The DNA project is now well under way, and I have been gratified by the number of people who have shown an interest and who have agreed to be tested. We now have nine testers, four from England, two from Australia and three from America. One representative from each of the following lines is now participating in the project:
Crewes of Gerrans, Cornwall, England
Crews of Georgia, USA
Cruse of Berkshire, England
Cruse of Rode, Somerset, England
Cruse of South Africa (of English origin)
Cruse of Clark County, Kentucky, USA
Cruse of Virginia/Kentucky, USA
Cruwys of Winkleigh, England
Cruwys of Wiveliscombe, England
Thus we now have a reasonable cross-section of testers representing some of the key families. The tests from the Gerrans and Winkleigh descendants are particularly important as these two families both have strong documentary evidence to prove a descent from the Cruwys Morchard family. The common ancestor for these two lines is John Cruwys of Cruwys Morchard (born c. 1449), who inherited the Cruwys Morchard estate after his father, Thomas, died at the Battle of Tewkesbury in 1471. The Winkleigh family are descended from John Cruwys, the eldest son from John senior's first marriage to Elizabeth Whitley. The Cornish Crewes, who settled in Gerrans and Liskeard, are descended from Anthony Crewes, one of four sons born to John senior's second wife Mary Fraunceys. There was of course no standardised spelling of surnames at this time. The Crewes spelling was later adopted by the Cornish family while the Cruwys spelling was used by the Devon family. It is of course not possible to test a representative of the current Cruwys family at Cruwys Morchard as they are all descended from a female line through George Sharland (1802-1874), the eldest son of Harriet Cruwys (1771-1847) and George Sharland (1758-1831). George Sharland junior was given the right to use the additional surname Cruwys by Royal Licence in 1831 and was at the same time permitted to bear the Cruwys arms.
So far we have received two sets of results, both of which are from our American testers. The two testers (a Crews and a Cruse) had a perfect 12/12 match at 12 markers proving that they both share a common ancestor. The results can be seen on the project website. Interestingly, too, the first two testers both belong to haplogroup I1a. A haplogroup is an indication of your deep ancestry, the family tree from many thousands of years ago from which you originate. Haplogroup I1a is one of the rarer haplogroups and is an indication of Viking ancestry, although the haplogroup is also found in Northern Europe, particularly in north Germany, Denmark, the British Isles and the old Norman regions of France. Further information about the I1a haplogroup can be found on this Wikipedia page.
It is far too early yet to draw any firm conclusions but it will be very interesting indeed if all the Crews and Cruses in America do indeed descend from the same person. Unfortunately they will have to wait a little longer to find out if their results match with those of any of our other testers in England and Australia. The postal strike in England caused delays with the receipt and despatch of some of the kits, and most of the results are now not expected until the New Year. All the remaining tests except for one have been done at 37-markers. It takes longer for these results to come through but they are much more accurate.
We are all looking forward to the results with a mixture of excitement and trepidation. I'm hoping that we might finally have a few answers but I have no doubt that there will also be a few surprises and unexpected discoveries in store.