Monday 21 December 2009

A lecture by Dr Spencer Wells at the National Geographic Store in London

On Sunday 13th December I was privileged to attend a lecture by Dr Spencer Wells at the National Geographic Store in London. Spencer Wells is a National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence and the Director of the Genographic Project, an exciting five-year scientific research programme which is attempting to compile the evolutionary human family tree by collecting DNA samples from around the world. The historical information in our DNA can also tell us about the migratory journeys of our ancient ancestors who left Africa some 60,000 years ago. This brief video provides an introduction to the Project.

The Genographic Project was launched in April 2005. To date over 60,000 DNA samples have been collected from indigenous populations around the world. The general public are also encouraged to take part in the project by purchasing a public participation kit. The response has been overwhelming, and has exceeded all expectations. Over 10,000 kits were sold on the very first day! Today over 330,000 public participation kits have been sold in 130 different countries. The research team have only just started to mine the data from the public kits, and scientific papers are promised in due course. All the data from the project will eventually be made public.

The Legacy Fund is an important component of the project. Proceeds from the sales of the kits are used to fund further field research and to support indigenous conservation and revitalisation projects. Dr Wells showed us some examples of the type of projects supported. In Sierra Leone funds have been used to document the oral poetry of the indigenous population. In South America work is under way to catalogue the native plants and their traditional uses. In Australia work is being done to record and archive traditional music.

Dr Wells gave us a fascinating insight into the difficulties of collecting samples from some of the more remote countries in the world. Many of the countries visited have been off limits to outside researchers for a long time because of civil war or rebel activity. He found Chad in central Africa to be a particularly interesting place to visit. The country is known as the crossroads of Africa as it occupies a strategic position in the centre of the continent. The north of the country is largely desert whereas the south is a more fertile savanna zone. Dr Wells travelled across the Sahara in temperatures of 136 degrees Fahrenheit to collect samples from the remote tribes. Wherever possible blood samples are taken from indigenous peoples because more DNA can be extracted from blood, and it is not known if an opportunity will ever arise again to visit these remote places. For the public participation programme a simple cheek swab is required. For the most part the local population are thrilled to participate in the research and are fascinated to learn more about their history through their DNA. There have however been problems in countries which were once under colonial rule, especially where land rights are involved, and the project is working closely with Native Americans and Aborigines to increase their participation.

At the end of the lecture there was a very lively question and answer session, and it was clear from the questions that the subject had inspired the public interest. Dr Wells was available after the talk to sign copies of his book Deep Ancestry: Inside the Genographic Project. He also told us that he has a new book due out in June 2010 entitled Pandora's Seed: the Unforeseen Cost of Civilisation which will focus on society and culture rather than genetics. Dr Wells is now starting to work on The Genographic Source Book, a huge compendium of all the data generated from the project, which is scheduled to be published in 2011.Further information can be found on the Genographic Project website. Public participation kits can be purchased in the UK from the National Geographic online store for £68.94 plus £4.95 for postage and packing. Kits are also on sale at the National Geographic Shop at 83-97 Regent Street, London, W1B 4E1, but are much more expensive at £99 (the same price in sterling as the retail price in dollars in the US!). Not surprisingly, therefore, very few of the people attending the lecture actually bought a kit on the day. If you are interested in purchasing a kit I would therefore recommend ordering direct from the National Geographic online store. Outside the UK, kits can be ordered direct from the Genographic Project website in America. The shipping costs are however very expensive for anyone not living in the US or Canada. For many people it will be more economical to test first through a surname or geographical project at Family Tree DNA and then transfer their results to the Genographic Project. To do so visit your FTDNA personal page, click on the Genographic Project link under Tools and follow the instructions. You will be asked to agree to the Project's consent terms, and there is a nominal fee of US $15 per test. Proceeds from this fee will be directed to the Legacy Project. For those people who test first with the Genographic Project I would recommend transferring your results to the Family Tree DNA database, where you can join the relevant surname, geographical and haplogroup projects, and order upgrades and further tests as required.
The Genographic Project will test either your mitochondrial DNA, which is passed down each generation from mother to child and reveals your direct maternal ancestry; or your Y chromosome (males only), which is passed down from father to son and reveals your direct paternal ancestry. I've already had my own mitochondrial DNA tested through Family Tree DNA, and have added my results to the Genographic Project database. I shall follow the progress of the project with interest and shall look forward to reading the research papers as they are published.

Wednesday 9 December 2009

Cruwys Morchard pens

The residents of Cruwys Morchard are currently trying to raise funds to build a new parish hall to replace the existing hall which was built back in 1928 and is now no longer fit for purpose. Details of the plans for the new hall can be found on the parish website. As part of the fundraising efforts the committee have commissioned some special Cruwys Morchard pens which cost just £1 each and can be bought from The Cruwys Arms. The pens would make ideal stocking fillers. If you are not able to visit Cruwys Morchard, Mary Davey, the newsletter editor, has kindly offered to supply pens by mail order. If you are interested in placing an order please contact Mary direct. Details of the pens and Mary's contact details can be found here.

Wednesday 4 November 2009

Family Tree DNA winter sale

Family Tree DNA have announced their winter sale which runs from now until the end of December. Full details are given below.
Dear Project Administrator,

2009 is coming to a close and we're finishing it off with an end-of-the-year promotion!

First, though, let me thank you for helping us make our recent Full Mitochondria Sequence sale a resounding success. Despite the challenging economy this was the most successful promotion in our company's history.

Our Holiday Season promotion will bring back the discount that we offered this summer for the Y-DNA37, since this has been requested by many of our project administrators.

Y-DNA37 – promotional price $119 (reg. price $149)
Y-DNA67 – promotional price $209 (reg. price $239)
mtDNAPlus – promotional price $139 (reg. price $149)
SuperDNA – promotional price $488 (reg. price $665)

Orders for the above tests need to be placed and paid for by December 31, 2009 to receive the sale price.

IMPORTANT: since this promotion will run through the months of November and December, we encourage you to spread the word starting now, as the natural tendency is for people to order at the last minute, and we will not extend it beyond 12/31/2009.

In addition here are the newly released permanent prices for the Full Mitochondria Sequence:

New kit (mtDNA Full Sequence) … $279
Upgrade from HVR1 … $229
Upgrade from HVR2 … $209
mtDNA Full Sequence after testing Y-DNA … $249

Thank you for your continued support. We appreciate your contribution to the sustained growth of the Family Tree DNA matching database, the best genealogical matching tool of its kind.

Bennett Greenspan
Family Tree DNA
These special prices only apply to orders placed through surname or geographical projects. Anyone with the surname CRUWYS, CRUSE, CREWES, CREWS, CRUISE, CRUCE, SCRUSE, SCREWS or any other similar variant is invited to test through my CRUSE/CRUWYS DNA project. I am also looking for people to join my new KENNETT DNA Project. If you have proven ancestry from Devon you are invited to join my Devon DNA Project.

Family Tree DNA have the largest genetic genealogy database in the world and at the time of writing the company have 168,589 Y-DNA results and 101,218 mtDNA records in their database. They host 5,638 surname projects and a large number of geographical projects. Even if your surname is not currently included in a project it should be possible to test with one of the many geographical projects instead. I have compiled a list of all the available geographical projects for the British Isles which can be found here. There are numerous other geographical projects for various European countries and a number of regions in America. A full list of projects can be found here. If you want to learn more about DNA testing then I recommend that you read the brief article I wrote for the Berkshire Family Historian which is now available online. If you have any questions about which test to take, which project to join or DNA testing in general do please get in touch.

Friday 23 October 2009

Honiton District marriage certificates

I've received a lovely collection of eight faux marriage certificates from Guild Member Des Gander as a result of his Marriage Challenge for the Honiton Registration District in Devon. The Cruwys marriages all relate to the Mariansleigh tree, and I have passed on copies to the relevant researchers.

Rather fortuitously Jan Ennis in New Zealand has just been in touch with me about the line of James Cruse and Georgina Crute whose marriage certificate was included in the collection. I've been working with Jan on her tree over the last few days, and was able to send her a copy of the certificate. Jan's line goes back to James Cruse and Maria Shepherd who married in 1830 in Burlescombe, Devon. We've not yet been able to find a baptism for James. He was born c. 1807 either in Devon or Somerset. In the 1851 census his place of birth is given as Milverton, Somerset, but in the 1861 census his birth place is shown as Crediton, Devon. By 1871 James Cruse and Georgina Crute had settled in Barking in Essex.

Outline details of the certificates are provided below. Copies can be provided on request.

- 1858 The Parish Church, Honiton: James Cruse, blacksmith, son of James Cruse, blacksmith, and Georgina Crute, daughter of John Croot, shoemaker. (James Cruse and Maria Shepherd line)

- 1864 The Parish Church, Sidmouth: Thomas John Pincombe Crews (widower), cabinet maker, son of Joseph Crews (deceased), baker and Eliza Ann Cowd, daughter of William Cowd, tailor

- 1869 The Parish Church, Honiton: Robert Eastmond Cruwys, farmer, son of Robert Cruwys, farmer, and Frances Henrietta Pinney, daughter of John George Pinney, surveyor. (Mariansleigh tree)

- 1873 The Parish Church, Honiton: William Cruse, servant, son of John Cruse, labourer, and Jane Radford, daughter of John Radford, quarry man.

- 1899 The Parish Church, Escot: Reginald Levieux Daniel Cruwys, son of Robert Eastmond Cruwys, farmer, and Bessie Annie Baker, daughter of Jesse Thomas Ward Baker, farmer. (Mariansleigh tree)

- 1903 The Parish Church, Feniton: Ada Fanny Cruwys, daughter of John Steer Cruwys, retired farmer, and Willie Douglas Stevens, a railway clerk from Dorchester, the son of Joseph Stevens, an innkeeper. (Mariansleigh tree)

- 1901 The Parish Church, Payhembury: Kate Maria Pinney Cruwys, daughter of Robert Eastmond Cruwys, and Frank Griffin, farmer, son of Thomas Griffin (deceased), farmer. (Mariansleigh tree)

- 1905 The Parish Church, Feniton: Sophie Kitty Mary Cruwys, daughter of John Steer Cruwys, retired grocer, and William Edmund Berry, photographer, son of George James Berry, schoolmaster. (Mariansleigh tree)

Wednesday 21 October 2009

Haplogroup U4 project

I wrote back on 7th June 2008 about my mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) test and my rare U4 haplogroup. At that time I joined the mtDNA haplogroup U4 project at Family Tree DNA, but the project was very quiet and I received no communications from the group administrator. It therefore came as no surprise when the admin announced at the end of August that he was stepping down. William Allen, who runs the new U4 blog, has taken over as the group admin, and I offered to help out as a co-administrator. We are joined by Ron Scott, who is an expert on mtDNA and has done a considerable amount of work on the phylogeny (the family tree) of haplogroup U4 and all its subclades. Inevitably the project took up far more time than I originally envisaged, and I have been somewhat preoccupied in recent weeks, hence the lack of postings to this blog. I spent a lot of time updating the U4 project website, and have been busy recruiting new participants from Mitosearch, the public mtDNA database. My efforts were rewarded by a considerable boost in membership from 160 participants when we took over the project on 25th August to 280 as of today's date. The project is continuing to grow at a steady rate. If you have had your mtDNA tested either by Family Tree DNA or the Genographic Project and you belong to haplogroup U4 then I do hope you will join our project. It is free to join, and no further tests are required.

Mitochondrial DNA has always been somewhat neglected by family history researchers, largely because fewer mutations occur and, with the standard HVR1 and HVR2 mtDNA tests, people can often have large numbers of matches, the majority of which will be of no genealogical significance. In 2005 Family Tree DNA introduced a full-genomic sequence (FGS) test, which can refine matches in a genealogical time frame, but the test has always been very expensive, and beyond the reach of the average researcher. However, earlier this month Family Tree DNA announced a special promotion for their existing customers with the offer of a substantial reduction in the cost of the FGS test.
Dear Family Tree DNA customer

I am pleased to make a very special announcement about our Full Mitochondria Sequence test.

As you know, this test has continually dropped in price from its initial introduction at $895 in 2005. These price decreases were related to volume and workflow, translating productivity into economies of scale that allowed us to reduce prices to those customers interested in testing their full mitochondrial sequence.

Now Family Tree DNA is doing it again, but this time we are going to take advantage of new technology that will allow us to run more samples in less time, and the savings are substantial. We expect that this price decrease will hearken a new era of Full Mitochondria Testing for the entire Genealogical community!

We will jumpstart this new era of complete mtDNA testing with an aggressive price in order to build the comparative database to the levels genetic genealogists require to answer precise ancestral and geographic questions.

So now on to the news that you've been waiting for. A new price for the mtFull Sequence test will be introduced in November but until then we are offering our current customers a promotional price through October 31st, 2009...

Depending upon the time that it takes to process these upgrade orders using our new hardware, we may experience a back order or lag time in November. If this occurs we expect to resolve the backlog in December.
The promotional prices for existing Family Tree DNA customers are:

- US $229 (was $439) for first time mtDNA test takers
- US $179 for those who have already tested HVR1 and HVR2
- US $199 for those who have already tested HVR1

The new price from November has not yet been announced but will no doubt represent a considerable saving on the current project price of $439, and will finally make the FGS test an affordable option for anyone wishing to use modern DNA techniques to aid research into their direct maternal line. Family Tree DNA are currently the only company to offer the full-sequence test. No doubt other companies will follow in due course, and the FGS test will eventually become the standard test for matriline researchers. It will however take time for the database to reach critical mass. Nevertheless, despite the fact that the test was previously so expensive, Family Tree DNA already have a considerable advantage over their competitors with 6,180 full-sequence tests in their database. We have had a large number of upgrade orders in the U4 project, and I have also ordered the upgrade for myself. No doubt other projects will have seen similar sales volumes. It can only be a matter of time before the FGS database grows to a sufficient size to answer some of our genealogical questions.

Friday 21 August 2009

DNA article in Family History Monthly

The October issue of Family History Monthly is now on sale in the UK. It is a DNA special with a four-page article by yours truly on DNA testing. There is also an interesting article by Chris Pomery on the use of DNA in the Dr Crippen case, and a competition to win a free DNA test from Family Tree DNA. I am currently the project administrator of three DNA projects at Family Tree DNA. I have two surname projects for the surnames Cruwys/Cruse and Kennett. I also run a geographical project for the county of Devon. I would be delighted to hear from anyone interested in joining these projects.

Saturday 15 August 2009

DNA Projects for the British Isles

I find that I am increasingly spending time advising people on which geographical projects to join at Family Tree DNA. I always recommend that people should test within a surname project wherever possible as you are most likely to have a match with someone with the same surname. (For a basic introduction to DNA testing please read my article here.) However, there are many surnames for which no projects have yet been established. The prospect of setting up a surname project might well be a daunting task for some people. If you are hoping to get an elderly relative to take a test on your behalf you will want to ensure that his or her DNA is stored before it is too late, and there will not necessarily be time to wait until a suitable DNA project has been established. A useful alternative in such situations is to test with a geographical project. In this way you can benefit from the discounted project pricing and the free 25-year archival storage provided by Family Tree DNA. Some geographical projects focus on both Y chromosome DNA (Y-DNA) and mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA). Others focus specifically either on Y-DNA or mtDNA. Geographical projects can be a particularly useful repository for mtDNA results as you are most likely to have a meaningful match with someone from the same location. Family Tree DNA have an alphabetical list of geographical projects on their website, but it is a time-consuming task sorting through the list to see if there is a project for a particular area of interest. I have therefore compiled this list of geographical projects relating to the British Isles for the benefit of UK researchers. Once you have tested with Family Tree DNA you can join as many other relevant projects as you wish. There are some overlapping projects and it will usually be possible to join both projects. I have excluded from the list some projects which no longer appear to be active. If you know of any projects which are missing from the list please get in touch and I will be happy to include them. All the projects at Family Tree DNA are run by volunteer administrators who decide on the criteria for joining their projects. Some projects have very specific requirements, whereas others are very broad.

English DNA Projects
There are currently very few English geographical projects, and a number of the projects in this list, including my own new Devon project, have only been set up in the last few years. There will no doubt be many new projects established in the months and years to come as more people from the UK get their DNA tested. If anyone is interested in running an English county project and would like some idea of the work involved please get in touch. I would be particularly interested in hearing from anyone who might be interested in setting up a Somerset project as I have a number of people who have expressed an interest in joining such a project. The following is a list of all known active projects for English counties and regions:

Birmingham and West Midlands mtDNA Project
Project members must have a paper trail back to Birmingham or those areas close by in the West Midlands (Staffordshire, Worcestershire and Warwickshire). Only those people who have taken a high-resolution mtDNA test (HVRI and HVR2) are eligible to join.

Colchester Camilla Project
The Colchester Camilla Project was set up in February 2011. It is a geographical project for everyone with a direct paternal or maternal ancestral line originating in or around the town of Colchester in Essex. The project is aiming to show a genetic link with the DNA taken from human remains of people who lived in or around Colchester during the Romano-British period (43AD to 410AD). Further information on the archaeological findings in Colchester can be found here.

Cornwall Y-DNA Project
A new Y-DNA project established in July 2011. The project is restricted to those who have a good paper trail to Cornwall on their paternal line.

Cornwall mtDNA Project
This project is for anyone with an ancestor on the direct maternal line who lived in Cornwall.

Devon Y-DNA and mtDNA Project
My Devon DNA Project was only established in March 2009 but has already attracted over 130 participants. The project is open to everyone with a direct paternal or maternal ancestral line from Devon, and participants must have a documented paper trail to Devon. The project specifically excludes deep-rooted lines from America where the only connection with Devon is in the 1500s or 1600s, as these pedigrees are prone to error and are very difficult to verify. There is also the possibility of a non-paternal event leading to the introduction of non-Devon DNA.

East Anglia Y-DNA and mtDNA Project
The East Anglia DNA Project is for anyone whose paternal or maternal line can be traced to East Anglia. For the purposes of the project East Anglia is defined by its historical boundaries, which include the counties of Suffolk, Norfolk and Cambridgeshire, plus northern Essex and southeast Lincolnshire. Although the bulk of the participants have been tested at Family Tree DNA the project is hosted on an external website and is therefore able to accommodate results from other testing companies.

Hampshire Y-DNA Project
The Hampshire project is open to anyone with a direct paternal line from Hampshire.

Manx Y-DNA Project
A new DNA project launched in August 2010 by Guild of One-Name Studies member John Creer.

Nidderdale Y-DNA and mtDNA Project
A new Y-DNA and mtDNA geographical project launched in 2011 by Guild of One-Name Studies member Nigel Brooks. The project is open to everyone with a direct paternal or maternal ancestral line originating in this Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in the county of North Yorkshire.

Northumberland Y-DNA and mtDNA Project
This project is open to "all with any association with the county of Northumberland".

Oxfordshire Y-DNA and mtDNA Project
The Oxfordshire DNA project is a dual DNA project which is collecting Y-DNA and mtDNA results for people with a direct paternal or maternal ancestral line from Oxfordshire. Participants must have a documented paper trail to Oxfordshire prior to 1900.

Ravenstonedale DNA Project
A DNA project for people with any of the surnames found in the parish of Ravenstonedale in Westmorland. Participants must have a documented paper trail to an ancestor who lived in Ravenstonedale before 1800. The project accepts Y-DNA, mtDNA and  Family Finder results.

Saddleworth Surnames DNA Project
A new Y-DNA project established in December 2013 which is investigating the surnames of Saddleworth in Yorkshire. Updates are posted on the project's Saddleworth History Blog.

Yorkshire Y-DNA and mtDNA Project
A new project established in July 2013 for people with proven or suspected Yorkshire heritage on the direct paternal or maternal line.

Irish DNA Projects
The Ireland Heritage Project is the largest country-specific project in the world with almost 5,000 Y-DNA participants and over 1000 mtDNA participants as of March 2013. The project has its own website with background information on the project and tips and resources for researching in Ireland. The Y-DNA and mtDNA projects have separate project pages at Family Tree DNA:

Ireland Heritage Y-DNA Project

Ireland Heritage mtDNA Project

These projects welcome respectively those with paternal or maternal lines of Irish origin regardless of whether or not the county of origin is known.

Munster Irish Y-DNA Project
This is a research project focusing on the historical families of Munster present in pre-Norman times, studying the ancestral haplotypes prevalent in the province.

Ulster Heritage Y-DNA Project
The Ulster Y-DNA Project aims to "further the study of Ulster surnames, families, clans, and tribal affiliations of the people of Ulster and their descendants throughout the Diaspora". The project is open to anyone with Ulster ancestry which includes "Ulster families of Native Irish, Hebridean Gael, Ulster Scot and English Settlers, Norman, Welsh, Frisian, Manx, etc., origins".

Ulster Heritage mtDNA Project
The Ulster Heritage mtDNA Project is open to all men and women who have Ulster ancestry.

Irish clans
There are in addition a number of projects devoted to the various Irish clans. A listing can be found on the Clans of Ireland website.

Scottish DNA Projects

Scottish DNA Project
The Scottish DNA Project (formerly the Scottish clans projects) was established in October 2001. It was one of the very early geographical projects, and is now the largest geographical with over 5,500 members as of March 2013. The project is now administered by the Genealogical Studies team at the University of Strathclyde, Glasgow. The Scottish DNA blog provides news and updates from the project.

Border Reivers Y-DNA Project
This project has been set up to test the Y-DNA profiles of members of the families found along the Anglo-Scottish Border who are collectively known as the Border Reivers. A full list of surnames associated with the Border Reivers clans can be found on the Electric Scotland website. The project is also open to descendants of 'transplants' to Ulster, the United States, Canada, Australia, and around the world.

Isles of the Hebrides Y-DNA and mtDNA Project
This project is open to those people whose ancestors in either the direct paternal or maternal line resided on one of the Isles of the Hebrides.

Mid Argyll Y-DNA Project
A study of a group of families from mid Argyll who are often referred to as the MacLachlans of Dunadd (Clann Mhic Lachlainn of Dunadd).

Orkney Y-DNA and mtDNA project
The project has not defined the entry criteria, and appears to be open to everyone with ancestry form Orkney.

Shetland Islands Y-DNA and mtDNA Project
The Shetland DNA Project is "only open to those who can show with genealogical records that their ancestor in either the direct paternal or maternal line resided in Shetland in the 1800s or earlier". In addition the ancestor's name should appear in the Shetland families database. A patronymic naming system was common in the Shetlands among Norse families until the 1800s and DNA testing will help researchers to make genetic connections further back in time.

Scotland and the Flemish People Y-DNA Project
A project focusing on Scottish families with Flemish roots. The project is being developed in tandem with Scotland and the Flemish People, a research project run by the Institute of Scottish Historical Research at St Andrews University

Individual Scottish clan projects
There are numerous individual Scottish clan projects, many of which will include a variety of different surnames. The Clan Donald DNA Project is now "the largest family-based genetic genealogy project in the world" and was the first project to acquire 1,000 members. A listing of Scottish clan projects can be found on the Scotland DNA Project website.

Welsh DNA Projects

Wales Y-DNA and mtDNA Project
The Wales DNA Project is attempting to collect the DNA haplotypes of as many persons as possible who can trace their Y chromosome and/or mtDNA lines to Wales. Project members are required to submit an ancestral chart.

The Welsh Patronymics Y-DNA and mtDNA Project
The Welsh Patronymics project was launched on 6 December 6 2002 and focuses on the patronymic-style surnames (Williams, Jones, and Roberts, etc) which are found in Wales.

The British Isles Y-DNA and mtDNA Project
If there is no surname project for your surname and none of the geographical projects listed above meets your requirements another alternative is to test with the British Isles DNA Project. This is the largest geographical DNA project in the world with 4,552 project members at the time of writing. The project is very broad in its scope. It "is open to persons whose family history or surname indicates a paternal or maternal lineage originating in the British Isles, or who have a family tradition pointing back to the British Isles". Participants can therefore join even if they have not identified an ancestor who lived in the British Isles.

Other geographical projects
There are many other geographical projects for other countries and regions, and it is not possible to provide details here. There is however a very useful listing of DNA projects with 50 or more members on the World Families Network website where most of the large geographical projects can be found. DNA Ancestry is the only other testing company which hosts geographical projects. Their website does not have a public listing of geographical projects. The majority of Ancestry projects are however very small and are mostly duplicates of existing projects at Family Tree DNA. If anyone knows of any other geographical projects for the British Isles do let me know and I will add them to my list.

This page was last updated on 23rd May 2016.

© 2009-2016 Debbie Kennett

Thursday 6 August 2009

Genealogy companies in the news

There have been some interesting developments in the genealogical world in the last few days. On 3rd August it was announced that will be selling shares to the public for the first time in what is known as an initial public offering (IPO). A report can be found on the Techcrunch website. As part of the process Ancestry were required to file a Registration Statement with the Securities and Exchanges Commission in America. The full document can be read online here. There are some interesting facts and figures concealed in the small print:

- In the six months ending 30th June 2009 Ancestry had 990,959 subscribers, compared to 913,683 in the equivalent period in 2008.

- Revenues from subscribers in the United States, the United Kingdom and other countries collectively were 74%, 19% and 7%, respectively, in the first half of 2008 compared to 76%, 16% and 8%, respectively, in the first half of 2009.

- Ancestry plan to launch a new multi-language website called later this year. No further details are provided.

- The BBC television programme "Who do you think you are" was largely responsible for an increase in Ancestry subscribers in the UK: "Our subscriber additions were 569,851 in 2006, principally driven by the airing of “Who Do You Think You Are?” in the United Kingdom, and 479,663 in 2007".

- Ancestry have already purchased "product integration" in anticipation of the launch of the US version of “Who Do You Think You Are?” in 2010. They are no doubt hoping that the programme will have a similar impact on subscriptions in the US. (The US programme was initially scheduled to be shown in April 2009 in the US and in the summer of 2009 in the UK, but was postponed at the last minute for unknown reasons and the revised dates have not yet been announced.)

Yesterday it was reported in The Guardian that Ancestry was one of the companies in the running to purchase Friends Reunited and Genes Reunited from ITV. The other prime candidate was Ancestry's main UK rival Brightsolid, the parent company of and Scotland's People. In the event Brightsolid emerged as the eventual winners and the news of the purchase was officially announced today on their website. There was another report on the acquisition on the BBC website. (As an intriguing aside I was amused to learn from the BBC report that the German equivalent of the reality TV programme "I'm a celebrity… " is known as "Ich bin ein Star"!)

I suspect the future of Friends Reunited is now in doubt as it has effectively been superseded by Facebook. In contrast, Genes Reunited is a thriving community with nine million loyal members, and it has proved to be an effective way of making contact with other family history researchers in the UK. The interface is however very clumsy and there is plenty of room for improvement. It will be interesting to learn what plans Brightsolid have for the site in the coming months.

Monday 3 August 2009

Criminal trial records now online

Criminal trial records from the 18th and 19th century are now available online on The new database contains details from 1.4 million criminal trials in England and Wales which were reported to the Home Office between 1791-1892. The records have been extracted from Series HO 26 and H0 27 at the National Archives in Kew. If you have a subscription to Ancestry you can search the database here.

I have so far found eleven Cruwyses in the database. Of these, six were listed under the surname Cruwys, four were indexed under the name Crewys, and one was listed as a Crewis. In the latter case the name was mis-spelt in the original record. The details provided are somewhat sketchy and I have not yet been able to identify all the people involved. I hope that it might be possible in due course to locate newspaper reports or the original trial records to find out further information. I have transcribed all the Cruwys entries below and included notes in italics on the possible identities. In addition there are 42 Cruses, 47 Cruises, 23 Crews, and 6 Crewes in the database. I have not yet made any attempt to extract details of the criminal cases for these other variant spellings.

Devon 1821
Name: Samuel Cruwys
When tried: Lent Assizes 1821
Offence: Rape
Acquittals: No bill

1822 Middlesex
Name: John Cruwys
Age: 40
Crimes: Larceny
Where and when tried: Old Bailey April session
Sentence: Whipped

Further details of this case can be found on the Proceedings of the Old Bailey website. This John Cruwys was born about 1782. He is possibly the brother of the Thomas Cruwys who was born c.1788 in Bristol who was also a carver and gilder. No baptism has yet been located for Thomas Cruwys.

1822 Devon
Name: Mary Crewys
When tried: April Sessions 1822
Offence: Larceny
Acquittals: Not guilty

1825 Shropshire
Name: Edward Crewys
When tried: October session for Shrewsbury 1825
Crimes: Larceny
Imprisonment: 3 months

1836 Devon
Name of offender: John Cruwys
Degree of instruction: Imp[erfect]
Age: 24
At what sessions tried: County sessions 5th January
Offence: Larceny
Imprisonment: 2 weeks

I have no record of a John Cruwys born c.1812 in Devon. It is possible that the age was recorded incorrectly and that his record refers to the John Cruwys who was baptised on 17th November 1816 in Mariansleigh, the son of William Cruwys and Margaret Eastmond.

1847 Middlesex
Name of offender: Thomas Cruwys
Degree of instruction: Imp[erfect]
Age: 14
At what sessions tried: County adj[udicate]d sessions Clerkenwell 22nd June
Offence: Larceny
Imprisonment: 6 months

This Thomas Cruwys was born on 9th May 1833 in Chelsea. He was the son of Thomas Cruwys, a carver and gilder, and Elizabeth Gates.

1848 Devon
Name: John Crewis
Degree of instruction: Imp[erfect]
Age: 32
At what Sessions Tried: County Assizes 10 July
Offences: Cattle stealing
Imprisonment: 1 year

This John Cruwys was baptised on 17th November 1816 in Mariansleigh and was the son of William Cruwys and Margaret Eastmond. I have transcribed the newspaper articles relating to this case and the transcriptions can be found here.

1854 Tiverton, Devon
Name: James Cruwys
Offence: Larceny
Date of sessions at which tried: 28th December
Transportation: Yes (ticked)
Imprisonment (state if also whipped or fined): 2 months (4 days solitary)

There are two possible candidates for this James Cruwys. There was a James Cruwys baptised on 31st January 1813 in Mariansleigh, Devon, the son of George Cruwys and Ann Eastmond. There was also a James Eastmond Cruwys, the son of William Cruwys and Margaret Eastmond, who was baptised on 19th February 1815 in Rose Ash, Devon. However, there is no record of either of these two Jameses being transported and they both died in Devon.

1861 Shrewsbury, Shropshire
Name: William Cruwys
Offence: Perjury
Acquitted and discharged: No bill

This is either William Cruwys, the son of Thomas and Hannah Cruwys, born c.1809 in Shrewsbury, Shropshire, or his son William who was born on 15th March 1836 in Shrewsbury. William the elder died in 1870.

1862 Exeter, Devon
County of Devon and City and County of the City of Exeter
Return of all Persons Committed, or Bailed to appear for Trial, or Indicted at the Assizes held at the Castle of Exeter and the Guildhall of the City of Exeter on the 8th day of March 1862, shewing the nature of their Offences and the result of the Proceedings
Names: Edwin Curwood, Richard Bowers, Mary Ann Bowers, Thomas Molland, Mary Molland, Mary Henson, Susan Paine, James Cruwys, Thomas Courtney, Isaac Aplin, Walter Aplin
Offences of which those tried were convicted: Riot and assault
Acquitted and discharged: Jury discharged without giving any verdict

There are again two possible candidates for this James Cruwys. There was a James Cruwys baptised on 31st January 1813 in Mariansleigh, Devon, the son of George Cruwys and Ann Eastmond. There was also a James Eastmond Cruwys, the son of William Cruwys and Margaret Eastmond, who was baptised on 19th February 1815 in Rose Ash, Devon.

1871 South Molton
Borough of South Molton
Return of all Persons Committed, or Bailed to appear for Trial, or Indicted at any Session of the Peace, held during the year 1871, within the jurisdiction of the said Borough shewing the nature of their Offences and the result of the Proceedings
Name: Maria Priscilla Westacott
Offence: Stealing two blankets
Date of session at which tried: 28th December 1871
Imprisonment (state if also whipped or fined): Imprisoned for one calendar month with hard labour

Name: William Cruwys
Offence: Receiving the said blankets, knowing them to be stolen
Date of session at which tried: 28th December 1871
Acquitted and discharged: Acquitted

I have transcribed the newspaper reports relating to this case. The full story can be read here.

Thursday 16 July 2009

Family Tree DNA July sale

As part of a special summer promotion Family Tree DNA are offering discounted prices on three of their most popular kits for a limited period until the end of July. The details are as follows:

- The Y-DNA 37-marker test can be purchased for US $119 (£73). The usual price is US $149 (£91).
- The Y-DNA 67-marker test is available for the special price of US $199 (£122). The normal price is US $238 (£146).
- The high-resolution mtDNAPlus test can be purchased for US $119 (£73). The usual price is US $149 (£91).

These prices only apply to orders placed through surname or geographical projects. Anyone with the surname CRUWYS, CRUSE, CREWES, CREWS, CRUISE, CRUCE, SCRUSE, SCREWS or any other similar variant is invited to test through my CRUSE/CRUWYS DNA project.

I am also looking for people to join my new KENNETT DNA Project. If you have proven ancestry from Devon you are invited to join my Devon DNA Project.

Family Tree DNA now have around 5,500 surname projects. If you are not eligible for testing through any of my projects you will probably find another project in which your surname is included. FTDNA also have a huge variety of geographical projects, and a full list can be found here. If you are interested in participating and cannot find a suitable project do get in touch and I will see if I can help.

There are considerable advantages to testing with Family Tree DNA as they provide extra services and facilities which are not available with any of their rivals, such as a huge range of deep clade tests and other advanced tests, and the ability to join the numerous large geographical and haplogroup projects. They are the only company to provide the high-resolution 67-marker test. They are also the only company to provide a haplogroup assurance programme so that you can be confident that you have been assigned with the correct haplogroup. (There have been numerous reports of Ancestry customers being given incorrect haplogroup assignments and as Ancestry have no facility to order the necessary SNP tests to confirm the haplogroup these customers are having to pay to be re-tested at Family Tree DNA.) The International Society of Genetic Genealogy provide comparison charts on their website for the various tests. Their Y-DNA comparison chart can be found here. Their mtDNA comparison chart can be found here. The charts are in the process of being updated. Note in particular that Ancestry no longer provide any guarantee that they will store your sample. Family Tree DNA is the only company which provides archival storage for 25 years inclusive in the price of the test. Storage is particularly important if you are getting an elderly relative to take a test on your behalf, especially if your relative is the last in his particular line. Genetic genealogy is a fast-moving science with new and more advanced tests coming onto the market every few months, and you want to be sure that you have some DNA available to take advantage of the new developments. If you have any questions about DNA testing you are welcome to contact me by e-mail for advice.

Thursday 9 July 2009

Genealogy Wise social networking website

I've been experimenting in the last day or so with Genealogy Wise, a new dedicated genealogy social networking website. The site has been created by Family Link, the company which owns and operates and World Family Link is also the company behind the popular We're Related application on Facebook which famously duped many Facebook users on April Fool's Day into believing they were related to Barack Obama.

Genealogy Wise is effectively a simplified version of Facebook without all the distractions and, like Facebook, it is completely free of charge. You can have genealogy friends, you can create groups for the surnames you are researching or join groups created by other people. There is a forum for discussions, a blog section for general genealogy musings, and a facility to upload videos.

No official announcement about the launch has yet been published, but word has already started to spread on Facebook and in the Twitterverse and blogosphere. At the time of writing 654 members had signed up and 259 groups had been established, but there is a constant stream of new members and the numbers seem to be increasing exponentially. Many of my fellow members of the Guild of One-Name Studies have been among the early adopters who have rushed to claim ownership of the group for their particular surname before anyone else beats them to the post. I have already set up groups for the surnames Cruwys, Cruse and Kennett. I have also set up another group for the county of Devon. Now I just need you all to come and join my groups. You can find my profile page on Genealogy Wise here.

If the website is to be a useful resource for genealogists the membership will have to reach a critical mass with millions rather than hundreds of users. However, judging by the enthusiasm of everyone who has used the site, I suspect that it won't be too long before that critical mass is achieved as soon as word starts to get out on the genealogy mailing lists and in the press. Although many genealogists now use Facebook there are still some who are wary of the whole idea of social networking. I suspect that a specialised genealogy social networking site will be more appealing. Genealogy Wise will never be a replacement for Facebook but will surely become a useful complementary resource and one which we will be using more and more in the future. I look forward to seeing you there.

Tuesday 7 July 2009

British Library Web Archive

I am pleased to advise that this blog has now been accepted by the British Library for inclusion in their web archiving programme. The BL have written to me as follows: "Many thanks for nominating your site. The British Library would like to invite you to participate in our web archiving programme. We select and archive sites to represent aspects of UK documentary heritage and as a result, they will remain available to researchers in the future. The British Library works closely with leading UK institutions to collect and permanently preserve the UK web, and our archive can be seen at

There are benefits to you as a website owner in having your publication archived by the British Library such as having a historical record of your website(s). We aim to develop preservation mechanisms to keep your publication permanently accessible as hardware and software change over time."

Further information about the BL web archive scheme can be found on their FAQs page. If you have any favourite UK websites which you think should be archived you can fill out a nomination form.

Monday 6 July 2009

Oliver Cruse from Devon to Seattle via Ohio and Ontario

Chris Cruse in America has been in touch concerning the Cruse family of Clovelly. Chris's husband is the great-grandson of Oliver Cruse (born 1833 Langtree, Devon), one of the children of William Cruse and Jane Martin, whose birth is recorded on the Clovelly tapestry.

Oliver Cruse emigrated to Cleveland, Ohio in 1851 when he was just 18 years old. Nothing is known of his time in Ohio but for some reason he only stayed for a few years before moving on to Canada. The first record we have of Oliver's life in Canada is his marriage to Jane Sowton on 6th December 1856 in St Thomas, Elgin County, Ontario. Oliver was a carpenter and joiner and a prominent member of the Independent Order of Foresters.

Oliver and Jane had nine known children:
- Fanny Cruse, born on 12th October 1857 in Elgin County, Ontario. She died on 2nd December 1863 and is buried in Orwell Cemetery, Yarmouth Township, Elgin County.
- Amelia Jane Cruse, born about 1869 probably in Elgin County. She married Joseph Ridgeway Sterling.
- Jenny Cruse, born on 8th October 1862 in Elgin County. She died on 22nd December 1863 and is buried in Orwell Cemetery alongside her sister Fanny.
- William Cruse, born on 10th April 1862 in Ontario. He married Mary Ballow in 1883.
- Frank Sowton Cruse, born on 17th October 1864 in Aylmer, Elgin County. He married Mary Bell Kelly on 1st April 1885 in St Thomas, Elgin County.
- Fanny Cruse, born on 29th January 1867 in Aylmer, Elgin County. She married Gabriel Smart on 5th January 1887 in Elgin County.
- John Cruse, born on 27th July 1870 in Elgin County. He died on 10th August 1870 in Elgin County.
- James Oliver Cruse, born on 23rd September 1875. He married Hattie Laura "Louise" Campbell on 29th December 1897 in Coupeville, Island County, Washington.
- Sidney Earl Cruse, born on 21st April 1879 in St Thomas, Elgin County. He died on 21st February 1880 in St Thomas.

In about 1889 or 1890 Oliver and Jane moved with their children to America where they settled in Seattle, Washington. By the time of the 1910 census they were living at 2213 East Madison Street, Seattle.

Oliver died on 21st March 1917. An obituary was published in the Seattle Post Intelligencer on Saturday March 24, 1917:

Oliver Cruse, Resident of Seattle Since 1890, Dies at Daughter's Home.

Oliver Cruse, a resident of Seattle since 1890, died Wednesday at the home of his daughter, Mrs. A. J. Sterling, 1226 East Madison street, and will be buried Saturday at 2:30 o'clock from the parlors of Johnson & Hamilton, at Broadway and Union. Services will be in charge of the Masonic order, Interment will follow at Washelli.

Mr. Cruse was born in Bideford, England in 1833. He came to this country when he was 16, locating in Cleveland, O[hio]. Later, he moved to St. Thomas, Ont. Where he remained until he came to Seattle.

In this city Mr. Cruse became state organizer for the Independent Order of Foresters, continuing for fifteen years. He had the distinction of organizing the first court of the order on the Pacific coast. He then took charge of his son William's office, and remained actively at work until stricken with paralysis last November.

Besides his widow, he leaves two daughters and three sons, Mrs. A.J. Sterling, Mrs. G. Smart, Frank and William, of this city, and James O. of Pasedena, Cal.; four grandchildren Mrs. Climmie E. Hill and James O. Sterling of Seattle; E.R. Sterling, Port Huron, Mich., Fred Cruse of Detroit, and eight great grandchildren.
The writer of the newspaper article seems to have had a little trouble with his mathematics as Oliver would have been 18 in 1852 not 16! Oliver's wife Jane lived for just nine months after her husband's death dying on 4th Dec 1917 in Seattle.

Chris has managed to trace some of the descendants of Oliver and Jane, but there are still a few gaps and we would be delighted to hear from anyone who is related to these families.

Wednesday 24 June 2009

Family Tree DNA sale extended

The Family Tree DNA summer sale has been extended for a further week and will now end on 30th June 2009. If you've been away on holiday and missed the sale you will now have a chance to place an order. The offer is only available through surname and geographical projects such as my Cruwys/Cruse DNA Project and my Devon DNA Project. I have also recently set up a new DNA project for the Kennett surname. Please help to spread the word.

If anyone wants advice on deciding which project to join to qualify for the special promotional price do get in touch. I've copied below for information the relevant details from the e-mail I received from Family Tree DNA.
Dear Group Administrator,

In the last few days we have received several e-mails from group administrators asking us to extend our "Unparalleled 50% Promotional Discount" Y-DNA37+mtDNA for $119 (the regular project price is $248 – a reduction of more than 50%!!), as many people are only now becoming aware of the promotion.

We have decided, therefore, to extend it until June 30th, 2009. Kits must be paid by July 7, 2009.

As always, thank you for your continued support.

Max Blankfeld
Vice-President, Operations and Marketing

Tuesday 9 June 2009

DNA news

Family Tree DNA have announced a special summer promotion for a limited period starting today and ending on 24th June 2009. They are offering a combined Y-DNA 37-marker test and mtDNA HVR1 test for the bargain price of $119 (approximately £74). The normal project price for a 37-marker Y-DNA test is $149 (£93), and the normal project price for the two tests combined is $248 (£154). FTDNA are therefore in effect offering the Y-DNA test at a discounted price and throwing in a free mtDNA test. If you have been considering participating in the Cruwys/Cruse/Crewes DNA Project and have been put off by the price, now is the ideal opportunity to buy a kit at this very special price. Note too that the pound/dollar exchange rate is currently much more favourable than it has been in recent months for those of us in the UK.

In addition to my Cruwys/Cruse/Crewes DNA Project I have also recently set up a new project for the English county of Devon. Further details about the Devon DNA Project can be found here. If you have friends or relatives with roots in Devon it would be much appreciated if you could encourage them to join this new project.

If you are interested in testing a different surname and you don't have Devon ancestry, Family Tree DNA now have over 5,400 surname projects, so there is a good chance that your friends or relatives will find that their surname is already represented. If not, then to take advantage of the special promotion they should join one of the geographical projects. There are projects for Hampshire, East Anglia, Wales, Scotland and Ireland. There is also a catch-all project for the British Isles. You can find a full listing here.

If you do not yet understand how DNA testing works then I recommend that you read my short article from the Berkshire Family Historian which can be found online here.

I have copied below the letter from FTDNA with full details of the special promotion.
Dear Family Tree DNA Group Administrator,

Last summer we offered a pricing special that was the most successful offering of its kind in our company’s history.

Many project administrators strongly supported our recruitment efforts and both their projects and our database grew significantly.

This year we will offer an early summer special with an unparalleled promotional discount.

Offer summary:

• Y-DNA37+mtDNA for $119. (The regular project price is $248 – a reduction of more than 50%!!)
• The promotion will begin on June 9, 2009 and will end on June 24, 2009
• Kits ordered in this sale must be paid for by June 30, 2009

This is your new members’ opportunity to skip past the Y-DNA12 and Y-DNA25 tests and get the best Y-DNA Genealogical test on the market in addition to an mtDNA test for an extremely reduced price!

I should also mention that according to one of our competitors’ method of counting markers our 37-marker test could also be called a "41-marker test" as we do test and report markers 464e, 464f, 464g, and DYS19b. Though we test them, it is very rare that individuals have results for these markers. Therefore, by our conservative counting method, our competitor's "33-marker test" is actually a "29-marker test". We mention this to make sure that you understand the difference between these tests and are able to compare "apples to apples".

So... I hope that with this promotion your project can gain many new members.

As always, that you for your continued support.

Max Blankfeld
Vice-President, Operations and Marketing
"History Unearthed Daily"
If you have any questions about my DNA projects or DNA testing in general do please get in touch.

Monday 8 June 2009

William Henry James Cruwys (1942-2009)

The sad news has arrived from Canada of the death of William "Bill" Henry James Cruwys on 2nd June 2009 at the Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre in Toronto. Bill was the son of Lloyd Cruwys and Helen Gertrude Ferguson. He worked for most of his life at the Ajax Downs horse racing track in Ajax, Ontario. He was involved in a tragic accident in May at the race track where he was run over by a horse. His family will be able to take comfort from the fact that he died doing what he loved best. His obituary in the Toronto Sun newspaper can be read online here. A Facebook group has been set up in tribute to Bill Cruwys which can be found here.

Tuesday 2 June 2009

Cruwys Morchard wills and inventories

I have added another set of transcriptions to the pages of Genuki Devon. The latest transcriptions are abstracts and catalogue entries for the wills and inventories which are held in the Cruwys family archives at Cruwys Morchard House in Devon. The transcriptions can be found online here. Some of the wills in the Cruwys Morchard collection are now the only surviving copies. As Devon researchers will know, the Exeter Probate Registry was bombed in World War II and all the wills stored there were lost. It is unfortunate that the original Cruwys Morchard wills are still in private hands and are therefore inaccessible to the public. I hope that one day it will be possible to have these records digitised or microfilmed so that they can be made available to interested researchers. I would be particularly interested in seeing the two original Cruwys inventories.

My latest contributions to Genuki Devon were in response to the announcement of the new Devon Wills Project. This resource is now growing very rapidly, and if you have any ancestors from Devon it is well worth checking out. I have already transcribed a number of Cruwys/Cruse wills along with a few wills for some of the other Devon surnames I am researching such as Dillon, Westcott and Acland. The links to these transcriptions are now all included in the new consolidated index.

Monday 1 June 2009

Denys Crews obituary

Guild member Audrey Town has kindly sent me another obituary which she spotted in the Yorkshire Post:
Died peacefully on May 13th 2009 aged 95 years. Loving Husband of Gundred, Father, Grandfather, Great Grandfather and Friend of many. Memorial Service at St Mary's Priory Church, Old Malton on June 4th at 2pm. Family flowers only. Donations to R.N.L.I.
I've established that Denys was born in the June quarter of 1914 in the Brentford Registration District in West London. He was the son of Ernest Kingwell Crews and Louise J Pilgrim who married in Kensington, London, in the June quarter of 1913. This seems to be another West Country Crews line as Ernest Kingwell Crews was born in the December quarter of 1886 in Stoke Damerel, Devon.

Sunday 31 May 2009

Dorchester district marriage certificates

I have received two "faux" marriage certificates from Guild member Mary Brinson which she found for me in her recent Dorchester Marriage Challenge. The details are as follows:

- 1855 Melbury Bubb, Dorset: Maria Cruse, daughter of James Cruse, blacksmith, and James Cooper, railroad labourer, son of James Cooper, labourer.

- 1882 Christ Church, West Fordington, Dorset: Robert Edwin Cruse, guard, son of Jacob Cruse, market gardener, and Elizabeth Louisa Hawkins, daughter of James Hawkins, stonemason (Imber Cruse tree of Wiltshire).

I did not previously have Maria Cruse in a tree in my database, but after some preliminary research it appears that she is the daughter of James Cruse and Maria Shepherd who married on 12th April 1830 in Burlescombe, Devon. Maria's father James Cruse was born about 1807 in Milverton in Somerset. The Milverton parish registers have been transcribed by David Cheek and made available online. There is however no sign of James's baptism so I presume he was baptised in another nearby parish instead. As always, if either of these certificates is of interest please get in touch.

Monday 18 May 2009

Bristol marriage certificates

Guild member Derek Allen very kindly offered to look up some Cruwys marriages for me at the Bristol Record Office, and an envelope arrived in the post from him this morning with an exciting pile of "faux" marriage certificates. Many thanks to Derek. The details of the latest certificates are given below.

- 1855 St Andrew's, Bristol: Mary Ann Cruwys, daughter of John Cruwys, accountant, and James Farmer, son of Samuel Farmer, foreman in a slate quarry. (Wiveliscombe tree)

- 1859 St Barnabas, Clifton: Alfred Cruwys, shipwright, son of John Cruwys, tailor, and Elizabeth Morgan, daughter of William Morgan, founderer [?].(Wiveliscombe tree)

- 1870 St Paul's, Bedminster: Susanna Cruwys, widow, daughter of Thomas Ascott, builder, and James O'Hara, master of workhouse, son of Michael O'Hara, ship carpenter (deceased). (Mariansleigh tree)

- 1881 St Michael on the Hill, Bristol: William Cruwys, widower, warehouse man, son of James Cruwys, carter, and Mary Patterson, spinster, daughter of James Patterson, farmer. (Wiveliscombe tree)

- 1888 St John's, Bedminster: Alfred John Cruwys, ship's smith, son of Alfred John Cruwys, shipwright, and Annie Crouch, daughter of George Crouch (deceased), commercial traveller. (Wiveliscombe tree)

- 1891 St Paul's, Bedminster: Albert Cruwys, fitter, son of Alfred Cruwys, shipwright, and Maggie Clara Horne, daughter of John Horne, pensioner. (Wiveliscombe tree)

- 1911 St Thomas, Bristol: Elsie Gladys Cruwys, daughter of Alfred John Cruwys, ship smith, and Sidney Saxton, son of William Saxton. (Wiveliscombe tree)

Copies have been sent to the relevant researchers, but as always I would be delighted to hear from anyone else researching any of the above lines.

Saturday 16 May 2009

Herbert Felix Cruse 1863-1921

Kit Elliott has sent me this lovely photograph of his ancestor Herbert Felix Cruse, who was more usually known by his middle name Felix. The photograph was taken in the garden of the family home at 3 Newby Terrace, Stockton-on-Tees, County Durham, and was sent by Felix as a Christmas greeting, presumably to family members, in 1915. Herbert Felix Cruse was the son of Edward Cruse (1807-1879) and Hannah Mary Brown (c.1826-1891). His father Edward was in his day a well-known organist and composer. Felix was born on 3rd August 1863 at 39 Buckingham Road, Brighton, Sussex. We understand that Felix was named after the composer Felix Mendelssohn. He also had an older brother named John Sebastian Cruse after J S Bach! The house in Brighton was known as Bach House for obvious reasons! Felix clearly inherited his father's musical talent and by the age of 17 he was working as an organist. Some time before 1891 Felix was appointed as the organist of St Peter's Church in Stockton-on-Tees, County Durham. The church was also the venue of Felix's marriage to Katherine Brown in 1894. Felix and Katherine had just one child, a daughter called Joan, who was born in 1896 in Stockton-on-Tees. Felix must have struggled to make money as an organist and by the time of the 1901 census he had taken on a job as a teacher of music to supplement the income from his organ playing. Felix died at his home at 3 Newby Terrace, Stockton-on-Tees, on 13th December 1921 at the age of 58 years. At the time of his death he was described as a chartered accountant's clerk. The reason for his change of career is not known.

Wednesday 13 May 2009

WW1 letters from Tom Rutherford Cruwys

I wrote in a previous post about Tom Rutherford Cruwys who served with the British Military Forces in Mesopotamia in World War I and sadly died of malaria on 28th September 1918 at Krasnovodsk. John Reis has now very kindly sent me copies of the three surviving letters which Tom sent to his mother Ruth Wood née Cruwys, and I have transcribed the letters below. Tom's mother was at that time living at 10 Hillfield Road, West Hampstead, London NW. The letters provide a poignant combination of everyday trivia and unimaginable horror. In WWI Krasnovodsk was in Russia. Today it is known as Türkmenbasy and is in Turkmenistan. Apsheronskaya, now known as Apsheronsk, is a town in Krasnodar Krai in western Russia near the border with the Ukraine.

Letter 1

2nd Lieut T. R. Cruwys
[Special Service, Mesopotamia - crossed out]
My dear Mother

I take this first opportunity of writing you that I have had for some months. It is only possible to write you now because I have joined the British Military Forces of Mesopotamia. I am at present attached to Col. Baltine's Military Mission at Krasnovodsk as interpreter with the rank of 2nd Lieut. Life is quite OK & I shall now be longing to know if you get this letter and to receive a reply from you. I had a very bad time during the last few months with the men on the fields & I am very glad to have handed over the property to other people. Write with all news and then I will give you a nice long letter.

Love and kisses

Your affect. son


Letter 2

c/o Anglo Maikop Corp Ltd
Kuban Province, Russia

14th Jan 1914

My dear Mother

Many thanks for your Xmas card letter also for the pudding which I have not yet received. It has got as far as Apsheronskaya and am afraid will remain there for some time as we are snowed up and cut off from outside communications. Anyway I hope to get it within the next week or ten days.

We have just had a five days blizzard and all our bridges, derricks, telephone wires, houses, etc, etc have been blown down and we cant see anything for snow. During the last week I have worked 20 hours a day for 5 days. This would not [have] been anything much under ordinary circumstances but added to this you must also remember that one is soaked through to the skin, frozen to the bone and ravishingly hungry. I often think of that splendid tomato soup you can make. Five of our men were caught in the blizzard frozen to death. Cheerful, what! On top of that I had a man mangled to death on one of the machines right in front of my eyes and this was on Christmas Day when I had to work all day and night.

Anyway, Mother dear, I have at last got £50 in the Bank here or at least shall have by the time you get this note, so shortly I shall be sending you a draught for £40 and keep £10 here to keep my account open. I will drop you a line when I send it off.

Perhaps it will please you to hear that your dear little son Tommie has passed his exam and is now a fully fledged "Petroleum Mining Engineer? Bow wow! Let's hope it will soon mean a rise.

Good bye, mother dear, best of luck.

Your loving son.


Letter 3

19th August 1915

Anglo Malkop Corp. Ltd
Fields D-pt

Telegrams: IKOPAM

My darling Mother,

Just a line to let you know I am still going strong and hope you also are in the pink of health. Have written Jim insisting that you draw six pounds per month from my a/c to help you along over this trying time. Am sure everything must be very expensive now and don't see how you can refuse. Don't always think of we youngsters, we can all look after ourselves. You just go ahead and take things easy and if there's anything you fancy buy it. Don't look at the cost. Mother dear, you have been a good pal to me. No one knows how you have done your best for me. Let your goodness go one step father and accept my offer. I can afford it, Mother, for I have close on £200 in the bank here. Why should you eke, scrape and stint for the sake of putting away for us youngsters when we are all healthy and capable of looking after ourselves. You have given us all a start and there your duty to us should end. I was young at the time but I remember it as well as if I it was yesterday the way you struggled to get me to Watford and the hours you used to spend on those poor legs of yours in your endeavours. You have done your share and more than your share for us so let us now do a little for you. Enjoy yourself and get about more and don't worry your head about those damned houses. You are worth more to us than any pile of bricks and mortar. I do wish I could come home and cheer you up. Never mind, when I do arrive we'll have the time of our lives all the jolly lot of us together. Did you and Doll get my photos. Write soon with all the news.

A great hug and heaps of kisses.

Your loving son


Jim is Tom's brother James Cruwys, who was born on 25th October 1885 in Kilburn, London. Doll is Tom's younger sister Dorothy Rutherford Cruwys who was born on 7th August 1890 in Kilburn.

Thursday 30 April 2009

Ken Cruse obituary

Guild member Audrey Town has very kindly sent me in the post an obituary from her local paper the Huddersfield Examiner. The obituary reads as follows:
Ken Cruse
April 17, 2009

87 years young, peacefully and surrounded by love our dear Ken, beloved sweetheart of Doris, husband of the late Emily, father of Ken, Barbara and Mac, 'on loan' father of Ann and June. Greatly loved by all his Grandchildren, Great-Grandchildren, Daughters-in-law and Sons-in-law.

The Funeral will take place at Huddersfield Crematorium on Monday, April 27 at 1.30 p.m. Flowers or donations in lieu are welcome for The British Heart Foundation, for which a plate will be provided. Any enquiries to Highfields. Tel: 428243.
I do not currently have Ken Cruse in one of my reconstructed trees, and Yorkshire is not normally a county associated with the Cruse surname. On checking the GRO indexes I've discovered that Ken was born in the West Derby Registration District in 1922. I therefore suspect that he is descended from the Liverpool Cruses. Do please get in touch if you have any information on this line. Thank you Audrey for sending me this obituary.

Cruwys ONS in Family History Monthly

The June issue of Family History Monthly has just been published and it includes an article by Chris Paton on the Guild of One-Name Studies. I am very pleased to report that the article includes a special feature on the Cruwys/Cruse one-name study and the associated DNA project. There are screenshots of this blog and the DNA project website, and also a mugshot of yours truly. I'm hoping that the article will give the study some welcome publicity and perhaps result in a few more enquiries. For those of you reading this blog who don't live in the UK I am happy to provide scans of the article.

Monday 27 April 2009

Charlie Cruwys in WWII

Kelly Searle has sent me some more photographs of her grandfather Charlie Cruwys (1920-1983). Charlie was the son of Thomas Edwin James Cruwys and Edith Baker who were the subject of a previous post. Charlie served in the army in World War II, and the photograph below was taken some time during the war.
Little is known of Charlie's army career other than that he was a cook and was based in Egypt for some of the war. Kelly is thinking of applying for Charlie's WWII service record which should tell us more.

Friday 17 April 2009

The will of Elizabeth Olive,
spinster of Frome, Somerset

Elizabeth Olive was the daughter of John Olive and Ann Rossiter. She was baptised on 25th September 1778 in Frome, Somerset. She did not marry and died in March 1845 in Frome. This will is of particular interest to Cruse researchers because Elizabeth’s niece Mary Olive (born about 1792) married John Cruse on 7th June 1815 in Devizes, Wiltshire. John Cruse was the son of Jeremiah Cruse the land surveyor (1758-1819) by his first wife Mary Masey (1760-1810). John was born on 23rd December 1788 in Frome and baptised on 12th April 1789 in Rode, Somerset. John Cruse and Mary Olive had five daughters, only three of whom seem to have survived to adulthood: Mary Ann, Henrietta and Frances. Elizabeth Olive leaves bequests in her will to her three Cruse nieces. The original will can be found in the Documents Online collection on the National Archives website (reference PROB 11/2018). This transcription is taken from an anonymous typed transcription which was kindly provided by Robert Cruse.

Proved 7th May 1845

Testator: Elizabeth OLIVE, Spinster of Frome Swd

£10 to my faithful servant Phillis HOBBS if living in my service when I die

19 guineas to The Frome Ladies Charitable Society

19 guineas to The Frome Sunday School under the direction of the Clergy of the Established Church

19 guineas to The Frome Infant Schools

19 guineas to The Church Missionary Society

19 guineas to The Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts

all my furniture and other articles of domestic use in my house at Weymouth, also all my mourning and family rings to Rev. John OLIVE, Clerk of Hollingly, Sussex

my watch, my pianoforte and all my wearing apparel to my niece Mary Ann CRUSE, but if she dies before me my wearing apparel to be shared equally between her two sisters Henrietta CRUSE and Frances CRUSE

all my remaining trinkets to Frances SIMPSON w/o Rev. George Philip SIMPSON of Brent, Soms

all my books to be divided equally between the said Mary Ann CRUSE, Henrietta CRUSE and Frances CRUSE

the closes of land called Long Paddock and Edge Mead, which is divided into two paddocks, near but not immediately adjoining Long Paddock but adjoining Cuckoo Lane and in the occupation of Mr William STEEDS, and my other acre of land in common with other land in Birchell Lane, late in the occupation of James CLASE and now of Miss CLASE, all in the P[ari]sh of Frome, to the said Rev. John OLIVE

to my Ex[ecut]ors £1,000 consolidated stock in consolidate[d] bank annuities, part of a sum in my name in the Bank of England, on trust:

- to pay the dividends to Frances SIMPSON, and after her death to George Philip SIMPSON and after their death shared equally between any children of Frances SIMPSON as they reach 21 or die under that age having been married .to pay the interest on two of the Frome Turnpike Trust Tickets which I hold and £50 to the said Mary Ann CRUSE and after her death to any surviving husband she might have and for all her children as they reach 21

- a Black Son [?] ticket I hold and £50 on the same trusts in favour of Henrietta CRUSE

- the other ticket and £50 on the same trusts in favour of Frances CRUSE

all the residue of the estate and effects to the said John OLIVE of Beckington, the said Rev. John OLIVE and the said Edmund Crabb OLIVE on trust to invest it and pay the income to William OLIVE, Gentleman of Beckington, and after his death to his wife Mary Ann OLIVE, and after both their deaths to all William OLIVE's children as they reach 21 or die earlier having been married

Ex[ecut]ors may apply for the advancement in the world of any of the children presumptively entitled to the above legacies any sum up to half their presumptive share

Ex[ecut]ors: John OLIVE esq. of Beckington and Edmund Crabb OLIVE esq. of Frome Signed: 11 Aug 1842
Witnesses: William C. CRUTWELL, Sol[icito]r, Frome; Ambrose READ, Clerk to Messrs OLIVE & CRUTTWELL, Sol[icito]rs, Frome

Codicil: revoking the bequest of £ 1.000 stock in consolidated bank annuities to Ex[ecut]ors in trust for her niece Frances SYMPSON w/o George Philip SYMPSON, her husband and children, and bequeathing to her Ex[ecut]ors £800 of this stock on the same trusts
£66 13s 4d of this stock to each of her three nieces, Mary Ann CRUSE. Henrietta Cruse and Frances CRUSE
revoking the bequest of all her trinkets to Frances SYMPSON and giving them to her niece Mary Ann CRUSE
all the bed and table linen in Test[atr]ix's dwelling house to Mary Ann CRUSE

Signed: 13 Mar 1845

Witnesses: Alfred DANIEL, Clerk. Frome; James COLTER [?], Clerk to Mr CRUTWELL. Sol[icito]r, Frome

Proved: 7 May 1845 at Prerogative Court of Canterbury London by John OLIVE and Edmund Crabb OLIVE esquires, nephews and ex[ecut]ors

Saturday 11 April 2009

Screws family reunion

The Screws Family Reunion is being held from 2nd to 5th July 2010 in Estes Park, Colorado, USA. The reunion is open to all Screws family members. Estes Park is a mountain village in the Rocky Mountain National Park. Further information about the resort can be found here. Este Park will be holding a big firework display on Sunday 4th July.

If you wish to attend the reunion please contact Lisa Ruh at Anyone wishing to attend will be required to complete a Letter of Interest by 31st May 2009.

Thursday 9 April 2009

Kings Norton Marriage Challenge

Guild member Karen Burnell has kindly found three marriages for me in the Kings Norton Marriage Challenge. The details are provided below with the name of the tree where known. As always, do get in touch if you want a copy of the faux certificate.

- 1885 St Mary, Selly Oak: George Crews, shoemaker, son of George Crews, gardener, and Jane Kolter, widow, daughter of Richard Searle, captain in merchant [..].

- 1890 St Bartholomew, Edgbaston: Harry Cruse, stamper, son of Samuel Cruse, tailor, and Emma Rebecca Lawrence, daughter of Frederick Lawrence, foreman [Kenton tree from Devon].

- 1911 St Paul, Balsall Heath, Kings Norton: Mabel Beatrice Cruwys, daughter of William Cruwys (deceased), butcher and John Frederick Boulton, butcher, son of Francis Boulton, butcher [Wiveliscombe tree from Somerset].

Wednesday 8 April 2009

Cheltenham, Hailsham and Lexden Marriage Challenges

A bumper crop of marriage certificates has arrived in the last few weeks from fellow Guild members David Mowbray, Peter Copsey and Roger Goacher who have been working hard on marriage challenges for the registration districts of Cheltenham, Hailsham and Lexden. I'd like to thank them for taking the time and trouble to search these registers and find the marriages for me. I've put outline details of the certificates below and the names of the trees where known. I don't yet have all of the names in my database so some of these certificates have opened up new lines of research. As always, further details are available on request.

Cheltenham Registration District

- 1856 St Mary, Cheltenham: Susan Cruse, daughter of Edward Cruse, harness maker, and Richard Griffiths, servant, son of Thomas Griffiths, labourer. [Ashburton tree from Devon].

- 1857 St Mary, Cheltenham: Emily Cruse, daughter of John Cruse, labourer and William Carpenter, gardener, son of William Carpenter, labourer

- 1895 St Luke, Cheltenham: George Crews, labourer, son of Jeremiah Crews, labourer, and Rhoda Woodward, daughter of John Woodward, labourer

- 1896 Saints Peter and James, Leckhampton: Mary Jane Cruse, daughter of John Pester Cruse, and Alfred Merret, grocer, son of Joseph John James Merrett, gardener [Kenton tree from Devon].

Hailsham Registration District, Sussex

- 1868 St Peter and St Paul, Hellingly: William Cruse, widower, miller, son of George Cruse, agriculturalist and Julia Hollamby, daughter of William Hollamby, innkeeper.

Lexden Registration District, Essex

- 1842 St Mary the Virgin, Wivenhoe: John King, mariner, son of William King, mariner and Mary Ann Cruse, daughter of John Cruse, mariner.

Wednesday 1 April 2009

Cruse of Morebath, Devon

Guild member Barbara Roach has kindly sent me another "faux" marriage certificate for a marriage she found in the Morebath Parish Registers as part of her Tiverton Marriage Challenge. The marriage is between Mary Cruwys, a widow of full age, and James Marsh, a bachelor of full age. Mary was the daughter of Benjamin Wensley, a labourer. James, a labourer, was the son of Richard Marsh, a labourer. They married on 24th March 1840 at the Parish Church in Morebath. I did not previously have any record of Mary in my database so the arrival of the certificate prompted me to do some research to find out who she was. Morebath is one of the many Devon parishes which is not on the IGI. Fortunately the Devon Family History Society have indexed the marriages from 1754-1837, and the baptisms and burials from 1813-1837. With the help of the censuses and the DFHS indexes I have been able to establish the following.

Mary Wensley married Robert Cruse, a labourer, some time before 1832. Somewhat surprisingly there is no record of the marriage in the DFHS marriage index. They have three known children:

- John Cruse, baptised on 24th February 1833 in Morebath

- Marianne Cruse (also known as Mary and Ann), baptised on 31st August 1834 in Morebath

- Robert Cruse, baptised on 10th April 1836 in Morebath

Robert Cruse senior died in the December quarter of 1838, probably in Morebath.

In the 1841 census Mary and her second husband James Marsh can be found living in Exbridge, Morebath. James, 25, is an agricultural labourer. Mary is 30. They have one daughter Mary Marsh, aged one month. Mary's three children from her first marriage, John Cruse, 9, Mary Cruse, 7, and Robert Cruse, 5, are also living in the family home.

In 1851 Mary and James are at the same address in Morebath but now have three more children: Elizabeth [age not visible], Martha, 5, and James, 2. The three Cruse children are all out at work and living away from home. John Cruse, 18, is an agricultural labourer living nearby at Hookley, Morebath. Marianne (listed in the census as Ann Cruise) is a general servant at the Tiverton Hotel in Bampton. Robert, 13, is a farm labourer living in Brushford, Somerset.

Robert Cruse appears in the 1861 census in Bampton. He is working as a farm servant in the household of James Hawkings, a farm bailiff. I can find no record of him after 1861. I can find no further records of John Cruse and Marianne Cruse after 1851.

I've normally found that people make a conscious decision to adopt the Cruwys spelling, but this particular family seems to be the exception to the rule. Mary's name was recorded with the spelling Cruwys when she married for a second time. Her children's baptisms are all registered in the surname Cruse. The surname was spelt Cruse in the 1841 and 1851 censuses.

There are a further five Cruse marriages in the DFHS indexes between 1791 and 1833. In three cases a Cruse married a Wensley. Without access to the Morebath parish registers I am unable to explore these lines further at present. I would however be interested to hear from anyone researching the Cruse or Wensley families in Morebath.

Monday 30 March 2009

Edward Thomas Cruse in World War I

David Cruse has been having a sort out of some old files and has sent me copies of the correspondence he had back in 1999 with a lady called Rita Thyer in New Zealand. Rita is the granddaughter of Edward Thomas Cruse (b. 1880 in Bermondsey, London) and Edith Louisa Carswell. Edward is descended from the John Cruse and Mary Rook line of London and Cambridgeshire. When researching this family previously I had not been able to find any trace of Edward Thomas Cruse after the 1891 census. Edward would have been 21 in 1901 and I suspect he might have been away from home serving in the Boer War. Fortunately however Ancestry now have the World War I army service records available online and luckily Edward's records were amongst those which have survived and are included in the collection.

Edward would have been 34 years old at the outbreak of the First World War. From his service records I've discovered that he enlisted on 5th September 1914 at which time he was described as a printer. He began his service career as a private in the Royal Berkshire Regiment. He was promoted to Corporal on 21st December 1915 and to Lieutenant Sergeant on 31st December 1915. He was then promoted to Sergeant on 16th April 1916. On 1st April 1916 he was transferred to the Training Reserves. In a reorganisation he was posted to the Hampshire Regiment on 1st November 1917, and finally on 26th November 1918 he was transferred to the Labour Corps. He was discharged on 1st June 1919. His medical report on discharge shows that he was suffering from hallus valgus (bunions) on his left foot. He had had an operation to remove the head of a metatarsal bone. He had also had an attack of influenza in January 1919 following which he suffered from a cardiac irregularity, though no irregularity was found at the time of the examination. He was classified as being 20% disabled.

The service papers also most helpfully provide information about Edward's wife and children. Edward claimed to have married Edith Louisa Carswell on 4th February 1905, though the marriage is recorded in the GRO indexes in the first quarter of 1906 in the West Ham Registration District. Edward had seven children:

- Arthur Edward Cruse, born 10th November 1901
- Grace Edna Elizabeth Cruse, born 15th Feb 1903
- Edith Lilian Cruse, born 20th July 1906 in Upton Park, London
- George Thomas Cruse, born on 22nd August 1907 in Stratford, London
- Rose Louisa Cruse, born on 30th November 1911 in Stratford
- Louisa Elsie Cruse, born on 14th November 1914 in Stratford
- Ernest Alfred Cruse, born on 19th Feb 1916 in Stratford

Edward's eldest two children, Arthur and Grace, were from his first marriage to Janet Frances Amelia Gillard. Edward and Janet married in 1901. Janet sadly died in 1904 when Grace was only around a year old.

At the time of Edward's discharge from the army the family address was 2 Hotham Street, Bridge Road, Stratford, London E15. Edward apparently left his family after World War I and never returned for reasons which are unclear. I wonder if anyone has any further information on Edward and his family. I would be particularly interested to hear from any of his descendants in New Zealand. © Debbie Kennett 2009-2012

Monday 2 March 2009

Who Do You Think You Are? Live 2009

I spent two enjoyable days on Friday and Saturday at the "Who Do You Think You Are?" show at Olympia in London. This year's show was much smaller in scale than last year, with fewer exhibitors and less of the razzmatazz. The absence of the military vehicles, the wargaming societies and the archaeologists meant that there was more space for the traditional genealogy suppliers to display their wares, and it was easier to move around the hall and visit the stands, as can be seen in the photo below which was taken late in the day on Saturday when the crowds had subsided. A new feature of this year's show was the DNA workshop, sponsored by Family Tree DNA. There were so many interesting talks that the only way I could fit them all in was by attending on two consecutive days!The first DNA talk on Friday was given by Max Blankfeld, Vice-President of Family Tree DNA. The company was set up in April 2000, and now has the largest genetic genealogy database in the world. On 9th February the company announced that they had reached an historic milestone having received their 500,000th order for a DNA testing kit. The database is now so large that male adoptees taking a Y-DNA test apparently have a 30% to 40% chance of matching someone bearing the surname of their biological father. FTDNA also carry out the testing for The Genographic Project, a ground-breaking study which has enabled scientists to track the migratory path of mankind around the world over thousands of years. The project launched in April 2005 after 18 months of planning. It was originally conceived as a five-year project, but has been so successful that it will now continue indefinitely. For those of you in the UK, DNA kits for the Genographic Project can be purchased over the counter at the National Geographic store in Regent Street, London. Kits can also be purchased online in the UK from their online store. The Genographic Project provides an excellent introduction to DNA testing for those people who are interested in their deep ancestry but whose surname is not yet represented in a DNA project. There is an option to add your results to the FTDNA database so that you can be notified of any subsequent matches.

Dr Michael Hammer, the chief Y-DNA scientist at Family Tree DNA, gave a very interesting and visual presentation about our deep ancestral origins. Scientists have now discovered over 600 single-nucleotide polymorphisms, known as SNPs (pronounced snips), in the Y-chromosome. A SNP is a change in a base in the DNA sequence which occurs over time. These SNPs can be used to identify population groups known as haplogroups. The tree of mankind is now divided into 20 major haplogroups which are designated by letters of the alphabet from A through to T.

Dr Doron Behar, the chief mtDNA scientist at Family Tree DNA, gave an equally interesting talk on mitochondrial DNA and the female line. His enthusiasm for mtDNA was infectious, and he has persuaded me to save up my money to upgrade to the full genome sequence mtDNA test!

Katherine Borges, the Director of the International Society of Genetic Genealogy (ISOGG), gave an informative talk about British DNA. She explained how we know Prince Philip's mitochondrial genetic signature, and warned of the limitations of autosomal testing as used for Colin Jackson on Who do you think you are? The DNA haplotypes (genetic signatures) of Prince Philip and other famous people can be found on the ISOGG website.

On Saturday I had the privilege to attend Megan Smolenyak's talk on DNA testing. Megan provided the big story of this year's WDYTYA. DNA testing has now revealed that Chris Haley, the nephew of the African-American writer Alex Haley, author of the historical novel Roots, is of Scottish ancestry. Chris met June Baff-Black, the daughter of his newly found DNA match, at WDYTYA on Saturday. The story has been widely reported elsewhere, and was also featured on the BBC news at breakfast time on Saturday. The best accounts can be found on Dick Eastman's blog, and in The Daily Telegraph.

Family Tree DNA were doing a roaring trade throughout the two days of the show that I attended. The stall always seemed to be crowded with people. There was so much interest that the supply of kits ran out and more had to be drafted in from elsewhere. I was surprised to see so many people swabbing their cheeks to provide the samples on the spot. The show went so well that FTDNA have already decided they will be back next year, and they are hoping to have a bigger area for the DNA talks.

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