Looking for my John Davey

Back in 1990, after 10 years of teaching full time, I earned the right to Long Service Leave so took off for three months around the world. West coast America to see Disneyland and the canyons, Alaska to fly above the Arctic Circle and visit an inuit town, Europe to see the large towns and famous buildings like Eiffel Tower and Leaning tower of Pisa, sail in the Greek islands, travel down the Nile and climb in the Pyramid of Giza but most of all visit the country of my ancestors Great Britain.

Very little was digitized at this time, many records were on microfilm or in original records. So I spent a few days at the Devon Archives when they were located in the middle of Exeter. I was trying to find out who my John Davey was, where he came from, who were his parents and siblings. I stayed in a B&B in Clyst Honiton.

What did I know about John Davey before I left?

  • John was my great great grandfather who married Annie Dixon in 1859. He was 26, she was 18. Until his death in 1888, they raised seven sons and five daughters to adulthood. They lived in English Town, near Evandale, Tasmania
  • John was born in Devon, England. He was brought out to Tasmania as a farm servant to George Meredith on the East Coast of Tasmania.  John was Church of England and could read and write. He arrived in Hobart Town aged 20 on 13 February 1855 on board ‘Wanderer‘.  John was occasionally mentioned in the ‘Meredith papers’ which are housed in the State Library Archives in Hobart.  He was recorded last at ‘Cambria‘ in January 1857.  His wages at this time were 7 pounds and 10 shillings per quarter.

By the time I had finished my research at the Devon Archives, I had the feeling that my John Davey was born in Coffinswell in 1836. In fact, I started with a list of 50 John Davey born around 1835 in Devon and by the end of my research was down to 7 possibilities but the most likely being the one born in Coffinswell. I added this to my tree on Ancestry and of course, it has now been copied by many relatives onto their trees.

I now know better than to do this.

Since that trip to England 30 years ago, I have been to New Zealand to visit cousins there – one of John Davey’s daughters married and moved to New Zealand. She had a birthday book which she handed down through her family so I asked the current owner if they could send me any names relating to the Davey surname.

One of these was John Davey born 21 January 1834. Could I assume this was my John Davey? But the Coffinswell John Davey was born in 1836? How to prove who was my real John Davey?

Thirty years have now passed

If only I had checked those John Davy (note different spelling) births in Devon, I would have made an immediate hit but instead it has taken me 30 years until a match in mum’s DNA linked back to a person who had an ancestor Luke Davy in Devon. How was this Luke Davy related to my John Davey?

They were siblings. So mum and her DNA match named Ivor are 3rd cousins sharing 99cM across 5 segments.

This John Davy was born  21 January 1834 in Clyst Honiton, Devon, England. He was one of  12 children born to John and Mary Anne Davy nee Jennings in Heavitree area of Devon, England.

My reminder from this is to search all probable spellings of a surname. Sometimes my John was a Davey other times a Davy.

Readers: Have you made a mistake with a person on your tree? How did you go about fixing it?

Check your tree!

Was reading the feed in my Facebook groups and came across an interesting post in Louise Coakley’s private group about Using DNA for Genealogy in Australia and New Zealand. PS Remember to answer questions if requesting to join.

As I have many trees on Ancestry.com, I thought I would check out some of these posts about an in depth guide to Ancestry. There are 11 parts to this guide so far and the first one was about trees.

My trees

I have 7 trees I am owner of on Ancestry. My main tree is Wyatt family tree and that is where I add in all my matches as I work out where they are in my tree. So I use matches from myself, but also my mother, father and brother.

Because I had no idea of my father’s side of the tree until recently, I also began one labelled DNA Wyatt Dad Kevin. This is a lot of mirror trees based on dad and his half brother Kevin’s common matches to try and work out where they all intercept. But I wont be using this much now as I have now got dad’s side of the tree back a few more generations since a new close DNA match appeared a few weeks ago. This tree is private and not searchable.

When I was trying to work on dad’s DNA and whether he had Samoan ancestry, I asked a couple of his Smith cousins to test and I created trees to match them as well. I don’t add to these unless DNA matches ask for information through the messaging system. By the way, no Samoan and these are now half cousins as well.

I have done the same for a few of mum’s cousins who have tested at my request, so I have 3 trees created for them. Two are public and linked to DNA tests, one has now been made private but searchable as the person has now died who did the test for me.

Next step

So I went into my DNA matches list to see what the trees were like for my matches. I only looked at those up to and including 4th-6th cousin.

DNA matches tree types

 

Out of 340 matches I checked

  • nearly 50 % have a linked tree I can look at, but some of them may only have a few names of parents or grandparents or might even all be labelled ‘Living’.
  • nearly a quarter of my matches have no tree at all but if they are high up in my matches I might still be able to work out where they fit on my tree. In fact, I have worked out 9 of the 81 matches that have no tree.
  • an unlinked tree just means the owner of the tree hasn’t linked their DNA to the tree yet. I have 59 unlinked and 12 that are unlinked but also private. From those 71 matches, I have worked out how 6 of them link into my tree.
  • out of the 20 linked but private trees, I have 4 with common ancestor mentioned and I have proven these to be connected correctly to my tree.
  • I also have two that say the tree is unavailable but clicking on those words takes me to their page and a tree I can click on. One I have matched and is added on my tree, the other I have a good idea where it links but not proven yet.

As I mainly work on my parents DNA match lists, I probably have, in reality, a lot more matches added to my tree than I have from my match list. As I work out where the person fits in my tree, I add this in the note section of their profile page. As my parents are one further generation closer to the ancestors, I usually add these notes on their matches rather than mine.

From this image you can see I know where the person fits in my tree (the orange star), they fit into three family lines on my mother’s side and the ancestor couple we have in common is George and Martha Davey nee Colgrave.

Readers: If you have a tree on Ancestry, does it have your DNA linked to your name on the tree? Is your tree public, or private? If private is it also searchable? Do you use the notes section and the colour coding for your matches?

 

We have movement on the Wyatt front!

As my regular readers know, my father is my problem child when it comes to DNA and paper trails and oral trails.

Until about three years ago, he was an only child with a half brother and half sister he knew about, living in Hobart but had not met formally. Then after me writing about his father in a post on my old website, two sisters (Kylie and Julie) living in New South Wales got in contact with me, saying there were many similarities to their grandfather (Alan Wyatt) in my grandfather William Allen Wyatt. Both in the navy, both stewards, both same birth day and month, both same mother and father mentioned on marriage records. We compared photos of their grandfather and a photo my dad had who we thought might be his father. More similarities.

Just to cinch it, their father (Kevin) tested his DNA. Results confirmed my dad and their dad were half brothers. So dad now has a half brother and half sister living in Hobart area, and a half brother and two half sisters living in New South Wales. With DNA matches the closest was a 4th-6th cousin so without us being able to go back 4-5 generations we were stuck.

Now this is where the movement happens!

Suddenly a week or so ago, a new DNA match appeared as either 1st or 2nd cousin to Dad and Kevin. Flurry of messages through Ancestry and emails back and forth between the match, his sister (who is the keeper of the family history) and it looks like dad might have two more half brothers. This is the basic timeline we have worked out for William Allen aka William Allen Wyatt aka Alan Wyatt. Some of it still needs to be verified but…..

William Elvis ALLEN (note surname)

  • 1902 born in Croydon, Surrey England on 27 June (Same date on our certificates) Mother Florence Emily Evans (same as our certificates)
  • 1918-1920 he joined the Navy in Britain looks like for a 12 year period
  • 1924 marries Emily Daisy Green at registrars office, Sydney stating he is 28 years old to Emily age 27
  • 1924 son born to couple
  • 1925 son born to couple but William leaves before child is born – son of this child is the new DNA match
  • 1925-1927 William Alvis Allen joins the Royal Australian Navy for 12 years – mother Florence, same birth date and birth place as William Elvis Allen
  • 1929 William Alan Wyatt living at 160 Goulburn Street with the Avery family – Denison Electoral Roll
  • 1929 marries Jean Violet Ward at registrars office, Hobart stating he is 25 and so is Jean; mother Florence Emily Wyatt nee Evans
  • 1929-1931 two children born to couple
  • 1930 William joins Royal Australian Naval Reserve for period of 3 years
  • 1931 Alan William Wyatt living at 3 Allison Street with wife Jean – Denison Electoral Roll
  • 1931 After June, no longer assessed at the Naval Depot
  • 1932 William Alan Wyatt marries Irene Smith at Holy Trinity Church – living at 160 Goulburn Street – age 30 widower, 2 chn living, wife died 1931; mother Florence Emily Wyatt nee Evans
  • 1932 son born to couple
  • 1935 William Alan deserts Irene and her child (my dad)
  • 1936 Alan Wyatt marries Stella Wilby Parrish at Wollongong St Michaels parish church – age 36; mother Florence Emily Wyatt nee Evans
  • 1937-1943 three children born to this couple including Kevin
  • 1940 marriage to Emily Daisy Green dissolved by NSW Supreme Court on grounds of desertion
  • 1945 decree absolute granted for Irene Wyatt on grounds of desertion
  • 1974 Alan Wyatt dies in Wollongong, New South Wales

Readers: Do you think William ALLEN could also be William Alan WYATT? What is some other research I will need to do to prove it according to genealogical evidence needed?

 

 

 

 

 

No genetic relationship but ….

Mum and Sibyle have been friends for ages through the Girl Guide movement where they were both commissioners at some stage and members of Trefoil.  A few years ago they were travelling back from a meeting in Launceston via Evandale where many of my COLGRAVE and DAVEY relatives were born. Mum pointed out a house where her great aunt Ethel lived and mentioned she had brought me up there one time when I was a baby.  To mum’s surprise, Sibyle said Ethel was her cousin – in fact they were first cousins once removed.

So how are mum and Sibyle related?

They both share Francis COLGRAVE and Isabella WATKINS(ON) – Sibyle through her grandfather Samuel Colgrave and mum through her great grandfather Francis John Colgrave, sibling to Samuel.

Sibyle turned 100 last year and as she is one generation older than my mum, I thought I would ask if I could get her DNA tested. She said yes, so I spent a fantastic afternoon in the nursing home, chatting to Sibyle while she worked up enough spit to put in the tube to send back to Ancestry.

Wait …wait … wait …

Two nights ago, the results came in. Now as 2C1R I was expecting to see mum and Sibyle sharing at least some DNA but when I went to shared matches for mum, Sibyle was not there. Why not?  I asked on a Facebook DNA group was it unusual for 2C1R not to share DNA and had many replies but one was from Blaine Bettinger who had written a great post about just this problem.

Yesterday I uploaded Sibyle’s DNA to Genesis. This is the next version from Gedmatch. It allows people to compare others who have tested with other DNA companies not just Ancestry.  Because of the algorithm used by Ancestry some smaller segments might not be included in their results, so I was hoping those smaller segments would be there in Genesis.

More waiting … but using the one to one comparison, I found mum and Sibyle did share DNA but only 18cM over two segments which should mean they relate about 5 generations back.

Results comparing mum and Sibyle using Genesis.

I then decided to compare the amount of DNA from matches shared by both mum and Sibyle. The results in the table are from Ancestry other than the one where I have Genesis.

Readers: Has anyone else had a surprise when there was no DNA when you thought there should be especially with closer relatives?

Love the research!

Maybe I should have been a detective!

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.

Birth certificate of Harriet where father is noted as John Holliday Boyd

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!

Come on Sue, get on with that research!!