Chasing steeples

wall spire from wall lane
Wall from Wall Lane 2016

I first became aware of horse racing fifty years ago, when the Grand National steeplechase was beamed into our living room in grainy black and white (405 lines, the pixel had yet to be invented) from Aintree, Liverpool.  I gather grandfather Ted Brown liked a small bet.  Maybe that is something I have inherited.

The horse I selected, in blissful ignorance of such factors as weight, jockey, trainer, form and going, was Red Alligator, which to a small boy seemed the most appealing name.  As it turned out, most of those who attempted any kind of analytical approach to betting lost their money as 100-1 outsider Foinavon benefited from a melee at the (then unnamed) plain 23rd fence.

Continue reading “Chasing steeples”

Ancestry Genetic Communities

Ancestry Genetic Communities is a new(ish) service for those who have used Ancestry’s DNA analysis.  The original analysis breaks down into broad groups based on DNA inherited thousands of years ago: in my case Great Britain, Europe West, Scandinavia and Ireland (mainly), and I looked at this in Earlier Origins & DNA.

DNA areas
My DNA profile. Ancient in pastel shades; modern in orange and red.

Ancestry has now assigned people to genetic communities based on DNA acquired in the last few hundreds of years, during the era of written records.  It would therefore be surprising if these communities did not reflect extensive research going back up to 450-500 years. Continue reading “Ancestry Genetic Communities”

N is for …

Based on: Reaney, P H, (ed. Wilson, R M), 1997, Oxford Dictionary of English Surnames, 3rd ed., OUP, Oxford, unless otherwise stated.

st james the great longdon (480x360)
St James the Great, Longdon, Staffordshire.


Earliest in Andrew’s Kindred:  John Nevell, father of Mary Nevell, born about 1698, Longdon, Staffordshire.
Continue reading “N is for …”

M is for …

This set of names is almost a microcosm of Andrew’s Kindred, with three direct lines, including, perhaps, the most ancient, and all but one born in my native Staffordshire or an adjacent county.

Based on: Reaney, P H, (ed. Wilson, R M), 1997, Oxford Dictionary of English Surnames, 3rd ed., OUP, Oxford, unless otherwise stated.


Continue reading “M is for …”

Tunnelling Down Under

This is to help with an enquiry from someone in New Zealand who might turn out to be related.  Ancestry DNA suggests we might be 4th-6th cousins.  If 4th cousin the common ancestor would be one of my 32 third great grandparents, on the outside of the chart. Large PDF version here:  AD fan 3rd ggparents

AD fan 3rd ggparents

Note:  This circular image is illegible, it is purely to show the shape of the chart.

Hopefully, this will lead somewhere, but there is some considerable work to be done.  If it turns out to be 6th cousin, there will be 128 targets!


Walsall Archives Opening Hours

Preparations for the move by Walsall Local History Centre to the town centre will temporarily restrict opening hours:  this from Weste via Rootschat:

Walsall Archives (Staffordshire) – RootsChat.Com

Reduced opening hours effective from April 1st 2017

Opening Tuesdays and Wednesdays only to the public from 10 am to 4pm . Other days they will be cataloguing etc ready for the move to Lichfield Street library in Walsall town centre. Don’t know the move date.

It’s not an early April fools joke!

Short term pain for long term gain.

L is for …

Based on: Reaney, P H, (ed. Wilson, R M), 1997, Oxford Dictionary of English Surnames, 3rd ed., OUP, Oxford, unless otherwise stated.


Earliest in Andrew’s Kindred:  Robert & Elizabeth Lamb, parents of Joseph Lamb, born about 1831, Smethwick, Staffordshire.

A nickname from the animal, or a shortened version of Lambert.  This could be from St Lambert, venerated in Medieval Flanders, or Old English lamb and hierde, lamb-herd.


Earliest in Andrew’s Kindred: Hannah Lazenby, born about 1805, Drax, Yorkshire.

From village of Lazenby, North Yorkshire (or Lazonby, Cumbria).


Earliest in Andrew’s Kindred: John Lidgbird, born about 1830, Church Broughton, Derbyshire.

Not covered by Reaney.  I can’t find anything about this.


Earliest in Andrew’s Kindred: Joseph Littler, born, about 1696, Longdon, Staffordshire.

Not covered in Reaney, but from Little, perhaps to distinguish two men of the same name.  Littler ismply being the superlative.


Earliest in Andrew’s Kindred:  Samuel Lunn, born about 1836, Linton, Derbyshire.

A variant of the Norse lundr, for dweller by a grove.

There are several places in England, for example Lund in Lancashire, East Yorkshire, and North Yorkshire, Lunt in Merseyside, and Lound in Lincolnshire, Nottinghamshire, and Suffolk.  Any of these could apply.


Earliest in Andrew’s Kindred:  Edward Henry Lydall, born 1895, Brownhills, Staffordshire.

From Liddel, Cumbria, or Roxbourghshire.