Thursday 30 December 2010

Family Tree DNA winter sale

The Family Tree DNA winter sale ends at midnight US time on 31st December 2010. If you are thinking of taking a DNA test it is now a very good time to do so before the prices go back up again in the New Year.

FTDNA's new Family Finder test is included in the current sale and is available at the special price of US $249 (approx £159). The usual price is $289 (approx £184). The Family Finder test looks at 500,000 autosomal SNPs (single-nucleotide polymorphisms), and can help you to find relatives on all your family lines back for about four or five generations. You can read my review of the Family Finder test here. There is also further information in the ISOGG Wiki.

The mitochondrial DNA Plus test is also included in the current sale at the reduced price of $129 (approx £82). The normal price is $159 (approximately £101). The mtDNA Plus test looks at the two hypervariable regions of the mitochondrial genome (HVR1 and HVR2), and will help you find relatives on your direct maternal line.

The sale prices for Family Finder and mtDNA tests apply to all kits whether ordered through a project or not. Both the Family Finder and the mtDNA test can be taken by men or women.

There are two Y-chromosome DNA (Y-DNA) tests included in the current sale, and there is a discount when ordering through a surname project or a geographical project. The project prices are:

- Y-DNA 37-marker test $119 (approx £76) (usual price $149 – approx £95)
- Y-DNA 67-marker test $199 (approx £127) (usual price $239 – approx £152)

The non-project sale price for the 37-marker test is $139 and $219 for the 67-marker test. There are over 6,000 surname projects at FTDNA, representing over 100,000 surnames, so most people will find that their surname is already included in a project. If by any chance no project exists for your surname there will usually be a suitable geographical project. I have provided a list of all the known geographical projects for the British Isles here. There are also projects for most European countries. If you are interested in taking a Y-DNA test and cannot find a suitable project do get in touch and I will see if I can help. This article provides a brief explanation of the testing process and what you might expect from a Y-DNA test. Remember that the Y-DNA test can only be taken by a man. If you are a female you will need to find a male relative with your surname to take a test on your behalf.

© Debbie Kennett 2010

Friday 22 October 2010

Family Finder offer from Family Tree DNA

Family Tree DNA have announced a special offer on their new autosomal Family Finder test for a limited period only when purchased in combination with a Y-DNA or mtDNA test. The offer is restricted to new customers. The special bundle prices are as follows:

Family Finder + Y-DNA 12 markers   Introductory Price: $299 or £190
(Regular Price: $388 or £247)

Family Finder + mtDNA  Introductory Price: $299 or £190
(Regular Price: $388 or £247)

The Family Finder test was introduced in February this year. You can read my review of the Family Finder test here.

Please note that if you are interested in taking a Y-DNA test to participate in a surname project you will at some point need to upgrade to the 37-marker test. The basic 12-marker test is sufficient if you are only interested in knowing your haplogroup designation.

The mtDNA test included in the bundle is the basic HVR1 test which will suffice if you wish to learn your base haplogroup.

To qualify for this offer payment must  be made by credit card. For further information visit the Family Tree DNA website.

© Debbie Kennett 2010

Wednesday 8 September 2010

Cruse of Yateley

Anahita Hoose has kindly sent me details of her Cruse ancestors from Yateley in Hampshire. Anahita’s line can be traced back to Jonathan Cruse and Sarah Paice who married on 28th December 1787 in Yateley. Rather unusually Jonathan was described in the marriage register as a 'pauper'. Jonathan and Sarah had three children, two of whom were born prior to their marriage and who retained the Paice surname:

1) Elizabeth Paice was born c.1784 and was baptised on 27th February 1786 in Yateley. She is probably the Elizabeth Paice, aged twenty-seven, who was buried on 10th September 1811 in Yateley.

2) William Paice was born on 22nd September 1786 and baptised on 4th October 1786 in Yateley. He married a Sarah, but no marriage has so far been located. William and Sarah had five children. William’s death was registered in the Farnborough registration district in the March quarter of 1865.

3) Sarah Cruse was born on 13th April 1788 and christened on 13th July 1788 in Yateley. She married James Watts on 15th October 1804 in Yateley and was buried on 9th August 1812, aged twenty-four, in Yateley.

Sarah Cruse née Paice was buried on 14th November 1788 in Yateley, just nine months after the birth of her youngest child Sarah. She was just twenty-nine years old. The parish register records that she died of consumption.

Jonathon subsequently had a relationship with Elizabeth Taylor, which produced another child:

4) Charlotte Taylor was born on 24th March 1793 and baptised on 31 March in Yateley. No record has so far been found of a marriage or burial.

Elizabeth Taylor is probably the one who was buried on 2nd August 1807, aged forty-four, in Yateley.

Jonathon himself was buried on 22nd May 1803 in Yateley, aged seventy-one, his place of residence being given as Sandhurst, Berkshire. His burial record places his year of birth at around 1732. If the age given at burial is correct Jonathan would have been about fifty-five years old when he married Sarah Paice. It seems likely therefore that this was a second marriage. No baptism has yet been located for Jonathan. Jonathan is however a name which appears in the Ogbourne St George tree from Wiltshire. The Ogbourne St George line spread across the county border into Berkshire, and I suspect that Anahita’s Cruses might well be related. To test this hypothesis we would need to find a direct male-line descendant of William and Sarah Paice, who would be expected to have the same Y chromosome as Jonathan Cruse. Anahita is herself descended from William and Sarah Paice but is not aware any Paice cousins. It is of course always possible that this particular male line has now become extinct.

If anyone is researching this tree do get in touch. We would be particularly interested in knowing what happened to baby Charlotte Taylor.

© Debbie Kennett 2010

Friday 3 September 2010

Rye marriage certificate

I've received a faux marriage certificate in the post from Guild member Roger Goacher who recently undertook a Marriage Challenge for the Rye Registration District in Sussex. The certificate is for the marriage Eleanor Crews and Samuel Eldridge which took place in June 1856 in Northiam, Sussex. Samuel was a widower at the time of the marriage. He was a labourer, and is the son of Samuel Eldridge, a bricklayer. Eleanor is the daughter of George Crews, a labourer. I have no further information on this line as yet but if anyone is researching this family do get in touch and I'd be happy to send a copy of the certificate.

© Debbie Kennett 2010

Thursday 2 September 2010

Surname frequencies in the 1990 and 2000 US censuses

A posting on Dick Eastman's blog has alerted me to some interesting surname data which can be found on the US census bureau website. The bureau provides lists of the most frequently occurring surnames in the 1990 and 2000 US censuses. A surname must be included at least 100 times to be appear in the list and consequently CRUWYS is not shown. I did however find listings for most of the other variant spellings. I've provided details below of the rankings. The final column for the year 2000 is a count of the occurrences of each surname in the 2000 census.

1990          Ranking   Count
CREWS        1373

CRUSE         3975

CRUISE        7221

CREW          8148

CRUCE        9146

CRUZE       21658

SCREWS    21905

CRUICE     57820

CREWE      73936

CREWS       1404       23167

CRUSE        3874         8422

CREW         7871         3900

CRUISE      9754         3058

CRUCE     14457         1893

CRUZE      20468        1205

SCREWS   24243         969

CREWE     38706         537

CRUS        41060         501

CRUCES   45829         439

CREWSE  49767          396

For the year 2000 information is also provided on ethnic breakdown. As I cannot format tables properly on the blog I've uploaded the data to Google Docs. You can see the file here.

It should be noted that the surname data from the two censuses is not directly comparable. For the 1990 data a sample was taken from 6.3 million census entries, equating to approximately one fortieth of the US population. The report for 2000 uses "name responses from almost 270 million people with valid name information".

I do not include all of these variants spellings in my one-name study because the high frequency of some of these surnames, especially in the US, would make the task unmanageable. A further problem is that some surnames have developed in different ways on both sides of the Atlantic. We have some evidence for instance that in Virginia the surname Crew evolved into Crews. In the UK Crew and Crewe do not appear to be related to any of the Cruse and variant spellings. The situation is also complicated by the different ethnic composition of the American population. In the US Cruze and Crus seem to be variants of the Spanish surname Cruz. In the UK these names are rarely seen and usually appear as variant spellings in parish register entries. There is a still a long way to go before we understand the full picture of our complicated family of surnames, but the DNA project is already proving to be a very useful way of working out which spellings are related and we will learn more as more people with the many variants join the project.

© Debbie Kennett 2010

Saturday 7 August 2010

Memories of Cruse's Stores, Rottingdean

I wrote back in December 2008 about Cruse's stores in Rottingdean, Sussex with a follow-up post a few days later. I have now been contacted by Terry who worked for a short time at Cruse's stores back in 1970. Terry has kindly sent me a scan of his 1970 payslip, which was handwritten by Ron Cruse, together with a scan of the shop's headed paper which I've reproduced below.
The blackouts refer to the power cuts in the 1970s when the power unions went on strike and the population had to resort to candlelight and oil lamps on strike days.

Terry has kindly shared his memories of Cruse's stores with me and given me permission to publish them here.
The Stores were a high class grocers.
Ron Cruse worked very hard.
As did his son Alan.

They did home deliveries, as part of the business.
Mr Cruse took the orders by phone.
A list was made by hand.
He then gave the staff the list and the order was made up.

There was a bacon and cheese counter, usually run by a Mr Oliver.
He sliced bacon and cut cheese.
They cured their own hams.
There were "loose" nuts, prunes, huge bags of brown sugar.
They arrived loose and we weighed them out into 1lb bags.
Whole, very large, cheddar cheeses would arrive in wooden "hat boxes".
The cheese was also covered in muslin.
It was my job to unpack these and cut the cheese with a cheese wire.

My job was sort of storeman.
I packed away deliveries.
We had a lock-up garage up the road for extra storage.

I helped pack the van for our deliveries.
Bob was the delivery driver.
The store had another two stories upstairs where we stored provisions.
There was a back room for tinned goods.

They sold a wide range of items.
Rottingdean being a fairly posh village near Brighton, situated on the coast.
Quite a few retired people.
The store provided an excellent service.

We opened Saturday mornings, so it was a five and half day week.
I started at 8 am and finished about 6 pm.
Then there was an hour's travel each way, as I lived in Brighton.

I guess these days it would be hard to find a shop like Cruses Stores.
Its amazing how quickly things change.
It's deemed history now!

I enjoyed my seven months there.
It was a real family business.
I had to move away from Brighton but returned.
When I applied for a job I had to give Cruse's Stores as a reference.
They gave me a great reference, then Mr Cruse wrote to me offering me a job!
But I turned it down, having started a career in the National Health Service.
Thank you Terry for sharing these memories with us. It certainly would be hard to find such a shop today!

Tuesday 3 August 2010

Exploring my genome with 23andMe - ancestry

This is the fourth and final article in my short series of reviews on my personal genomics test with 23andMe. I wrote last week about my disease riskscarrier status and drug responses, and traits. I'm now going to look at the ancestry part of the service, which as a family historian, was my primary motivation for taking the test.

23andMe provides three different types of ancestry information. For deep ancestry purposes you are given a haplogroup assignment for your mitochondrial DNA and, if you are male, for your Y-chromosome. An Ancestry Painting gives you broad details of your ethnic percentages - African, European and Asian. Finally, the Relative Finder service identifies your close cousins in the 23andMe database and allows you to make contact with them.

I have already had a full mitochondrial sequence (FMS) test at Family Tree DNA and this aspect of the 23andMe test was therefore somewhat redundant for me, but I was nevertheless interested to see how the two results would compare. The FTDNA FMS test looks at all 16,569 base pairs in the mitochondrial genome whereas 23andMe test just 3,000 SNPs. I wrote previously about my unique mtDNA results and my rare U4 haplogroup. When I received my FMS results earlier this year FTDNA refined my haplogroup to U4c1. I have the advantage that I am the co-administrator of the mtDNA haplogroup U4 project at FTDNA. Within the U4 project we have a large body of FMS results and, using these results in conjunction with published sequences on Phylotree and GenBank, my co-admin, Ron Scott, has been able to refine the haplogroups for many of our project members, including me. Within the U4 project I am now classified as a U4c1a1b. 23andMe have also placed me in haplogroup U4. They have however allocated me to a different subclade - U4a2b. I'm not yet certain of the reasons for the discrepancy, but suspect that 23andMe have not tested enough SNPs to provide an accurate haplogroup assignment. This is a very new science, and the haplogroup nomenclature is in a constant state of revision so it is understandable that in the early days there will be discrepancies. Haplogroup prediction is also particularly difficult for rare subclades like U4c. For all practical purposes at this stage knowing the subclade does not tell me very much as so little is known about haplogroup U4. As a bonus, 23andMe do however provide some very interesting background information on haplogroup U4, whereas FTDNA provided hardly anything at all and we have had to work hard instead to build up a list of resources on the U4 project website.

I already know from my family history research that all my lines going back at least to the 1800s, and in some cases for many hundreds of years previously, are from the UK. It was therefore no surprise that my Ancestry Painting showed that I am 100% European.
This feature is probably of more interest to people of mixed ancestry where, for example, Aboriginal or Native American ancestry will show up as "Asian". A new feature, Ancestry Finder, has been introduced in the last few weeks which will tell you which countries your ancestors might have lived in. As I already know that all my ancestors are from the UK this feature again did not really tell me very much. I was however somewhat surprised when I lowered the threshold to five centiMorgans (a measure of matching DNA segments) to see that I matched people with four grandparents from Romania, Switzerland, Spain, the Netherlands and Sweden, with just 0.3% of my genome from the UK. This result is probably more of a reflection of the lack of UK testees in the 23andMe database. It is also possible that some of the participants have provided incorrect information on their ancestry (the country information is taken from a customer survey).

Relative Finder is an opt-in feature of the 23andMe service. It works by detecting shared segments of autosomal DNA and predicting the relationship based on the number and size of the shared segments. I currently have 151 matches in the Relative Finder database. Twelve of these matches are predicted to be fourth cousins, and the remainder are predicted to be fifth cousins or distant cousins. For each prediction a relationship range is given. Some of my fifth cousins could be third to sixth cousins; others could be third to tenth cousins. The names and contact details of your matches are not made available to you. You are instead given information on their haplogroups, and, if they have filled in the information on their profile, their country of residence and number of surnames listed.
You can contact your matches but are restricted to contacting just five people per day. Over the last few weeks I have religiously contacted all 151 of my matches, but have been very disappointed that so far only 14 people have accepted contact, a mere 9% response rate. Much to my surprise two people have actually declined contact, which was somewhat unexpected for what is meant to be an opt-in service. Of the 14 people who responded 13 are in the United States and just one is in the UK. Although I've exchanged details with all of these people we've not been able to find our common ancestor. American research is particularly challenging and American researchers are rarely able to trace their lines to a specific location in the UK. Without a surname in common there is, therefore, little hope of finding the link in the paper trail. My sole UK match had taken advantage of the special offer for Parkinson's disease patients, and had only just started to research her family history.

All in all the ancestry part of the 23andMe service has not been particularly informative. I am pleased that I was able to purchase the Complete Edition as, much to my surprise, I've found it far more rewarding than I expected exploring my health and traits with 23andMe than my ancestry. Relative Finder is however still very new and it is quite possible that I will have more responses and more meaningful matches in the future as the database grows. 23andMe currently have in excess of 50,000 people in their database. The company does not however disclose how many people have opted to use the Relative Finder feature. Other genetic genealogists have reported a similar problem with a lack of response to Relative Finder requests with response rates ranging from about 10% to 30%. From a British perspective another problem with the Relative Finder test is that the vast majority of the 23andMe customer base, probably well in excess of 90%, is in America. While it is interesting to know that I have lots of distant genetic cousins in America it is not going to help my family history research if there is no way of finding the connection in the paper trail.

For ancestry testing the Family Finder test from Family Tree DNA is likely to be a much better option. FTDNA have a very large customer base who are primarily interested in genealogy. In contrast, it would appear that the majority of 23andMe customers have tested primarily for health reasons and have little interest in, or knowledge of, their family history. In addition, Family Tree DNA, thanks to their partnership with the Genographic Project and their sponsorship of Who do you think you are? Live, have a much more international customer base and, more importantly from my point of view, more customers in the UK. I've already had Family Finder tests done on both my mum and dad, and I wrote previously about my dad's Family Finder test. My mum's results have just come in and I will write more about this test in future posts.

Autosomal DNA testing for ancestry purposes is still in its infancy. Whether you test with 23andMe or Family Tree DNA such a test should be considered as more of a long term investment. In the short term the test is best used to prove or disprove a particular hypothesis, such as whether or not two people share a common great-grandparent. The cost of the test is still a formidable barrier, especially for those of us in the UK where the weak pound makes the tests comparatively more expensive. However, as the cost of the tests come down and the databases grow in size, autosomal DNA testing will become an increasingly useful tool for family history research.

See also

Part 1 Disease risks

Part 2 Carrier status and drug responses

Part 3 Traits

- The cost of autosomal DNA testing tumbled in 2013 and the three providers now charge just $99 for the test. There are significant differences in the features offered, the international availability and the shipping costs. For an up-to-date comparison see the ISOGG autosomal DNA testing comparison chart.

- 23andMe updated their ethnicity predictions in December 2012. See my post on 23andMe's new Ancestry Composition - a British perspective for a review.

© Debbie Kennett 2010

Wednesday 28 July 2010

Exploring my genome with 23andMe - traits

This is the third in my series of articles on my experiences of testing with 23andMe. I wrote yesterday about my carrier status and drug responses, and on Monday I discussed my disease risks. I'm now going to look at my results for the various traits. The 23andMe test currently covers 40 traits from the mundane, such as eye colour, hair curl and height, to the obscure such as "asparagus metabolite detection" (the ability to detect a distinct smell in your urine after eating asparagus). The screenshot below shows a selection of my results. (Click on the screenshot to enlarge it.)
One of the useful aspects of the data on traits is that you have the opportunity to see how your genetic predictions match the reality. According to my genotype I have a 72% chance of having blue eyes, a 27% chance of having green eyes and a mere 1% chance of having brown eyes. My eyes are actually green so the prediction is accurate, but this is also a useful reminder that the most probable prediction is not necessarily the reality.

For many of the traits 23andMe provides reports on more than one marker. The results can often be contradictory, again reflecting the complex pattern of genetic inheritance. There are for instance two reports on hair curl.  The confirmed research report suggests that I should have "slightly curlier hair on average" whereas according to the preliminary research report I am predicted to have only a typical amount of hair curl. In reality I have a mop of thick curly hair. The reports do explain that "this biological trait has a strong genetic component, although a simply inherited 'hair curl gene' that completely determines hair texture has not been found and likely does not exist. Instead, variations in several genes affecting different aspects of hair development probably combine together to determine the shape of your 'do". (I've never heard the expression 'do before but I presume it is perhaps an abbreviation for hairdo.) My sons have both inherited my thick curly hair so there is a strong possibility that they will also have inherited my marker for male pattern baldness. According to the preliminary report: "Sons of women with this genotype have a 50% chance of inheriting greatly decreased odds of male pattern baldness."

As another example, 23andMe provides preliminary reports on two markers for longevity. I have one marker which gives me higher odds of living to 100 and another marker which gives me typical odds of living to 95. The reported studies were however both very small – a study of 212 Ashkenazi Jews and a study of 615 Japanese men.

I have never been particularly athletic so it is no surprise to learn that I do not have "fast-twitch muscle fibre" and am therefore unlikely to be a fast sprinter. I didn't really need a DNA test to tell me that I have wet earwax, but on reading the report I now have a new word cerumen - the technical term for earwax - to add to my vocabulary!

One of the most interesting findings in my traits reports was the discovery that I have a genotype which makes me resistant to the most common strain of norovirus. Apparently because I have two As on this particular SNP I lack a functioning FUT2 gene. I was fascinated to learn that about 20% of people with European or African ancestry, but very few people with Asian ancestry, share this trait. I'm not however in any great hurry to go on a cruise to test my resistance!
The most innovative feature of the 23andMe service is that customers are given the opportunity to participate in the company's research programme, 23andWe. The company's first scientific paper, Web-Based, Participant-Driven Studies Yield Novel Genetic Associations for Common Traits, was published in June this year in the open-access peer-reviewed journal PLoS Genetics. The data on some of the traits on which the company reports, such as "photic sneeze reaction" and the above-mentioned asparagus metabolite detection, are taken from this paper. While the traits are somewhat trivial and insignificant, the open web-based research model has been validated and there will no doubt be many interesting discoveries in years to come. It is very exciting to be able to engage with your data in such a way and to have the opportunity to find out how your results compare with those of other participants and to see how your data has been used.

One of the best features of the test is the interactive nature of the website and the fact that your results are constantly updated. I've already had a number of new results in the last few weeks, the most recent of which was for leprosy susceptibility. Not all of the information will necessarily have any practical application. I am highly unlikely ever to contract leprosy and probably many of the other diseases for which I have reports. However, new studies are being reported every week and the value of the test will grow over time. Although I was primarily motivated to purchase a 23andMe test for the ancestry aspects I have found the medical aspects very interesting and educational. There is no better way to understand genetics than to have the opportunity to explore your own genome.

See also

Part 1 Disease risks

Part 2 Carrier status and drug responses

Part 4 Ancestry

© Debbie Kennett 2010

Tuesday 27 July 2010

Exploring my genome with 23andMe -
carrier status and drug responses

This is the second in my series of articles on my test with 23andMe. I wrote yesterday about my disease risks. I am now going to look at my carrier status reports and my drug responses. 23andMe provides information on your carrier status for 24 diseases and conditions. Fortunately I tested negative for all 24 diseases. I must confess that I had not heard of the majority of diseases listed. When I explored further it transpired that many of the diseases were quite rare, and a surprisingly large number were particularly prevalent in the Ashkenazi Jewish community (eg, Bloom's syndrome, Canavan disease, mucolipidosis IV and the wonderfully named Maple syrup urine disease type 1B). I don't know whether the SNPs (single-nucleotide polymorphisms) chosen for the 23andMe test are a reflection of 23andMe's customer base or if it is simply that more research has been done into the inheritance of diseases in the Ashkenazi community.

It is important to remember that there are often a large number of SNPs associated with particular diseases and 23andMe only tests a small fraction of these SNPs. It is therefore quite possible to test negative for a particular disease but still to be a carrier.  To its credit, 23andMe does a commendable job of educating its customers. There is an excellent post on their blog, Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence: understanding what genetic testing can (and can’t) tell you, which explains the problem of interpretation very succinctly.

One of the most controversial aspects of the 23andMe test is the inclusion of the SNPs for three BRCA breast cancer mutations. The company make it very clear that "the absence of these mutations does not rule out the possibility that a person may carry another genetic variation that increases the risk of these diseases". (See screenshot below - you will need to click on the image to enlarge it.)
Interestingly again, the SNPs selected account for the majority of breast cancer cases in Ashkenazi Jewish women. Only a tiny proportion (0.2%) of 23andMe customers test positive for the BRCA mutations. Anne Wojcicki's presentation to the Food and Drug Administration last week provides statistics on the prevalence of some of the diseases and conditions in the 23andMe database. 

My only quibble with the presentation of the carrier status data is that you are urged to consult a genetics counsellor if you have any questions about your results. The link provided is to a commercial genetics counselling organisation in America. This might be appropriate for an American customer who presumably has to pay to see a doctor and for whom a genetics counsellor might be a cheaper option.  It is however not much help if you don't live in the US. For customers in the UK it would be more appropriate to make an appointment with a general practitioner for which of course there is no charge.

The drug responses are probably the most useful part of my 23andMe data. I have learnt that my genetics indicate that I might possibly have a reduced response to hepatitis C treatment and an increased sensitivity to warfarin. It is of course quite possible that I will never need either of these treatments but if I should do so then I am sure that the information will be beneficial to my general practitioner who might then be able to target the dosage accordingly and perhaps save the National Health Service some money in the process.
I was intrigued to learn from a preliminary research report that I have a marker which means that I might be a fast metaboliser of caffeine. This would give me a reduced risk of a heart attack from drinking coffee. Although I don't like coffee I do consume large quantities of tea every day!

Of no practical use, but interesting nonetheless, one preliminary research report suggests that I have a genotype which puts me at substantially higher odds of becoming addicted to heroin! The study was carried out on just 139 heroin addicts primarily of Swedish origin and it remains to be seen if these results can be replicated.
Although I've not made any major discoveries about my health it has been very interesting exploring the wealth of data on the 23andMe website. The value of the test will grow over time as more studies are published and the results are incorporated into the 23andMe database.

See also

Part 1 Disease risks

Part 3 Traits

Part 4 Ancestry

© Debbie Kennett 2010

Monday 26 July 2010

Exploring my genome with 23andMe - disease risks

In recent months I have been following with interest the experiences of my friends in the genetic genealogy community who have tested with the personal genomics company 23andMe. The 23andMe test looks at over 500,000 SNPs (pronounced snips) - markers in your DNA known as single-nucleotide polymorphisms - and provides you with information on your ancestry and your predisposition to 163 traits and diseases. The Complete Edition 23andMe test normally costs US $499 (about £321). It is also possible to purchase separately the Ancestry Edition at $399 or the Health Edition at $429. The Complete Edition is however the only 23andMe test which gives you access to your raw data, and is therefore the most useful. Although I have been curious about the process I really could not justify spending nearly £400 on such a test. However, when 23andMe had a one-off sale on DNA Day at the end of April I jumped at the opportunity to purchase the Complete Edition test for just $99 (£63). I had to pay an additional $70 for Fedex delivery. The total cost charged to my credit card was £117. I have had my results for several weeks now but it has taken me a while to explore and digest all the information. I will share my experiences of my 23andMe test in a series of  blog posts, and will focus first of all on my disease risks. I should caution that I have no scientific or medical qualifications. There is a growing body of healthcare professionals and government agencies in America who believe that consumers such as me should not be permitted to purchase these tests without the intermediary of a doctor or genetics counsellor because we are supposedly incapable of understanding the results and, despite lack of evidence, there is a theoretical risk that we might make inappropriate health care decisions based on our findings.

By far the hardest part of the test was grappling with the packaging and then working out how to send the kit back to America. The Fedex instructions were very confusing, and no UK contact details were given. I eventually found a UK telephone number on the Fedex website and was then able to ring up and make arrangements for a courier to come and collect the kit. Before my test could be processed I was required to read and agree to a very lengthy and thorough consent document which reminded me first and foremost that it is "not a test or kit designed to diagnose disease or medical conditions, and it is not intended to be medical advice". The full text of the consent form can be read on the 23andMe website.

The results are all made available through a personal account on the 23andMe website. I have provided below a few sample screenshots. You will need to click on the images to enlarge them. 23andMe distinguishes between "established research" and "preliminary research". For results to be classified as  "established research" (shown on the screenshots with four yellow stars) the association must be widely accepted in the scientific community or validated by at least two studies on more than 750 people with the trait or condition. "Preliminary research" reports are shown with grey stars and are graded depending on the size of the study or studies in question. These findings have not been replicated in other studies and have therefore not yet been confirmed by the scientific community. The results for Parkinson's disease and breast cancer are initially locked, and you are required to read the warnings before deciding whether or not to access these results.
My most elevated risk was for type 2 diabetes, for which 23andMe tell me that I have a 23.6% risk versus an average risk of 18.2%. The screenshot below shows the way that my diabetes risk is presented and explained.
As an illustration of the complexity of so many diseases 23andMe reports on nine markers which have been associated with type 2 diabetes. I have a slightly increased risk on five of those markers but a slightly decreased risk on the remaining four markers. It is however still possible to contract a disease even if you have a reduced risk or, conversely, you might have a higher than normal risk of a disease but never suffer from the condition. For each disease or trait a large amount of information is given which is explained very clearly and presented in a way which makes it very easy to understand. My only criticism is that in the resources section all the links are specific to the US. The majority of 23andMe's customers are in the US so this is understandable, but it is not particularly helpful for those of us who do not live in America. You are also encouraged to consult with a genetic counsellor about your results and a link is provided to a commercial company in America which charges between $99 and $375 for a consultation. Although there is nothing in my results which gives me any cause for concern, if I did have any worries it would have been useful to know who to approach. I'm not aware that we have similar networks of private genetic counsellors in the UK and presumably access to a counsellor would only be possible on the National Health Service with a referral from a general practitioner.

My results also show that I have a slightly elevated risk of age-related macular degeneration and exfoliation glaucoma. I have no family history of either condition and I have never smoked, both of which can be contributory factors.  I have been short-sighted since childhood and, because I wear contact lenses, I go for regular check-ups with my optician. I will be therefore be able to alert my optician to the report, and ask her advice when I next go for a check-up.

Amongst the preliminary research reports I was particularly interested to see that I have a genotype which, if the results of the preliminary study on just one marker can be replicated, would put me at substantially higher odds of contracting diffuse-type stomach cancer. My maternal grandmother died of stomach cancer, albeit at the advanced age of 89, so I quite possibly do have a genetic predisposition. The study cited looked at 925 patients and 1,396 healthy controls from Japan. It will be interesting to see if these results can be replicated in other studies and particularly in European populations. One of the most useful features of the 23andMe service is that your results are continually updated with new findings from published papers.

The remaining results are organised into two further sections - those for which I have a decreased risk and those for which I have a typical risk. The way that the risks are presented is somewhat confusing. According to 23andMe my biggest risk is for obesity. I have a typical risk of 50.6% which is slightly lower than the average of 59%. It seems odd that obesity, my highest risk factor, is not highlighted in red at the top of the page whereas bipolar disease, for which I have only a 0.2% risk versus the average of 0.1% is flagged in red.
I was also very surprised at the figures that 23andMe quotes for obesity. I am advised that on average "59.0 out of 100 women of European ethnicity will get obesity between the ages of 13 and 59". The source for this figure is not given but I rather suspect the figure applies to American women of European ethnicity and not to the European population as a whole, especially as the obesity page is accompanied by a map of America with a breakdown of the obesity levels in each individual state. If so then the percentages for my other disease risks, and especially diabetes which has a strong association with obesity, would need to be suitably adjusted.

I have had no big surprises from the 23andMe test, but it has certainly been an interesting experience exploring my results. I will write more about some of the other features in future posts.
Update 31 July 2010
In today's Times newspaper there was a report from Mark Henderson, the Science Correspondent, on the contradictory population risk data provided by the leading personal genetics companies. If you have a subscription to The Times (you can sign up for a weekly subscription for a nominal fee) you can read the full story here along with the associated commentary from Daniel MacArthur here. Mark had his DNA tested with three different companies: 23andMe, deCODEme and Pathway Genomics. He discusses his results here and in a blog posting hereThe Times story begins: 
Personal genetic testing companies are to change the way that they present health risks after an investigation by The Times exposed how they can mislead people about their chances of developing disease. Three services have agreed to correct problems that can produce confusing and potentially inaccurate personal risk predictions for serious conditions such as heart attacks and diabetes.
The companies are giving the same individuals widely different risk estimates for some diseases because of uncertainty about how widespread the conditions are in the general population. This uncertainty affects the personal risks sent to customers but is not declared in their results... 
All three companies have announced that they will be reviewing their services and have said that "they would provide clear sources for population risk of diseases, and warn customers that the personal risks calculated might not be accurate for everybody." 23andMe have advised that they would "make adjustments within weeks".  I have been very impressed by the commendable way in which the companies have responded to these concerns and I look forward to seeing the amendments to my 23andMe results in due course.

See also

Part 2 Carrier status and drug responses

Part 3 Traits

Part 4 Ancestry

© Debbie Kennett 2010

Tuesday 29 June 2010

Two more St George's Hanover Square marriages

Guild member Sian Plant has kindly sent me details of two further marriages she found as part of her Marriage Challenge for the St George's Hanover Square Registration District in London. The two marriages are as follows:

- 1906 St Gabriel: Beatrice Elizabeth Cruse, daughter of Frederick Cruse, chef, and Arthur Edward Taylor, warehouseman, son of Robert Taylor, gentleman.

- 1907 St Gabriel: Annie Belinda Cruse, daughter of Frederick Cruse, waiter, and George Albert Stevens, accountant, son of Joseph Stevens, electrician.

Beatrice and Annie are sisters. Their father Frederick Cruse was born in Leighton Buzzard, Bedfordshire, in 1849, and was the son of James Cruse and Caroline Walter. Frederick married Ann Youels in 1870 in the St Giles Registration District in London. Frederick's father James was born in 1817 in Ogbourne St George, Wiltshire, the son of Jonathan Cruse and Hannah Waite. Thanks to the dedicated research of David Cruse over many years the Ogbourne St George tree is now very well documented and can be traced back to the mid-1600s. The Ogbourne St George parish registers have unfortunately not survived prior to 1664.

Friday 11 June 2010

World Cup Special - free access to 1911 census

As a special treat FindMyPast are providing free access to their record collection which includes the 1911 England and Wales census. The catch is that the records are only available free of charge while the England matches are on so you will need to get your recorder set up if you don't want to miss any of the football action. The full text of the press release from FindMyPast is given below.
The World Cup is now upon us and we thought it would only be fair to provide some entertainment for any non-football fans out there:

Whenever England play a match, you'll be able to access all our records for free!*

What you need to know about this fantastic offer:

- When England play, you don't pay: 30 minutes before each England game kicks off, all the records on will be free to view for 3 hours

- You can view original images and transcriptions of all our records for free including birth, marriage and death records 1538-2006, census records including the 1911 census and our Chelsea Pensioners British Army Service Records 1760-1913 - to name just a few

- Normally you would need a subscription or PayAsYouGo credits to view our records - some of which normally cost 30 credits each - so to be able to see them for free is a rare opportunity

- Keep an eye on our blog for a competition question to enter during each England match. You'll need to answer all the questions correctly for a chance to win, so make sure you don't miss any. The prize is a goodie bag containing a digital camera, vouchers for a year's Full subscription plus much more

All you need to do to make use of this unique offer is register on as you'll need to sign in to view the records. Visit our World Cup page for more information.

If you need a helping hand with your research, take a look at our video tutorials or our Getting Started page which provide clear advice on how to use our records.

We'd love to hear about any discoveries you make while our records are free to view - post anything you'd like to share with us and our readers on our Facebook page.

Please pass this on to friends, family or anyone else you think might want to make the most of our free family history records.

*All records available using our Full subscription (including the 1911 Census) will be free: Living Relatives searches and Memorial scrolls are not included.

Tuesday 8 June 2010

More from St George's Hanover Square

Guild member Sian Plant has kindly sent me the details of another marriage she found for me in her Marriage Challenge for the St George's Hanover Square Registration District. The details are as follows:

- 1897 St Matthew, Great Peter Street: Henry James Cruse, 28, labourer, son of George Cruse, engineer, and Elizabeth Chapman, 19, daughter of George Chapman, labourer

I don't currently have any record of Henry James Cruse in my database. There is no birth registration in England and Wales for a Henry James Cruse though I do have a number of Henry Cruses born around the right time who are currently unaccounted for. I've not yet been able to find any trace of Henry and Elizabeth in the 1901 or 1911 censuses and I have also been unable to find any likely candidates in the earlier censuses with a father by the name of George. If anyone has any information on this couple do get in touch.

© Debbie Kennett 2010

Sunday 6 June 2010

Family Tree DNA Summer Sale 2010

Family Tree DNA have announced their sizzling summer sale which runs until 25th June. The following tests are reduced for the duration of the sale:

- Y-DNA 37 for US $119 (£82) (Regular price would be $149 (£103) )
- Y-DNA 67 for US $199 (£138) (Regular price would be $239 (£166) )
- Y-DNA 37 + mtDNA for US $159 (£110) (Combined test would cost $238 (£164) )
- Y-DNA 37 + mtDNAPlus for $189.00 (£127) (Combined test would cost US $269 (£191) )

To qualify for the sale prices kits need to be paid for by 30th June, 2010.

To see prices in other currencies you can use one of the many online currency converters such as the XE Universal Currency Converter.

The special prices are only available for kits ordered through projects. I would be happy to welcome anyone with the surnames Cruse, Cruise, Crews, Crewes, Cruwys Scruse or any of the other many variant spellings in my Cruwys/Cruse DNA Project. If you have a direct paternal or maternal line from Devon you are welcome to order through my Devon DNA Project. There are now almost 6,000 projects at Family Tree DNA, and a full alphabetical list of projects can be found here. Even if there is no project for your surname it is usually possible to find a suitable geographical project. I have compiled a list of geographical projects for the British Isles which can be found here.

If you are not familiar with the different types of DNA tests you might like to read the brief article I wrote for the Berkshire Family Historian which can now be found online here. In the meantime if you have any questions do get in touch.

© Debbie Kennett 2010

Friday 28 May 2010


Thanks to the help of Andrew Millard, the location of the place name Creus-anisy mentioned in my last post has now been identified as Anisy which is just north of Caen in Normandy.

We've now located a further reference to Creus-anisy in the book British Family Names – Their Origin and Meaning with Lists of Scandinavian, Frisian, Anglo-Saxon and Norman Names by Rev. Henry Barber, published by E Stock, London, 1903. The entry for the surname Cruse is as follows:

CRUSE. From Creusanisy. Norm. N.Fr. De Creus; a p.n.
De Crus in Rot. Obl. Et Fin., Devon, 1199.

In  Reaney and Wilson's A Dictionary of English Surnames (3rd rev. edn. Routledge, 2005, p119) Cruys-Straete in the départemente of Nord, midway between Dunkirk and Lille in Northern France, was suggested as a possible origin of the surname.

It is clear from the large number of genetic groups in the DNA project that the surname Cruse has multiple origins. In contrast, all the Cruwyses tested to date (apart from one known illegitimate line) fall into two distinct genetic branches, each with deep roots in North Devon. It therefore seems plausible to think that the surname Cruwys has a single origin, and that the link between the surname and the Y-chromosome was broken in one of the Devon lines. It remains to be seen whether the surname Cruwys or any of the Cruse branches originated in Cruys-Straete or Creus-Anisy. In the long run I hope that more people from France will participate in DNA testing so that we might eventually know the answer.

© Debbie Kennett 2010

Thursday 27 May 2010

More early Cruwys references

A researcher in Australia has kindly sent me some interesting early references to the surname Cruwys and variants which he found in the book The Norman people and their existing descendants in the British dominions and the United States of America published by Henry S. King & Co. in 1874. The references are as follows:
Crewe, a branch of DE LA MARE or Montalt, whose arms it bore, with a slight difference (Ormerod, Cheshire, iii. 165). Crewe was in the barony of Malbanc, and was possessed c. 1150 by Henry de Criwa, who attested a charter of Hugh Malbanc. Sire Thomas de Crue was living after 1241. Hence the Lords Crewe of Stene, maternally represented by the Lords Crewe.

Crews or Crewys. Hugh de Creus and Richard de Creos were of Normandy 1198 (Mag. Rot. Scac.). Creus-Anisy was in Normandy (Ib.). Richard de Crues also occurs in Devon 1199; and the family has remained there ever since.
The abbreviation Mag. Rot. Scac. is explained as Magni Rotuli Scaccarii Normanniae sub Regibus Angliae in Memoires de la Societe des Antiquaires de la Normandie which is translated elsewhere as "Great Roll of the Norman Exchequer under the English Kings". These were the Norman Pipe Rolls of 1183-1184. I've not as yet been able to discover the modern spelling of Creus-Anisy in Normandy or its location. Does anyone have any suggestions?

© Debbie Kennett 2010

Thursday 20 May 2010

Domesday descendants

A friend in Devon has very kindly sent me a photocopy of a page containing the Cruse entries from the Katherine Keats-Rohan book Domesday Descendants. Keats-Rohan is a fellow of Linacre College, Oxford, and has pioneered the use of prosopography in historical research. If you are not familiar with the term prosopography it is explained in this Wikipedia article. Keats-Rohan has written two very important books which are very useful for anyone with a genealogical interest in medieval history:

 - K.S.B. Keats-Rohan.  Domesday People: A Prosopography of Persons Occurring in English Documents 1066-1166. Volume  I: Domesday Book.  Boydell Press, 1999, 572pp.

-  K.B.S. Keats-Rohan. Domesday Descendants: A Prosopography of People Occurring in English Documents 1066-1166. Volume  II Pipe Rolls to Cartae Baronum. Boydell Press, 2002, 1179pp.

The entries of interest to me were found in the second volume on Domesday Descendants. I have copied the details below:
de Cruce, Rainald
Attested several of the charters of Roger earl of Hertford (d.1173), from whom he held half a fee de novo in 1166. Perhaps the same as the earl's steward Rainald. Geoffrey de Cruce held half a fee of Clare in Walton, Surrey, in 1242 (Fees, 685).

Harper-Bill and Mortimer, Stoke by Clare Cartulary, nos 28, 30-31, 36; Hart, Cartularium Monasterii de Rameseia, no. CXCIII; Red Book of the Exchequer, ed. Hall (1897), pp. 403-7; Stenton, Documents illustrative of Danelaw (1920), no. 333.

de Cruce, Ricardus
Mentioned in charters of Ranulf I of Chester as having given land at Mostyn to St Werburga when he became a monk. Father of Norman.

Barraclough, Charters of Anglo-Norman Earls of Chester, nos 13, 28, 49.

de Crues, Ottuel
Attested Colne charters of c.1160. Held half a fee de novo from Oliver de Tracy of Barnstaple in 1166, at Cruwys Morchard, Devon. This was held for one fee by the heirs of Alexander de Crues in 1242 (Fees, 748). In 1242 Richard de Crues held one fee of Barnstaple in 'Nytheresse' (Fees, 773).

Fisher, Cartularium Prioratus de Colne, nos 36, 65; Pipe Roll 9 Henry II, 24-e/ht; Red Book of the Exchequer, ed. Hall (1897), p. 255.
I've come across early references to the surname de Cruce when searching the online Patents Rolls database. As far as I can establish there is no connection with the Cruwys family from Cruwys Morchard. It is however possible that the de Cruces are the ancestors of some of the present-day Cruse lines, which clearly have multiple origins.

Keats-Rohan makes no mention of two early references to the Cruwys surname which were quoted by Margaret Cruwys in her book A Cruwys Morchard Notebook: 1066-1874 (James Townsend and Sons, Exeter, 1939):
c. 1175 Robert de Cruwys, mentioned in a Pipe Roll of 1175, and Robert Cruwys, an undertenant of Henry Pomeroy, 1198, probably father and son.
Unfortunately Margaret Cruwys does not provide any sources for these references. The Pipe Rolls have been transcribed and published and are available at my local record office. I hope to check them out at some point. It seems strange that Keats-Rohan did not discover these other two early references.

The earliest references to the surname in the family collection of papers held at Cruwys Morchard House in Devon are found in the Tracy Deed which probably dates from the early 1200s. The names of Richard de Cruwes and Alexander de Cruwes appear as witnesses to this deed. I have made a transcription of the Tracy Deed available online on Genuki Devon which can be read here. The Tracys were a powerful baronial family. A William Tracy or William de Tracy was one of the four barons who assassinated Thomas Becket, the archbishop of Canterbury, in Canterbury Cathedral on 29th December 1170. There is an unsubstantiated story that a member of the Cruwys family was present at this event.

The pedigree of the Cruwys family, as recorded at the College of Arms, is believed to commence with the Richard de Cruwes mentioned in the Tracy Deed. I have not seen any document confirming the relationship between Richard de Cruwes and Alexander de Cruwes. Richard appears in numerous documents around this time as he was a justice of the assize for the county of Devon. The earliest reference dates from 1200 when, according to Margaret Cruwys,  he was  “taken into custody being accused of the death of Jordan de la Cell on Exmoor" though again rather frustratingly the source is not given. The most recent reference I have found is in the Patent Rolls when Richard de Crues was appointed a justice for the assizes of novel disseisin at Exeter in the twenty seventh year of the reign of King Henry the Third [1242/3]. Alexander de Cruwys was probably either the brother or son of Richard de Cruwys. He is mentioned in an Assize Roll dating from 1238 which is summarised in The Cruwys Morchard Notebook. Clearly much more work remains to be done to unravel this early part of the Cruwys family tree.

© Debbie Kennett 2010

Saturday 15 May 2010

An intriguing marriage at St George's Hanover Square

Guild member Sian Plant has found another marriage for me in the registers of St George's Hanover Square which has led me on an interesting search through the censuses. Frederick Thomas Cruse married Catherine Harriet Frances Pringle on 6th June 1853 at St George's Hanover Square. Frederick was a bachelor of full age living at Charlotte Street, Pimlico. His occupation was given as "Bank of England". He was the son of Thomas Cruse, a land surveyor. Catherine was a spinster of full age living at Bentinck Street, St Marylebone. She was the daughter of William Henry Pringle, a lieutenant colonel. I didn't have any record of Frederick Thomas Cruse in my database but I've now located him and his wife Catherine in the 1861 census living in Greenwich. Frederick is now known as "Fred". He is a clerk at the Bank of England and obviously a man of some substance as he has sufficient means to employ a live-in cook and housemaid. Fred and Catherine have a six-year-old daughter Harriet Margaret Cruse. Harriet's forenames are mistranscribed as "Hartwig" which is understandable when you look at the census image as both names are abbreviated and are quite difficult to read. I wonder if the transcriber had been reading too much Harry Potter and was subconsciously thinking of Harry's owl Hedwig! Frederick was born about 1818 in Somerset. I've not been able to decipher his place of birth. If anyone can read it do let me know. The census image can be viewed here if you have an Ancestry subscription. The transcriber had similar difficulties and transcribed the place as "Kateth". I cannot check the place of birth in any subsequent censuses as Fred sadly died in 1864. In 1851 he was lodging in St Pancras but only gave the county of Somerset for his place of birth. I've been unable to find a suitable match in the 1841 census. It seems likely that Frederick is in some way related to the Cruses of Rode in Somerset.  Jeremiah Cruse (1758-1819) of Rode was a well-known land surveyor, but without a baptism for Fred or the 1841 census entry I am unable to link him into the tree. I don't have any record of a Thomas Cruse of the right age working as a land surveyor.

© Debbie Kennett 2010

Friday 14 May 2010

West Ham marriages

I have received a big envelope in the post from Guild member Peter Copsey containing a large number of faux marriage certificates from his recent Marriage Challenge for the West Ham Registration District. I would like to thank Peter for all his hard work locating all these marriages in the parish registers at the Chelmsford Record Office. I have provided outline details of all the marriages below with the name of the tree in brackets where known. Copies of the certificates can be supplied on request.

- 1858 St John the Evangelist, Stratford: James Cruse (widower), a re???er officer, father dead (name not given), and Charlotte Margaret Goodwin Hitch, widow, daughter of John Hunt, a re????er officer.

- 1866 St John the Evangelist, Stratford: Mary Ann Elizabeth Crews, daughter of George Richard Crews, lighterman, and Edmund Franklin, son of Edmund Franklin, farmer.

- 1878 St Mary's, Wanstead: Sarah Cruse, daughter of Thomas Cruse, labourer, and Henry White, son of Ezekiel White, gardener.

- 1888 Annie Ada Louise Cruse, daughter of George Cruse, gentleman, and William Henry Jolly, ship builder, son of George Jolly, retired civil services.

- 1893 All Saints, West Ham: Albert Garrick Cruse, warehouseman, son of Henry Cruse, silversmith, and Caroline Abra Herridge, daughter of Francis Herridge, carpenter (William Cruse and Mary Ann Guildersleve line).

- 1897 St Gabriel's Church, Canning Town: John Charles Cruse (widower), lighterman, son of George Cruse, labourer, and Hannah Coughlin, daughter of Jeremiah Coughlin, stevedore.

- 1901 All Saints Parish Church, West Ham: Edward Thomas Cruse, printer, son of Edward Thomas Cruse, beadle, and Janet Frances Amelia Gillard, daughter of Arthur Gillard, carpenter (John Cruse and Mary Rook line)

- 1903 All Saints Parish Church, West Ham: Charles William Cruse, tram conductor, son of Silas Cruse, engineer's foreman, and Eva May Humphries, daughter of William Thomas Humphries, painter (Imber Cruses from Wiltshire)

- 1903 St Mary the Virgin, Plaistow: Henry Goodwin Cruse, agent, son of Henry Goodwin Cruse, agent, and Beatrice Rose Titin, daughter of George Titin, piano maker. (William Cruse and Mary Ann Guildersleve line).

- 1906 All Saints Parish Church, West Ham: Edward Thomas Cruse (widower), printer, son of Edward Thomas Cruse, beadle, and Louisa Edith Carswell, daughter of Arthur Carswell, deceased. (John Cruse and Mary Rook line)

1909 St Barnabas, Walthamstow: James Henry Crewes, clerk, son of James Eastlake Crewes, turner, and Julia Sophia King, daughter of Joseph King (profession illegible).

1911 Sarah Louisa Cremer, bookfolder, daughter of James Cremer, brewer, and Adam William John Lopez, printer, son of Samuel Lopez, painter.
(Note this marriage was incorrectly transcribed on FreeBMD under the surname Crewes. The register clearly shows that the surname was Cremer not Crewes. A copy of the faux certificate can be supplied on request to any interested researchers.)

© Debbie Kennett 2010

Thursday 13 May 2010

Award from My Heritage

I'm delighted to report that the kind people at My have chosen this blog as one of their top 100 genealogy sites of 2010. My Heritage "wanted to identify and give recognition to websites which offered high-quality content, were innovative in topic or design, and which were frequently updated with new content". They were also putting some emphasis on "finding hidden gems in the community".

The full list of award-winning websites can be seen here.

Top genealogy site awards

© Debbie Kennett 2010

Saturday 8 May 2010

Another Marriage from St George's Hanover Square

Guild members Sian Plant and Mary Ghrist have kindly sent me details of another marriage found in the St George's Hanover Square Marriage Challenge:

- 1867 St Michael Chester Square: Henry Cruse, son of Stephen Cruse, gardener, and Martha Margaret Elcock, daughter of John Elcock, gardener

Henry Cruse was born about 1839 in Teddington, Middlesex, and was the son of Stephen Cruse by his first wife Elizabeth Pasco. Stephen was born about 1806 in Teddington, and was the son of William Cruse, who was also a gardener. No baptism has yet been located for Stephen and we are currently unable to trace this line back any further.

© Debbie Kennett 2010

Tuesday 4 May 2010

Marriage certificates from the Shrewsbury tree

Just before the cost of ordering certificates from the General Register Office went up at the beginning of April I put in a large £119 certificate order. I purchased three Cruwys marriage certificates for some puzzling Cruwys marriages which I had been unable to place. Outline details of the marriages are provided below:

- 1846 The Register Office, Shrewsbury, Shropshire: Thomas Cruwys, widower, tailor, son of Thomas Cruwys, innkeeper, and Hannah Walton, spinster, daughter of Corbet Walton, tailor

- 1860 The Parish Church, Chatham, Kent: Henry Cruwys, Private 53rd, son of William Cruwys, dyer, and Sarah Maile, daughter of Edward Maile, shoemaker

- 1860 Register Office, Stoke Damerel: Henry Cruwys, widower, sergeant in ??? Regiment, son of William Cruwys, master dyer of Wellington, Shropshire, and Ruth Badger, widow and licensed victualler, daughter of William Hugoe [?]

Although the marriages took place in different parts of the country it turns out that all three marriages relate to the Cruwys tree from Shrewsbury in Shropshire which I wrote about in an earlier posting.

The 1846 marriage certificate of Thomas Cruwys is particularly useful as it gives us the name of his father, though I am still not as yet able to link him into one of the other Cruwys trees. In the 1841 census Thomas was living in Shrewsbury with his presumed wife Hannah and three children. It would therefore appear that both of Thomas's wives shared the same Christian name. However, I have not been able to find any record of the death of the first Hannah in the GRO indexes. Thomas died in 1848 but I cannot find his widow Hannah in any of the subsequent censuses, and there does not appear to be a matching death registration on Free BMD.

The Henry Cruwys who features in the other two certificates I purchased is, I believe, the grandson of Thomas and Hannah Cruwys of Shrewsbury. Henry was born on 7th November 1833 in St Chad, Shrewsbury, and was the son of William Cruwys (1809-1870) and his wife Elizabeth. William was born c.1809 in Shrewsbury, but I have been unable to find a record of his baptism to confirm his parentage. Henry Cruwys and his second wife Ruth Badger née Hugoe can be found in the 1861 census in St Chad, Shrewsbury, hiding under the mistranscription of Crump. Henry was a soldier, but I cannot read the name of his regiment. Henry and Ruth then seem to disappear from the records. I can find no trace of them in any of the subsequent censuses and there is no record of their deaths in the GRO indexes.

This Shrewsbury line is particularly problematic and I would be very pleased to hear from anyone researching this tree or any of the other associated surnames.

© Debbie Kennett 2010

Three more marriage certificates

I've received a further three certificates this week from three separate Guild marriage challenges. Outline details of all the certificates are provided below.

Faversham District
 - 1931 Saints Peter and Paul, Ospringe, Kent: Frederick Harry Cruse, window cleaner, son of Harry Cruse, gentleman, and Doris Lilian Friday, daughter of George Friday, labourer. [Kenton tree from Devon]

St George's Hanover Square Registration District
 - 1851 St George's Hanover Square: Catherine Russell Cruise, daughter of Robert Russell Cruise, esquire, and Thomas Wallace, esquire, son of Thomas Wallace, clerk

West Derby Registration District
- St Mary Edge Hill: 1862 Susannah Cruse, daughter of George Cruse (deceased), and William Pritchard, commercial traveller, son of James Pritchard, commercial traveller.

Only the Faversham marriage can currently be allocated to a specific tree. If anyone would like copies of these certificates do get in touch.

Thanks to Shelagh Mason for the Faversham certificate, Sian Plant for the St George's Hanover Square certificate and Susan Atkins for the West Derby certificate. There should be more certificates to come from West Derby in due course but the Liverpool Record Office is going to close shortly for two and a half years for refurbishment so the second phase of the West Derby Marriage Challenge has been suspended.

Family Finder test now on sale

I wrote in detail in a previous post  about the new autosomal Family Finder DNA test from Family Tree DNA. I am pleased to advise that the test has been officially launched and is now on general sale. Up until yesterday sales were restricted to existing Family Tree DNA customers. The official press release can be read on Dick Eastman's online genealogy blog. The FTDNA home page does not appear to have been amended as yet and the test is still shown as "coming soon". The test can however be ordered via the products page or through one of the many FTDNA projects. I will be writing more about this new test in the coming months as more results are received and I can see how it works, both for my own research and in a wider context within my Cruwys/Cruse DNA Project and in my Devon DNA Project.

© Debbie Kennett 2010

Friday 30 April 2010

The new Family Finder test from FTDNA

In February this year Family Tree DNA announced the introduction of an exciting new DNA test called the Family Finder. The test is being rolled out in a phased release, and is currently available to existing customers only. It is scheduled to be launched to the general public in the coming weeks. Traditionally family historians have used Y-chromosome (Y-DNA) tests to look for surname matches in the direct paternal line, and mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) tests to find genealogical matches in the direct maternal line. The Family Finder looks at the 22 autosomal chromosomes to find matches on all your ancestral lines, but is best suited for finding matches with close cousins up to the fourth or possibly fifth cousin level. The test works by locating shared segments of DNA and predicting relationships based on the number and length of shared segments. FTDNA have provided an excellent set of FAQs (frequently asked questions) on the new test which can be found here. The FAQs are updated at regular intervals so it is worth checking back from time to time. A demo can be seen here. If you already have an FTDNA account make sure you are logged out before accessing the demo page.

Autosomal DNA is shuffled up and becomes diluted with each new generation. The following figures show the average amount of autosomal DNA shared with close relatives:

50% mother, father and siblings
25% grandfathers, grandmothers, aunts, uncles, half-siblings
12.5% first cousins
6.25% first cousins once removed
3.125% second cousins, first cousins twice removed
0.78% third cousins
0.20% fourth cousins

The percentages can vary. A son might for instance inherit 53% of his DNA from his mother, but only 47% from his father. While the Family Finder test is sensitive enough to detect shared DNA for most third cousins, some fourth cousins will test and not have a match. It is recommended wherever possible to test the oldest generations in your family to maximise your chances of finding matches with your more distant cousins. Rather than test myself I have therefore had tests done on my mother and father as part of the beta-testing programme. My dad's results have now come through. My mum unfortunately sent off the vials without including the brushes and is having to redo her test so it will be a while before I get her results! When the results came in I was very surprised to discover that my dad had 12 matches despite the fact that the test is still very new and there can be no more than a few thousand people in the database at present. One of his matches is in the second to fourth cousin range. The remaining matches are what FTDNA terms "speculative" and are in the fourth/fifth to distant cousin range. The screenshot below shows how the matches are presented with the names of the matches obscured for privacy. You will need to click on the picture to enlarge it to see the details.
As can be seen, the Family Finder picks out surnames in common and highlights them in bold. In this case it matched Reid with Rudd and Peden with Paddon, though as far as I can establish there is no known genealogical connection. A chromosome browser is provided so that you can see the location of the shared segments. The screenshot below shows the chromosome browser view with my dad's presumed second to fourth cousin. Names have been removed for privacy.
In this case my dad shares a chunk of autosomal DNA on chromosome 16 with his newly found cousin. If the relationship was closer there would be more matching segments. With a more distant match the segments would be smaller. It is also possible to compare the matching segments for up to three people at a time. The screenshot below shows a comparison between three matches in the fifth to distant cousin range who all have correspondingly smaller chunks of matching DNA, again with the names blanked out.
The Family Finder test will help to identify relatives but establishing where they belong in your family tree can only be achieved by traditional genealogical research. To get the best out of the test you will therefore need to do your own research on all your lines for at least three or four generations. You must also hope that the people you match will have done the equivalent research too wherever possible. I have now contacted most of my matches but we have not been able to find any connections as yet. The closest match lives in America. All her lines are from Germany and Denmark apart from one line which is from England. Unfortunately she has not yet been able to establish where in this country her English line originated, and the surname is not one which appears in my tree.

The speculative matches at the fifth to distant cousin level will in most situations not be worth pursuing because of the difficulties in researching every line back this far. I have already done a substantial amount of research on my father's line but it was quite sobering when I looked at his pedigree to see how far back I could trace all the branches.  Although I can trace some lines back to the 1600s, and in some cases back to the 1200s, I have been less successful with my research in some of the other lines. I can currently identify fourteen of my dad's sixteen great-great grandparents, but just eight of his thirty-two great-great-great grandparents. In most instances I've taken the line back beyond the censuses to a specific parish, but a substantial amount of parish register reconstruction in many different counties would now be required to trace these lines further back in time. I also have a substantial brick wall with a certain William Hunter who was born c.1798 in Scotland. He married in 1828 in Stepney and appears in both the 1851 and 1861 censuses in Limehouse in the East End of London where he rather unhelpfully tells us that he was born in Scotland with no indication as to the county or parish. There are rather a lot of William Hunters born around this time on the Scotland's People website and it would be a huge undertaking to trace and eliminate each one. I suspect that because of the large number of Scottish emigrants to America William Hunter will be responsible for the majority of my dad's matches with cousins on the other side of the Atlantic.

There are further Family Finder features in development. The test will eventually give percentages based on ethnic origin, though this feature would probably not tell me very much as I anticipate that I would be 100% European on both my maternal and paternal lines. More interestingly, I understand that results will eventually be reported for the X-chromosome, and there are plans for a separate X-chromosome browser. The X-chromosome has a special inheritance pattern which makes it easier to pinpoint the ancestor contributing the shared X-chromosome so this should be a very useful tool.

The Family Finder test is not a replacement for Y-DNA and mtDNA testing, but it can be a useful complement to those tests, and can be particularly useful for proving relationships in the last four or five generations. As with all DNA testing it is a tool which needs to be used in conjunction with the paper records. Its value will grow as the database becomes larger and there is more chance of finding meaningful matches. I've seen a lot of orders going through my FTDNA projects, and I'm sure that it will not take long for that to happen.

With effect from July 2013 the price of the Family Finder test has been reduced to just $99 (£60). See my blog post Autosomal DNA testing is now affordable for all for further details.

An X-chromosome matching service was added to the test in January 2014. For details see my blog post on Family Finder X-chromosome matching.

Read my article An autosomal DNA success story to understand how the test can work in practice.

See also my article Tracking DNA segments through time and space.

© Debbie Kennett 2010

E W Crewes, Mayor of Burra, South Australia

A researcher in Australia has very kindly sent me a couple of photographs she took while on a visit to a little town called Burra in South Australia.  She tells me that Burra "was settled in the mid-1800s by Cornish settlers who came as part of the gold rush. At the time it was one of Australia's largest inland towns and, as with most of South Australia, it holds on to its past and values its heritage by maintaining many of its old buildings. So it is still fairly much the same but now is mostly a tourist destination." As she was walking past one of the buildings she spotted the name Crewes on a plaque:

Ernest William Crewes was the former mayor of Burra. He was born in 1859 in Bridgwater, Somerset, and emigrated to Australia at the age of 19 with his mother and sister. An account of his life can be found on the Burra notables website. Crewes is one of the rarer variant spellings of the surname and is found mostly in Cornwall. Tom Johns documented most of the Creweses in England in his booklet Crewes of South Cornwall and their ancestors in Liskeard, Cornwall and Cruwys Morchard, Devon. I have yet to enter the details of this Crewes line into my database, and the booklet unfortunately has no index. I cannot see any reference to Ernest William Crewes in the booklet but I suspect that his line will eventually trace back to Cornwall. The Cornish Crewes are descended from the Cruwys Morchard family from Anthony Cruwys or Crewes (born c.1505), the son of John Cruwys of Cruwys Morchard via his second wife Mary Fraunceys. The link between the surnames Crewes and Cruwys has already been confirmed by a match in the DNA Project, but further Crewes participants would be most welcome.

© Debbie Kennett 2010