Pardon my French!

Flavour of the month seems to be revised Ancestry DNA test results, which seem to be more blunt, and to offer less insight into ethnicity before records began.

I have been thinking about a blog on this topic, but it seems to me that, unless we have data to show the stratification of the samples, we cannot know the skewness. In other words, when revised estimates show stronger or weaker association with various ethnicities is that simply because the overall sample has been “swamped” by the predominant ethnicities among those with the inclination and resources to submit a test, and to relate the results to hard facts about actual ancestors?  The great majority of matches thrown up by Ancestry have yet to attach a tree.

For example:-

  • if my English, red-haired, blue-eyed, fair-skinned ancestors were from Scandinavia via Normandy (as opposed to direct from Denmark);
  • and no one from Normandy is tested (I gather it is illegal in France);
  • and other white English and American folk like me have tests in their droves;

Continue reading “Pardon my French!”


Shared Ancestor Hint: Onion

Recently, Ancestry alerted me to a potential shared ancestor with a tree named jdenny648.  This is based on DNA profiles.  In previous examples of such hints the links shown through people in the respective trees have turned out to be solid, even when the degree of confidence was “moderate”.  This apparent connection was moderate also, but only at about 20% (going on the indicator bar).  Here is an image. Continue reading “Shared Ancestor Hint: Onion”

Lost woman: found bruiser

A while back I found on my Ancestry DNA page a Shared Ancestry Hint.  These hints are developed from the starting point that two contributors have linked DNA, with additional information from the respective trees to find the connection.  In this case the link was to kbhofman’s tree, third cousin once removed, and a connection to second great grandparents Henry Dennis and Dorothy Hogg.

sah kbhofman
Shared Ancestor Hint, showing most direct lines in connecting trees.

Continue reading “Lost woman: found bruiser”

R is for …

Continuing my exploration of surname origins in Andrew’s Kindred.

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:  William Rathbone, born about 1793, Coventry, Warwickshire. Continue reading “R is for …”

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”


As far as this blog goes, this is my first foray into the family Carter. My sister did a (long lost) primary school project on family history, which prompted mother to assemble various pictures and notes, largely gained from her auntie Gertie. For a long time I had given these up for lost, but, as is so often the case, I was looking for something else and happened upon an envelope that had somehow been shuffled to the back of a bookshelf.

I will come back to this, but, for now, I will focus on a news cutting. It is unfortunate that it is not attributed, but it still has some value in understanding the life of my great grandfather Daniel Carter (1865-1950). It is also a reminder that we should not believe everything we read in the press!  A transcription follows this somewhat faded image.

Source unknown

Founder member of Brownhills Society

  Well known as an exhibitor at local flower shows and a founder member if Brownhills Horticultural Society, Mr Daniel Carter of [45] Chapel-street, Brownhills, died on Wednesday week, after a short illness.
Mr Carter, who was 85, was born at Walsall Wood, and began work at the local colliery, where he stayed for 50 years, most of his time being spent on the bank.
He retired 15 years ago and devoted a great deal of his spare time to his hobby of gardening, and continued to grow both flowers (especially crysanthemums) and vegetables.
He was a member of the Walsall Wood Darby and Joan Club , and of the Brownhills club.
His second wife died five years ago and he leaves two sons and four daughters. There are also 18 grandchildren.
The funeral service at Ogley Hay parish church on Saturday was conducted by the Rev. A. Halse (priest in charge of St. John’s, Heath Hayes).
The mourners were Mrs. Jones (daughter), Mr. Brown (son-in-law), Mrs. Scholey (daughter), Mr. and Mrs. Hastilow, Mr. and Mrs. Taylor (sons-in-law and daughters), Mrs. Spendlove (stepdaughter), Mrs. Micock and Mrs. Jackson.
The bearers were Leslie, Lawrence, Kenneth and Derreck Jones (grandsons).
Floral tributes were sent from the family and from friends.

The mourners in more detail:

Mrs Bertha Jones, Mr Edwin Brown (my maternal grandfather), Mrs Winnifred Scholey, Mr John and Mrs Gladys Hastilow, Mr William “Bill” and Mrs Gertrude “Gertie” Taylor, Mrs Mycock (this would be a relative of Daniel’s second wife, Louisa), Mrs Spendlove would be her daughter, and Mrs Joan Jackson was a next door neighbour.  The bearers were sons of Bertha Jones.

Daniel died at 45 Chapel Street, where he shared the home of his daughter Florence and her husband Edwin Brown. The causes of death were (a) myocarditis and (b) senile decay. Myocarditis is inflammation of the heart muscle, which can have a range of causes, but Daniel was an old man who lived a hard and energetic life.

Daniel Carter at 45 Chapel Street, Brownhills, Staffordshire (at the time).


Daniel was in fact born at Balsall, Warwickshire on 5 Jan 1865. At the time of the 1871 census the family was at Stechford, Warwickshire, where Daniel’s father and two older brothers were agriculural labourers. By 1881 they had moved to Howdles Cottages, Brownhills, Staffordshire, where they lived in a row of semi-detached cottages. I remember the old cottages as a child; they were demolished in about 1967. Even then there was no running water; that had to be pumped from a borehole.

Evans the Boat

I thought that Evans would be the most difficult line to trace, as this is among the most frequent Welsh names. The boatman angle was going to make life more difficult. They moved about, sometimes as nomadic as Gypsies, and their children were baptised all over the place, but, at least, usually near to a canal. To some degree I was luckier than most, because, although it appears the earlier boatmen in Andrew’s Kindred lived on the water, later generations would live on land and have a fixed abode.

When Dad turned seventy we took a canal boat holiday. We hired a narrowboat, the sort one sees on the canal today, but this was a luxurious far cry from the existence of Continue reading “Evans the Boat”