Wentworth Odiarne Cavenagh (1856 – 1935), a first cousin of my great grandmother Kathleen Cudmore née Cavenagh (1874 – 1951), was the son of Sir Orfeur Cavenagh (1820 – 1891). He was interested in family history and heraldry and he spent a considerable amount of time researching Cavenagh family history in the Irish National Archives.
W.O. Cavenagh presented his research to the Office of Arms in Ireland and the original manuscript and typescript (about 175 pages) is held by the Genealogical Department, Dublin, Ireland; it is much used by Cavenagh family historians. His research has also been microfilmed by FamilySearch.
Other family history documents, including many fine heraldic illustrations, are in the possession of his grand-daughter.
Some of his research on the Cavenaghs of Kildare has been transcribed by another cousin, who has given me permission to share it.
In May 1795, at the age of twelve, Rowland Mainwaring (1782 – 1862), my fourth great grandfather, joined the Royal Navy as a ‘young gentleman’, an aspiring officer. He was under the patronage of Admiral Sir John Laforey. His first ship was the Jupiter, a 50-gun fourth-rateship of the line commanded by Captain William Lechmere.
In the same year he became a midshipman on the Scipio, a 64-gun third rater, serving on the West Indies Station. He also served for a short while on the Beaulieu, a 40-gun fifth-ratefrigate, and on the Ganges a 74 gun third-rater. In just over a year Mainwaring had served in four ships, ranging in size from 40 to 74 guns. The Beaulieu had a notional complement of 320 officers and men and the Ganges 590 (naval vessels of the period were usually short-handed).
HMS Majestic under Westcott then joined the Channel Fleet, and was present at the Spithead Mutiny in April and May 1797. The mutiny at Spithead (an anchorage near Portsmouth) lasted from 16 April to 15 May 1797. It was one of two major mutinies in 1797. Sailors on 16 ships in the Channel Fleet protested against the living conditions aboard Royal Navy vessels and demanded a pay rise, better victualling, increased shore leave, and compensation for sickness and injury. During the mutiny the mutineers maintained regular naval routine and discipline aboard their ships (mostly with their regular officers), allowed some ships to leave for convoy escort duty or patrols, and promised to suspend the mutiny and go to sea immediately if French ships were spotted heading for English shores. Because of mistrust, especially over pardons for the mutineers, the negotiations broke down, and minor incidents broke out, with several unpopular officers sent to shore and others treated with signs of deliberate disrespect.
The mutiny ended with an agreement that saw a royal pardon for all crews, reassignment of some of the unpopular officers, a pay raise and abolition of the purser’s pound. Afterwards, the mutiny was to become nicknamed the “breeze at Spithead”.
The Battle of the Nile was fought from 1 to 3 August 1798 at Aboukir Bay, on the Nile Delta, 20 miles (32 km) northeast of Alexandria. The British fleet, led by Nelson, decisively defeated the French under Vice-Admiral François-Paul Brueys d’Aigalliers.
At this time Rowland Mainwaring was 15 years old. He never forgot the experience and frequently mentioned the anniversary in his diary entries. In later years he commissioned the marine artist Thomas Luny to paint the battle, himself sketching what he remembered of the scene, in particular the terrible moment when the flagship of the French Navy, L’Orient, was hit by a cannonball in her gunpowder magazine and exploded. The painting by Luny showing the battle at 10 p.m. on 1 August 1798 still hangs in Whitmore Hall.
Although it was late afternoon and the British fleet had no accurate charts of the bay, Nelson ordered an immediate attack on the French who were unprepared and unable to manoeuvre as the British split into two divisions and sailed down either side of the French line, capturing all five ships of the vanguard and engaging the French 120-gun flagship Orient in the centre. At 21:00, Orient caught fire and exploded, killing most of the crew and ending the main combat. Sporadic fighting continued for the next two days, until all of the French ships had been captured, destroyed or had fled; eleven French ships of the line and two frigates were eliminated.
Majestic was towards the rear of the British line, and did not come into action until late in the battle. Together with HMS Bellerophon, Majestic, passed by the melee and advanced on the so far unengaged French centre. In the darkness and smoke Majestic collided with the French ship Heureux and became entangled in her rigging. Majestic then came under heavy fire from the French ship Tonnant. Unable to stop in time, Westcott’s jib boom became entangled with Tonnant‘sshroud. Trapped for several minutes, Majestic suffered heavy casualties. The captain of the Majestic, George Westcott was hit by a musket ball in the throat and killed. Lieutenant Robert Cuthbert took command and was confirmed as acting captain by Nelson the day after the battle.
The Battle of the Nile was a great defeat for the French. The Royal Navy lost 218 killed and 677 wounded; the French losses were 2,000–5,000 killed and wounded, 3,000–3,900 captured, 9 ships of the line captured, and two ships of the line and two frigates destroyed.
The strategic situation between the two nations’ forces in the Mediterranean was reversed, and the Royal Navy gained a dominant position that it retained for the rest of the war.
A medal was issued for those who took part in the Battle of the Nile. Rowland Mainwaring claimed his medal only in 1847 and received it in 1850 with a medal for the Siege of Copenhagen. I am not sure why he left it so late to claim these honours.
In 1826 the English poetess Mrs Felicia Hemans wrote her well-known ‘Casabianca‘, which begins:
The boy stood on the burning deck Whence all but him had fled; The flame that lit the battle's wreck Shone round him o'er the dead.
The poem commemorates the young son of the commander of the French ship L’Orient who refused to desert his post without orders from his father.
(I will write separately about the rest of Rowland Mainwaring’s career.)
Parallels with the fictional Horatio Hornblower and Jack Aubrey
Horatio Hornblower and Jack Aubrey are fictional Royal Navy officers of the Napoleonic war years. Hornblower is the protagonist of a series of novels and stories by C. S. Forester published 1937 to 1967; Jack Aubrey is a fictional character in the Aubrey–Maturin series of novels by Patrick O’Brian published 1969 to 2004. Hornblower and Aubrey are both a little older than Rowland Mainwaring.
In Forester’s novel ‘Mr. Midshipman Hornblower‘ his hero has that rank between 1794 and 1799. In his fictional career Hornblower served under the famous admiral Sir Edward Pellew; Mainwaring also served under Pellew, evidently with respect and admiration, for he christened his second son ‘Edward Pellew’.
In ‘Master and Commander‘ O’Brian’s Jack Aubrey, at the time lieutenant on HMS Leander, earns a silver Nile medal. The medal is mentioned every time Aubrey puts on his dress uniform.
Sources and notes
O’Byrne, William R. A Naval Biographical Dictionary: Comprising the Life and Services of Every Living Officer in Her Majesty’s Navy, from the Rank of Admiral of the Fleet to that of Lieutenant, Inclusive. 1849. Page 711. Retrieved through archive.org.
Marshall, John. Royal Naval Biography : Or, Memoirs of the Services of All the Flag-officers, Superannuated Rear-admirals, Retired-captains, Post-captains, and Commanders, Whose Names Appeared on the Admiralty List of Sea Officers at the Commencement of the Present Year, Or who Have Since Been Promoted, Illustrated by a Series of Historical and Explanatory Notes … with Copious Addenda: Captains. Commanders. 1832. Pages 126 – 130. Retrieved through Google Books.
Cavenagh-Mainwaring, James Gordon. The Mainwarings of Whitmore and Biddulph in the County of Stafford; an account of the family, and its connections by marriage and descent, with special reference to the manor of Whitmore, with appendices, pedigrees and illustrations. 1934. Pages 104, 114, and 115. Retrieved through archive.org
Cavenagh-Mainwaring, Christine and Britton, Heather, (editor.) Whitmore Hall : from 1066 to Waltzing Matilda. Adelaide Peacock Publications, 2013. Page 82.
Note: Although the birthdate of my fourth great grandfather Rowland Mainwaring is usually given as 31 December 1783, he was baptised at St George, Hanover Square London on 18 January 1783 and thus his date of birth is actually 31 December 1782. [City of Westminster Archives Centre; London, England; Westminster Church of England Parish Registers; Reference: SJSS/PR/5/16 retrieved through ancestry.com]
My maternal grandparents were German, so perhaps not surprisingly our family Christmas traditions were conducted along German lines. On Nikolaustag, celebrated on 6 December, we were given some little gifts. These appeared miraculously in a pair of your shoes, which you’d left outside your door on going to bed the night before. Naughty children were told that their shoes would contain only a lump of coal. We opened our larger presents on Christmas Eve, Weihnachtsabend, not on Christmas Day.
The meal we ate on Christmas Eve after attending a Christmas Eve carol service and opening presents, was usually cold but had taken on an Australian twist. We would have smoked salmon, cold turkey, ham, and salads. These days we also have prawns. We finished the meal with a pudding, which was definitely an Australian rather than a German tradition.
I don’t remember my grandmother cooking the pudding but I do remember her other Christmas cooking including pfefferkuchen, s-kuchen and stollen. There was lots of Christmas food throughout the month of December.
When serving the pudding on Christmas Eve I do remember that once my grandmother was so liberal with the brandy for the flambé that it seemed the blue flames would never stop. One year she made an ice-cream pudding. I’m not sure whether this was quite properly German or even Australian, we only ever had this once.
I do like rich fruit-and-suet pudding served with brandy butter. In 1985, the year after I was married, I took part in a Christmas-cooking course presented by an English Cordon Bleu instructor. One of the dishes she demonstrated was a Christmas pudding made with suet, and I’ve been making it every Christmas since, for thirty-five years.
This afternoon my son Peter and I made this year’s pudding, two actually. We had soaked the dried fruit in brandy for a week first.
The recipe is very reliable and the puddings are always delicious.
Ancestry.com has added to its collection Berlin civil-registration death records from 1874 to 1955. My great grandfather Fritz Boltz died in 1954; I searched for his record, hoping that the official document would tell me something more than I already knew.
Section 56 in the Fifth section, Notarization of deaths, requires that “Every death must be reported to the registrar of the district in which the death occurred no later than the next day of the week.” Section 57 says it must be reported by the head of the family or if that person not available “the person in whose apartment or dwelling the death occurred”. Section 58 provides for official investigation into the death. Section 59 prescribes the information to be provided to register the death:
First name and family name, status or trade and place of residence of the notifying party;
Place, day and hour of death;
First name and family name, religion, age, status or trade, place of residence and place of birth of the deceased;
First name and family name of his spouse, or a note that the deceased was single;
First name and surname, status or trade and place of residence of the deceased’s parents.
If the information is unknown, this must be noted against the relevant entry.
Section 60 states that no funeral may occur until the death has been registered.
The legislation was amended in 1920 and again in 1937 but apparently without changing the requirements for death registrations.
My great grandfather’s death was registered in Dahlem, Berlin on 7 April 1954, the day after he died.
His occupation was ‘Schulhausmeister im Ruhestande’: Retired school caretaker.
He was living in Steglitz, Stubenrauchplatz 1. I knew he had retired and was no longer living at the school in Florastraße where he worked as caretaker, but I did not know where my great grandparents were living at the time.
Initially I could not find this Platz on a map; it was renamed to Jochemplatz in 1962. Their flat was on the corner of Jochemplatz and Florastraße, only 60 metres from where they had lived at Florastraße 13 when Fritz Boltz was school caretaker. The school is still in existence. There is a small park in the triangle bounded by Jochemplatz.
The 1952 photo above seems to be from their balcony overlooking Florastraße.
Fritz Hermann Boltz, ‘Der Verstorbene’, the deceased, was born on 13 July 1878 at ‘Götz, Kreis Zauch-Belzig (Standesamt Götz Nr. 12)’, that is, at Götz in the district of Zauch-Belzig (Registry office Götz Number 12).
He was married to Hedwig Anna Berta Boltz, born Bertz.
The death was entered from a verbal report from a businessman, Willi Lindemann, residing in Berlin-Steglitz, Grunewaldstraße 4. The reporter is known [presumably to the deceased]. He stated that he had been informed of the death from his own knowledge.
‘Todesursache Krebs der Vorsteherdrüse, Knochenmetastasierung’: Cause of death: cancer of the prostate gland, bone metastasis.
The death certificate does not mention children. Fritz and Anna had only one child, my grandfather Hans. He had emigrated to Australia in 1949.
My mother does not recall Willi Lindemann but remembers that her paternal grandparents had several close friends, Willi Lindemann presumably one of these. His address, in Grunewaldstraße, was close to theirs in Florastraße.
Fritz’s widow, my great grandmother Anna, continued to live in Berlin until 1959, when she emigrated to Australia. She lived in Canberra with her son Hans until her death on 29 April 1961.
The new collection of death records from Berlin has several of my relatives, and I hope to be able to learn more about my family history from them. Already, besides the death of Fritz Boltz, I have found Anna’s mother Henriette who died in 1942 and learned her father’s name.
In 1987 my mother and I decided to have a holiday in the outback, visiting some of the places I had passed through. My father and my husband Greg at first pooh-poohed the idea on the grounds that one gum tree looked like any other. However, fear of missing out – disguised as marital duty – persuaded them to join us, and my father extended the program to include a week’s sailing in the Whitsunday Islands in Queensland, near the Great Barrier Reef.
In the 1980s Australian air travel was expensive, but besides normal destination-to-destination fairs, Ansett, one of the domestic carriers, offered a ‘Kangaroo Airpass’ charged by distance. In 1987 for $600 you could fly 6,000 kilometers. 10,000 kilometres cost $950.
In late August 1987 we set out from Canberra, first stop Sydney. From there we flew on to Proserpine, in Queensland. Laden with groceries for our bare-boating experience, we continued by minibus to the port town of Airlie Beach, where we’d hired a 33-foot sailing boat called ‘Panache’.
‘Panache’ was a bit cramped and its engine was unreliable, but we had great fun, with perfect weather and some wonderful sailing.
Leaving ‘Panache’ at Hamilton Island Marina, we flew north to Cairns. There we hired a car for a drive to Kuranda in the hinterland. The town of Kuranda is surrounded by tropical rainforest and is on the escarpment high above Cairns.
From Cairns we flew on to Darwin, in the Northern Territory. On the following day we hired a car to drive to ‘Yellow Waters’, a resort in Kakadu National Park. The hire car, unfortunately, had a faulty fuel gauge and we ran out of petrol half way. Greg hitched a ride to buy enough to get us going; my father and mother and I had a tedious wait in the tropical scrub at the roadside. Told about this, the hire car people seemed quite relaxed and unconcerned. It was around then that we learned a local joke about the NT. The letters stand not for ‘Northern Territory’, but for Not Today, Not Tomorrow, Not Tuesday, and Not Thursday.
‘Yellow Waters’ made it worthwhile, though, especially a dawn boat ride we took through the lagoons. The birdlife was was superb; the crocodiles elegant but sinister.
From Kakadu we returned to Darwin and the next day drove to Katherine, 300 kilometres southeast. In Katherine we walked along a trail to view the scenery. We got a bit bushed and turned back, but it didn’t matter, for in the afternoon we had a boat trip on the Gorge itself, quite magnificent and worth the long drive.
From Darwin we flew to Broome in Western Australia, once a pearling port. We stayed at the Hotel Continental, the ‘Conti’, a few kilometres from Cable Beach, where the submarine telegraph cable from Java came ashore in 1889. I had a swim there, but the water was churned up and – I imagined – full of sea snakes, so it was really only a brief splash. The town of Broome has certainly changed since we were there, but I’m sure the earthy red colour of the landscape and the turquoise sea are the same: quite memorable.
At Alice Springs we visited the Telegraph Station. My step grandfather George Symes was very interested in Charles Todd, the astronomer and meteorologist who planned the telegraph line linking Adelaide to Darwin. Alice Springs was named after Todd’s wife. Symes began a full-scale biography of Todd. Though this remained unfinished, he wrote the entry for Todd in the ‘Australian Dictionary of Biography’.
NOTICES UNDER THE INDEPENDENT AIR FARES COMMITTEE ACT 1981 (1987, May 13). Commonwealth of Australia Gazette. Government Notices (National : 1987 – 2012), p. 53. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article240553252
The Australian Joint Copying Project is a joint public archives venture, ‘a partnership between the National Library of Australia, the State Library of New South Wales and The National Archives of the United Kingdom’.
It began in 1948, identifying, describing, and copying records relating to Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific, held in hundreds of institutions, organisations, and homes throughout the United Kingdom.
Over the next 49 years the Project filmed 8 million records (10,419 microfilm reels), dating from 1560 to 1984.
However, even with the help and guidance of the Project’s 11 paper handbooks, 500 individual finding aids, and 10,000 pages of description, up to now I’ve felt too daunted by the size and scope of the AJCP record collection to make any real use of it.
But from 2017 there has been a project to digitise the microfilm images and text and provide online access to the Project’s content.
There are several ways to get to the Project. I used the path from the Library’s home page, at http://nla.gov.au, choosing the menu “using the library” (a very Covid-safe way to visit the NLA).
On the AJCP screen I typed my maiden name, ‘Crespigny’, into the search bar. ‘Crespigny’ is a more uncommon surname than my married name ‘Young’; I hoped it would produce a manageable set of records to look at.
Two items were correspondence between my great grandfather Trent de Crespigny and Howard Florey, one of his students. (Florey shared a Nobel Prize in 1945 for his contribution to the development of penicillin.)
The fourth item was from CC de Crespigny, a Royal Navy Lieutenant, writing from Singapore in 1948. He had served in Borneo. This man was almost certainly my third cousin four times removed, Claude Augustus Champion de Crespigny (1829-1884). In 2017 I wrote about him, at B is for Borneo. The fifth item was a series of letters, also by Claude, written in 1858.
The first item, of eleven pages, was “Correspondence of W. Plunkett, C. Crespigny and C. Calvert (Christchurch), 1859 to 1860, (File 85947-50), (from Collections held by the Hertfordshire Record Office / Leake Family Papers (Acc. 599)) Unpublished – 1859-1860”.
To view this item I clicked on the item description. The text in blue is a hyperlink.
On the next screen is an image of one of the pages. I needed to choose “get”
and then choose to “View at Australian Joint Copying Project”
I can then either choose to view the collection (green arrow) or choose to view the finding aid (orange arrow).
I first look at the collection and discover there are 11 items. The screen shows thumbnails of the images.
I next looked at the finding aid. The correspondence I am interested in is briefly described as “Concerning emigration of W. Plunkett to New Zealand on the Clontarf and his death on the voyage.” I can also see that it is part of the Leake Family Papers 1823 – 1922 (Fonds Acc. 599) held by the Hertfordshire Record Office. (“Fonds” is an archivists term for a “group of documents that share the same origin and that have occurred naturally as an outgrowth of the daily workings of an agency, individual, or organisation.”)
I have William Plunkett (1836 – 1860) on my family tree and I had recorded that he died on the way to New Zealand aged 23. He is the brother-in-law of my 4th great-uncle: his sister Frances Plunkett (1835 – 1908) married Charles John Champion Crespigny (1815 – 1880). Charles was the brother of my 3rd great grandfather Philip Champion Crespigny. Isabel Plunkett (1835 – 1924) was a sister of William and Frances and she married Stephen Leake (1826 – 1893), hence the connection to the Leake family papers.
It was from Arthur Willis, Gann & Co., New Zealand Line of Packet Office, London, dated 29 June 1860 to C. Crespigny, my fourth great uncle and William Plunkett’s brother-in-law. It advised that William Plunkett, passenger by the “Clontarf”, died of phrenitis [brain inflammation] on 23 January 1860.
I am no longer daunted by the vast size of the Australian Joint Copying Project, and I look forward to exploring it for what I might discover there about my family history.
Recently I used the ‘DNAPainter‘ What Are the Odds Tool to place a DNA match in my tree and to identify her father.
M showed up in Greg’s list of matches at Ancestry.com. She and he shared 29 centimorgans of DNA across 2 segments, but she had no tree associated with her DNA. Her kit was administered by a 3rd person, D.
M and Greg’s shared matches were all cousins I knew, all of them associated with the Young branch of his tree. M also shared DNA with Greg’s Aunt Betty: 48 centimorgans across 4 segments. M and Aunt Betty had 14 shared matches. More than ten were known cousins all linked to the Young family tree.
I messaged D and she replied that M was born in outback Queensland and that M’s father was unknown. I knew of no relatives who came from there.
48 centimorgans of shared DNA is associated with a range of possible cousin relationships. It was not at all clear how M and Aunt Betty (and Greg) might be related.
I asked D to share a screenshot of M’s shared matches with Aunt Betty. I thought that if I knew how much DNA M shared with some of our known cousins I might be able to identify how M might be related.
One of the shared matches, that of J, jumped out. J is Greg’s 3rd cousin and is descended from one of the daughters of George Young and Caroline Young born Clarke. M and J share 815 centimorgans and so can be estimated to be 1st or 2nd cousins. Other known cousins also shared significant amounts of DNA with M, including F who shared 277 centimorgans and R who shared 443 centimorgans. Based on the amount of shared DNA F and R are estimated to be 2nd cousins to M.
I drew up a tree in the DNAPainter What Are The Odds tool, placing Betty and Greg and also J, F, R (and as well, K and B. I know how these are related.) K shares 60 centimorgans with M and B shares 55 centimorgans with M. Using the What Are The Odds tool you add how much DNA is shared between the match and the target name. The aim is to place the target on the tree.
I then switched to version 2
and then clicked on ‘suggest hypotheses’. The tool suggested 10.
Rachel lived from 1865 to 1918. M cannot be her child, so hypotheses 8 and 10 shown by the blue and green arrows are implausible. It is possible that M could be a grandchild of Rachel, but hypotheses 6 and 7, shown by the orange arrows, have much lower scores than other hypotheses, and so I removed them too. When removing hypothesis 8 though I did not delete that person on the tree but I removed the option that it was a hypothesis.
I am left with six hypotheses.
If I scroll down I get a ranking of hypotheses.
Scrolling further I get the table with a matrix showing the odds associated with each hypothesis and the various matches.
It can be seen that hypothesis 2 (highlighted in orange) is the most likely. J is most likely a first cousin of M, our target who we are trying to place on the tree. The next most likely hypothesis is that M is a half-aunt of J.
I know from my knowledge of the family tree that J does have a full uncle, brother of J’s parent M and showing as unknown sibling child of Leslie on the tree. Thus hypothesis 2 is possible from a genealogical perspective.
I checked the electoral rolls for the period that M was born and for the location. I found that the unknown sibling was indeed living in that part of Queensland at the relevant time. M’s mother had suggested the surname of M’s father. It was similar to the surname of J’s uncle.
On the basis of the calculations of What Are The Odds tool and a review of the broader circumstances, I am reasonably confident that hypothesis 2 is plausible. M is the 1st cousin of J. She is Greg’s 3rd cousin.
This afternoon I watched a Legacy Family Tree webinar (recorded) by Dr Blaine Bettinger, a genetic genealogist, about a DNA technique used to map the segments of DNA that a person does not share with a match. A match, of course, is definable as a string or strings of DNA common to two people. But what about the DNA that they do not share? Can it tell us anything?
Blaine Bettinger showed how, by using DNA information from close relatives such as parents or siblings, we can work out where pieces of DNA came from: how they were inherited. The technique is called deductive mapping, inverse mapping, or inferred mapping.
The key is to recognise that on the chromosome you inherited from your father, your DNA comes either from your paternal grandfather or your paternal grandmother. Similarly, the DNA from your mother comes either from your maternal grandfather or your maternal grandmother.
If you find DNA on the chromosome that you inherited from your father that did not come from your paternal grandfather then it must have come from your paternal grandmother. The principle applies equally to matches on your mother’s side.
I was very keen to put this new technique to the test on my husband Greg’s DNA. Luckily, Greg’s brother Dennis had tested his DNA, and I was able to use his matches in combination with Greg’s. The first match I reviewed was Greg and Dennis’s paternal aunt Betty.
My hypothesis was that for segments of DNA where Dennis shares DNA with Aunt Betty and Greg does not share DNA with Aunt Betty, those segments must have been inherited from Greg and Dennis’s paternal grandmother, Peter’s mother Elizabeth Cross.
All segments on Greg and Dennis’s paternal chromosomes were either inherited from their paternal grandfather Cecil Young or from their paternal grandmother Elizabeth Cross. If Dennis shared a segment with his Aunt Betty, he inherited that segment from Cecil. If Greg did not share that same segment with his Aunt Betty, then he did not inherit that segment from Cecil. He must have inherited the segment from his paternal grandmother Elizabeth Cross.
Using the tools at MyHeritage DNA I was easily able to extract the segment data of the DNA shared by Greg and his Aunt Betty. They share 138.5 centimorgans of DNA across 19 segments. I scrolled down to the chromosome browser on the match screen and clicked on “Advanced Options” on the right side of the screen and then clicked on “Download shared DNA info”.
This gave me a spreadsheet and I was able to copy and paste the data into DNA Painter (I have written about chromosome mapping with DNA Painter at DNA Painter – a new tool). I created a new profile for this exercise as I did the calculations.
I then extracted the segment data for Dennis and Betty.
I then mapped Dennis and Betty’s match at DNA Painter. So I could see Greg and Betty’s match lined up against Dennis and Betty’s, I mapped it as a maternal match. I then looked for the visual clues of segment mismatch. I have highlighted these segment mismatches with green arrows. There were eight segments where Dennis shared DNA with Aunt Betty that Greg did not. (There were also segments that Greg shared and Dennis did not but for the moment we are concentrating on Greg’s chromosome mapping.) Four of these were complete segments and four partial segments.
I took the spreadsheet of Greg and Betty’s shared segments and pasted beside it Dennis and Betty’s shared segments so I could compare them.
I then highlighted the whole segment mismatches in green and the partial segment matches in purple.
I then added the four segments that were inferred to have been inherited by Greg from Elizabeth to the DNA Painter profile. I only needed to add the chromosome number and the start location and end location.
For the purposes of chromosome mapping I did not need the additional data concerning RSID start and end, the number of centimorgans, or SNPs.
When previewing the segments I got a warning from DNA Painter about match segments being overlaid and that I might have already mapped these segments.
When I tried to save the match, DNA Painter told me that there was an overlap with the segments I had already painted of Dennis’s match with Aunt Betty.
The next challenge was to calculate the partial segments where Dennis shared some DNA with Aunt Betty that Greg did not at the beginning or end of a segment. I first did the calculation for Chromosome 5. The segment Dennis shared with Aunt Betty extended beyond the segment Greg shared with Aunt Betty. In the spreadsheet calculations for inferring the DNA Greg inherited from Elizabeth Cross, I copied the end location data for Greg’s segment match with Aunt Betty and the end location data for Dennis’s segment match with Aunt Betty. This created the segment that Dennis shared with Aunt Betty and Greg did not.
I painted that segment successfully. The black arrow highlights the segment Greg does not share with Betty and can thus be inferred to have been inherited from Elizabeth Cross. Underneath can be seen that Dennis shares that segment with Betty.
I repeated the exercise for chromosome 11. This time Dennis shares DNA with Betty and Greg does not before the segment Greg shares with Betty. So the calculation involved the start location of Dennis being the start location of the inferred segment and the start location of Greg’s match with Betty being the end location of the inferred segment.
I repeated the exercise of inferring segments for the remaining two segments.
I was confident in the logic of the results of this deductive chromosome mapping exercise and added the inferred segments to Greg’s DNA chromosome map. Before this exercise I had mapped 40% of Greg’s DNA with 161 segments being assigned. After adding these 8 segments 41% with 169 segments assigned. I have now mapped 54% of Greg’s paternal chromosome with 94 segments assigned.
I look forward to continuing the exercise and filling in more gaps.
By assigning inferred segments to either the paternal grandfather, paternal grandmother or on the maternal chromosome to either the maternal grandfather or maternal grandmother, I may be able to use the information to deduce how a DNA match links to Greg’s family tree based on the segment shared, even if that match does not have a family tree link to Greg.
A chromosome map is not just a colourful diagram. It’s a useful tool for exploring how DNA matches might be related. Information about the descent of a DNA segment, even if the segment is not directly shared by matches, could help you to calculate their shared ancestry.
Last Wednesday I received an email from an organisation called ‘Ireland Reaching Out’ about ‘Cavan Day, when proud Cavan people and their Diaspora all over the world will be celebrating their heritage and culture’.
‘Ireland Reaching Out’ hopes to link descendants of the Irish Diaspora—Irish immigrants, in other words—with their home parishes in Ireland. It provides tools and resources for exploring Irish family history.
“The first-ever Cavan Day, where people and the diaspora of Co Cavan in Ireland come together to celebrate their pride, will be hosted virtually on Saturday, September 26.
Organizers said that Cavan Day is taking the place of the much-anticipated “Cavan Calling” homecoming festival that has been postponed until 2021 thanks to coronavirus.
The inaugural Cavan Day, organizers say, will allow Cavan people around the globe to show their colours and their pride in their home county, by taking to social media and celebrating Cavan using the #CavanDay hashtag.”
County Cavan, in the Province of Ulster, borders on the Northern Ireland province of Fermanagh. It is about an hour’s drive from Dublin. Cavan, said to have 365 lakes, is known as ‘The Lakeland County’. Many rivers rise there, most notably the Shannon.
Parts of Cavan were hard hit by the Great Famine of 1845 to 1849. In 1841 the population was 243,000. This fell by over 28% to 174,000 in 1851 then declined again to 154,000 in 1861. The population continued to decline until 1971, when it stood at 53,000. At present County Cavan has 76,000 people, with the largest towns Cavan (10,900) and Bailieborough (2,700).
The passenger list records that Margaret Smyth was from Cavan. Her religion was Church of England; she could read and write; and she was 20 years old. She did not find a job immediately on landing, but went to stay with her cousin John ‘Hunter’ (or something like that; the surname is not completely legible).
I have not been able to find more about this cousin, nor have I have discovered anything more about Margaret’s baby. There seems to be no death certificate, but the baby may have died without its death registered, for in 1854 civil registration of deaths was not yet in force in Victoria.
On 19 November 1855 Margaret Smyth, dressmaker from Cavan, aged 22, married John Plowright, also 22, a gold digger. Their wedding was held at the residence of John Plowright, in Magpie (on the Ballarat diggings, five miles or so from where Greg and I live now). On the certificate Margaret’s parents are given as William Smyth, farmer, and Mary nee Cox.
On documents Margaret usually gave her birthplace as Cavan. On her death certificate her birthplace was given by her adopted son Harold as Bailieborough, Cavan. On that document, however, Harold gave her parents as Joseph, a farmer, and Ann Smyth. I am more inclined to believe the names of the parents given by Margaret at the time of her wedding are correct.
I have found possible baptism records linking the names of William Smyth and a daughter Margaret but none that seem entirely reliable.
The ‘Ireland Valuation Books’ of 1838 (which I viewed through FindMyPast) have a William Smyth of Tanderagee Townland, Bailieborough Parish, Clankee Barony, County Cavan. This could be Margaret’s father.
More and more records are being digitised, so perhaps some useful documents will come to light. DNA connections also offer some tantalising clues but I have not yet found any definite Smyth cousins.
I hope we can visit Ireland one day. Cavan will certainly be part of the trip. Before we visit I hope I will have discovered more about Margaret Smyth’s family there.
The genealogy company MyHeritage recently announced it had refreshed the data for its ‘Theory of Family Relativity™’, a tool that computes hypothetical family relationships from historical records and DNA matches. It does this by ‘…incorporating genealogical information from [its] collections of nearly 10 billion historical records and family tree profiles, to offer theories on how you and your DNA Matches might be related.
In yesterday’s webinar I looked at a MyHeritage theory of the relationship between my husband Greg and his cousin Pearl. MyHeritage suggests that Pearl is Greg’s second cousin once removed. This is confirmed by the historical records. Greg and Pearl have well-developed and reliable family trees, so it wasn’t difficult to calculate the relationship.
It’s hard to say what’s new in MyHeritage’s new Theory. It’s possible that new ways of massaging the data have been developed, but it seems more likely that, with larger volumes of data being processed to develop Theories, ‘new’ simply means more, as in ‘newly-added’.
Anyway, I thought I’d give it a try.
MyHeritage’s announcement included a note advising users that ‘If we have found new theories for you in this update, you’ll see a banner about the Theory of Family Relativity™ at the top of your DNA Matches page. Click “View theories” to see all the theories we’ve found, both old and new.’
I couldn’t find this banner, but I eventually found my way to the filters on the DNA results page where by using the “All tree details” filter, I could select “Has Theory of Family Relativity™”
My husband Greg has 14 matches with theories. Back in March 2019 I counted 7 matches with theories so I looked at this list of matches again to see if I can learn anything new. In March 2019 Greg had 4313 DNA matches at MyHeritage. Now he has 6399, 50% more.
Several of the 14 matches in the list were matches I had not previously reviewed. I decided to look at S, whose DNA kit is managed by T from Canada.
Greg and S share 35 centimorgans across 1 segment. MyHeritage estimates them to be 3rd to 5th cousins. S appears in a family tree with 250 people. S is the 4th cousin of Greg according to the Theory of Family Relativity™. Ancestral surnames appearing in both trees include Dawe; Daw and Smith. Ancestral places common to Greg and S include Great Britain and Ireland.
I clicked on View Theory which I have highlighted with the green arrow.
There are three paths to support the theory that Greg and S are 4th cousins.
The first path uses 3 websites: my tree, a tree by B R from Australia and the third website the tree by T who administers the DNA kit for S. MyHeritage states “This path is based on 3 MyHeritage family trees, with 55% confidence”
The link is William Smith Dawe (1810-1977), Greg’s third great grandfather. I have on my tree that he is married to Mary Way (1811 – 1861). B R’s tree has William’s dates (1819 – 1877) and has William’s wife as Elizabeth Hocken 1821 – 1884 and the daughter of William and Elizabeth as Thirza Dawe 1824 – 1891. Thirza is the great great grandmother of S.
MyHeritage thinks the probability that the two William Smith Dawe’s on my tree and B R’s tree is 100% despite the differing birth dates. MyHeritage thinks the probability that Thirza Daw on B R’s tree is the same Thirza Daw on T’s tree is only 55%. I clicked on the small 55% immediately above the green letter b and got the following pop-up.
There are several problems with this first path of the theory calculated by MyHeritage. I don’t believe our William had two wives and Thirza born 1824 would have been born when William and Elizabeth were extremely young. I know this family does have common names and these are repeated across several generations. There are also several cousin marriages in this branch of the tree.
I looked at the second path to see if it is more plausible. MyHeritage states “This path is based on 4 MyHeritage family trees, with 70% confidence.”
The four trees are mine and the tree by T who administers the DNA kit for S plus a tree by JS from Australia and a tree by MT from Australia.
This path goes from Greg’s great grandmother Sarah Jane Way (1863 – 1898) to her mother Sarah Way née Daw (1837 – 1895). The Daw surname sometimes is spelt with an extra e as in the tree by J S. From Sarah Dawe on J S’s tree we go to Sarah Ellen Dawe (1837 – 1895) on the tree by M T. I am not sure where the middle name came from. I don’t recall it on any document. I will check the documents I have.
M T’s tree has the parents of Sarah Ellen Dawe as Betsey Metters 1792 – 1863 and Isaac Smith Dawe 1795 – 1851. From Isaac we link to T’s tree. He shows Isaac Smith Dawe 1797 – 1851 and Betsy Metters (Matters) 1792 – 1863 as the parents of Thirza Daw 1824 – 1891, the great grandmother of S.
This theory seems more plausible to me, but I need to verify this against source documents. At the links between the trees MyHeritage assigns a confidence level. Most of the links are 100% but MyHeritage is only 70% confident that Sarah Dawe in J S’s tree is the same person as Sarah Ellen Dawe in the tree by M T.
I clicked on the 70% and got the popup showing the comparison which gives additional detail from both trees. The difference is that the tree by J S has no parents has no parents but the tree by M T has Sarah Ellen Way’s parents as Isaac Smith Dawe and Betsy Metters. M T’s Sarah Ellen Daw has the same dates and places of birth and death as the Sarah Daw in my tree. I have plenty of documents to back up that sarah’s parents were not Isaac and Betsy but instead Isaac’s brother William Smith Daw.
This theory almost but not quite adds up. The need to go across several surnames is because of the spelling variations between Daw and Dawe. In my tree I have spelled the surname without a final ‘e’. I think MyHeritage has placed too much emphasis on the surname variation and not enough on other variations.
The third path “…is based on one community tree and 4 MyHeritage family trees, with 52% confidence”.
This path uses our tree, the tree by Greg’s cousin Pearl, a tree managed by S R from Great Britain, Family Search Family Tree, and the tree by T who administers the DNA kit for S.
Pearl’s tree provides the link between Sarah Daw on our tree spelt without an e to Sarah Dawe with an e and from there to her father William Dawe – surname with a final e. From there the link is to S R’s tree with William Smith Dawe (1810 – 1877), MyHeritage are only 72% confident they have the right man. William Dawe is not a direct forebear of Pearl and she has not provided many details for him in her tree.
S R shows Thirza Dawe (1824 – 1891) as the daughter of William Smith Dawe. From there the link is to FamilySearch Family Tree but with only 52% confidence. I clicked on the 53% to find out why MyHeritage is not confident they have the same person.
There are some important differences. The dates are the same and the place name variations are minor. FamilySearch, however, has Isaac Smith Dawe as the father of Thirza, not William Smith Dawe.
This path is rated 52% confidence by MyHeritage. The level of confidence is determined by its assessment of the weakest link.
I don’t think this path is correct. S R’s tree shows William Smith Dawe fathering Thirza when he was only 14, which is unlikely.
Of the three paths I think path 2 is most plausible but even then it is not quite right as it relies on the wrong father for Greg’s great great grandmother Sarah Way born Daw and does not fit with known records.
The next step is to review records and update my own tree using those records. After all, the Theory of Family Relativity generated by MyHeritage is meant to be a hint and not a proven conclusion.
I did not have Thirza Daw(e), the great great grandmother of S in my tree.
I have Isaac Smith Dawe (abt 1797 – 1851) and his wife Betsy Metters (1792 – 1863) in my tree. They show as Greg’s 4th great uncle. I have only one daughter showing for that marriage, the forebear of another match. Because Isaac is off to one side I have not researched all that family.
Isaac Daw appeared on the 1841 English census as a 40 year old miller living at Newton Mill, Tavistock, Devon. In the same household was Betsy Daw aged 45, and four children Betsy Daw aged 15, Honor aged 9, Jane aged 8, David aged 4.
On the 1851 census Isaac S Daw is a 54 year old miller employing 4 men and 1 boy living at Lumburn, Tavitock. In the same household are his wife Betsy aged 58, a niece aged 15 and a servant, a miller’s labourer, aged 30. All children have left home.
At the time of the 1841 census there may have been other children who had already left home.
Research by another cousin Lorna Henderson which she shared to Wikitree showed “entry in Beer Ferris in Tavistock parish register for 25 Aug 1818 shows Isaac Smith Dawe as sojourner of this parish, and Betsey Metters of this parish spinster, “married in this church by banns with the consent of their parents” by Harry Hobart, Rector. Both signed: Isaac Smith Daw and Betsey Matters. Wit: Humphrey Roberts, Mary Box (neither of whom witnessed other marriages on the page)”. I navigated to the Wikitree entry from MyHeritage when I searched Isaac Smith Dawe (Daw)/Dawe in All Collections. MyHeritage has 13,676,346 results for Isaac Smith Dawe (Daw)/Daw – far too many, the problem with a common name – they would of course be reduced as one narrowed down the search parameters.
I have been in correspondence with Lorna Henderson before and I know she is a most conscientious researcher and that Isaac is her direct forebear. She has a website for her family history at http://LornaHen.com and the details she has researched about Isaac Smith Daw are at http://familytree.lornahen.com/p28.htm . Lorna records there that in his will of 1847, William Smith Daw mentions his daughters: “My Daughters Names are as follows Mary Cook Betsey Bennett, Thirza Daw, Honor Daw and Jane Daw” and also his sons “my too sons Isaac Daw and David Daw”.
I could not find a baptism record for Thirza Daw in the MyHeritage record collections. On Wikitree cousin Lorna recorded that Thirza Daw was baptised 5 APR 1824 Tavistock, Devon, England. I found an image of her baptism in 1825 at FindMyPast. She was the daughter of Isaac Smith and Betsy Daw. Their abode was Newton Mill and Isaac’s occupation was Miller. I have updated Wikitree with the slightly revised date.
I am confident that Thirza is the daughter of Isaac Smith Daw, Greg’s 4th great uncle. Thyrza Daw shows up on the 1841 census as a female servant in another household. She married in 1850.
I traced down to S through English and Canadian censuses and other records. I found that she was Greg’s 5th cousin. S and Greg share 4th great grandparents Isaac Daw(e) 1769 – 1840 and Sarah Daw née Smith 1774 – 1833. Greg is descended from William Smith Daw 1810 – 1877 and S is descended from his brother Isaac Smith Daw 1797 – 1851.
I will update my family tree at MyHeritage. The Theory of Family Relativity won’t update straight away but at least I know that the next time it updates it may use the opportunity to trace a more accurate path.
As mentioned above I feel the algorithms MyHeritage used placed too much emphasis on the variation between Daw and Dawe and not enough emphasis on the parents named in the trees though there was obviously some weighting for variations in parents.
Nothing has changed about the MyHeritage theories particularly that I can see although I had not noticed previous theories that I reviewed making use of the tree at FamilySearch.
The Theories of Family Relativity generated by MyHeritage are just that, theories or hints. But they did point me in the right direction to make the connection between S and Greg and build my tree a little further.