Wildman Genes

It has been several months since I last addressed my family history.  Recently, ITV screened episodes of Long Lost Family:  Born Without Trace, in which DNA samples were used to trace relatives of foundlings, who had no other way of discovering their biological heritage.  Following this, I thought I would see what Ancestry have been up to regarding my own DNA.


More than a year ago, Ancestry introduced a new tool named ThruLines, which uses DNA sampling and searchable family trees to suggest the identity of ancestors.  I have been rather sceptical about the likely accuracy of these things, and found (among others) this review: Ancestry’s ThruLines Dissected: How to Use and Not Get Bit by the ‘Gators; in particular this paragraph:

“My primary concern is that ThruLines encourages people to believe that ancestors are being suggested because DNA has confirmed that a specific ancestor is theirs. In many cases, erroneous trees have propagated for years, and now all of those people are “wrong together” so their incorrect ancestor is being suggested as an ancestor for many more people. Worse yet, multiple wrong trees are being stitched together by Ancestry in ThruLines.”

This is the nub:  too many folks simply take others at their word without any evidence to support their claims.  Errors are reproduced through laziness.


ThruLines suggested that one of my third great grandmothers was Mary Wildman (1786-1844).  I already had this lady in my tree, with the suggested relationship, and the evidence to back it up.

Thrulines Mary Wildman
Screenshot from Ancestry

A click on “EVALUATE” opened a side bar showing links to various family trees and how many records were linked; in order of appearance, 1, 2, 0 (linked to DNA matches); and 10, 9, 8, 8, etc. (Ancestry Member Trees).  Note the one with zero records.  This does not mean they are wrong, but it does mean that viewers cannot be sure that they are right.

George Hogg (1785-?)

George was Mary Wildman’s husband, and therefore my third great grandfather, but I had not found a date of death.

I clicked on the sidebar to see what the tree with 10 records might tell me.

Thrulines Mary Wildman add
At bottom right George Hogg 1785-1859 (ringed).

So he died in 1859.  Or did he?  I looked at other trees, and all but one of the public trees had 1859 (four with no records), the other had 1878 (no records).  So I checked.

Here is a copy of my notes:

George Hogg 1785 check

I had already found George and Mary in the 1841 Census.  This time I found baptism and burial records that fitted with death in 1859, and also found George in the 1851 Census, a widower, fitting Mary’s death in 1844, but not in the 1861 Census.

HOGG GEORGE bu 1859 split
Extract from burial register for St Johns Donisthorpe (split because George was at the bottom of the page).

There are also entry of death (EOD) records in the General Register Office index for both George Hogg (Jul-Sep 1859) and Mary Hogg (Jul-Sep 1844), both registered at Ashby de la Zouch, the official place.

The overwhelming evidence is that 1859 is correct.  Nonetheless, when the GRO is back up to speed after lockdown, I will obtain the entries of death, which I hope will add more corroboration, for example the address (if they died at home or at a family member’s house), or an informant with some connection (hopefully not the doctor or coroner).

ThruLines suggests some more ancestors from further back, and I will look at these in the near future.

One thought on “Wildman Genes

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s