Runaway Ancestors

Charles Richard Curteis/Pilcher 1836-1915 Runaway to New Zealand and my cousin three times removed This is a lovely example of how DNA evidence and family hearsay can come together. One of my DNA matches, RP, caught my eye.  We shared enough DNA to be approximately third cousins, and had a number of more distant matches … Continue reading Runaway Ancestors

Difficult Ancestors

I had a very frustrating day at the Kent Archives yesterday! I had four Kentish Questions that I needed answering: I wanted to know the name of a father of an illegitimate baby who was born in Buckland in 1865.  There is a slim chance this might appear in the baptism or workhouse records.  But … Continue reading Difficult Ancestors

Am I a True Brent?

George Brent 1831-1898 Miner of St Dominick, Cornwall, and my 2nd great grandfather... or possibly not... The main reason I started tracing my family tree was because I knew next to nothing about my father's family.  He died when I was seven, and I had very little contact with the only living relatives on his … Continue reading Am I a True Brent?

Whibley Wobbles: who is the father of Ambrose Whibley Remington?

Ambrose Whibley Remington, 1762-1846 Gardener of Hunton, Kent, and my 4th grandfather I will confess my sins now.  When I was very new to genealogy, I committed one of the cardinal sins.  Excitedly coming across some other people's family trees that featured my ancestors, I copied names, dates and places to my own tree without … Continue reading Whibley Wobbles: who is the father of Ambrose Whibley Remington?

Ronan Quick Update

Or rather, lack of update, as I seem to have hit another wall! In my last post about my mysterious third-cousin-or-closer, I talked about how "Ronan" and I most likely shared a set of great-great grandparents, or a singular great grandparent, and based on the matches we had in common, I knew that the connection … Continue reading Ronan Quick Update

The Small World of Genealogy

A couple of weeks ago, I received an email from one of my matches on (a DNA genealogy website).  I was particularly pleased to hear from Duncan because unlike most of my matches, he was English with a tree full of English people and possible connections. But there was a shock in store...

What I Learned From My DNA

When I started researching my family mysteries, DNA was just for Little Mix and Jeremy Kyle.  The first time I really encountered DNA testing for genealogy was when I contacted my believed 3rd cousin twice removed, David Allen, for his thoughts on my great grandfather's paternity.  David Allen had done a test which showed that he had a rare paternal haplogroup (the Y chromosome, which is passed intact from father to son) and as he was (hypothetically) related to my uncle, David Downing, via an all male line, if my uncle shared the same haplogroup, then it was almost certain that my hypothesis was correct.  I got lucky here - if there had a female in the line, if I hadn't had a willing male relative, or if David Allen had belonged to a common haplogroup, we wouldn't have been able to do this.  I could have done a standard DNA test and compared it with David Allen but as our relationship is quite distant, the chances of our relationship being detectable were about 50/50.  The tests did match, and the Allens now have pride of place in my tree. Read more...

Frederick Allen Downing: finding the father of an illegitimate child

Frederick was an obvious choice for a starting point for this blog.  His parentage was the biggest mystery in my family tree, and at one point, I thought it an unsolvable mystery.  It turned out the answer was staring me in the face all along. Read more...