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

Friday 23 April 2010

Miscellaneous marriages

I've now just about caught up on all the marriage certificates I've received in recent months from the various Guild Marriage Challenges. I've provided an outline below of the certificate details. If you are interested in any of these marriages do get in touch.

Brighton Marriage Challenge
- 1899 St Peter's Church, Brighton: Frank Cruse, drayman, son of William Cruse, labourer, and Alice Chamberlain, daughter of George Chamberlain, labourer (Imber tree).

As a bonus from this Marriage Challenge a Cruse was also sighted as a witness at another Brighton wedding. On 7th June 1903 Walter Cruse was one of the witnesses at the wedding of Percival William Moody, a watchmaker's assistant, and Harriet Ellen Killick. Walter was born in 1870 in New Shoreham, Sussex, and was the son of Richard Cruse and Mary Jane White. Walter is descended from the Sussex Cruse line from Chailey who, to my knowledge, are completely unrelated to the Imber Cruses from Wiltshire.  Walter Cruse married in the June quarter of 1904 in the Brighton Registration District but unfortunately the marriage wasn't found in the Marriage Challenge, probably because the marriage took place in a Register Office.

Derby Marriage Challenge
- 1841 St Werburgh, Derby: William Crewes, currier [carrier?], son of William Crewes, shoemaker, and Mary Ann Matthews, widow, daughter of Walter Gibson, currier [carrier].

- 1901 St Mary Magdalene, Davington, near Faversham: Harry Cruse, sapper, son of John Pester Cruse, smith, and Harriet Hunt, daughter of Springfield Hunt, shepherd. [Note: In the 1901 census Harry Cruse, 28, was a sapper with the Royal Engineers based at Sheerness Garrison in Sheerness, Kent.]

- 1924 St Mary of Charity, Faversham: Frances Minnie Cruse, domestic servant, daughter of Harry Cruse, locomotion engineer, and Harry Robert Green, electrician on the Southern Railway, son of Herbert James Green, electrician on the Southern Railway.

- 1952 St Mary of Charity, Faversham: Doris May Cruse and Keith Frank Brooks.

- 1955 St Mary of Charity, Faversham: Olive Joan Cruse and John Henry Foulcer.

The four Faversham certificates all relate to the Kenton tree from Devon. The Harry Cruse who married Harriet Hunt in 1901 was born in Kenton in 1871, the son of John Pester Cruse, a blacksmith, and Fanny Sheppard. This tree can be traced back to Samuel Cruse and Mary Discombe who married on 12th December 1782 in Kenton.

Guildford Marriage Challenge
- 1894 St John, Busbridge: Francis Graham Cruse, gentleman, son of Francis Cruse, gentleman clerk in holy orders and Alice Ramsay Adelaide Sladen, daughter of Ramsay Cunliffe Sladen, a Lieutenant in the 98th Regiment (Rode tree).

Okehampton Marriage Challenge
- 1893 North Tawton, Devon: George Crews, Metropolitan Police Officer (father's name left blank) and Ellen Setter, daughter of John Setter

- 1896 The Parish Church, Okehampton: Eliza Crews, daughter of John Crews, labourer, and John Tinscott, labourer, son of Edward Tinscott, labourer

Thanks to Colin Ulph for the Brighton certificate, Sue Horsman for the Derby certificate, Shelagh Mason for the Faversham certificates, Sheila Forster for the Guildford certificate, and Barbara Roach for the Okehampton certificates.

Wednesday 21 April 2010

St George's Hanover Square marriages

I'm still catching up on my backlog of marriage certificates received through the Guild Marriage Challenges. Guild members Sian Plant and Mary Ghrist bravely offered to search the parish registers in the large St George's Hanover Square Registration District. Many of the London marriages are now available online to Ancestry subscribers but the registers for St George's Hanover Square are held at Westminster City Archives and have not been digitised by Ancestry, so this marriage challenge is particularly welcome. Sian and Mary are still working through the registers but have so far kindly send me two marriages. The details are as follows:

- 1841 St George's Hanover Square: Mary Ann Crews, widow, daughter of Richard Dennis, blockmaker, and Thomas Ruth, servant, son of Robert Gillard Ruth, bricklayer

- 1878 St George's Hanover Square: Frances Helen Cruise, daughter of William Cruise, gentleman, and John Hearney, gentleman, son of William Cruise, gentleman

I do not yet have either of these marriages allocated to a tree. If you are researching either of these lines do get in touch.

To find out more about St Georges Hanover Square visit their official website. There is a whole section devoted to the history of the church.

West Brom Marriage Challenge

I've received details of two Cruwys marriages from Guild Member Karen Burnell who recently undertook a Guild Marriage Challenge for the Registration District of West Bromwich. Both marriages relate to the Wiveliscombe/Oakford Cruwys tree. The details are as follows:

- 1899 St James, Handsworth, Staffordshire: John Alfred Cruwys, carpenter, son of James Cruwys, contractor, and Mary Jane Cooper, daughter of John Cooper, gardener.

- 1902 St James, Handsworth, Staffordshire: Frank Herbert Cruwys, clerk, son of James Cruwys, contractor, and Ada Mary Rowley, daughter of Benjamin Rowley, a miller.

John Alfred Cruwys (1870-1949) and Frank Herbert Cruwys (1878-1952) are the sons of James Cruwys and Fanny Cruwys Farmer. James and Fanny were first cousins. James was the representative for the railway contractor Joseph Firbank who was involved in the construction of many of the new railway lines which were built in the second half of the nineteenth century, including the Midland mainline railway.

I've sent copies of the certificates to my two contacts who are researching this line. If anyone else would like a copy do get in touch.

Monday 19 April 2010

Cruses in the Mormon Migration Index

The new Mormon Migration Index website provides details of around 90,000 members of the Church of the Latter-day Saints who crossed the Atlantic between 1840 and 1860. The website is based on material which was previously available on the Mormon Immigration Index CD, published in 2000. Passenger lists can be searched by surname. Transcriptions of letters, diaries and extracts from autobiographies relating to the voyages have also been made available online.

There are three Cruses in the database: Charlotte Cruse (1821-1905), Julia Matilda Cruse (1823-1916) and Mary Cruse (1812-1851). They were all from the village of Boxford in Berkshire.

Charlotte Cruse and Julia Matilda Cruse were sisters. They were the daughters of James Cruse (1782-1857) and Mary Joyce (1784-1857) who married in 1807 in Hampstead Norris, Berkshire. Charlotte and Julia were the youngest of seven children. Charlotte was born on 31st March 1821 in Boxford. Julia was born on 17th June 1823 in Boxford. They sailed to America on the James Pennell departing from Liverpool on 2nd September 1849 and arriving in New Orleans, Louisiana, on 22nd October 1849. Charlotte married William Washington Thorpe in 1850 in St Louis, Missouri, and Julia married Amos Howe in 1851, also in St Louis, Missouri. The two sisters and their husbands subsequently moved to Salt Lake City in Utah.

Mary Cruse was the first cousin of Charlotte and Julia. She was born in 1812 in Boxford, Berkshire, and was the daughter of Thomas Cruse (1763-1841) and his second wife Elizabeth Pigot (c.1780-1852). Mary married Thomas Tanner (1807-1878) on 4th February 1831 in Newbury, Berkshire. Thomas and Mary Tanner, together with their children Thomas, James, George, Ebenezer, Joseph and Alma, emigrated to America on the Salt Lake trail in 1851. They sailed from Liverpool on the Olympus on 4th March 1851 arriving in New Orleans on 27th April. Mary sadly died in St Louis, Missouri, on 11th October 1851 shortly after their arrival. Mary appears in the Mormon Migration Index under her married name, Mary Tanner, but she is also mentioned under her maiden name in the accounts of the voyage of the Olympus which can be seen here.

An Axminster District marriage certificate

I have received a marriage certificate from Guild member Des Gander resulting from his recent Axminster Marriage Challenge. The certificate details are as follows:

- 1899 The Parish Church, Seaton and Beer: James Cruse, a valet, son of Francis Cruse, and Harriet Ida Tolman, daughter of William Henry Tolman, a tailor.

James Cruse was born in 1865 in Wellington, Somerset, and is the son of Francis Cruse and Martha Stradling. This was his second marriage. His first marriage took place in the December quarter of 1891 in the Bedminster Registration District though I don't yet have confirmation of the name of his first wife and her death. James's line can be traced back to Thomas Cruse (b.1797 Sampford Arundel, Somerset) and Mary Down who married c.1828.

Sunday 18 April 2010

Princess Maria's DNA results

As I mentioned in a previous posting Princess Maria Sviatopolk-Mirski took a mitochondrial DNA test with Family Tree DNA at this year's Who do you think you are? Live show in London. We now have her DNA results which have been very interesting and a big surprise. We inherit mitchochondrial DNA (mtDNA) from our mothers, and an mtDNA test therefore tells us about our direct maternal line - our mother, our mother's mother, our mother's mother's mother and so on back in time for hundreds and thousands of years.

Princess Maria's maternal line can currently be traced back for three generations to her great-grandmother. Princess Maria's mother, Princess Nadezhda Ivanovna Sviatopolk-Mirskaya, was born on 5th July 1903 in Zhitomir, Ukraine. She was the daughter of Prince Ivan Nicolaevitch Sviatopolk-Mirski (1872-1922) and Nadezhda Vassilievna Engelhardt (1879-1954). The Sviatopolk-Mirskis are a family of Polish and Russian nobility with roots in Belarus. Their ancestral home, Mir Castle in Mir, Belarus, was purchased by Princess Maria's great-grandfather, Prince Nicolai Ivanovitch Sviatopolk-Mirski, in 1895 and remained in the family until 1939. During World War II it was under the control of the Nazis, serving as a ghetto for the local Jewish population prior to their liquidation. It is now a World Heritage Site and is being restored by UNESCO. Princess Maria has been back to Belarus several times in recent years to visit her ancestral home, and is planning another visit this summer. The picture belows shows Princess Maria outside the Sviatopolk-Mirski family chapel at Mir Castle.The next photo shows Princess Maria's mother Princess Nadezhda as a young girl at Mir Castle.Princess Nadezhda married her first cousin Prince Semeon Semeonovitch Sviatopolk-Mirsky (1910-1989), the son of Prince Semeon Nicolaevitch Sviatopolk-Mirsky (1885-1917), in about 1931. The wedding took place at Mir Castle. Their first two children were born at Mir Castle: Sebastian in 1933, and Anastasia in 1935. For reasons which are not yet known they were forced to leave the castle and spent the next decade or so living in different European countries. Their third child, Irene, was born in Poland in 1937. Sadly their son Sebastian died in Bydgoszcz, Poland, in 1942. They also lived for a time in Hungary before moving to Germany where Princess Maria was born in 1946 in Meiningen. The photograph below shows Princess Maria's brother Sebastian with her sisters Irene (left) and Anastasia.In February 1948 Princess Maria's family moved to England, settling briefly in Earls Court in London before moving to Wales in 1949. Princess Maria's father Simeon had served in the Polish army but after arriving in the UK had to work as a painter and decorator. Her mother had to abandon her dreams of becoming a professional painter and instead worked in cafes, preparing sandwiches, and in hospitals as a ward orderly. Semeon and Nadezhda divorced in the 1950s. Nadezhda then married John Stepanovitch Ilchenko. She died on 21st January 1983 at the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel at the age of 79.

Princess Maria's maternal grandmother, Nadezhda Vassilievna Engelhardt, was born on 21st March 1879 in Stupina, Smolensk, Russia, the daughter of Nadezhda Nikolaevna Tchapline. She married Prince Ivan Nicolaevitch Sviatopolk-Mirski (1872-1922), a cavalry officer in the Russian Imperial Army, on 27 April 1898 at Novocherkassk, Caucasus, Russia. The photo below is of Prince Ivan and Princess Nadezhda Sviatopolk-Mirski.Prince Ivan died on 10th February 1922 at Mir Castle. Nadezhda then married Pavel Kondratenko and went to live in Argentina. She died on 12th June 1954 at the age of 75 in Buenos Aires.

We currently know nothing about Princess Maria's maternal great-grandmother, Nadezhda Nikolaevna Tchapline, other than the fact that she was born in 1859, presumably in Russia. She married into the Engelhardt family, a well-known Russian family from Smolensk, but the name of her husband is not yet known. Anastasia Vladimirovna Tikhonova, an historian and a lecturer at Smolensk State University, has been working on the genealogy of the Engelhardt family for many years and is sending Princess Maria further details on the Engelhardts.

We now turn to Princess Maria's DNA results. An mtDNA test can be used for genealogical purposes but will also tell us about our deep maternal ancestry through our haplogroup designation. Even though our paper trail might only go back for a couple of hundred years at most, the mitochondrial DNA we inherit from our mothers has barely changed in thousands of years and therefore provides a unique window into the past. There are only tiny differences in the mitochondrial DNA of all humans, but these small differences can be used to divide us into different clans or branches of the human family tree which are known as haplogroups. All the branches eventually converge in Africa. We all descend from one woman, known as mitochondrial Eve, who lived in Africa probably around 150,000 years ago. She is not the first human female to live on the planet but is simply the only woman whose daughters and female descendants have survived through to the present day. The mtDNA haplogroups often correlate with specific geographical areas. Haplogroups A, B, C, D and X are, for instance, found in native Americans. Haplogroups L1, L2 and L3 are usually only found in Africa. In Europe the principal haplogroups are H, I J, K, T, U, V, W and X. This page on the Eupedia website shows how all the European mtDNA haplogroups fit together.

Princess Maria's DNA results however show that she is not in any of the major European haplogroups and instead belongs to the very rare and ancient haplogroup known as ROa, a small branch of haplogroup RO, which was previously known as haplogroup pre-HV. Spencer Wells, in his book Deep Ancestry: Inside the Genographic Project, tells us that:
Individuals in haplogroup pre-HV can be found all around the Red Sea and widely throughout the Near East. While this genetic lineage is common in Ethiopia and Somalia, individuals from this group are found at highest frequency in Arabia. Because of their close genetic and geographic proximity to other western Eurasian clusters, members of this group living in eastern Africa are the likely result of more recent migrations back in to the continent.

Haplogroup pre-HV descends from R and is sometimes referred to as RO. These descendants live in high frequencies in the Anatolian/Caucasus region and Iran. While members of this group can also be found in the Indus Valley near the Pakistan-India border, their presence is considered the result of a subsequent migration eastwards of individuals out of the Near East...

Other members of pre-HV moved north across the Caucasus Mountains and west across Anatolia, their lineages being carried into Europe for the first time by the Cro-Magnon.
Very little seems to be known about haplogroup ROa, Princess Maria's branch of RO. It is found primarily in Europe but only at very low frequencies. It is possibly one of the original mitochondrial haplogroups in Europe, pre-dating the spread of agriculture around 10,000 years ago. There are very few samples of ROa in any of the databases, and Princess Maria is quite possibly the first or one of the first few people living in the UK to be tested with this haplogroup.

Family Tree DNA have haplogroup projects for all the mtDNA haplogroups. Princess Maria has now joined the haplogroup R project at FTDNA which encompasses haplogroup R and all the R subclades. As can be seen from the project results page here she is one of just 13 people in the project belonging to haplogroup ROa.

Princess Maria's DNA results have also been uploaded to Mitosearch, the public mtDNA database which is used by mtDNA researchers. Her results can be found on Mitosearch here. At the time of writing Princess Maria is just one of 41 people in the Mitosearch database belonging to haplogroup ROa as can be see here.

Family Tree DNA have a huge mtDNA database with almost 110,000 samples from all over the world. Not everyone who has taken an mtDNA test will necessarily join a haplogroup project or upload their results to Mitosearch. I therefore asked Eileen Krause Murphy, the mtDNA specialist at Family Tree DNA, if she could provide me with some statistics on mtDNA haplogroup ROa and its distribution. She kindly replied as follows and her comments are published here with her permission:
We have about 350 ROa's in our database. I looked up the geographic frequencies for the ones who reported a country of origin.

Greater than 10% of ROa's:
Ethiopia 13%

5-10%: (from most frequent to least)

1-5%: (from most frequent to least)
Saudi Arabia

Please note these frequencies are slightly biased by the inclusion of research study data which focused on certain populations. Still, this is perhaps helpful in identifying the geographic spread of ROa. I included those who have upgraded to the full sequence and belong to one of the branches of ROa.
There is clearly still a lot more to be learnt about the origins and the migratory path of haplogroup ROa and the picture will no doubt become clearer as more people take mtDNA tests and more ROa samples are added to the databases. Princess Maria was very excited to belong to such a rare and interesting haplogroup.

From the genealogical point of view we hope to find matches within the mtDNA databases with our genetic cousins. Our closest genetic mtDNA cousins are those people who belong in the same haplogroup as us. Within our personal haplogroup we are most closely related to those people who have identical mtDNA results. The more mismatches the more distant the shared common ancestor. With the more common haplogroups, such as haplogroup H, people can often have literally thousands of matches at the basic HVR1 level, which is effectively a low-resolution test. With the addition of HVR2 the matches are refined but people can still often have lots of matches. In contrast, Princess Maria does not currently have any matches, even at the HVR1 level. An mtDNA test is however an excellent investment because your test continues to work for you by staying in the databases and as more people get tested I would hope that Princess Maria will eventually have some matches which will provide further clues to her maternal Russian ancestry.

Update 10 May 2016
A new paper by Gandini et al Mapping human dispersals into the Horn of Africa from Arabian Ice Age refugia using mitogenomes provides results for 202 new R0A mitogenomes and their present-day distribution. The inferences about the origins of R0A are somewhat more speculative.

Further reading
"The day my mother told me I was a real-life princess". Wales Online, 10th May 2009.

Newham Know-How. The Stratford Grapevine, September 2008, p14 (pdf).


Princess Maria's photostream on Flickr

"Ten minutes with Princess Maria Sviatopolk-Mirski". Family History Monthly February 2007, issue 140, p10.

© Debbie Kennett 2010

Wednesday 14 April 2010

Cruwys/Cruse presentation on Slideshare

I was one of the speakers at the Guild of One-Name Studies DNA developments seminar which took place on 20th February 2010 in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire. In the morning I gave a presentation on my Cruwys/Cruse one-name study and DNA Project, and in the afternoon I presented a short talk on marketing and promoting a DNA project. I had never given a public presentation before and was somewhat nervous at the prospect. Fortunately the talks went much better than I expected and it was not as daunting as I had imagined. Just under 100 Guild members and DNA project administrators attended the seminar and I had some very positive feedback. I think it helped that I spent a lot of time rehearsing the talks in advance and therefore knew the subjects very well. I am very grateful to Chris Pomery for encouraging me to give the talks, and for having the faith and confidence in my abilities. The full programme for the DNA seminar can be seen here. I have now made the presentation available on Slideshare, and you can watch it online by clicking on the button below.

Tuesday 13 April 2010

Family History Monthly May 2010

The May 2010 issue of Family History Monthly is now on sale in newsagents in the UK. The issue includes a beginner's guide to palaeography (the art of deciphering old handwriting) as well as a timely look at the ancestry of David Cameron, the leader of the Conservative Party and potentially the next Prime Minister of Great Britain. I've written a review of the In the last week, Geni have announced a few updates to their website including a few fixes for some of the issues I raised in the article. The promised facility to include sources has now been added. Dates can now be set to display in the usual English order with the day followed by the month. There are also a number of other enhancements. Full details can be found on the Geni blog. Further details of the contents of the May issue can be found on the Family History Monthly website.

Princess Maria Sviatopolk-Mirski at WDYTYA

I wrote back in March about "Who do you think you are? Live" and my meeting with Princess Maria Sviatopolk-Mirski. Princess Maria has shared some of her photographs with me and very kindly given me permission to publish them here. The first photograph shows Princess Maria on the Your Family Tree stand with the writer Anthony Adolph.After receiving encouragement from Anthony Adolph Princess Maria visited the Family Tree DNA stand and provided DNA samples for a mitochondrial DNA test. Her DNA results have just come in and are very interesting. I will write about her DNA results in a separate post.Afterwards Princess Maria posed to have her photograph taken with Bennett Greenspan, the President and CEO of Family Tree DNA.A company called Overground Online, who describe themselves as "an alternative British news and culture website", were at this year's WDYTYA and filmed interviews with some of the stallholders and attendees. Princess Maria was one of the people selected to be interviewed. The picture below shows her with the film crew.The full video can be seen online below. The other interviewees include Max Blankfeld, Family Tree DNA's Vice-President of Operations and Marketing, and Penny Law, the Editor of Family History Monthly.

© Debbie Kennett 2010

Monday 5 April 2010

Cruwys/Cruse ONS in Ancestry magazine

The Cruwys/Cruse one-name study was recently featured in an article on social networking by Howard Wolinsky entitled "Electric Connections" in the January/February 2010 issue of the American magazine Ancestry. The article is now available online and can be found here. I was rather hoping that the article might lead to a few enquiries from American researchers but to date I have not had any new contacts.

Sadly Ancestry magazine ceased publication with the March/April 2010 issue. Some of the articles can however still be found online on the Ancestry website. In addition a complete archive of all the issues from the last sixteen years is now available online free of charge courtesy of Google Books. The archive can be found here.

Sunday 4 April 2010

Surname distribution maps on Dynastree

I've been having fun playing with the surname mapping function on the German-based website Dynastree. The website generates distribution maps based on telephone directory entries for the following countries: UK, USA, Canada, France, the Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Spain, Poland and Argentina. The total number of phone book entries in each country is given along with an estimate of the total number of people with that name living in each country. I initially had trouble using the website with the Google Chrome browser, but eventually managed to get it to work by loading it in Internet Explorer and enabling pop-ups for the site.

The following are the statistics generated for the surnames Crews, Cruise, Cruse and Cruwys. If you click on the surname you will be taken to the relevant distribution map.

- In the UK there are 124 phone book entries with the surname Crews and approximately 540 persons with this name.

- In the UK there are 167 phone book entries with the surname Cruise and approximately 727 persons with this name.

- In the UK there are 350 phone book entries with the surname Cruse and approximately 1,524 persons with this name.

- In the UK there are 25 phone book entries with the surname Cruwys and approximately 108 persons with this name.

It was announced back in February that OSN, the parent company of Dynastree, had been bought by My and that the two sites would be merged. It would appear that in due course the surname mapping function will be migrated to the MyHeritage website.