DNA – More than just matches

Next time you log in to your FamilyTreeDNA test check your Family Finder matches. There are now four tabs under the Family Finder – Matches screen.
Just as I haven’t stopped purchasing birth, marriage and death certificates I am sure that I am far from finished purchasing DNA kits. Particularly when I am excited about Family Tree’s DNA new phased Family Matches analysis. But not just now. I need to plan and budget first.
DNA tests for family history purposes only work when my DNA test matches with someone else’s DNA test.
Continue reading “DNA – More than just matches”

Wool staplers and wool classers

Dunmore wool shed

The 1891 shearers’ strike is just one consequence of the many pressures applied to the wool industry which has been in decline since Hargreave’s invention of the spinning jenny. some of these pressures include:

  • the mechanisation of weaving through the use of power looms,
  • the mechanisation of shearing through the introduction of powered hand pieces and the introduction of wide combs,
  • the decline in the demand for wool to cloth armies against severe winters,
  • the introduction of alternative clothes made of cotton and synthetic fibres and
  • the periodic government regulations applicable to the selling of wool.

Continue reading “Wool staplers and wool classers”

Census records – one of my gateway sources


I call some of the sources I use my gateway sources. I find them critical to breaking down brick walls. Do I stand at the gateway afraid to go any further? Do I stand in the open gateway thinking about how to approach a completely new set of sources that may contain family stories?
Passenger lists are one of my gateway sources. Before a family member embarks on their journey to Australia I focus on British sources. Once a family member arrives in Australia I search for my family stories here in Australia.
Census records, particularly those that form part of the 1841 English census collection, are one of my favourite gateway sources. They set a point in time for setting aside Australian collections and turning to English collections. Furthermore, information contained in an 1841 England census record may confirm information I already have or may give some clues about which other English collections I should look at.
For example, the 1841 England census records are pivotal in telling the story of my paternal two greats grandfather Francis Baulch and his wife Ann Bowles. The census records establish that the family was still living in Pitney, Somerset at census time. The census records also contain hints as to why the family emigrated to Tasmania with other Pitney, Somerset families not long afterwards.
There is no doubt that Francis’s family was in dire straits by 1841. As were many such families following the enclosures in the area several years beforehand. The Pitney churchwardens were concerned about the debt owed to them by Francis’s mother. Francis couldn’t help. He had a young and growing family to provide for. And Francis had difficulty getting sufficient work to sustain his own family let alone help his mother in her difficulties. One year he did manage to win the contract for hauling stone for the roads but was unable to retain the contract. Francis’s brother, Enoch, in common with many other young agricultural laborers, also had difficulty in obtaining work. And when he did have work Enoch was paid a pittance.
The 1841 England census was held on the 6th of June. It was summer harvest time and may well have been one of those times that Enoch Baulch had work. It’s likely that Enoch was one of the unnamed men recorded in the census as living in sheds.
The Baulch men, and other men like them, would have been receptive to Henry Dowling’s search for experience agricultural laborers in 1840/1841. Tasmanian farmers had appointed Dowling as their agent in the farmers search for workers to replace men who had left Tasmania for the opportunities in the new Port Phillip district.
In the autumn following the 1841 Census the Pitney churchwardens gave Francis Baulch and Charles Bartlett, both with young families to support, funds to purchase clothing and other necessities to help them emigrate. By late November 1841, the two men, their families and some closely connected families sailed for Tasmania. They were avoiding facing another bleak winter in Pitney.
But some family members didn’t come. The census records give clues as to why.
For example, Francis’s brother William Baulch was living next door to his mother at the time. No doubt to help his mother when needed. His mother remarried in 1845 so William and his family was then free to emigrate. There is a clue there in the 1841 census records that helped find William’s new home. In 1841 William Baulch and Martha Cook had a ten-year-old boy, Edward or Edmond Perrin, staying with them. There they all are emigrating to the United States in 1850 and can be followed in the US censuses from thereafter.
Others weren’t of the right age or otherwise not qualified for assistance to emigrate. Some of the children later emigrated with many of Henry Baulch’s descendants emigrating to Queensland.
Charles Edgar, one of Ann Bowles’ younger half brothers, went to Ontario, Canada.
Frances-Fletcher-TreeWhich brings me to a source that I think may become another of my gateway sources. I have a DNA autosomal match with a Canadian cousin. On my side of our family tree the match comes about because I am a descendant of Henry Bowles and Frances Fletcher, Ann Bowles’s parents. On the other side of our family tree the match comes about because my Canadian cousin is a descendant of William Edgar and Frances Fletcher, Charles Edgar’s parents. The ancestor we have in common is Frances Fletcher. The chromosome segments where we match, therefore, must have been passed down from Frances Fletcher. But which segments on which chromosomes?

Selected Bibliography:
The National Archives (TNA): HO 107/955 f4 p1 Census Returns: 1841
Canada Census 1851 -1861 [database ] www.familysearch.org
United States Census, 1860 – 1870, [database & images] www.familysearch.org
St John the Baptist Church of England (Pitney, Somerset, England). Parish chest material.
AncestryDNA [database]. www.ancestry.com.au.

Baulch Y DNA mutations

DNA ribbons
DNA ribbons

When did mutations occur in the Y DNA in our direct paternal line?
Perhaps the Colac branch can help in my new DNA search for when a change or mutation on an STR or short tandem repeat marker on the Y chromosome occurred in our Baulch branch.
I remember with great affection one of my very early visits to Baulch family members was to the late Clarrie Baulch of Colac who introduced me visit to his wife as his first cousin on the Warry side but his second cousin on the Mitchem side. Perhaps this visit foreshadowed the challenges that were to come as part of my family history research.
It’s not that long ago that it was believed that the DNA on the Y chromosome was just a lot of randomly repeated junk.
So why did I ask my brother to undertake a DNA test? And why did a second cousin as well as my brother agree to do so?
Because we have a brick wall on our paternal line. We descend from the Charles Baulch who married Ann Beddlecombe on 1 Apr 1799 at Muchelney. Charles was born to Roger Baulch and Betty Gaylard on 25 Jan 1767. But my sister that it is more than likely that Roger’s son died in infancy on 8 Mar 1767. No other mention has ever been found of another Charles Baulch. Yet it is telling that Henry Baulch, Roger Baulch’s elder son, was a witness at the wedding of Ann Beddlecombe and Charles Baulch.

Extract from Free Reg
from www.freekreg.org.uk

Yet even more telling is that my brother has an autosomal match with Hannah Baulch, a cousin of Henry and Charles Baulch.
Then again, the Y DNA results of my brother and our second cousin indicate that, at least, our Baulch line is another branch of Baulchs.

Baulch Y DNA mutations
Baulch Y DNA mutations

Our second cousin’s Y DNA results confirm a branch mutation on marker DYS710 as both he and my brother have a value of 31 on that marker.

STR Marker Mutations
STR Marker Mutations

No other Balch, Sims or Washburn men have that value and are all 32 or higher. This means that somewhere from our nearest common ancestor, our great grandfather Samuel Baulch on up, one of your Baulch ancestors mutated from 32 to 31, and that mutation was passed on to my brother and to our second cousin.

Trove Tuesday: Old Roads

Old-TrackThis is a little family story about old roads. A couple of stories just for Trove Tuesday. I wouldn’t have remembered them if Inside History hadn’t organised the cloud funding of the earliest editions of the Hamilton Spectator. It was just a small entry in the Hamilton Spectator that reminded me of two stories my father told be about roads. A small entry that had been overlooked when I first searched the paper version of the Hamilton Spectator many, many years ago at their office. And which I had overlooked in searching microfilm at the State Library of Victoria. As part of the launch of the introduction of the Hamilton Spectator to Trove Newspapers I was invited to submit an initial search. A no brainer. Both my great grandfather Samuel Baulch and my two greats grandfather William Learmonth were in the right place at the right time to take advantage of the release of Crown Land in Victoria.
But it was a line about Samuel’s brother Alfred that caught my eye. G Payne and Alf Baulch of the parish of Macarthur were absent from the Local Land Board sitting in Portland on 15 September 1870.
Hamilton-Spectator

The Hamilton Spectator, 17 June 1870, p4, c2.

Now there may be many reasons as to why these two men didn’t go to the Land Board sitting.
One may have been the difficulty of actually making the journey for Macarthur parish sits in between Hamilton and Portland and between Hamilton and Port Fairy (or Belfast). So they had some distance to travel. But the roads weren’t same as they are today.
For example, my father told me the story of how he and his father drove the truck to Heywood to pick up or deliver a load. They decided to go by the direct route – following what is now the Woolsthorpe – Heywood road. Travelling directly west from Dunmore. But there was no road and the track beyond the gate into the Dunmore forest to Ettrick was so bad that they travelled north to Myamyn and came east to Macarthur before travelling south home to Dunmore. A lot further but apparently quicker.
So the track through the stones may have been so bad that Alf Baulch was unable to attend the Land Board meeting in Portland. Certainly his older brother James paid his rent in Belfast from time to time rather than travel to Portland to do so.
Of course the first tracks which later became roads went from one run to another. For example, there was a track from Harton Hills south through Dunmore to the crossing place at Orford. But it was the track out of the Dunmore Pre-emptive Right (PR) to Macarthur that is the source of my next story. When the Heywood – Woolsthorpe road was eventually proclaimed it not only went through the forest but it also passed through the Dunmore PR. This meant that some old roads were closed and others opened. That some land became part of my grandfather’s holding and some returned to the Crown.

 Government-Road

Certificate of Title Vol 5118 Folio 441

Years later it was discovered that the areas had been miscalculated with a consequent effect on the rates levied. My father visited the Shire Office for half a day. Without any resolution as far as I can remember. There was another consequence too. By financing the power to the Dunmore Woolshed my grandfather helped bring power to the Macarthur Butter Factory. With the changes due to the making of the Woolsthorpe – Heywood road there is now a title plan to show “transmission of electricity” across what was the old road but which is now private land.

SEC-Line

Title Plan TP 551Y

So even just one line in a Trove search can remind me of family stories that may have so easily been forgotten!

Victoria Land Titles – Introduction

An old Broadwater home
An old Broadwater home

Almost always I have found family stories in Victorian land titles.
So where should one start looking?
Certainly not by searching current online databases for family historians. Most of the interesting family stories remain buried in files, memorials and research notes in either the Registrar General of Titles’ General Law Library of land titles at Laverton or at the Public Record Office of Victoria (PROV) in North Melbourne or maps at the State Library of Victoria.
In this blog I outline my personal methodology to search Victorian land titles for my family stories.

I generally start by purchasing the current land titles for the parcel of land I am researching. But before that I start finding what the current title may be with a Google search. But before I go further the following is a brief outline of my methodology:

  • Search for the address of the land on Google Maps (I am currently boycotting Bing Maps as they include Fitzroy North in their database but not the more important and relevant Fitzroy)
  • Using the Google Maps information, search for the address of the land on Landata’s Lassi map
  • Search the original parish map
  • Purchase the current computer title online
  • Purchase earlier computer titles back to the first computerised title
  • Search for earlier cancelled Torrens titles at the Public Record Office of Victoria
  • Search for the Application Note relating to the conversion of the old title to the Torrens Title at the General Law Library
  • Search for when and how the Crown Grant was acquired (remembering for some very early grants this information will be in NSW records)
  • Having started with the current title and worked backwards to the Crown Grant, start with the Crown Grant and work to the current title
  • Confirm information found by searching other sources alluded to in the land records. These may include probates, insolvencies and BMD information but may also include less common sources such as those for divorces, neighbouring landholders and dowers.

Now this methodology hasn’t been applicable for each piece of land I have ever searched but it is where I start out. Nevertheless, I shall use two parcels of land to illustrate how my methodology works.

GOOGLE MAPS

Not all land information is offline. Indeed the best place to start a Victorian land search is online with a Google search for the location of the property I am researching.
For example, one of my homes was at Broadwater in South West Victoria. Now, but not for a long time, I can see a Google Earth view of my old home.

Satellite View My Old Home
Satellite View My Old Home

A property in a town or city is a little simpler to locate on Google Maps. For example, the Genealogical Society of Victoria (GSV) is at 257 Collins Street, Melbourne.

Satellite GSV
Satellite GSV

LASSI MAPS

Finding my parcels land on Google Maps often makes it easier to find them on Landata’s Land & Survey Spatial Info (Lassi) map. This map can be accessed directly http://maps.land.vic.gov.au/lassi/ or from the link under Other Access at the bottom of Landata’s home page at https://www.landata.vic.gov.au/.
Now, be warned, this map pre existed Google Maps so behaves in its own manner and for its own peculiar requirements. That is, the Lassi map doesn’t always work in the same way as Google Maps do.
For my old home I first searched for Dunmore Lane, Broadwater and then refined this to 503 Dunmore Lane. By building, refining and refreshing the map I can display the parishes and allotments that are relevant to the parcel of land. The current title covers several allotments across three parishes

Lassi My Old Home
Lassi My Old Home

Similarly, I searched Lassi for 257 Collins Street, Melbourne. This time I built the map to include the Application Note numbers as well.

Lassi GSV
Lassi GSV

PARISH MAPS

There is another map collection that is always useful in my land research. This is a map of the parish that shows the parcel of land at the time the Crown Grant was granted. In this case I was able to download the parish maps from PROV by searching within VPRS 16171 for the name of the parishes concerned.

Search within VPRS 16171
Search within VPRS 16171

For my old home I downloaded Banangal, Broadwater and Clonleigh parishes.

Parish Plan My Old Home
Parish Plan My Old Home

For the GSV I downloaded Melbourne South parish.

Parish GSV
Parish GSV

Parish plans are also generally available online from the State Library of Victoria.
I now have two parcels of land for which I can order the current titles. How I do this I shall describe this is a further blog.

World War I – Walking Wounded

If you are researching your World War I veteran ancestors don’t neglect Repatriation files.
WWI stories aren’t confined to those servicemen who didn’t return. Nor are they confined to those servicemen who were granted land under the Closer Settlement Scheme.
Stories about World War I veterans can also be found in Repatriation files held by the National Archives of Australia.
My great Uncle Lou’s repatriation files contain stories I was unaware of as a child. More generally, though, the repatriation files build on the stories found in the Army personal files which can be accessed by doing a Name Search in the National Archives for Australia search collection area.
You may have missed considering the repatriation files as they have yet to be included in the NAA’s online catalogue. Order them by making a general request about the collection. I included the following information in my request:

Service No: 3434
Name: Louis Aaron Holmes
Date of death: 7 Dec 1960 Victoria
His widow’s date of death: 11 Dec 1960 Victoria
Image 7 in Series B2455 indicates that Louis’s service records were sent to the Department of Repatriation in 1932

My request was successful.
I received two files in the series B73 [Deputy Commissioner for Repatriation, Victoria; Personal case files, World War I]: Uncle Lou’s medical records and his hospital records.
These files in general show a glimpse of Louis’s life on his return to Australia through his interaction with the Repatriation bureaucracy and the development of medicine over the span of his life.
For example, in the pre penicillin world, his syphilis was treated with the arsenic based Kharsivan and simultaneously with mercury. Fortunately the one course was sufficient! More unfortunate, Uncle Lou returned to sea after the war on the Commonwealth owned Australford only to fall from the mast shortly after his marriage to my Auntie Ev. Lou spent four months in Melbourne Hospital with a fractured skull and a broken pelvis. This injury, not directly attributable to his war service, led to a reduction in his war pension for most of his life. No longer able to work at sea Uncle Lou went to work for the Victorian Railways. First as an engine driver. This I do remember being told as a child but Uncle Lou only drove trains for a year before it became impossible because of his many injuries.
In addition to the wealth of information contained in these Repatriation records I also have Uncle Lou’s accident aboard the Australford, his time in the Melbourne Hospital and his employment with the Victorian Railways to pursue.
Where, in all this, did a sailor working out of Melbourne meet a Warrnambool girl?

Autosomal DNA and Probability

The general wisdom is that matches on autosomal DNA are only accurate for up to four or five generations (or to second cousins). Beyond this limit any matches that may occur probably occur by chance, not by inheritance. This is because there is always the probability that any match of any kind of 5% or less can be attributed to random chance and not to inheritance.
My purpose here is to suggest that, by referring to our traditional written family history research and by careful planning our DNA tests, we may be able to identify matches way beyond our great grandparents and our second cousins.

My Ancestors
My Ancestors

I have two parents. It is expected that I receive half or 50% of my autosomal DNA from my father and half from my mother. This seems to be an acceptable proposition.
I have four grandparents. It is expected that I receive one quarter or 25% of my autosomal DNA from each of my grandparents. That is, it is expected that I received 25% from my grandfather Bert Baulch, 25% from my grandmother Annie Abbey, 25% from my grandfather Noel Learmonth and 25% from my grandmother Edith Salter.
I have eight great grandparents. It is expected that I received one eighth or 12.5% of my autosomal DNA from each of my eight great grandparents.
At the fifth generation it is expected that I received one sixteenth or 6.25% of my autosomal DNA from each of my two great grandparents. Can the expected values for receiving autosomal DNA from my two greats grandparents definitely be attributed to inheritance? After all, the upper mark of 5% which is used to indicate matches that may be wholly attributed to chance is not all that far removed from the 6.25% that may be attributable to inheritance from one of my two greats grandparents.
Now none of my direct ancestors are alive and so aren’t available for DNA testing. I have to rely upon my siblings and upon my cousins. The expected values of a match on autosomal DNA tests for my ancestors, siblings and cousins can be summarised in tabular form as follows:
Relationship-Chart
The expected value of sharing autosomal DNA with one of my siblings is 50%. I actually share 38% autosomal DNA with one of my brothers. The expected value for shared autosomal DNA with any one of my first cousins once removed is 6.25%. I actually share 7.3% autosomal DNA with one first cousin once removed and 5.4% with another.
Should actual values that differ from expected values be cause for concern? Absolutely not!
However, rather than accepting the relationship for any autosomal DNA match by a testing company as being set in stone, I do believe that my written genealogy confirms the autosomal DNA match result. Equally, the autosomal DNA match is a further independent source that may substantiate my written genealogy. The two are not separate but dependent one upon the other.
The methodology for calculating the likelihood of what autosomal DNA we are expected to have should be familiar to us all.
Consider tossing a coin. The first toss may be heads. The probability of the second toss being heads is still 50%. Even if the second toss is heads the probability of the third toss being heads is still 50%. Thus in a small population of 3 tosses the result of three heads doesn’t indicate that a double headed coin is being used. However, if the result still remains heads after hundreds or thousands of tosses I might be inclined to check whether the coin is biased in some way. According to Bernoulli’s theorem, the more a coin is tossed the more likely it is that the actual value of the number of times a head is tossed approaches the expected value of 50%.
Now consider throwing a die or dice. The first toss may be a 4. The probability of throwing a 4 is one sixth. Indeed for an unbiased die the probability of throwing one of the six numbers is always one sixth irrespective of the previous throws. For a short number of throws there may be a run on a particular number but this in no way alters the probability for the next throw of the die. For each number that probability is one sixth. As for the coin toss, over hundreds and thousands of throws of the die the actual value over all of these throws will approach the expected probability of one sixth for each of the six numbers on the die.
This method of calculating expected values for the toss of a coin and the throw of a die can be applied to the passing of autosomal DNA from two parents to a child. The options for a toss of a coin are either heads or tails. The options for the throw of a die are 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 or 6. The options for a child are that the child receives its autosomal DNA half from its father and half from its mother. As for the coin and as for the die the actual value of autosomal DNA received in the short term may differ from the expected value. As for the coin and as for the die over millions and indeed billions of generations the actual value of autosomal DNA a child receives from its parents will approach the expected value of 50% from its father and 50% from its mother.
But is this so? What is it that Family Tree DNA and AncestryDNA testing with respect to autosomal DNA? Is there an equal chance of this autosomal DNA information coming from one parent as from the other parent? Let’s start by looking at DNA in the whole cell before focusing on autosomal DNA.
Each cell in our body contains DNA. In the cell proper DNA can be found in the mitochondria. This DNA is known as mitochondrial DNA. DNA is also found in the cell nucleus which contains 23 pairs of chromosomes each containing DNA. The 23rd pair is known as pair of the sex chromosomes. The 23rd pair for men is made up of one X chromosome and one Y chromosome. Women have 2 X chromosomes.  The first 22 pairs of chromosomes are known as autosomes. Autosomes contain autosomal DNA.

Cell with nucleus and mitochondria
Cell with nucleus and mitochondria

In a search for genealogical DNA the testing companies test in excess of 700,000 markers on the “junk” DNA portion of our autosomal chromosomes. These markers are the sites of single nucleotide polymorphisms or SNPs (pronounced snips). A person’s autosomal SNPs can be identified and compared another person’s autosomal SNPs.
Apart from identical twins, each of us is unique. We see this as we walk down the street or glance around a football crowd at the MCG. It is easy, therefore, to apply the law of large numbers as discussed above to the more than 700, 000 SNPs. To me 700,000 seems to be a large number. Surely, for each marker or SNP there is a 50% chance that I inherited that SNP from my father and a 50% chance that I inherited that SNP from my mother. Surely, as with the coin and the die, I had an equal chance of receiving each marker independent of the previous marker and the marker following.
There are two difficulties with this assumption.
Firstly, autosomal DNA tests are not able to distinguish which markers I inherited from my father and which I inherited from my mother.
Secondly, if the first wasn’t a knockout blow, the markers are set out on a strand of DNA. Unlike each toss of a coin or each throw of a die, whether or not I inherit a marker from my father or from my mother is not independent of who I inherited the previous marker from or who I inherited the next marker from. That is, the 700,000 SNPs are linked along the DNA strand. For example, the autosomal DNA I share with my brother on chromosome 3 and which we must have inherited from our father or our mother or a combination of both occurs along most of the chromosome.

Chromosome 3
Chromosome 3

Now we don’t match along the whole of chromosome 3 but where we do match it is mostly in one long strand. Indeed, the longer the strand we share the more closely is our predicted relationship.
Consider a little. This phenomenon of linked markers has helped me detect relationships beyond those predicted by chance – beyond our great grandparents and our second cousins. For example, I have confirmed a relationship with a third cousin twice removed as well as – wait for this – a sixth cousin twice removed! These results are quite beyond my great grandparents and second cousins (that is second cousins without any removes).
DNA testing for family historians is still in its infancy. The databases of results are still very small. Nevertheless I think I can apply traditional genealogical research techniques to my DNA research:

  • DNA is no substitute for quality traditional genealogical research. Sad to say but true.
  • I have started my analysis with an autosomal DNA test and started with myself. Then I moved from my closer relations to my more distant relations.
  • I have tried to optimise my chances of detecting matches by including a family tree of my ancestors and of the names of my ancestors were possible.
  • I have uploaded my information to Gedmatch as some family have tested on Family Tree DNA and some on AncestryDNA. My challenge now is to encourage our family to also share their results by uploading to Gedmatch (www.gedmatch.com) especially those who have tested with AncestryDNA for AncestryDNA has no facility to examine results  (for those who tested with AncestryDNA go to Settings and download the raw DNA data. Create a Gedmatch account and follow the instructions for uploading to Gedmatch. BE WARNED! These raw files are very, very large and take quite some to download and upload).
  • It will involve some of that boring work that doesn’t seem to yield any exciting results but I suspect that it may be worthwhile in the long term to examine my results down to the 1centiMorgan level and by each chromosome. I see this as akin to searching through parish registers or census results.

Y-DNA Baulch

Cell showing nucleus and mitochondria
Cell showing nucleus and mitochondria

There are so many genealogical collections readily available these days it is tempting to try them all. Without thought or regard as to a collection’s relevance to the particular information sought. Those collections that are at hand are accessed first. Never mind the other 95% of collections which have yet to be digitised or indexed. It is easy to tap a key and search for the information online when I really do know in my head that my searching would be more productive if only I travelled to archives on the other side of the world or just spent time searching painstakingly through films and microfiche nearer to home.
But where to start searching further for my three greats grandmother Mary, wife of George Watts? I have found her in two English census returns indicating that she may have been born a British subject in foreign parts. Foreign parts? Where to begin?
I asked my cousin Val whether she would indulge my curiosity and undergo a DNA test. She kindly obliged. It was not until Val’s results arrived that I realised how little I know about DNA and today’s genetics. I was lost to Mendelian genetics when dominant brown eyes and recessive blue eyes were discussed. Where did that leave my hazel eyes? So the current genealogical literature about DNA seemed to me to be riddled with scientific terms that still leave me confused. I guess there is just so much to absorb that my little brain has been in overload for quite some time now.
Should I have done the more traditional or paper genealogical research that I had been avoiding before I set out on my DNA journey? Definitely. In a way my avoidance of a little hard work has voided the DNA results received – at least for the time being.
Val’s results have sent me back to reassess my research strategy and use of DNA as a research tool. But my brother John’s results are more promising if not equally confusing. So I am using John’s results as a medium for gaining an understanding of DNA analysis for genealogists.
John and I can trace out ancestry back on our paternal side to a Charles Baulch who married Ann Biddlecombe on 1 April 1799 at Muchelney, Somerset, England. On reviewing the information I agree with my sister. She says that because she couldn’t find the death of Charles Baulch in the civil indexes she concluded that he must have died before civil registration began in 1837. That doesn’t mean Charles Baulch died in 1836 and indeed our best guess is that Charles died between the time the Muchelney churchwardens wondered what to do with Baulch’s children and the time shortly later when their concern focused on what to do with Ann Baulch’s children.
We also have a dilemma about when our ancestor Charles Baulch was born. Certainly a Charles Baulch was born in Muchelney on 25 January 1767 to Roger Balch and Betty Gaylard. However, a Charles Baulch was buried just over a month later on 8 March 1767 in Muchelney and the infant son of Roger Balch seems to be the only candidate for this burial. So who married Ann Biddlecombe on 1 April 1799?
The obvious course of action is to search neighbouring parishes for a suitable Charles Baulch – fanning out to further parishes if necessary. Fortunately there is a copy of Dr Campbell’s index to baptisms and marriages for Somerset held on microfilm at the Genealogical Society of Victoria and indexes for many Somerset parishes now available on FreeReg  so I have a deal of work to do searching through these two sources available to me without having to travel the world.
Meanwhile, until I am able to motivate myself to do this paper genealogy is there anything in the analysis of John’s DNA that catches my attention? Maybe.
There are three parts to the analysis of John’s DNA. The first part involves analysis of his Y chromosome. The human cell contains a nucleus which includes 46 chromosomes. The first 44 are paired but the last two form the sex chromosome. A male has one Y chromosome and one X chromosome. For a male they receive their Y chromosome from their father who receives his Y chromosome from his father and so on. That is, the surname and the Y chromosome follow the paternal line.
In particular my brother received his Y chromosome from our father who received it from his father (our grandfather) who received it from his father, Samuel Baulch who received it from his father Francis Baulch who received it from Charles Baulch, our three greats grandfather. And there our paper genealogy trail finishes for the moment. But who did Charles Baulch receive his Y chromosome from?
Two tests are performed on the Y chromosome. In the first test short segments of DNA (markers) are measured and the number of repeats, short tandem repeats (STRs) are recorded. These results form an individual’s haplotype.

DNA strand
DNA strand

The second test examines particular points on the Y chromosome looking for mutations or single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs). That is the particular point is examined to see whether an instance of adenine, thymine, cytosine or guanine has mutated to one of the other three. Paternal lineages may be constructed for the Y chromosome using these mutations as nodes in the paternal lineages.
The results from both tests for Y-DNA analysis predict which haplogroup an individual belongs. John, for example, belongs to haplogroup I-M253 based on analysis of his Y-DNA. And while the database is still small there are also several Baulchs that belong to this haplogroup including many who can trace their ancestry back to Somerset. But many generations earlier than I have been able to establish our genealogy.
There is still a great deal of research to be done.

Genealogy Do Over Cycle 1

Thank You
Thank You
Thank You

It was serendipity.

Thomas MacEntee’s Genealogy Do Over arrived in December 2014. Just when I had bedded down using Legacy Family Tree‘s To-Do Lists, my tablet, my camera and a USB drive instead of my trusty pen and notebook. When I was despondent. When all I seemed to have were insurmountable brick walls. Just when I was considering my projects for 2015.

Thank you Thomas MacEntee for addressing a gaping hole in my genealogical research practices. More than 6,000 Facebook members suggests I am not alone.

So are you considering doing the Genealogy Do Over in Cycle 2? I know that many of you who I spoke to at Congress 2015 were watching from the sidelines. Here are three suggestions:

  •  Just go for it. A job started is a job half finished. You don’t have to set aside the next thirteen weeks for the Genealogy Do Over. It is a matter of personal judgement whether time away is absolutely necessary for your peace of mind and well being or whether you are being distracted by some Bright Shiny Object.
  • Set your own pace. By the end of Week 4 my mind was in a whirl. This was exciting stuff. I needed time out to take stock (I had another time out at the end of Week 9).
  • The Genealogy Do Over doesn’t need to be completed in just the one 13 week block. In Cycle 2, now that I have the flavour of the Genealogy Do Over, I hope to tweak my new work practices and consolidate my new work practices. I set aside implementing any use of spreadsheets in Cycle 1 but in Cycle 2 I shall give more consideration to using some of Thomas’s spreadsheets – particularly for project management (I still employ the student mentality of doing all the project the night before the deadline date). I shall also look further at the role of social media in my genealogy research. The social media aspect totalled overwhelmed me in Cycle 1. And consideration of my Research Toolbox might creep into Cycle 2.

Thank you Thomas for identifying that my genealogical work practices should no longer be confined to remembering those stories spoken of whenever and wherever my family gathers. These days my work practices should focus on managing my time economically while maximising my chances of extracting family stories from the overabundance of information available in newspapers, books, archives and online. That is, I should be focusing not on the WHAT I find but on the HOW I go about finding my family stories. It is there at the beginning of the Genealogy Do Over:

“Research is the course of action I undertake in order to find and gather my family stories. Research is the process I use to find Sources from which I extract my family stories.”

Now just in case you think applying a new set of work practices has brought all those brick walls tumbling down and all my family stories have been revealed let me assure you that this hasn’t been the case. Yes, when I set aside my previous results for my three greats grandfather George Watts and started over I found that accepting a death certificate I had previously rejected was far more relevant than the Census results I had been relying on for so many years. No wonder I had a brick wall! While I still know nothing about his wife I now have George’s Army life to pursue. I see lots of seemingly tedious searching ahead of me. But I have a plan. The possibility of understanding why George joined the Army and what life in his home town of Nottingham was like at the time the leaders in the Luddite rioters were tried and transported to Tasmania.

Just like searching in those pre computer days really.

My enthusiasm for genealogy research has returned.

Thank you Thomas.