Tuesday 24 June 2008

Cruse/Scruse of Wiltshire

I have been in contact with Carol Patis via the Wiltshire Rootsweb mailing list and Carol has kindly sent me details of her Cruse/Scruse tree from Wiltshire. Carol is descended from Thomas Scruse who was born on 2nd February 1799 and baptised on 10th February 1799 in Maddington, Wiltshire. Thomas was the eldest son of Oliver Cruse and Ann Feltham who married on 19th March 1798 in Maddington. Although Oliver's name was spelt Cruse in the marriage register, the spelling changed to Scruse when Thomas was baptised which is perhaps not surprising as the surname would have been spelt as it sounded and the final S in Thomas could easily have blended with the surname Cruse to form the name Scruse. The Scruse spelling was used consistently by Thomas's descendants and also by the descendants of his brother Joseph Scruse who was born on 11th August 1802 and baptised on 29th August 1802 in Orcheston St George, Wiltshire. The Wiltshire Scruses seem to account for a large majority of the Scruses who appear in the civil registration indexes from 1837 onwards, and some of this family have also settled in Australia.

Ann Feltham was probably Oliver's second wife. An Oliver Cruse married Sarah Topp on 18th April 1792 in Fishton Delamere, Wiltshire. They had three children: Thomas (baptised 3rd February 1793 in Orcheston St George), Hannah (baptised 9th November 1794 in Orcheston St George) and Elizabeth (probably born in 1796 in Orcheston St George). Sarah and the three children died on 13th January 1799 in Orcheston St George. The sad story of their deaths is recorded in the following poignant entry in the parish register:
Thomas, Hannah and Elizabeth Cruse, son and daughters of Oliver and Sarah Cruse who were burnt to death by their mother in a fit of insanity Jan 13th and buried Jan 15th. Sarah the wife of Oliver Cruse and mother of the above three children died in consequence of a wound she gave herself on Jan 13th and was buried 24th.
It has not yet been possible to determine the ancestry of Oliver Cruse with confidence. An Oliver Cruse was baptised on 30th November 1747 in Netheravon, Wiltshire, the son of Robert Cruse and Hannah Silverthorne. This Oliver married Joyce Peircey on 12th May 1770 in Orcheston St George. No record has been found of any children from this marriage. Joyce died in 1791. Did this Oliver Cruse then go on to marry Sarah Topp in 1792? By this time Oliver would have been around 44 or 45 years old. I only have details of Oliver's three marriages from various indexes and there is no indication that he was a widower, though this information was not always provided in the early registers. If the three Olivers are indeed all one and the same person then we can trace the line back a further two generations to Robert Cruse and Sue Hill who married on 9th October 1665 in Urchfont, Wiltshire.

As an interesting aside on the surname Scruse I have discovered that Scruse is the maiden name of Katherine Jackson, the mother of the singer Michael Jackson. Michael Jackson's grandfather, Prince Albert Scruse, was apparently born on 16th October 1907, and his Scruse family appear to be from Alabama. There seems to be very little information on this line and it would be interesting to do further research to see if there is any connection with the Wiltshire Cruses/Scruses, perhaps through a family of slave owners.

Saturday 7 June 2008

My mtDNA results

I've now received my mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) test results from Family Tree DNA. Somewhat surprisingly my maternal line belongs to haplogroup U4, a small Indo-European haplogroup which seems to be quite rare. The haplogroup is found in only 1.63% of the population of England and Wales. The highest frequencies of U4 are found in southern Siberia, and it is also found in Eastern Europe, the Urals, in some German-speaking populations and in a few lineages in India.

Brian Sykes gives names to the seven main European mitochondrial haplogroups in his book The Seven Daughters of Eve. All the women in Europe can supposedly trace their genetic ancestry back to one of these seven women. Haplogroup U4 is not one of Sykes's original clan mothers but is a sub-clade or sub-branch of haplogroup U, otherwise known as Ursula. "Ursula" lived around 45,000 years ago. "Ulrike" is of more recent origin and lived around 18,000 years ago. Sykes describes Ulrike thus: thus:
The clan of Ulrike (German for Mistress of All) is not among the original "Seven Daughters of Eve" clans, but with just under 2% of Europeans among its members, it has a claim to being included among the numerically important clans. Ulrike lived about 18,000 years ago in the cold refuges of the Ukraine at the northern limits of human habitation. Though Ulrike's descendants are nowhere common, the clan is found today mainly in the east and north of Europe with particularly high concentrations in Scandinavia and the Baltic states.
I have so far been able to trace my direct maternal line back to Mary Ann Butler, the daughter of James Butler, a labourer. Mary Ann was born in Purton, Wiltshire, in around 1815. She married Moses Ball in 1842 in Walcot, Somerset. Moses and Mary Ann had six children who were born in Sherston, Wiltshire, and Westonbirt, Gloucestershire. My maternal line continues with their daughter Hannah Ball, who moved to London and married William Saunders, a coachman and stage coach driver, on 16th June 1872 at the Parish Church of St Marks in North Audley Street. The other names in the later generations of my maternal line are Tidbury, Rattey and of course Cruwys.

Mutations occur much less frequently in mitochondrial DNA and the tests are therefore not so useful as the Y-DNA test which we are using for the Cruwys DNA Project. Most people who take the mtDNA test have large numbers of matches in the various databases. Not surprisingly, with my rare U4 haplotype, I do not have a single match in the Family Tree DNA database. I have also uploaded my results to Mitosearch, the public mtDNA database sponsored by Family Tree DNA, but again I do not have any matches. It is also possible to search the Mitosearch database by haplogroup. There are only 472 people in the whole world with my haplogroup in the database at present.

I regard the mtDNA test as an investment for the future. My grandmother was an only child and my great-grandmother was the only daughter in her family. My sister and I have both had sons so our direct maternal line is now at an end. Sons do of course inherit mtDNA from their mother but they cannot pass it on to the next generation. My mtDNA results will have more value as more people in the UK get tested and once I start to make further progress with my research into my maternal line in Wiltshire. With a rare haplogroup it should also be much easier to verify my maternal line.