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”
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. Which 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
Similarly, I searched Lassi for 257 Collins Street, Melbourne. This time I built the map to include the Application Note numbers as well.
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.
For my old home I downloaded Banangal, Broadwater and Clonleigh parishes.
For the GSV I downloaded Melbourne South parish.
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.
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.
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.
Mainly because I have unwittingly doubled up on my research. More often than I care to admit. Often more than twice for the same information. Also, I have ignored obvious sources of further research. I have frequently been distracted by those Bright Shiny Objects (such as my favourite Land Registers pictured above). So let me just admit it. My research process has just grown haphazardly over the years. And it shows. If I had only taken more care updating my processes for keeping track of my research I would have saved so much time.
Genealogy Research Log
In 2014 I set aside my pen and notebook for a tablet and Legacy’s To-Do List.
So I have been rather dismayed to read of the enthusiasm for using a spreadsheet based research log. Just something else for me to lose track of I thought. My sister agreed. Keep everything in the one place she said.
With very little tweaking I have now created a general Legacy To-Do Item template containing all the elements I wish to include in a research log. Particularly new is the note to remind me to add any relevant file names or links. Thank you Thomas MacEntee for that tip.
Now it’s just a simple matter to copy the template to a new To-Do Item. This is analogous to a creating another line in a spreadsheet based Research Log.
Furthermore, I have done a couple of other things to clean up my research process. First, I have aligned the To-Do Item Categories to the names (or Categories) of my top level Media folders. Well, mostly. If necessary, this adjustment should make it even easier to find my Media files. Next, I have the one place – in Legacy’s To-Do List – for the three levels of my planned research:
The top level To-Do Item will outline my research plan for a three month period. My current research plan, for example, is my plan for the Genealogy Do Over. One element of this plan is to establish my connection to my three greats grandfather, George Watts.
The second level To-Do Item is more specific. For example, the goal here is still to establish my connection to George Watts. But at this level I have listed the birth, marriage and death information I am relying on to establish this connection. These include birth and marriage information for myself and birth, marriage and death information for:
Donald George Baulch,
Parke Egbert Baulch,
Eliza Ann Porter and
The bottom, or more detailed, level of my To-Do Items is creating a To-Do Item that is equivalent to a line in aspreadsheet based Research Log. At this level I have a To-Do Item for each step in establishing my connection to George Watts. These are:
in my record, a To-Do item for establishing my connection to Donald George Baulch,
in the record for Donald George Baulch, a To-Do item for establishing his connection to Parke Egbert Baulch,
in the record for Parke Egbert Baulch a To-Do item for establishing his connection to Eliza Ann Porter,
in the record for Eliza Ann Porter a To-Do item for establishing her connection to Lydia Watts and
in the record for Lydia Watts a To-Do item for establishing her connection to George Watts.
I like that, at this level, my Individual To-Do Item (or line in my Research Log) is attached to the relevant Individual in my family database for easy access and not in a spreadsheet somewhere else.
So, with all these To-Do Items created I was ready to conduct my research. New in 2015, and as part of this Genealogy Do Over, is my resolve to apply one of my Genealogy Golden Rules to assign SOURCES to the relevant To-Do Item FIRST. I then assigned Sources and linked Media to the relevant Individual Events. This is done as part of the initial research process and before any further consideration. No more leaving Sources and Media until last. In the past leaving Sources and Media to last has meant that information I am relying upon has been lost somewhere on a computer drive or somewhere in a box of papers! Such a practice is now history.