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.