Saturday, 16 March 2019

I do so love a mystery or three....

... particularly when it looks like a new lead may have appeared.
My one remaining brickwall mystery at the 2* great grandparent level is William Austin (this page will get updated hopefully soon as it reflects an old theory that is looking to be supplanted by the following, even though the mother's suggested name of Caroline is still possible, just not the one currently shown.

Courtesy of DNA matching it is looking rather like that mystery may now have some chinks in it.
Which all look to have some fairly stubborn brickwalls behind them!

On this page:

  • The DNA
  • The Research
  • The Theory
  • The Update


I have to caution myself that as yet I do NOT know that the match is definitely from the line of my match's paternal grandmother's ancestry that appears to be "of interest", but it is looking increasingly possible.

I've ruled out it being from her maternal side thanks to an overlapping sizable segment of DNA she has with a known maternal 1st cousin and my aunt who does not match the 1st cousin, so different ancestral sides for that bit of DNA (thank you GEDMatch for the ability to compare across sites for those uploaded to there).

Her closest match on MyHeritage looks to be from her paternal grandfather's side and none of my kits there match him/her.
But nor does their DNA overlap "ours" at any point, so inconclusive.
Added circumstantial evidence however is that it appears my match may have a crossover point between paternal grandparents on chromosome 10, as one of our matches abuts a segment from the above closest match.

(chr 10 DNA Painter segment to be inserted here, but seems a bit reluctant to do so)

Regardless of where the DNA eventually proves to be on her ancestry it is still a new clue to someone on mine as this is our closest unidentified match and we are all very near the top of her match list, so there is definitely a connection somewhere yet to be identified.

The research

Enough of the DNA, what about the research that has to go hand in hand with it?

As mysterious families go the family of William AUSTIN and Emma Parker CLINTON have thrown a few curlies into my research over the years.

Daughter Caroline Emma AUSTIN's name and origins being the first one.

I've used her as a case study in a study session or two as to the traps official records may set us.

My first official cert. purchased was for her marriage in 1882 to Matthias ROWE, reasoning that as the first she would be the source of the info for, and should know her parents.
She didn't even know her name (or age), let alone her father!
Caroline Emma Austin GIBSON, daughter of William Austin GIBSON, laborer, and Emma CLINTON.
By the time she died, the informant for her barely legible death cert. provided the information that Emma ROWE was the daughter of __ AUSTIN, labourer, (step father John GIBSON) and mother Emma GIBSON maiden name unknown.

The murk didn't clear much further with her mother's 31st Dec 1855 marriage cert. to Capt John GIBSON in Melbourne.
Emma CLINTON obligingly stated she was single and had no children from any former marriage (Caroline Emma was already 1 by this point).
Back in Feb 1853 before emigrating to Victoria Australia on the "Roxburgh Castle", Emma CLINTON of full age, daughter of William CLINTON had married William AUSTIN, porter, no father shown.
Beyond this cert. and the baptism of Caroline Emma in Feb 1854, Parish of St James, Melbourne to William and Emma AUSTIN, I have no further sightings of William AUSTIN.
No 1841, no 1851 census, no death.

Perhaps that's a "had", no further sightings?

Keep an eye on the developing thread on RootsChat re
William Edward Sinclair Fitz AUSTEN b. 1869 Mile End Old Town
son of William Mallars Fitz AUSTEN / AUSTIN (and looking increasingly to be aka William Mallars FITZAUSTEN) and wife Sarah BIGGS formerly BLAKE
(historical RootsChat thread continued in the above)

The main mysteries here being William Mallars Fitz AUSTEN / AUSTIN / FITZAUSTIN's whereabouts prior to the 1869 marriage and birth of son William Edward Sinclair Fitz AUSTEN and his parents.

See also the matching family being developed /summarized on WikiTree
Also on the FamilySearch tree

Both of these latter two are collaborative, free to use trees.
Feel free to add any research you have to either, with sources.

The Theory

My current theory from all of this is that William, like Emma, had re-married, but William put a bit more distance between his old and new lives by heading back to England, whereas Emma merely crossed the ditch to New Zealand.

If true and can be proven this makes the DNA match that prompted all this a half 3rd cousin to myself (and 1st cousins), and half 2nd cousin once removed to my aunts, and the amounts of DNA shared fits well with the observed stats on the DNAPainter interface to the shared cMs project

Given I'd never found a death for William AUSTIN I've always called Emma my bigamous 2xgreats granny, much to my father's disgust.
This makes it look like what was sauce for the goose was also sauce for the gander.

When I rang home many years ago to update my parents with the above find re Emma's marriage cert. to Capt John GIBSON saying she was single, with no children, my Dad tut tutted
"oh, you don't want to find out that sort of thing" he said.
"That's half the fun Dad why would you care?
It was back in 1855 - and Mum's side of the family"

The Update (Jun 2019)

Additional weight for my above theory is developing in the form of a new match to all of us on MyHeritage.
A 2nd cousin once removed to our initial match, so shared common ancestors are William Edward AUSTEN and Alice Maud CARTER.
With a fully triangulated segment on chromosome 10 for my family and theirs so we all still have a common ancestor who gave us that bit of DNA at least.
Now to rule out the CARTER ancestry and avoid confirmation bias!
We await a test from Ancestry which should show patterns for this latter.

Aug 2019

Ancestry results now in do not show any shared CARTER ancestry matches with the few kits we are able to comare on Ancestry. In addition, the sole close-ish CARTER cousin that is easily identifiable as also being on GEDmatch, and has no matches to any of the relevant AUSTIN kits, so AUSTIN is looking even better.

Not a lot of tested cousins on these lines for any of us makes it harder to draw solid conclusions here but I think I'm now convinced I know what happened to my 2*great grandfather William AUSTIN, after his arrival in Melbourne, so that's my last brickwall at the 2*great level declared demolished.