Wednesday 21 May 2008

Cruses of Westbourne, Sussex

I have received two marriages from Guild members Lynda and Roger Goacher as a result of the recent Westbourne Marriage Challenge which they undertook at the West Sussex Record Office. I now have the full certificate details for the following two marriages:

- Henrietta CRUSE and William FAY who married in December 1895 in Westbourne, Sussex

- Frances Mary CRUSE and Henry James DAVIS who married in August 1900 in Westbourne, Sussex.

Henrietta and Frances are the daughters of George Cruse, a potter.

I have not yet worked on the Sussex Cruses. I suspect they belong to the line which originates in Chailey, Sussex. If anyone is interested in this family please get in touch.

Saturday 10 May 2008

Cruwys of Bristol

Last Saturday I had an enjoyable day out at the "Who do you think you are" show at Olympia in London. I came home with a number of new resources which I am only just starting to explore. One of my purchases was a CD from the Bristol and Avon Family History Society containing transcriptions of all the baptisms in the Bristol Diocese from 1813 to 1837. I was hoping to find the baptism of my great-great-grandmother Anne Cruwys née Wall. She emigrated to America in around 1901 when she was about 65 or 66 to join her son William and daughter Emily, both of whom never married. She spent the rest of her life in America living with William and Emily and died in Richmond Hill, Queens County, New York, in 1915 at the age of 79. I have her death certificate from America and her date of birth is given as 2nd October 1835. I know from the censuses that she was born in Bristol and in some of the censuses her place of birth is given as St Paul's, Bristol. Unfortunately there is no likely baptism on the CD so I can only conclude either that she was not born in Bristol after all or that she was baptised in one of the non-conformist churches. I know from her marriage certificate that her father was James Wall, a labourer, but I have also been unable to find any conclusive matches for Anne in the 1841 or 1851 censuses.

However, as always seems to be the case with family history research, sometimes new information arrives when you are least expecting it which allows pieces of another part of the jigsaw to fall into place. I found some baptisms on the CD which have now enabled me to add another branch to the Wiveliscombe/Oakford Cruwys tree. This branch begins with John Cruwys and Mary Weeks who married in 1834 at St Mary Le Port, Bristol. John was the son of Isaac Cruwys and Ann Burton. He was baptised on 29th July 1810 in Chipstable, Somerset. Like many other Cruwyses, he was a tailor. John Cruwys and Mary Weeks had two children: Selina and Alfred. Selina died at the age of 32, but Alfred married and had a family. Alfred died in a tragic accident and a report of the inquest was published in the Bristol Mercury on 24th and 28th July 1894:
Inquests in Bristol
Yesterday afternoon Mr. H. G. Dogget, the city Coroner, held the following inquests in Bristol,

Strange death of a shipwright
At the Redland police station, on the body of Alfred Cruwys, aged about 54 years, who was found dead in the Floating Harbour, on Friday, 20th. William Cruwys, of 11. Gloucester street, St. Philip's, identified the body as that of his father, a shipwright, who lived at 2, Brook cottages, Southville. Witness last saw him alive about a fortnight ago. During the last few months he had been subject to giddiness, and a short time back he had a bad cold. William Tanner stated that he knew deceased, who was working with him on the barque Liberty, alongside the New Quay, Hotwell road. On Friday morning deceased was engaged on a particular job, and witness was fastening a rail down. After breakfast they both started work, and witness noticed his companion picking his tools up, as if to leave the ship. Witness than lost sight of him. Subsequently the tools were found lying together on the deck. Thomas Bawn stated that on Friday, the 20th inst., he was engaged in ballasting the barque Liberty. He did not see Cruwys at work that day, as he was busy in other parts of the ship. At about midday a man named Tanner told witness that deceased was missing. On witness's return from dinner he found that the man was still missing, and so he got his creeps and began to drag for him, In about eight minutes he discovered his body on the port side of the bow of the ship. The vessel was lying broad side on the quay. He was in his working dress, and there were no marks of violence on the body. A verdict was returned to the effect, "That the deceased was found dead in the Floating Harbour, having probably fallen in accidentally and been drowned."

Thursday 8 May 2008

Cruses of Kenton

The marriage certificates from the Exeter Marriage Challenge have proved very helpful in sorting out the Kenton Cruse tree from South Devon, and I've been able to pass on copies to Sue Froud who is descended from this line. Sue has a wonderful website where she provides an interesting account of the Kenton Cruses, some of whom later moved to Exeter. Many of the Kenton Cruses were blacksmiths.

The Kenton tree goes back to Samuel Cruse who was born some time between 1753 and 1761 in Broadwoodkelly, Devon. Samuel lived to a great age and was still alive at the time of the 1851 census. He seems to have had difficulty remembering his age, as he declared that he was 80 in the 1841 census but 98 in the 1851 census! Samuel married Mary Discombe in 1782 in Kenton and they had eight children.

Samuel's eldest son, also called Samuel, was the black sheep of the Kenton Cruse family. On 2nd January 1851 he was charged with stealing some hay, a knife and a pick-axe. For some reason he was discharged but was then re-arrested and sentenced to transportation for 10 years. The sentence must have subsequently been commuted as Samuel, age 70, is found in the 1851 census in the Devon County Prison in Exeter.

Friday 2 May 2008

Another DNA breakthrough

The DNA project continues to provide surprises. We now have a big breakthrough with the large Australian tree. The vast majority of the Cruwyses in Australia are descended from John Cruwys and Elizabeth Prichard who married in 1817 in Westminster, London. Their son, John George Cruwys, died in 1877 and two years later his widow Sarah Cruwys emigrated to Australia with her family. They sailed on the Blair Athole, arriving in Sydney on 4th March 1879. Despite much searching we have been unable to find any record of the baptism of John Cruwys senior. However, a descendant from this line has taken the DNA test and his results have now been received. He matches on 34 out of 37 markers with an English tester who is descended from the Wiveliscombe Cruwys tree. This line goes back to John Cruwys and Jone Lee who married in 1708 in Oakford in North Devon. Their son Richard Cruwys moved to Fitzhead in Somerset where he married Betty Moor. Later generations of the family settled nearby in Wiveliscombe. In 1794 Richard's son John Cruwys tried unsuccessfully to bring a claim against the Cruwys Morchard estate in the Court of Chancery. He claimed that he was a descendant of John Cruwys of Cheriton Fitzpaine, the shoemaker mentioned in the will of the Reverend John Cruwys of Cruwys Morchard.

The 34/37 match indicates that the two men have a 91.75% probability of sharing a common ancestor within 16 generations and a 99.21% probability of sharing a common ancestor within 24 generations. Further research will now be necessary to establish precisely where the two lines link, but at least we now have a focus for our research.

The testers from the Australian and Wiveliscombe trees rather surprisingly both belong to haplogroup G. They are predicted to be in haplogroup G2 but a haplogroup backbone test is required to confirm this prediction. Haplogroup G is very rare in the British Isles and only around 1% or 2% of men belong to this haplogroup. Further information on haplogroup G can be found here. Further information about the DNA project can be found here.

What this result also means is that we now have two distinct Cruwys groups, which is somewhat unexpected in view of the rarity of the surname. (There were only 126 people with the surname Cruwys in the 2002 UK Electoral Register.) The first haplogroup G result was so surprising that I initially assumed that it was a rogue result and was perhaps the result of a so-called "non-paternal event" in more recent times. With the two matching results from two men with the same surname this is clearly not the case. Oakford is just a few miles away from Cruwys Morchard, the ancestral parish of the Cruwys family. It seems inconceivable that the surname could develop independently in the same area of North Devon. I would therefore guess that there has been a non-paternal event in the distant past in one of the two Cruwys lines. The picture will become clearer as we test more people and more results are received. It is proving to be a most interesting voyage of discovery.