Since retiring from teaching eight years ago, I have started to organize my family history research more carefully. This is mainly because of the DNA tests I have requested from members of my family. I am having to keep better records of what I have done and who are matches to all the people I have had tested. Thanks to UTAS for the Diploma of Family History which I have completed since retirement. They helped with the organizing and planning for my research.
At the moment I am working with an as yet unknown 4th cousin with username wollen100. She matches my mother, my brother and me with DNA . It is only a small amount about 21cMs for each of us. But we think it might come down through the BOYD side of the tree.
Me, daughter of my mother, daughter of Hannah DAVEY, daughter of Martha COLGRAVE, daughter of Susan BOYD, daughter of John Henry or Holliday BOYD and Martha BOYD , was Virco/Vico nee HEARN.
On two birth certificates for John’s children he is mentioned as John Holliday Boyd. Looking on Ancestry, most public trees have his parents as William and Ann Boyd from Ireland. But I think that name Holliday must be significant. Also I noted that John had no children with the name of William. Perhaps a clue that William is not his father.
John was a convict tried at the Central Criminal Court in London and sent to Van Diemens Land (Tasmania) in the 1830s. But on the convict conduct record it says his native place was Plymouth which is in Devon in England. I have found a John Holliday Boyd born in 1809 in Maker, Cornwall which is across the river from Plymouth. Parents were Robert Boyd and Nancy Holliday and their marriage was in 1797 in Devon. Maybe these are the couple I need to concentrate on to find that connection to my 4th cousin.
She has a lot of ancestors in the Plymouth area of Devon with surnames VEALE, WYATT, ELLIOTT, PRIDEUX, WEST, SWAIN and WICKETT. So more research needed to connect my Boyds to one of these names on my cousins tree. I have found an Ann Boyd marrying a Richard Wyatt in 1793 at Ivybridge in Devon. Maybe Ann and Robert are siblings!
It is from my dad’s DNA testing that I have had a lot of surprises. I have been researching my family for over 45 years and thought I had all the paper work correct.
Imagine my surprise when I find all these DNA matches to dad that don’t fit into the paperwork I have.
The starred matches are those I have as connections in my home database. They include myself, my brother, dad’s half brother (another surprise), five 1st or 2nd cousins already known to us, and finally three cousins who I have now connected to dad’s tree.
But there is someone who is a 1st or 2nd cousin match who I have no idea about. When I look at the shared matches for that person, none come back to known relatives. So somewhere my paper trail must be wrong.
Then I looked at ethnicity. Dad’s great grandfather was half Samoan, so dad and I should have some Polynesian in our DNA – not a skerrick. Those 5 known cousins do from 3-10%. So where is dad’s and mine?
Where has all the Irish ethnicity come from? I hadn’t found any Irish in dad’s paperwork. Looks like there have been some lies passed down in the family oral history. Or maybe the truth wasn’t known and it is only now with DNA that the truth is appearing.
With dad’s half brother (same father) having done a DNA test, I can now sort dad’s matches into paternal and maternal. But when looking at the maternal matches, I find the unknown 1st or 2nd cousin comes in there. But doesn’t match those with the Polynesian ethnicity. So maybe dad’s maternal grandfather is not the son of the Samoan whaling captain I have researched for years.
I have started using the tool What are the odds (part of DNA painter) which allows me to make hypotheses of where dad’s grandfather might be in the unknown cousin’s tree.
Looking at the unknown cousin’s tree, there is a lot of Irish in there, but I still need to find which person is dad’s direct relative.
Readers: What surprises have you found in your paper trail and or DNA trail?
I had planned to write this post last Friday while I was volunteering at my local library. But I got sidetracked when a person arrived wanting help with their family history. After an hour talking to them, getting them organized with some pedigree charts and family group sheets and giving them some homework (once a teacher, always a teacher), I sat down at the library computer and began doing some research for them. Time sped by and I didn’t get to write this post. Then this morning I received the next prompt and thought – wow I need to get myself together and get this post written.
So who in my family has had a relationship with the library? Me, Sue Wyatt born in 1956 in Tasmania, Australia.
As a child I loved reading books and the rare times I got into trouble and was sent to my room, it wasn’t really a punishment. Instead lying on my bed, reading a book and my imagination took me to other places. We always had lots of books in the house as dad was also a keen reader, mainly history of Tasmania and biographies of others around the world.
We moved house my second year of high school and being a child who didn’t make friends easily, I quickly gravitated to the library during lunch hours. The librarian made me a monitor there so I stacked shelves, took books out for students and helped with the card catalogue (pre computers). It was there and then I decided I wanted to be a librarian.
But by the time I got to years 11/12 in college, I found that part of librarianship was pulling apart books – not literally but themes, reasons for doing certain actions etc. I didn’t like this – reading for me was a pleasurable activity – it wasn’t dissecting the book and the reason the author wrote the way they did. So goodbye librarian – hello teacher.
In my 35 years as a teacher, I always had a class library in my classroom – many books I had purchased myself. They were there for students to read during silent reading – but I didn’t mind if they took them home to share with family. Very few were ever lost as the students appreciated having a variety of books in the classroom. I also made sure they visited the school library and used the encyclopedias for research.
It is only since I have retired that I have started going back to the library and just before Christmas 2018 I decided to volunteer one afternoon a week at the local library. My specialty will of course be family history. We are extremely lucky here in Tasmania, that most of our family history resources like BDMs pre 1930 are digitized and available online.
Libraries Tasmania (previously LINC) have great resources including BDMs, convicts, wills, arrivals and departures all available at the press of a button and part of my volunteer role will be making sure library visitors wanting help with family history know how to use these resources. They have also created a video about using the family history resources.
Like many of the other participants in this #52ancestors challenge, my DNA is mainly Irish and English. So I have the most common Christian names like Mary, Margaret, John, James and William. When looking through my 10,000 person database which I have on my home computer, I remembered a great great aunt who married Alladean MARU. Both Christian and surname are unusual compared to my other ancestors.
Much of the information in this post is from an email received from Jenny Murphy, a descendant of Alladean.
Alladean, born 28 May 1858, was one of eight children to Abdallah Edgar MARU (1817-1896) and Eliza HAYWARD(1829 – ) His siblings were Louisa Elizabeth (1845-1877), Eliza (1846-c1862), William (1848-c1864), Alice (1850-c1862), John known as Jack (1854-1922), Robert (1861 – 1911) and Fanny (1864 – ). 1
Abdallah was of Indian origin born in Bombay in 1817 while Elizabeth was born in 1829 in Kent, England. They married in 1844 in Adelaide, South Australia where their first four children were born. The next four were born around Eaglehawk near Bendigo in Victoria, Australia. This area was growing as a gold mining centre during the 1850s and 1860s. I wonder if Alladean ever found any gold fossicking in the creeks around his home?
By 1887, Alladean was living in Tasmania and on 25 June he married Selina Anna DAVEY at the Church of the Holy Trinity, Ulverstone. 2 Both were of full age. Witnesses were Winfred Cox and his wife Julia Charlotte Cox nee Thomas.
Over the next 16 years, the couple had eight children.
The family resided at Mabel Street, Ulverstone and possibly Alladean was involved in the early tram and railway systems which opened in this area of Devonport – Ulverstone – Burnie. Post Office and the children’s birth records showed they lived here from 1887 until 1907.
The entire family left Ulverstone for New Zealand on 16 October 1907 arriving in Stratford 9 days later. By 1911, he was on the electoral roll at Broadway, Stratford with an occupation as engine driver. Earliest records state they lived in Toko, Stratford and Ohakune. Several railway systems were being developed in the Waimarino area and this allowed opening up of country with better transport.
In 1915, his son John was declared medically unfit due to foot problems. 8
In 1918, his son Charlie died of wounds during World War I and was buried at Hebuterne Cemetery. Charlie was part of the 1st Battalion, Wellington Regiment of the New Zealand Enlisted Forces. He survived Gallipoli but died during battle on the Western Front. 9
In 1918, a large fire burnt through the town of Raetihi destroying nine sawmills, 150 buildings and killing three people. According to Jenny’s email they survived this fire but the Maru homestead burnt down. A relief train had been sent from Ohakune. The bush was dense near the Raetihi railway station and the whistle had to be blown almost continuously to scare cattle on the tracks. Many residents went down to the banks of the river and into the water. By the time the train returned to Ohakune, the winds had died down and soft rain was falling.
By 1923 the family were living at Ohakune Road, Raetihi in the Waimarino division. Alladean was a sawmill machinist, his son Frank Robert was a farmer and another son John Edgar was a labourer.
On January 10, 1927 Alladean passed away suddenly while visiting his daughter near Christchurch on the South Island. He was aged 69 years. 10
After Alladean’s death, Selina went to live with her daughter Mary SOWERBY in Ashhurst near Palmerston North. She lived 14 more years and died 24 September 1941 of Chronic Brights disease.
These are copies of photos shown to me when visiting Maru family in Raetihi in the 1980s. I do not know who the people are in the photos and would love some comments from Maru relatives who might read this post.
Readers:What is the most unusual name you have found in your family?
My second challenge was my great great grandfather Captain William Smith, a half Samoan whaling captain born around 1840 in the Navigator Islands according to some documents I found. He was given the name William Smith when he arrived in Hobart Town as a young teenager on a whaling ship. Here is a link to a slide show I presented at a family history society meeting about the captain.
My third and on going challenge is finding out about my paternal grandfather, Alan William Wyatt, and his parents. My father is my problem relative with very little known about his father and his relatives; Dad’s mother’s father is not who we thought he was hence now not related to the Samoan whaling captain and Dad’s grandmother also has unknown heritage.
According to Ancestry DNA dad has 180 4th cousins or closer – I have only identified 11 of them.
According to MyHeritage, he has over 3000 matches – I have identified 7 – five of which are kits I manage.
According to FTDNA, he has 196 matches – I have identified 5 – four of which are kits I manage.