald HENDERSON:

embeddable family tree updated live from WikiTree

Paternal Grandmother Agnes Manson DAVIDSON:
embeddable family tree updated live from WikiTree

Saturday, 17 December 2016

RootsWeb WorldConnect

Some of you may know that RootsWeb has been having issues of late, some months even.
The mailing lists do seem to be gradually becoming operational again.
I gave up on my Guestbook ever becoming operational again and created a replacement, along with a snapshot of the entries that had been made up to Jun 2016.
The latest casualty, which had been working quite recently, was my LornaHenderson, WorldConnect database.
At the moment, and for the last few days, an update has been stalled after the load but before being made visible to the public again.
RootsWeb acknowledge problems exist but have no estimated time for a fix.

With that uncertainty and the usefulness of being able to point people to the BDM summary for all of the rellies and their connections I've quickly created* a, hopefully temporary, replacement
My main page Online Databases list on LornaHen has been tweaked to point to the temporary link in the meantime.

* by the newly available GedSite by John Cardinal. Using an existing GEDCom, the one the WorldConnect database is stuck on, it took less than an hour to set up and most of that was tweaking the wording of the main page and changing my mind about what other links to include in the menu.

Thursday, 8 December 2016

Bit of more recent history than usual

If you grew up in Roxburgh, as I did, with a football mad Dad, like I did, the items below may provide a blast from the past.
How many of those in the photo can you identify?
What about signature identification?
The occasion is almost obliterated by all the signatures but can be deciphered as the:

Tuapeka Old Boys Football Reunion 
and Official Opening to the Centenary of Roxburgh
and was in 1965.
Found recently in a fossick through some of the inherited memorabilia sitting in cupboards.

Friday, 4 November 2016

Website changes

Status update on my websites.
A bit of rationalization is occurring behind the scenes - slowly, of course, genealogy and dna are far more interesting!
A casualty for a while was my - which holds, amongst other things, my Lorna's Links, and contact form - both of which most sites point to.
Should be back now.

In the review of what's where I did decide it's time to give up on RootsWeb as a Guestbook provider given that it has been more or less unoperational for quite some time.
Although a replacement is not yet in place* a snapshot of all posts (as at June when it was briefly available) from the RootsWeb Guestbook do now appear on as an historical record.

Although things are still in a state of flux, and likely to remain so for quite some time, please do let me know if something doesn't work as expected.

22 Nov 2016 update:
Guestbook now in place - links from other websites may take a little longer to be changed

Wednesday, 12 October 2016

Chromosome Map review

Time to see if I'm progressing.

"Progress" here is defined as having formed all my segment matches into groups, and hopefully assigned to a "side".
This assignment is either directly because of a match to a known relative at the same position on a chromosome, or by deduction via a lack of a match to the known relative, at the same position with the smaller segment matches checked at where possible.

Last review was back on the 8th  of January (see "How far have I got?"), which chromosome map took all segments of whatever size (usually down to 10cMs).
This time I restricted myself to those 12cMs and above - on left - with the Jan 2016 version on the right
Lorna's Paternal/Maternal chromosome map, Oct 2016
Lorna's Maternal/Paternal segments, Jan 2016

So why am I doing this (I need to remind myself of this every so often!)?
To find those segments that I (or my other tested cousins) potentially inherited from the brickwall ancestors* that got me/us into DNA testing in the first place.
That pretty picture has yet to be produced, but those are the segments I should be focussing on to work with the matches at those spots to find any commonality for hints as to further research into  potential connections.

* the main brickwall ancestors are listed on the 8th January post linked above

There's a very satisfying decrease in the yellow ungrouped, Group A and Group B segments, primarily because of an increase in tested relatives who are starting to pop out of the woodwork faster than I can keep up these days.
The yellow bits are generally singletons - no other matches at the spots concerned to be compared against, but large enough not to be Identical by State (IBS) aka simple coincidental arrangements of DNA that "matches".
The latter two (A and B) are those matches that have been able to be grouped into segments definitely sharing a common ancestor, somewhere/somewhen, but with no ability to compare against known relatives at that spot.
This could be either because none of the known relatives match at that spot, or because different testing companies were involved with no ability to compare at

If you have tested autosomal DNA at any of FamilyTreeDNA (their FamilyFinder test), or Ancestry or 23andme, PLEASE consider maximising your investment in DNA testing by uploading your resulting file to
It has a wonderful range of tools and gives us all the ability to run comparisons to find matches tested at the other companies. All of which helps all of us find our shared ancestry.

Tuesday, 11 October 2016


Sorry folks.
Some of you may have noticed either this:

or this:

when you tried to access items like my Lorna's Links, Contact me, workshop notes, and assorted other pages over the last few days.

Will try harder next time I try something out behind the scenes and NOT accidentally stray into the production site instead!

Tuesday, 6 September 2016

The "New Experience" at 23andme

Finally, after 10 months of being a second class citizen at 23andme, my three kits have been transitioned into the "new experience".

FamilyTreeDNA is still my company of choice being the good all rounder, with tests for the three types of DNA, tools to work with them, and having DNA projects to assist collaboration.
Even better they've reduced their autosomal DNA test price from $99 to $79US (plus $12.95 US for international shipping). Be in.

But I do have three kits on 23andme, myself, a maternal aunt and a paternal second cousin, given I haven't any closer ones available, just to cover the bases.

It has been a frustrating 10 months during which I'd more or less given up on even checking matches there.

Apart from getting used to where everything I use is - mostly all found thanks to Kitty Cooper's blog posts - I took time to look at my Health reports, which is very low on my priority list, having tested for the genealogy. Curiousity won out.

Can't say I learnt much (thankfully I guess) but I did get a good chuckle out of one report.
I'm apparently an "Unlikely sprinter".
Given I use a wheelchair this seems unlikely or even very prophetic of them :)
And as I'm also getting rather longer in the tooth these days, being a good sprinter also seems a rather forlorn hope.

The more prosaic answer is

Back to the genealogy:
All three kits are now switched to Open Sharing.
If you are on the new 23andme please consider making the most of your investment for yourself, and your matches by reviewing your sharing preferences to select Open Sharing as well.

Tools> DNA Relatives
Over on the rhs beside “Filters” and above the Search box click “Update DNA Relatives profile"
Please select Open Sharing.
 It's great being able to quickly see who all matches whom (amongst your shares or those on open sharing) without having to go through the frustrating invite system that disappeared into a black hole with no record of what you may have said.

Friday, 5 August 2016

The ANDREWS DNA matches ctd

The grid below is on the DNASurnames site linked in the prior post but is included here to highlight the vagaries of atDNA inheritance.
The people listed are all descendants, or believed to be, of John ANDREWS and Rebekah WINES who married in 1808 at Martock, Somerset, England. 
One has yet to be confirmed, but matches so many of the others that they have to fit somewhere.
It only includes those who have uploaded to as it uses their wonderful tools to produce the grid.

The predicted generations to a common ancestor range from 1.4 to 6.9, where the 6.9 prediction is between 3rd cousins once removed.

The actual relationships range from 1st cousins to 4th cousins.

This family group has done much better than another I've done this exercise for.  Fewer blank cells where there was no detectable shared DNA over 7cMs than another family, so well done for the Andrews/Wines DNA.
Click to enlarge

With FamilyFinder on sale at the lowest price I've ever seen, now would be a great time for others to test and see where they "fit" and provide more data for the chromosome map of Andrews/Wines DNA - which is the next item to be updated.

Who's Harry?

I believe I now know the answer to this one, and an exciting journey it was too - well to those of us who are Genie and DNA addicts anyway, and of course those interested in our ANDREWS of Martock (Somerset, England) ancestry - which is rather giving the game away at the beginning.

March 2016 - cue an excellent set of DNA matches, reasonably close, between a newly loaded kit on, and several descendants of Simon and Jane (GIBSON) ANDREWS.
So why?

Correspondence with the match determined that her family tree did have an ANDREWS, deceased by 1958, father possibly Harry born about 1865. No place information provided. Was this a clue?
As yet, no indication that the DNA was definitely from her ANDREWS line, but definitely an indication from our side, thanks to all the matches to descendants of Simon and Jane.

Apr 2016 a kit from ancestry (another descendant of Simon and Jane) also uploaded to GEDMatch, and yet more matches

July 2016 sees yet another descendant of Simon and Jane tested, and yes, more matches.

Interest on where the match might fit has obviously grown. Time to explore the tree more.
What can we find out about Harry?

Harry proves remarkably record shy to date, even once we knew he lived in Michigan.Yes, there are census records which show him as born Canada - and his parents as born England (mostly, one says Canada) - so far so good. The records also show he was born abt 1861 or Jun 1862.
Then his death cert. threw a 1 Jan 1866 birth date into the works, with the very unhelpful information that his parents were unknown, as were their birth places, but that Harry himself was born "Goodrick, Ontario".

Were there any ANDREWS families with a son Harry born around 1861-1866, living in Goderich?

A William and Eliza/Elizabeth ANDREWS did indeed show up in the 1871 census of Ontario: born England, son Henry aged 12, so born about 1859 - but not with the family in the 1861 census!
What is it about Henry/Harry that causes so much age confusion?
Did any of the trees online have anything about Henry son of William and Eliza after the 1871 census?
But the family did indeed look promising, particularly when one of the trees not only showed William and Eliza as both born in Somerset, but also that they married in Martock.

This just had to be the right family.
But can we prove that William is a relation of Simon's and that their Henry is indeed Harry?
It was looking increasingly likely, particularly given that Simon has a brother William of the right age that we didn't have any sight of beyond the 1841 census.
Census information for William and Eliza in Ontario showed they emigrated about 1844/5 so were easily missed when searching English records, and as yet no death cert. can be found to provide a link back to his parents, just a headstone with his dates.

The first step was easy enough, although it took time - why oh why does England not have electronic BDM certficates? Postage is so S L O W, particularly now that our postal service is down to every second day delivery.

William and Eliz's marriage cert. did indeed show his father was a John ANDREWS, weaver, and threw in a pair of witnesses that belonged to the family, William and Simon's brother Abraham and his wife Mary Ann (nee CHANT), to clinch the identification.

How was this missed when previous researchers had combed the Martock parish registers?
Easy really, they were married at the Ebenezer Chapel in Bower Hinton, not the established church.
It's still exists.

So far so good.
But can we prove the link from Henry born about 1859, or possibly 1861/2 ish, or even 1866, in Goderich, to Harry in Harbor Beach, Michigan by 1910?

If anyone can find Harry's marriage cert. to Barbara SWACKHAMER, or where he was in either the 1880 US census or the 1881 Canadian one, or anything/anywhere after the Canadian 1871 census and prior to the 1900 Michigan census, please do share!

In the meantime, ancestry trees came up trumps yet again.
One in particular had little notes that indicated family information, as opposed to straight research, might be available.
The tree however showed Henry, fate unknown.
But what's more important, the poster actually replied to a message.
Although Bill said he didn't think he could help with my quest, he did enclose his grandmother's notes on the family.
His grandmother was the granddaughter of William and Eliza via their son Walter, and had written up notes on the assorted children of William and Eliza, along with their children.
The notes started with the information that William was from a family of weavers, and that two of his older siblings had left England, one to New Zealand (that has to be Simon) and one to Australia (bit puzzled by that one, but this is currently assumed to actually be Eliza's sister and her husband who emigrated to Australia - which I only happen to know via one of those little coincidences of genie life in that the sister's husband's brother is the ancestor of a friend of mine - and we've only just figured this out thanks to this investigation!).
Reading on, the following jumped out at me:
"Harry had a family in Harbor Beach. He is dead"

I'm convinced. 
Are you?

Thank you newfound cousin Bill.

My ANDREWS page will be undergoing an update, and DNASurnames now also includes an ANDREWS DNA section to show some of the predicted atDNA relationships compared to the actual distance from John and Rebecca ANDREWS along with the utter variability of who actually shows up as matches.

Enjoy, this journey has been fun. Now to explore the rest of the Canadian and Michigan branches of the ANDREWS/WINES family.

Monday, 1 August 2016

How many to go: Helen SINTON mtDNA update

Further research into descendants of Helen WIGHT nee SINTON, and a resulting update to WikiTree for her daughters' families in particular has extended the chart of those carrying Helen's mitochondrial DNA.
Unfortunately, it looks to be a rather short list of living candidates, and with at least one branch apparently in Sth Africa and another in Portugal, information is a little harder to come by. 

Would love to hear from:
The search might have to go back another generation and down the mtDNA candidates from Jane WIGHT, which might actually be easier.
Surely at least one of the Jane SINTON/James TELFER/TELFORD branch will have a living mtDNA descendant in Australia?

Love to hear from you if you can help in this quest.

Wednesday, 27 July 2016

How many to go?

As you can probably deduce, I'm a DNA junkie.
Apart from using my autosomal DNA matches (and a lot of genealogical research) to map my chromosomes so that I know (eventually - I hope!) which bits on which chromosomes were inherited from which ancestors*, another of my aims to is document the haplogroups for each of my ancestors out to my 2*great grandparents (at least) -  yDNA and/or mtDNA.

Knowing this data is of help in working with autosomal DNA matches to rule in or out of contention certain lines, and you never do know what else you may learn.

So I thought it was time to take stock.
The above is a screen shot of my ancestry tree pedigree with the symbols I've attached for the appropriate haplogroups where known.

How am I doing?
Grandparents: one to go, George Ernest ANDREWS.
There's a test in progress for a descendant of Simon ANDREWS, due next month.

Great Grandparents: two to go, other than George Gibson ANDREWS who will be sorted next month.
Helen Sinton WIGHT (WorldConnect / WikiTree / Geni / FamilySearch) and
Ellen TURNBULL (WorldConnect / WikiTree / Geni / FamilySearch.

Can you help?
Concentrating on Helen Sinton WIGHT first.
Helen Sinton WIGHT has no living descendants who inherited her mitochondrial DNA.
Working back to her mother, Helen WIGHT nee SINTON (my webpages / WorldConnect / WikiTree) there may be some options, but although (or because) this WIGHT family is the one that started my whole genealogy journey back in the 1970s, it is the least documented, and very poorly sourced given how new I was to this back then! 

Can YOU help by contributing any knowledge you have on descendants of Helen?
The three main collaborative world trees that anyone can access for free, that I follow and work with are: WikiTree, Geni and FamilySearch.
Let's see if we can turn up any living descendants down any of the lines in general, hopefully at least one in particular that carries Helen's mitochondrial DNA AND one who may be convinced to indulge my curiousity.

Both WikiTree and Geni have DNA related tools that can be quickly checked for DNA candidates of interest - and easily rechecked as the tree grows:
WikiTree -  descendants of Helen who have inherited her mtDNA a short list - but I am working on an update as we speak. None on the current list are still with us, and the first two branches I've worked on don't appear to have any likely surviving candidates for mtDNA.
Geni - living descendants of Helen who have inherited her mtDNA (none as at Jul 2016)
FamilySearch - descendants of Helen WIGHT nee SINTON

Regardless of this specific quest for mitochondrial DNA candidates, there may well be some cousins still around who would be most welcome to contribute autosomal DNA and see what that adds to our overall DNA knowledge of connections.
Pop along to my atDNA project FFLornaHen on FamilyTreeDNA and order a FamilyFinder test, or test at Ancestry and then transfer that file to both GEDMatch.com and to FamilyTreeDNA so we can all fish in both ponds for matches and use the tools only available on the latter two sites to make the most of our investment(s).
I'd love to hear from any of you - contact form on most of my webpages.

* the main aim of all that work with my atDNA is to concentrate on the matches at the spots where I don't yet know which ancestor is to blame - can you hear the sounds of the crumbling brickwalls?
A wonderful side effect is of course confirming the family tree, testing theories, and as recently highlighted, finding new siblings for some of the ancestors.
Some of the distant cousins you get to "meet" may even be able to shed more light on our shared ancestors with photos, family knowledge etc.

Sunday, 24 July 2016

DAW(E) update

Time moves fast in the atDNA world!

No sooner had I prepared an update to the chromsome map showing the atDNA segments identified as being inherited from either Isaac DAWE or Sarah SMITH of Tavistock/Newton Mill/Lumburn, but yet another tested descendant popped up.
Those results haven't been included.

The two updated pages of relevance are:
DNASurnames now has an atDNA section in the DAWE DNA results - which includes a table of relationships as predicted by the shared DNA compared against the known generations to Isaac and Sarah. The table is also interesting in it shows where no detectable match (over 7cMs/700 SNPs) between descendants was found, such is the randomness of atDNA inheritance.
My DAWE family page has the updated Chromosome map included.
The page still includes the 2014 version for comparison -we ARE making progress - wonder how many are the SMITH side?.
Already at least some of the purple segments that were only potentially from the DAWE side of   William Rowe/Honor Dawe's ancestry are now identified as DAWE.

The DNASurnames table and segment traceability diagrams can only include those who have uploaded their DNA file to GEDMatch, so neither include the descendant of John DAWE (hatter in Tavistock) and wife Mary FRIEND who popped up on Ancestry as a solid match to myself (Lorna) and also has a smaller match to a descendant of Isaac and Sarah's son Thomas.
Anyone only on ancestry cannot be compared at an appropriate level of detail against the other "cousins" as Ancestry simply does not provide the tools available at either GEDMatch or FamilyTreeDNA.
It would be great to be able to see how likely it is that her John is the John baptized Whitchurch to an Isaac and Sarah.
Working on it, but real life takes priority - sometimes.

Perhaps another descendant of John and Mary might be interested enough to participate?
FamilyFinder test from FamilyTreeDNA or the Ancestry DNA test, but in either case, please upload your file to GEDMatch.
Bear in mind that we still have not definitively proven that Robert DAW in California, born Michigan and father of Mark Walton DAW (b. 1892 Oakland) is one and the same as Robert Henry DAW, son of Isaac Friend DAW who emigrated to Michigan (see prior blog post).
So ideally, descendants of any/all of those mentioned very very welcome to see what we learn about the family relationships from their DNA.

Thursday, 21 July 2016

One thing always leads to another

This trail started with an enquiry from someone helping an adoptee find her family.
What could I tell them about her DNA match with x?

It led to my extending the family tree of the match back up one of the lines I don't share with him.
Which, surprisingly, led me from Andes, Delaware, New York, back to WHITSONs on the Scottish Borders.
Which, of course, led to my wondering if they were related to the Alexander WHITSON of the Muirhouselaw Tile Works who married Elizabeth Richardson WIGHT my 2* great aunt, ie sister of my great grandmother Helen Sinton WIGHT.
Which led me to have a quick look around the family to see if there were any unsolved mysteries while I was there.

What happened to Elizabeth Jane Sinton WHITSON aka SOUTAR who married Industrial Chemist David McLaren PAUL?

Her birth had been a mystery, given her first appearance was as a daughter in a SOUTAR family but no matching birth.
That was solved once I realized that she wasn't actually born as Elizabeth Jane Sinton SOUTAR, but as WHITSON, but brought up by her mother's sister after her mother's death in childbirth.

Her death had also been a mystery - until tonight.
It was presumed to be between David's marriage to her, and his subsequent marriage to Ivy Elsie POVOAS in 1945.
It was not found in Scotland, nor easily recognised in the English Death Index (David was working in Worcester when they married in 1916) last time I checked.
Tonight I did another search of English deaths.

FindMyPast now includes records from the Manchester Crematorium, and there she was
"In December 1940 as the result of enemy action of 30 Wellington Road Whalley Range Elizabeth J. Soutar the dear wife of David M. PAUL. Service Manchester Crematorium this day (Friday) at 2.30pm (Manchester Guardian Fri 27 Dec 1940)"

With the knowledge that at that time her name was considered to be Elizabeth Soutar PAUL, there she also was in the death index as Elizabeth S PAUL, registered 1940 Qtr 4 Manchester, aged 56.

Which led to research on the Manchester Christmas Blitz of 1940, including:
A site dedicated to the Greater Manchester Blitz Victims, any of who being listed on the Commonwealth War Graves site, although civilians, including Elizabeth

An eyewitness account from a lad who lived through it:

Unseen images of the Manchester Christmas Blitz from the Telegraph

A chronology of the attack, which understandably, gets less detailed as events progressed and probably rather hard to keep up with events.

This map shows the sites (interactive on the Manchester Evening News website) which doesn't actually include Elizabeth, so I added the arrow to show her address.
I do admit to wondering if that bomb had David's name on it, given his occupation in 1911 "technical chemist, explosives manufacturer"

Never give up.
Get sidetracked, you never know where it will lead :)
Don't dismiss apparently irrelevant sources! (I would never have thought of searching the Commonwealth War Graves for Elizabeth.)

Tuesday, 19 July 2016

Would Granny be spinning in her grave?

I've not yet lodged a correction to the index, although it is assumption that Aunt Veta's birth cert. does indeed show her mother as Honor rather than Horace!

Monday, 27 June 2016

The cliffhanger

So who was John DAWE in Whitchurch the son of? (The end of my Spot the Flaw post refers)

An Isaac and Sarah DAW, where the baptism entry holds no further clues, no occupation, no residence.

Who are  my 3greats grandparents
An Isaac and Sarah DAWE / DAW.

Did I have a John in the family?

Did any of the online trees readily available to check have one?

How many Isaac and Sarah DAW couples around this time (or ever?) are there in this area?
The only one I know of are my lot, Isaac a miller of Newton Mill and wife Sarah SMITH.
The only other marriage that comes up on FindMyPast when searched for Isaac (with variants) DAW or DAWE between 1770 and 1810 is a Jun 1783 Halwill marriage of an Isaac DAWE and Grace PAGE, where that Isaac seems to have died in Sep, leaving Grace with an unborn son (John born the next year).
Not all the baptisms have been checked for any others showing parents as Isaac and Sarah that aren't already allocated to the family.

Can John "fit" with the existing children?
At first glance I thought maybe not given he was baptized 1798 and their first child Isaac Smith DAWE, was baptized in 1797.
But looking at the actual baptismal dates:
Isaac Smith DAWE 31 Mar 1797
John DAW 26  Oct 1798
Sarah DAWE 15 Dec 1800 
It looks like yes he can fit.

Is this John the John who married Mary FRIEND?
Can't prove that as there are likely to be other candidates, but when the details of the ancestry DNA match can be explored on GEDMatch and compared with more than just my data we may have more of an idea about that from the DNA aspect.

Saturday, 25 June 2016

Spot the flaw

"CEN: l850 Michigan, p.ll0 - DAW, William - KARO, l55R, Kalamazoo Co., Ross Township, l840 Daw..3 Wm. 2228/224l Wm. DAW 25 m Labouer b N.Y. Cornelia 22 f " " " John 3 m " Mich....l850 Ross Twp., census....he was the only one in the entire l850 cen., so he must be fa of Robert b after l850c. REF: Family Tree Maker: 1860 census: DAW, William - NJ P. 848 - Red Hook Twp., Dutchess Co., NJ"

Yes I'm back on a DAW(E) trail again.
Been a while, or at least it seems so.

This voyage started the other day with a new Ancestry DNA match, one with a shared ancestor hint no less.
Yes, we both have the same DAWE family in our respective trees, Isaac and Sarah (SMITH) DAWE of Lamerton (that's WikiTree, and this is my webpage link). I descend from son Isaac, my match from son Thomas.
Now if only we could see the DNA details to prove that this is where the match actually lies?
I'll have to wait for my match to upload to GEDMatch where comparisons can be made against several other kits who also descend from Isaac and Sarah.

While I wait, comparisons were made between our shared match lists and only one of interest popped up - sharing 24cMs with me but far less with my match, but previously on my alert list as there was a DAW showing in the tree. In California, recent-ish timeframe, but no ancestors shown.

Last time I explored tentative ancestors for this mysterious DAW I'd merely quickly tracked around published trees with some spot checks against census data. That led me to a Robert son of a William supposedly born in New York around the 1820s, where I lost interest.

This time round details were checked a bit more thoroughly.
Although I cannot yet document the link between a Robert DAW born Michigan, marrying and fathering a son in 1892 in California and dying before the 1900 census, and the Robert Henry in the 1870 and 1880 census records in Whitewater, Grand Traverse, Michigan, I do have a whiff of potential success.

The flaw of the title?
"...he was the only one in the entire l850 cen., so he must be fa of Robert b after l850c."
Actually two flaws. One was the assumption that Robert was born between 1850 and 1860, the other that noone could possibly have entered the State after the 1850 census and still be in contention as the candidate family.

Tweaking the search parameters for Roberts in Michigan born around the same time as his Californian wife (about 1865) brought up what looks like gold.
There, in 1870, is a family of an Isaac and Nellie (actually should be Nettie) DAW, both born England.
My genie radar is fairly finely attuned to mentions of Isaac DAW(E)s of England anywhere in the world. My tree abounds in the blighters. And very hard to distinguish they can be too sometimes.
Luckily this one had a handy death certificate, which only looks to have a couple of small errors - mother's name missing an I (FREND instead of FRIEND), and a couple of years out on a birth date.
BUT it did have the gem of saying that Isaac was born in Tavistock. Which my radar is doubly attuned to in association with DAW(E)s.
Sure enough there was an Isaac Friend DAW being baptized in Tavistock to a John and Mary, and a handy set of banns several years prior showing a John DAW, hatter, marrying a Mary FRIEND.

I was already quite excited by all of this, nothing like the whiff of success and dots being joined.
But who was John?
Luckily for me, unhappily for the family, there was a sad little set of records showing a baptism in 1832 of a Mary Sarah Jane, daughter of "the late John DAW, hatter, and Mary his wife".
Which made it rather easy to spot John's burial record a few months prior.
Same street address as on Mary Sarah Jane's baptism, and an age that placed him as born around 1799. But where? And which John?
Nothing suitable in Tavistock presented itself. So I tried the Whitchurch John, baptized in Oct 1798 - to ......
The next post may reveal all :)
I'm still convincing myself of the dots being joined here.

Saturday, 9 April 2016

Hidden in plain view

I do so love serendipity in genealogy.

Researching to answer a question on a list I monitor, about what may or may not have been possible when downloading family tree data out of FamilySearch* I decided to try using my own tree as the guineapig.
For some reason I chose James TURNBULL, my 2* great grandfather.
No idea why, I've not recently been working on the family at all.
If I had been, what I found might not have been a surprise, as I would have diligently noticed that the gaps in his information may well have been able to be filled long before now :).

A busy beaver (thank you Ellen) had attached an immigration passenger list to James' son James, whom I had assumed to have died in Cumberland prior to their emigration to New Zealand by around 1862/4 ish (according to conflicting death certs for the family).
Not that I'd ever found a satisfactory death entry for him in England.

James, Jane and all four children had departed from Liverpool in April 1862, arriving Melbourne in September.

Son James' 1863 death cert. shows they were living at Geelong, where James was working as a carpenter.

Some 20+ years ago I had painstakingly searched the assisted immigrants into New Zealand for James and Jane and concluded that they were not assisted here by the NZ government.

My excuse for leaving things there was that 20+ years ago records were by no means as easily accessible as now.
It's a poor excuse however as I could easily have subsequently checked the Victoria (Australia) to New Zealand - 1852-1923 migration fiche, which would have shown me  Mr James, Mrs James, Robert, Stephen and Ellen all on the "S.S. Tararua" departing Melbourne on the 10 Aug 1866.

Which date is 4 years later than implied by James' 1891 NZ death cert, and 2 years later than that implied by daughter Ellen's.
Where they disembarked however remains to be discovered.
Take your pick! My assumption is Wellington. The next snippet of previously gleaned information was that James was in Tikorangi when son Robert fell from a horse breaking his arm in 1873.
Which I suspect was meant to be Huirangi instead.

This information was definitely worth updating my website for.
James' entry on my webpages is now a little more complete and should shortly be even more so, as I've found that Archway has digitized the Taranaki Land District Primary Deeds Indexes 1856-1998. So instead of heading for Wellington, I'm working my way through assorted books online in the comfort of my own home, checking to see which relative bought, mortgaged or sold which parcel of land, swapping out every so often to the New Plymouth City Council Maps to figure out where each Lot was.

All because of a casual, completely unrelated, enquiry. 

The query was whether or not a gedcom from FamilySearch FamilyTree was
a) possible,
b) included the Memories and Photos attached.
The short answer being no.
The long answer:

But you can use those programs that integrate with the tree, eg RootsMagic and Legacy, to download (or upload) the basic data, just not the Memories and Photos.

Wednesday, 30 March 2016

Not genealogy but...

Only 9 days left for this project to meet its crowd funding target.
Just picture me zooming along the beach !

Tuesday, 1 March 2016

Segment Traceability

Just found a new toy at GEDMatch, not sure how long it has been there, but it is labelled as "new".
What on earth is THAT?
THAT is a pictorial representation of which of the atDNA tested descendants of Archibald HENDERSON and Margaret McEWAN who have uploaded their raw data file(s) from their test to GEDMatch, have matches to each other.
(Archibald and Margaret married in1804 at Stirling, Archibald being one of my brickwalls.)

The associated data and generational estimates between the matches are shown on the DNASurnames HENDERSON FamilyFinder page.
Other than being a pretty picture, the generation estimate table very quickly shows the randomness of atDNA inheritance and how many of the descendants shown did not inherit any significantly sized segments from Archibald & Margaret that also matched another tested descendant.

Now if the others tested would only upload to GEDmatch as well, we'd have a more complete picture - as well an ability to place several more of our matches who tested at other companies, or come in below the FamilyTreeDNA thresholds.

Sunday, 21 February 2016


For quite some years I've been trying to determine the fate of William the brother of my 2* great grandfather James HENDERSON. They were the sons of Archibald, a smith at the Bridge of Allan, Stirlingshire. who sprang into existence from apparently nowhere in time to be paid for smithing work in the Stirling of Keir estates and to marry in 1804 to Margaret McEWAN.

Back in 1994 a researcher in Australia contacted one of my cousins about her husband's ancestor William HENDERSON, who had married a Margaret SINCLAIR, and whose family had emigrated to Australia.
The data shown was, however, that for a different HENDERSON family back up the chain.
Time passed.
A couple of years ago I got more stubborn about trying to find any signs of "my" William having survived beyond his baptism and found a smith at the Bridge of Allan with a wife Margaret that just "felt right" - you know how it is when you get a feeling about a family, even if you can't find proof :)

As I dug away discovering his family I was reminded of the 1994 letter, dug it out, and sure enough, the descendants matched but the parents given for William didn't.

Back at Christmas time Diane contacted me about this family on WikiTree, kindly providing some modern day updates.
But even better, her husband was willing to humour me in seeing if we could prove his ancestor William was indeed brother of my James.
No Y-DNA candidates appear to be available so we used atDNA with our  fingers firmly crossed that even though the odds of a specific pair of 4th cousins actually turning up a detectable atDNA match were only 50%.
With all the HENDERSON kits we have on file, surely one would match?
Results are just in.
Given the subject line of this post, I think you already know the outcome!
We have significant matches with one descendant of William and James' sister Margaret, and 8 significant segment matches with 7 descendants of my James (including to me).
I think I've definitely found William.
(I don't yet know if the tree of our 1994 correspondent has changed tack over the years)

The HENDERSON chromosome map will be updated shortly (to also include results from another of James' descendants)

Thursday, 18 February 2016


I had the privilege of hearing Judy RUSSELL, the Legal Genealogist speak in Wellington today.
Two talks, one on DNA, the other on using circumstantial evidence to piece together families when records are not available.
No, the latter wasn't a fairy story, but evidence of what must have been a very persistent, long search piecing together scraps of this and that to form the family involved.
It made frequent reference to the Genealogical Proof Standard, which reminded me of her post from 2014 (

It was good to actually meet Judy - one of her 3rd cousins is one of my closest non known family DNA matches - which must mean that one or t'other side of this match has cousin marriages somewhere, or we have a larger than normal long lasting segment of DNA. Our respective trees have no obvious connection yet at all.

Friday, 8 January 2016

How far have I got?

New year, review time.
Thought it was time to produce some chromosome map snapshots and remind myself why I'm having all this fun (and frustration).
The following illustrates the match coverage on my 23 pairs of chromosomes that has been identified as to which side of my ancestry the match "fits" - maternal or paternal.
The predominance of the pink over the blue makes it rather obvious that I do not have any close living paternal relatives available to test. My two maternal aunts still alive (both in their 90s) have however done their bit to humour their niece, and seem to attract the lion's share of the matches.

Why am I doing this?
To break down, or at least chip, several brickwalls.
Have I succeeded?
Not a lot as yet, but then I never really make time to stop and analyse the gaps in the above and then focus on the matches that have to be related to the ancestors that are causing this descendant so many problems tracking where they came from.

Who are they?
Archibald HENDERSON, a blacksmith at the Bridge of Allan, Stirlingshire.
Where did he come from?
Y-DNA testing has as yet not produced any matches, atDNA has thrown up some intriguing matches that may well lead somewhere eventually.
Amelia MILLAR, mother supposedly a Miss CHRYSTAL. From Kippen in Stirlingshire.
We do have a fascinating match with a family that includes both MILLARs and CHRYSTALs but we need to confirm that this is the line that the matching DNA comes from.
Any descendants of David MILLAR and Elizabeth CHRYSTAL out there willing to try their luck to see if we can prove that.
Jane GIBSON, born Somerset, mother supposedly a Jane GIBSON. Where did she come from?
Although we have a reasonable amount of identified DNA segments from Simon ANDREWS an Jane GIBSON, we don't currently know which bits come from the ANDREWS side and which from the GIBSON side. Any descendants of Simon's siblings out there and willing to test to see what we can learn?
John DAVIDSON, born Chirnside, Berwickshire to an Ann COLLINS. Whereas we have quite a bit of FAIRBAIRN DNA identified from John's wife, specific DAVIDSON segments are hard to identify. Any descendants of any of John's children tested? The New Zealand contingent is fully represented - me, unless others ended up here, as I'm the last living descendant of Adam. His brother James and sister Helen had no known children.
Not forgetting the potential Irish connections of:
William AUSTIN who mysteriously disappeared in Australia presumably before his wife/widow married her ship's captain saying she was single with no former children (so much for my great grandmother who was nearly 2 by then!). My only hope here is to be able to identify more of the DNA inherited from the CLINTON/PARKER side of the family, so I would love to hear from any descendants of William CLINTON and Jemima PARKER who may be intrigued enough to help out here.
William CLINTON above. Someone must know where he came from.

The above are the problem ancestors that stop me completing the rows of ancestors at 3* and 4* great grandparents, the "lines of 32 and 64".
But until then I will continue having fun contacting and working with matches, forming triangulated groups that share an ancestor somewhere/when and seeing where that leads.

With kits either in process or en route to the lab several other theories may well be dis/proven, so there's always something fun to do.

Love to hear from you if any of the above look familiar, especially if you hold the key to the puzzle.

The atDNA tests involved here are either that offered by Ancestry DNA - provided you then upload your resulting raw data file to at least (free, donations accepted) and also preferably FamilyTreeDNA ($39US to transfer the file from Ancestry) - or simply directly with FamilyTreeDNA using their FamilyFinder test.
(I've currently gone off using 23andme, their website has been "in transition" for weeks and isn't that useable at the moment, with no current signs of improvement)

If a descendant of any of the above and you do end up on FamilyTreeDNA, do apply to join my autosomal DNA project there, FFLornaHen.

Look forward to making 2016 the year the breakthroughs happen - with YOUR help.