On Tuesday 3 January 1798 my husband Greg’s 4th great grandparents John Gilbart, 38 years old, and Elizabeth Huthnance considerably younger at 23, were married by licence at Gwinear, near Hayle in south-west Cornwall. Elizabeth was from Gwinear; John was from the village of St Erth, a few miles southwest. Neither had been married previously . Both were able to sign their name. The witnesses to the union were Henry Huthnance, who was probably Elizabeth’s brother, and a man called William Ninnis. The vicar was Malachy Hitchins, a notable amateur astonomer.
John was an employee of the Cornish Copper Company (CCC), who had been promoted from a position in the firm at Copperhouse near Hayle to manage the Rolling Mills at St Erth. The St Erth battery mill, constructed in 1782, used water-powered machinery to roll copper into sheets, much of it used to sheath the hulls of naval vessels.
For most of the nineteenth century the Gilbarts were prominent St Erth Methodists. John Gilbart was a member of the first Copperhouse Methodist Society and the founder, in 1783, of the St Erth Methodist Class. At the time of John and Elizabeth’s marriage, English law recognised only marriages conducted under the auspices of the Church of England, by Quakers, or under Jewish law. This is probably why the marriage was performed in the Church of England and not the Methodist Chapel. Methodism began as a reform sect within the Church of England.
John Gilbart died in 1837. Four years later, Elizabeth Gilbart, 65, of ‘independent means’, was recorded in the 1841 census as living in Battery Mill, St Erth. In the same household were six, all unmarried, of her 13 children, and one grand-daughter who, perhaps, was there visiting her grandmother. The household also included a 15 year old female servant.
Elizabeth Gilbart died on 1 July 1847. Her death was noted in the Royal Cornwall Gazette of 9 July 1847. A similar notice appeared in the West Briton newspaper of 16 July 1847:
At St. Erth, on Thursday, Elizabeth, the relict of Capt. John Gilbert, of St. Erth Battery Mills, aged 73 years.
(John’s title of captain is one that is used in the mini industry and has no military or naval significance.)
Elizabeth left a will, proved in the Prerogative Court of Canterbury on 18 December 1847. Her bequests included annuities to be provided for various children, specific books, and furniture.
Who were the parents of Thomas Edwards 1794 – 1871?
Thomas Edwards was one of the 3rd great grandfathers of my husband Greg. He died suddenly, of “congestion of the brain”, on 7 January 1871 at Bungaree, near Ballarat, Victoria. An inquest was held two days later. The coroner, who seems to have been advised by a member of the family, was the informant on Thomas’s death certificate.
Thomas Edwards, born about 1794, was 77 years old when he died. He had been a wheelwright. His parents are recorded on his death certificate as John Edwards and Jane Edwards nee Gilbert. Thomas’s father was a labourer. Thomas had been born in Cornwall and had spent 22 years in Victoria. He had married Mary Gilbart at the age of 33, in about 1827. Eight children – 6 boys and 2 girls – are noted, but their names and ages are not given.
There is only one baptism for a Thomas Edwards about 1794 in south-west Cornwall: Thomas, son of John and Jane Edwards, was baptised on 6 July 1794 at Towednack, a village 5 miles north-west of St Erth.
Thomas Edwards married Mary Gilbart on 14 March 1826 in the parish church of St Erth. If he was 77 when he died in 1871, he was about 32 in 1826 when he married Mary Gilbart. The witnesses to the marriage were John Gilbart and Sarah Gilbart, both of them probably relatives of the bride.
The dates on Thomas Edwards’s death certificate are consistent with those on the Lysander passenger manifest and the marriage record.
Marriage of John and Jane Edwards, parents of Thomas
I am unable to find a marriage for a John Edwards and a Jane Gilbert or Gilbart. Some online trees have John Edwards as the husband of Jane Harvey, with their marriage on 21 June 1788 at Breage. On that marriage John is from Breage and a tinner by rank or profession, Jane Harvey is from Germoe. The witnesses were Thomas Edwards and Thomas Johns. Germoe is less than three miles west of Breage. I think this is the likely marriage of Thomas’s parents and that Thomas’s death certificate incorrectly gives his mother’s maiden name.
Siblings of Thomas Edwards
As stated above Thomas, child of John and Jane Edwards was baptised 6 July 1794 at Towednack, Cornwall. Between 1788 and 1820 there were only two other children baptised at Towednack to parents named John and Jane Edwards:
William baptised on 7 August 1796
Honour baptised on 21 October 1798
It seems unlikely that the John and Jane Edwards who were married in 1788 had only three children and that the first, Thomas, was born six years after marriage. I looked for other baptisms in south-west Cornwall for parents John and Jane Edwards in the period 1788 – 1820.
The neighbouring parish of Lelant also records baptisms of children with parents John and Jane Edwards. However, because some of these are in 1794, 1797, and 1798, thus overlapping with the children born to the Towednack family, it appears that the Lelant baptisms are for a separate family.
On 26 December 1805 there is a baptism of a Sarah Edwards to John and Jane Edwards at Breage, 7 miles south-east of St Erth and 12 miles south-east of Towednack. It is also the marriage place of John Edwards and Jane Harvey.
There is a baptism of Charlotte Edwards on 4 May 1810 at Gulval. Gulval is just under five miles south of Towednack and just under 6 miles south-west of St Erth.
Some online family trees suggest a James Edwards born about 1805 is also the child of John and Jane Edwards, however I have not located a baptism for him with a mother named Jane in the indexes of the Cornwall Parish Records (Online Parish Clerk OPC) database. I have found a baptism for James in Germoe on 4 March 1804 with father John and mother Jenifred; Jenifred is possibly a variation of Jane. There was also an Anne Edwards, daughter of John and Jenifred baptised at Germoe on 2 May 1802.
I am puzzled though that there were apparently no children born to that marriage before 1794. However, the list of all Cornish baptisms on the OPC database to parents John and Jane Edwards has no other likely candidates for these baptisms in the period 1788 – 1794.
But there is a John Edwards baptised in Gulval on 23 November 1788. His mother’s name is not given. On 28 November 1790 there is a baptism at Madron, a village two miles west of Gulval, for Francis Edwards son of John, also without the mother’s name. On 24 June 1792 Jane Edwards, daughter of John, was baptised at Madron, again without the mother’s name. On 9 May 1806 Elizabeth, daughter of John (no mother named) was baptised at Penzance. She appears on the Madron register. I think it very likely that these four children are siblings of Thomas.
To summarise, the possible family of John Edwards and Jane:
23 November 1788
28 November 1790
24 June 1792
6 July 1794
John and Jane
7 August 1796
John and Jane
21 October 1798
John and Jane
2 May 1802
John and Jenifred
4 March 1804
John and Jenifred
26 December 1805
John and Jane
4 March 1810
John and Jane
Two of Thomas’s siblings, James and Charlotte, emigrated to Victoria, arriving in Portland on the Oithona in 1855 with their spouses and some of their children. Unfortunately, the death certificates for James and Charlotte give no details of their mother.
John, Francis, Jane, William, Honour, and Anne Edwards died in Cornwall. English death certificates do not record information about the deceased person’s parents and so will not help to confirm details of John and Jane Edwards.
I am yet to trace whether Sarah Edwards married or emigrated, and when she died.
Deaths of John and Jane Edwards
In May 1817 there was a mining accident at St Ives which killed John Edwards and injured one of his sons. The Royal Cornwall Gazette of 31 May 1817 reported:
A few days ago, John Edwards, of the parish of St. Erth, was killed, and his son for the present deprived of his eyesight by the untimely explosion of a hole in a mine near St. Ives. A person who called at the house of the survivor, was informed at the accident was occasioned by the use of an iron tamper, the powder and quills and a little rubbish had been put into the hole, but it had not been wet swabbed. It is to be hoped that this distressing event will deter all others from the use of such dangerous implements, and induce them to adopt such means of safety as [article ceases]
John Edwards was buried 24 May 1817 at Gulval. His residence was St Erth and he was 54 years old [so born about 1763].
On the 1841 census a Jane Edwards age 75 was living in St Erth in the household of William and Charlotte Thomas; Charlotte was Jane’s daughter. On 10 May 1842 Jane Edwards, age 76, was buried at St Erth.
The 1871 death certificate of Thomas Edwards seems reliable, though his mother’s maiden name appears wrong, possibly confused with his wife’s maiden name. His mother was probably Jane Harvey who married Thomas’s father John Edwards in 1788. John and Jane Edwards lived in the area of Gulval, Towednack, and Germoe in south-west Cornwall. They had ten children .
The plaque was to honour Reverend Francis Tuckfield (1808 – 1865) and his wife, Sarah Tuckfield nee Gilbart (1808 – 1854), who threw their house open to passengers from the Larpent who had been afflicted by fever.
Francis Tuckfield, portrait in the collection of the National Portrait Gallery of Australia
Sarah Tuckfield, portrait in the collection of the National Portrait Gallery of Australia
The Larpent had arrived in Geelong on 28 June 1849. Among the passengers was James Oddie (1824 – 1911) with his wife and child. The Larpent’s emigrants had been selected by the Presbyterian minister John Dunmore Lang, a promoter of emigration. During the voyage many passengers became ill with what was thought to be typhoid. Sadly both Oddie’s wife and child died.
James Oddie was among the earliest gold miners arriving at the newly opened Ballarat diggings in August 1851. He became very rich and was later a great philanthropist. He founded the Art Gallery of Ballarat. His portrait hangs there.
Members of the congregation also generously took us to a house on Battery Mill Lane nearby built by Greg’s 4th great grandfather, John Gilbart (1760 – 1837). We also walked around the Anglican churchyard where John and his wife Elizabeth are buried.
In the afternoon we had lunch at Penzance then drove to Land’s End and the Lizard. We intended to visit Helston too but got delayed by a traffic accident and ran out of time.
My husband’s fourth great grandfather John Gilbart, born about 1760, was a Cornish Copper Company (CCC) employee, promoted from Copperhouse near Hayle in West Cornwall to manager at the Rolling Mills at St Erth.
Cornish copper mining was at its most productive in the nineteenth century, declining as copper prices fell, from the mid-nineteenth century on. The Cornish Copper Company commenced smelting at Camborne in 1754. From 1758 it was located on the Hayle estuary, ten miles to the southwest. The mills at St Erth used water power to roll copper into thin sheets.
These sheets were used mainly to plate the bottoms of wooden ships. Coppering helped to prevent barnacles growing. This increased a ship’s speed and its lifespan. It also prevented worms from burrowing into the wood and weakening it. Sheathing with copper significantly increased the time a ship could remain in service between overhauls. It was held copper sheathing could double the number of ships at sea at any time”. In 1779 each ship on average required 15 tonnes of copper applied on average as 300 plates. The 14 tons of metal required to copper a 74-gunthird-rateship of the line still cost £1500, compared to £262 for wood. The benefits of increased speed and time at sea were deemed to justify the costs involved.
The ‘Royal Caroline’ painted by John Cleveley and in the collection of National Maritime Museum Greenwich. HMS ‘Alderney’ (1757) was built to the same shape and dimensions. In 1784 the ‘Alderney’ was described on Lloyd’s Register as being copper sheathed.
The Battery Mill ceased in 1809 when the Cornish Copper Company closed.
The chapel includes a monument to Francis Tuckfield (1808-1865), who was one of the first of the few missionaries who attempted to convert Australian Aboriginals to Christian belief.
In 1837 Francis Tuckfield married Sarah Gilbart of Battery Mill, the daughter of John Gilbart. They departed for Australia less than a month later.
Picture of plaque kindly sent to me by the St Erth Methodist Church
The chapel also includes a monument to James Gilbart (1825 – 1923), grandson of John Gilbart. The plaque mentions John Gilbart “who built the first chapel at St Erth in 1783”.
John Gilbart died in 1837.
Row of houses in Battery Mill Lane The three houses were probably the count house and managers’ houses for the former Battery Mill (which used water power to roll copper). Image from https://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/3106054
In 1841 my husband Greg’s fourth great grandmother Elizabeth Gilbart nee Huthnance (1774-1847) was living in Battery Mill, St Erth. Her age was stated to be 65. Her occupation was given as ‘independent means’. In the same household were six of her 13 children, at the time all six unmarried:
John Gilbart aged 40.
Thomasine Gilbart aged 30.
Margerey Gilbart aged 25.
William Gilbart aged 25, iron factor.
Thomas Gilbart aged 25, farmer.
Jane Gilbart aged 20.
In the same household was Elizabeth Gilbart’s grand-daughter, Elizabeth Edwards, aged 9. Elizabeth Edwards was the daughter of Mary Edwards nee Gilbart, Greg’s 3rd great grandmother. The Edwards family which included five other children lived in Bridge Terrace St Erth. Perhaps Elizabeth was just visiting her grandmother overnight.
The household also included a female servant, Elizabeth Davey, aged 15.
James Gilbart, an iron factor, the son of Elizabeth Gilbart, lived in the adjacent cottage with his wife Ann Gilbart nee Ellis, aged 50, and two daughters, Ann Gilbart aged 14 and Maria Gilbart aged 10.
(These ages may not be strictly correct. In the 1841 census the census takers were instructed to give the exact ages of children but to round the ages of those older than 15 down to a lower multiple of 5. For example, a 59-year-old person would be listed as 55.)
Elizabeth Gilbart died on 1 July 1847, leaving a will that was proved in the Prerogative Court of Canterbury on 18 December 1847. Her will mentioned annuities to be provided for various children, specific books and furniture
Pascoe, W. H CCC, the history of the Cornish Copper Company. Truran, Redruth, Cornwall, 1982.
1841 census viewed through ancestry.com: Elizabeth Gilbart: Class: HO107; Piece: 144; Book: 1; Civil Parish: St Erth; County: Cornwall; Enumeration District: 5; Folio: 72; Page: 19; Line: 12; GSU roll: 241266 ; Mary Edwards Class: HO107; Piece: 144; Book: 1; Civil Parish: St Erth; County: Cornwall; Enumeration District: 5; Folio: 69; Page: 13; Line: 1; GSU roll: 241266
Will of Elizabeth Gilbart proved 18 December 1847 viewed through ancestry.com The National Archives; Kew, England; Prerogative Court of Canterbury and Related Probate Jurisdictions: Will Registers; Class: PROB 11; Piece: 2066
AncestryDNA has a new map feature currently in Beta mode and a group of AncestryDNA users is trying out the feature before it is launched.
I tried it by selecting one of Greg’s matches, SB, a person who is shown as being from Australia.
SB is an estimated 4th cousin DNA match sharing 22 centimorgans across 2 segments. I had messaged her twice a year ago when her match first came up but had no response. She has a small tree attached to her match showing two living parents and four deceased grandparents. Details for the grandparents showed:
Paternal grandfather: name but no middle names, death place Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, no birth or death dates
Paternal grandmother: name including middle name, death place Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, birth year 1927, no death date
Maternal grandfather: name but no middle names, birth and death place Sunshine, Victoria, Australia, birth and death dates 28 July 1915 and 12 November 1979
Maternal grandmother: name but no middle names, birth place Maryborough, Victoria, Australia and death place Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, birth year 1924 and death date 1 August 2005.
SB shares DNA with Greg’s 2nd cousin HS. It would seem on the basis of this connection that the most common recent ancestors will be on Greg and HS’s Dawson or Edwards line. HS and Greg share great grandparents Henry Dawson (1864 – 1929) and Edith Caroline Dawson nee Edwards (1871 – 1946).
Using the Victorian birth, death and marriage indexes, I developed a private non-indexed tree based on the data I had for SB. I started with the maternal grandparents. But I did not seem to be coming across familiar surnames and was quickly reaching back to the UK and areas that did not match those where Greg’s forebears came from.
I next looked at the paternal grandparents. I was having trouble finding their marriage and identifying the death of the paternal grandfather. However I successfully found the death date of the paternal grandmother from a death notice on the Ryerson index, a free index to death notices appearing in Australian newspapers. (The death notice is recent and can be viewed online.) Using the deceased search facility for the Greater Metropolitan Cemeteries Trust, I was able to find the burial site of the paternal grandmother and confirm the death details of the paternal grandfather, who had been buried in the same plot. From there I was able to trace the paternal grandfather’s pedigree using the birth, death and marriage indexes. It was reasonably quick and trouble-free. Within 3 generations I had a surname I recognised.
index record from the registry of Births Deaths and Marriages Victoria
Charlotte Victoria Edwards (1834 -1924), born St Erth, Cornwall, United Kingdom, and died Warrnambool, Victoria, Australia, was already on my main family tree although I did not know she had come to Australia and did not have her marriage or death details. Charlotte is Greg’s 1st cousin 4 times removed and SB’s 3rd great grandmother. Greg and SB are 5th cousins once removed. Their most common recent ancestors are Greg’s fourth great grandparents John Edwards and Jane Edwards nee Gilbert.
Charlotte was the daughter of Greg’s fourth great uncle James Edwards (1805 – 1883), and the granddaughter of Greg’s fourth great grandparents John Edwards and Jane Edwards nee Gilbert. James Edwards married Mary Nicholas and they had at least six children of whom Charlotte was the third oldest.
Charlotte and her family arrived in Portland, Victoria on 30 January 1855 on the Oithona, which had left Southampton on 16 October 1854. There were 344 immigrants on board. James Edwards was a 50 year old agricultural labourer from Cornwall. He was accompanied by his 47 year-old wife Mary and two children, Elizabeth aged 9 and John aged 4. Their religious denomination was stated to be Church of England and James and Mary, but not their two children, could read and write. The disposal register listing their disembarkation intentions noted he was “on own account” and address Portland. Three older daughters, Mary (Mary Ann), Jane and Charlotte were enumerated separately as they were then 23, 22 and 19. All girls were said to be Church of England and they could all read and write. The register stated that Mary went to Mrs Nicholson of Portland, Jane went to Thomas Must of Portland and Charlotte went with her father. One sun was enumerated separately. James was 17. He was described as an agricultural labourer from Cornwall, his religious denomination was Church of England and he could read and write. The disposal register noted he was “on own account” and address Portland.
Passenger list from the “Oithona” showing James, Mary, Jane and Charlotte Edwards as single passengers. Image retrieved from ancestry.com from database held by Public Records Office Victoria.Register of Assisted Immigrants from the United Kingdom. Microfiche VPRS 14.
Also on the Oithona was Charlotte Thomas nee Edwards (1811 – 1887) and her husband William Thomas, a mason. Charlotte Thomas was the sister of James and Thomas Edwards.
James’s brother Thomas Edwards (1794 – 1871) had arrived in Victoria in 1849. I assume James Edwards and Charlotte Thomas and their families came out as their brother Thomas recommended immigration to them. I do not know however if they met up in Victoria.
One of my husband Greg’s fourth great aunts was a Cornishwoman, Sarah Tuckfield née Gilbart (1808-1854).
Sarah and her twin sister Thomasine were born on 22 July 1808 at St Erth, a sand and clay mining town about 5 km from St Ives. They were the seventh and eighth children of John Gilbart (1761-1837) and Elizabeth Gilbart née Huthnance (1774-1847).
John Gilbart was manager of a copper rolling mill at St Erth. He had been a member of the first Copperhouse Methodist Society (Copperhouse was a foundry and its associated district in east Hayle), and in 1783 he had founded the St Erth Methodist Class, the local Wesleyan group meeting.
In March 1838 after a long sea voyage Francis and Sarah Tuckfield landed in Hobart, Tasmania. In July the Tuckfields crossed Bass Strait to Melbourne on board the Adelaide. Sarah’s first child, a daughter, was born at Geelong on 12 August 1838.
Tuckfield made several exploratory trips about the Port Philip district looking for a suitable place to establish a mission station. (He is said to have employed William Buckley as a translator on these journeys. Buckley was an escaped convict who for a time had lived with Aboriginals. He had since been pardoned and given a job as a government interpreter.)
In 1839 he chose a site near Birregurra, 10 km east of Colac. Governor Gipps granted the mission 640 acres, a square mile.
The Birregurra experiment, however, was rapidly deemed a failure by the Victorian Government. In 1848 it was abandoned, and in 1850 the mission grazing licence was cancelled.
Francis Tuckfield was afterwards appointed to a succession of churches, first in Victoria and later in New South Wales. On 6 June 1854 Sarah died at the age of 45 in West Maitland, New South Wales. She and Francis had eight children.
With only the bare facts of her life to draw on, it is very difficult to form an impression of Sarah Tuckfield the person. A history of the Birregurra mission portrays her as a dutiful daughter, devout Methodist, and devoted and capable wife and mother:
Sarah shared not only her father’s love of music and deep Christian conviction, but also his generous strength of character. She was a practical girl, who made an excellent teacher in the Sunday School, and was thoroughly trained in the housewifely arts by her mother. She also took an interest in the sick and incapacitated people in St Earth, who loved her for her kind ways and skills in nursing.
Le Griffon, Heather and Orton, Joseph Campfires at the cross : an account of the Bunting Dale Aboriginal Mission 1839-1951 at Birregurra, near Colac, Victoria : with a biography of Francis Tuckfield. Australian Scholarly Publishing, North Melbourne, Vic, 2006. page 18.
But this – no doubt well-meant – encomium gets us no further. ‘Love of music’ to a Methodist meant hymn-singing; ‘deep Christian conviction’ covers everything from humble faith to pharisaical self-righteousness; ‘generous strength of character’ sounds suspiciously like stubbornness; ‘thoroughly trained in the housewifely arts’ might mean a drudge; and her kind ways with the sick and infirm makes her look like the village Lady Bountiful.
Sarah’s marriage at the age of 29 to a penniless Methodist preacher and her willingness to endure the hardships of missionary life on the far side of the world seem rather noble and self-sacrificing, but these were the usages of the times. She was getting no younger, and her prospects, probably never great, were shrinking. Wives followed their husbands, and she perhaps found some satisfaction in being able to help with his missionary endeavours.
Sometimes, of course, images delineate character better than words. The National Portrait Gallery painting of Sarah Tuckfield conveys a certain measure of self-assurance and sense of purpose, especially when her image is viewed with that of her husband. The artist has drawn them with much the same mouth, giving her an air of steadfastness and strength of will; he looks feminine and ineffectual. He looks coyly at the viewer; she stares beyond, into the future.
We’re left wondering. Could it be that it was Sarah who turned the Cornish miner into the Methodist preacher, urged him to attend the Hoxton Institution, encouraged him to emigrate, and supported him in his mission?
Le Griffon, Heather and Orton, Joseph Campfires at the cross : an account of the Bunting Dale Aboriginal Mission 1839-1951 at Birregurra, near Colac, Victoria : with a biography of Francis Tuckfield. Australian Scholarly Publishing, North Melbourne, Vic, 2006.
In the year since we received our autosomal DNA results I have explored various tools to help me keep track of the results: to help me find new cousins with whom we share DNA and to show how our document-based trees connect.
One of the tools I have used is wikitree.com. Wikitree is a single tree grown using traditional genealogical sources and DNA. It currently has more than 14.6 million profiles added by more than 430,000 genealogists. Wikitree has some useful DNA tools to help make sense of your DNA results.
I have added information about our direct forebears to Wikitree. I added each forebear manually, and this meant revisiting the facts and checking that I had reliable sources for dates, places and relationships. I did not merely upload a GEDCOM file. I wanted to review relationships and I did not want to create duplicates. Wikitree has a single profile for each person. It is important to remember that none of us own our ancestors and we need to work with others on the information we attach to each profile. In fact we benefit from working with other descendants.
In addition to adding your forebears to Wikitree, you can add details of the DNA tests you have taken. Wikitree adds the information that you have taken the test to all blood relatives within eight degrees of separation — up to sixth great-grandparents and out to third cousins. You don’t upload the contents of the DNA results, just the fact that you have taken the DNA test and information that will help potential matches find you in each testing company’s database.
Recently I was contacted by Simon Bass, a distant cousin, who has also been adding his forebears to Wikitree. (Note Simon reviewed this post as a draft and following publication and is happy for me to blog about this case study.) Simon has found that he seems to have a DNA connection to my husband’s family. Both my husband Greg and Greg’s brother Dennis have had their DNA tested and added their information to Wikitree. Simon is descended from Elizabeth Gilbart née Huthnance (abt 1774-1847) and her husband John Gilbart (abt 1761-1837). When adding their daughter Catherine’s details to the tree, linking Catherine to Elizabeth and John who were already on the tree, Simon noticed that Wikitree had a section on DNA connections on the right hand side of the screen.
Simon wrote to me and, despite testing with different companies, we were able to compare our kits on GedMatch.com . Our biological cousinship was confirmed.
GedMatch.com provides DNA analysis tools for genealogists including tools for comparing your own DNA test results with those of other people in the GedMatch public database. To use these tools you must first upload your DNA test results to GedMatch. GedMatch accepts results from Ancestry.com, Family Tree DNA, MyHeritage, 23 and Me, and WeGene.
GedMatch one to one comparison of DNA shared by Simon Bass and Dennis Young. Simon and Dennis share DNA on two chromosomes. Based on the size of the match it is estimated that there are six generations to their most recent common ancestor. Their relationship based on our document-based family tree is 5th cousins which is six generations to the most common recent ancestor, the prediction based on shared DNA is in line with our genealogy.
Since this first exchange of information Simon has shared photos with me of his trip back to St Erth in Cornwall, where the Gilbart and Huthnance families came from. We have also exchanged notes on the emigration of various members of the Gilbart family to Australia.
Wikitree made it easy for us to see that our document-based trees connected and showed that we had taken DNA tests. Having uploaded our test results to GedMatch.com, we could compare test results and see if there was a likely biological connection.
If there had been no shared DNA it would not have disproved that there was a relationship. It just meant that the same segments of DNA had not been inherited by Simon and his cousins Greg and Dennis.
Simon, Greg and Dennis are 5th cousins since they share 4th great grandparents. There is a nearly 70% chance that any two fifth cousins will not share a detectable level of DNA. ( https://isogg.org/wiki/Cousin_statistics ) In fact Greg’s brother Dennis shares DNA with Simon but Greg does not.
My husband’s great great great grandparents were Thomas Edwards (1794-1871) and Mary née Gilbart (1805-1867) from St Erth in Cornwall.
They were married on 14 March 1826 in the parish church St Erth.
St Erth Church dates from the 14th century. St Erth was an Irish saint, said to have been an acquaintance of St Patrick. His remains are supposedly buried under this church, seen here from across the River Hayle. Picture retrieved from Wikimedia Commons, taken by Stephen McKay and licensed for reuse under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 license
Thomas and Mary’s oldest son Thomas was baptised at St Erth on 27 August 1826.
On the 1841 census Thomas was a carpenter living with his wife Mary and five children at Bridge Terrace St Erth.
The youngest of the nine children of Thomas and Mary, Francis Gilbart Edwards, was born 21 January 1848 at St Erth, he was christened at the parish church.
Shortly after the birth of Francis, the family emigrated to Victoria, sailing on the Lysander from Plymouth on 21 September 1848 and arriving at Port Phillip on 13 January 1849.
In 1837 Mary’s sister Sarah (1808-1854) had married Francis Tuckfield (1808-1865) who was a Methodist missionary to the Aborigines at Buntingdale near Geelong. The Tuckfields had been in the colony since 1838.
The passenger list of the Lysander shows the Edwards family were Wesleyan and their native place was given as St Ives. Thomas was 53 and his occupation was wheelwright. Mary was 43. The passenger list records that they were accompanied by:
Thomas, age 22, farm labourer
John, age 19, mason
Elisabeth, age 17, nursemaid
James, age 13
Mary, age 11
William, age 9
Benjamin, age 5
The older children could both read and write, William and Benjamin could read. One child, Francis, had died at the age of 3 in St Erth in 1844.
On arrival it seems there was some difficulty with the immigration of passengers from the Lysander. At the time of the arrival the Lysander, La Trobe was meeting with the people of the Portland district.
The Launceston Examiner on the 14th of February gives us a little more information. The Superintendant of the Port Phillip District, Charles La Trobe, wanted the immigrants to proceed to Portland but they were refusing to do so.
The project of sending a shipment of the recently arrived immigrants to Portland has been abandoned, the number willing to proceed to that port being found insufficient to warrant the chartering of a vessel for the purpose.
responsible for administering immigration in conjunction with the British Emigration Agent in London who supervised the selection of applicants and arranged for their passage. The Superintendent’s responsibilities included local administration of Government funded assisted immigration schemes, reception and initial settlement of immigrants as well as monitoring immigrant arrivals, including inspection of ships, certification of passenger lists, and regulating alien immigration. Locally appointed Immigration Agents assisted the Superintendent with many of these responsibilities.
I assume the Edwards family may not have been caught up in this immigration delay as they already had connections in the colony.