DNA find helps with great grandmother question

This morning, while going through my DNA matches, I came across a match who had these people within their tree:

The match is a 5th to 8th cousin match, so I didn’t expect them to be particularly close, however, I do have both Glovers and Jacksons in the family tree.

Looking at the Glovers first, they were in the wrong area, but when I spotted Huntingdonshire with a link to Jacksons, I was a little bit excited.

My great grandmother, Elizabeth Harrison, has Jacksons on her dad’s side from Huntingdonshire, and if I could link these Jacksons in this matches family tree to my Jacksons, then this would be my best find in quite a while among my dna matches.

I searched for the baptism of Susannah Jackson, to a Mary in Huntingdonshire in 1808.  There was only one I could see, on the 2nd October 1808 at Holme.

The next thing I did was to check on a map for the distance between Connington (where some of my Jacksons lived) and Holme , the 2 places were very close.  I then checked for the baptism of a Mary Jackson at about the right time in my family tree and online, a 6th great aunt, Mary Jackson was baptised at Connington, Huntingdonshire to William and Mary Jackson in 1786.  A descendant of Mary would fit in nicely to the relationship projection of 5th to 8th cousin for the dna match I was looking at.

I believe that this Mary was the sister of my 5 times great grandfather, Edward Jackson.

I am very happy to have found this match, the first on my great grandmother’s paternal side.


The Harrison family

My great grandmother, Elizabeth Harrison, who i’ve mentioned before, here, was apparently the daughter of Frederick Harrison and Theresa Traverse.

Frederick, born in St Helens, Lancashire, in 1877 was one of 10 children born to William Jackson Harrison (born in Hull, Yorkshire in 1848 to another William Harrison, a shoemaker, and his wife Ann Jackson) and Alice Smith (born in 1854, the daughter of John Smith and his wife, Alice Owen in St Helens)

The Harrisons were, like many other families a large family.  Other children of William Jackson Harrison and Alice Smith were William John Harrison born 1872, Alice Ann Harrison born 1874 (She went on to marry the brother of Theresa Traverse, Thomas Henry), there was a Frederick born in 1874 who died as a baby, Sarah Ellen Harrison born 1880 married a Henry Bickerstaffe, Louisa Harrison born 1882 married a John William Hawksworth, Ellen Harrison baptised in 1884, Florrie Harrison born in about 1886 married a William Henry Kay, a Robert Harrison was born in about 1890, and finally, a Harriett Harrison was born in about 1892.

The family lived in the Peasley Cross area of St Helens, and many of the men in the family were miners, just as lots of those in the area were.

Are you also descended from William and Alice and would like to get in touch?  Please use the contact form here.

Walter Fordham Cox (1890 – ?)

Following on from this post, two additional DNA matches have come to light, which link into the wider family (Giving 5 known matches in total who are linked to this family), seemingly cementing the case set out below.

Both matches appear on My Heritage:

From all available evidence, when initially looking at the first couple of matches to appear, it seemed as though the link had to be somehow related to my unknown great grandfather.  Trying to fit in the matches on known lines did not make any sense, particularly when many of the other lines have now been confirmed through DNA, and with only the one unknown great grandparent of mine.

All the related DNA matches, and the amount of shared DNA, make the case that I am descended from a child of William Cox (1847 – 1915), son of Robert and Amelia (nee Morgan) and Louisa Moore (1851 – 1897), daughter of John Isaac Moore and Elizabeth Smith, who married in Shoreditch, London in 1869.

William Cox and Louisa Moore had 7 children; Louisa (died as a baby), William (1871 -1962), Louisa (1874 – 1890), Robert (1876 – 1910), Edward (1880 – ), Benjamin (1882 – ) and George (1886 – 1973).

Several of these children emigrated to Australia at roughly the sort of time when a child of theirs would have had to have been born to make them a match for my unknown great grandfather.

Attention quickly turned to Louisa (1874 – 1890), was it possible that before her death at an early age of 16, she had a child?  This would make the most sense as a candidate for my great grandfather or great great grandfather..

As I mentioned, Louisa sadly died in 1890 aged 16, which meant that if this theory were to prove true, Louisa would have had to have had a child fairly shortly before her death.

I decided to do a search of the new online GRO birth index, which includes mother’s maiden name from 1837 to look for any possible Cox’s which could fall into that category, and found the following entry:

My great great grandfather?

A Walter Fordham Cox was born to a single Louisa Cox on the 11th March 1890 at 27 Richmond Road, Walthamstow, Essex, England.

The Louisa on the birth certificate was a domestic servant.  It seems probable that the father’s surname was Fordham.

At this point in time it cannot be 100% confirmed that this Louisa is the same daughter of William and Louisa (nee Moore), and I have not been able to sight Walter Fordham or Cox in the English, Welsh or Scottish Census of 1891, 1901 or 1911.

However, neither have I found a likely death for this Walter Fordham Cox.  There was a Walter Fordham born towards the end of 1889, who appears to have died in 1891, both birth and death registered as Walter Fordham.

Additionally, it has now been confirmed through another distant cousin in Australia that Louisa did indeed have a child. Much of the wider family did not know apparently.

I believe that Walter Fordham Cox could possibly be my great great grandfather, and I suspect if this is my direct descendant, that Walter, like his mum became a parent at a young age, and that child, possibly born between about 1904 to 1908 in Scotland, or possibly France, who is likely registered under his mum’s surname, whatever that is, is my great grandfather.

I mention France as it has been said that there is some link to France, as of yet, no link has been discovered.  If there is a link then it could very well explain the disappearance of Walter Fordham Cox from England, with no sign of him in England, Scotland or Wales between 1891 and 1911.  Possibly his son, my great grandfather, partner of Frances Eleanor Chapman was born in France in the early 1900s?

If a descendant of Walter is reading this post, and has considered doing a DNA test for family history, then that would be a great idea!

If anyone reading this thinks this all sounds familiar and can help to solve this mystery, then please do get in touch through the online form by clicking here.

A step closer to my great grandfather?

For some time now, an enduring mystery has been who is the father of my grandmother, Beatrice Eleanor Chapman?

I have been going through DNA matches for a while trying to sort them into those that also match with 1st cousins and a half 1st cousin of my mum and dad, so I can identify a grandparent related to each match that I can see in common with any particular cousin who has tested.

Recently, my mum also tested with Family Tree DNA, and her results were interesting to look at, as one of my top matches is also one of mum’s top matches on FTDNA.

Some of mum’s top matches on Family Tree DNA

The 2nd DNA match down in the image above is the match of interest to my mum.  In the image below, the 1st DNA match is the same match on my match list:


I have deliberately removed any names from the screenshots above.

Having been in contact with this DNA match some time ago I can say that this person’s ancestors in the relevant timescale were from south east England, from London and the surrounding counties.

I decided to try playing around with an experimental family tree, to see if I added different people’s names during the right timeframe in different positions, based on the amounts of shared DNA in common and making an educated guess based on those shared amounts in relation to DNA matches I have managed to confirm, whether I would get any shared ancestor hints on the Ancestry DNA test, which I upoaded to FTDNA some time ago.

Sure enough, I had to get a shared ancestor hint eventually from this process, and it came by placing this family in the tree on the branch of my unknown great grandfather!  And it links in fairly nicely with my estimate, although possibly a generation out.


Although this isn’t the same DNA match as on the FTDNA website, they are related, through a different branch of the Cox family.

I mentioned briefly above that I am possibly a generation out.  If you’ve read my “Beatrice’s Story” post, you may know that my grandmother, Beatrice Eleanor Chapman was born in Edinburgh, Scotland in 1925.

I decided to try looking for a Cox family in the Edinburgh area on the Scottish 1911 census who were born in England, I found this family living in Quality Street, Cramond, on the outskirts of Edinburgh in 1911:


As you can see from the above image, George Cox, aged 44 was born in England.  This would mean that he was born in about 1867.

Going back to the shared ancestor hint image further above, you’ll notice the shared ancestors are William Cox and Louisa Moore, they did have a son called George, only he was born much later than 1867.

William Cox, however, also had a brother called George Cox born at about the right time to be the same George as shown in the 1911 census. William and George being children of Robert Cox and Amelia Morgan.

From the birth registration of one of George and Mary E’s children, the certificate states that George and Mary Ellen (nee Tuttle) were married in London, England in the mid 1890s, this would place them in the right area to fit in with the other Cox family members at the right time.

And so, it is possible that one of George and Mary Ellen’s son’s is my great grandfather.  George W, born about 1896, Tom R. C. born about 1901, or Jack A, born in about 1905.  The same year Frances Eleanor Chapman was born.

Or I could be completely wrong!

UPDATE 22/11/16.  The George Cox in the census image above appears to have been born in Lincolnshire, not London. 

Finally, a DNA link to Bedfordshire

Following on from this post on John Walter Chapman, today I logged in to Ancestry DNA, and found a shared ancestor hint.  Clicking on it, I found this:

Money shared ancestor hint

The image shows that the match and myself share John Money and Ann Bottom as ancestors in common.  The DNA match’s 4 times great grandmother is the sister of who we believe to be my 4 times great grandmother.

Very exciting to finally have proof via DNA of a link to the Money family of Bedfordshire, when the parentage of John Walter Chapman up until now has been in question.

John Walter Chapman

Chapman family Ampthill 1841
1841 Census – Grange, Ampthill, Bedfordshire, England

John Walter Chapman, my 3 times great grandfather, was born between about 1835 and 1837, we believe in Ampthill, Bedfordshire, England.  All the available evidence to date points to his parents being Thomas Chapman and Sophia Money, who married at Ampthill in 1819

However, there is a certain amount of mystery surrounding him, and a story which some of the descendants of John Walter Chapman have had passed down to them via their parents, grandparents etc…

We can say that the approximate birth date is most likely correct, as that is pretty much consistent throughout all the available census returns, and matches up pretty much to his age at his death in Preston, Lancashire in 1895.  The birthplace of Ampthill, Bedfordshire is also consistently given.  However, no record of a baptism has been found to date.

We can also say with certainty that John was a joiner.

The wife of a 2nd cousin twice removed has carried out quite a bit of research in the past into the Chapmans from the Ampthill area, and these can be traced several hundred years back to Steppingley, also in Bedfordshire.  Among her research is information related to poor relief, which lists John as a child of Thomas.

On the 1841 Census, John Chapman aged 4 is listed living at “Grange”, Ampthill alongside others with the surname Chapman;  Thomas – Ag. Lab. (60), Sophia (50), Thomas (15), William (15), Sophia (10) and Joseph, aged 7.

The residence before in 1841 lists another Chapman family – Thomas (35), Mary (30), Jane (2) and Emma (10 months)

John Walter Chapman Ingrave Essex 1851 census
1851 Census – Ingrave, Essex, England

In 1851 John is no longer in Bedfordshire, and is living with a family called Skinner in Ingrave, Essex, he is listed as a scholar, and there is no relationship given to the head of the household.

The head of the household at Ingrave is Edwin Skinner, aged 42, a school master born in Brede, Sussex.  His wife is listed as Ann, aged 33 a school mistress born in Fittleworth, Sussex, their children being Sarah aged 9, Richard aged 7, Walter aged 5, Robert aged 3, and William aged 1.  It is interesting that they have a son called Walter, given that Walter does not seem to appear anywhere else within either the immediate Chapman or Money families.

In the June quarter of 1841 there is a likely marriage for Edwin Skinner, to either a Harriet Bowles, Mary Budd or Martha Ann Hamman in the Chichester registration district.

I have found a possible baptism of Martha Ann Hamman to Luke Hamman and Elizabeth Farley on the 29th March 1818 at Burton Roman Catholic church in Sussex.

This could be significant, potentially.  The family story I briefly mentioned earlier is that John Walter was born out of wedlock, and if he remained as a Catholic he would get some money from the Catholic Church for his upkeep.  Apparently, he did not remain so, and, money went to the “little sisters of Nazareth”.

John married Elizabeth/Betsy Pym/Pimm at St. Peter’s Roman Catholic church in Lancaster, Lancashire in 1857, and although no father’s name appears on the marriage certificate that can be ordered, St. Peter’s church have in their records a note with the marriage saying that John was the son of Thomas and Sophie.

So is this conclusive proof?

Well, we cannot say with 100% certainty.  What can be hoped for however, is that eventually the descendant of an aunt or uncle of John Walter does a DNA test, and we can then compare our results.

One other potential clue, is that living with John Walter Chapman and family in Preston, Lancashire in 1871 is a George Chapman, a nephew, aged 17, an iron works labourer born in Gawcott, Buckinghamshire, England.

There is a possible baptism for a George Chapman, to a James and Amy Anne at Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire on the 4th February 1855.

There is another potential baptism of a George Chapman at Paulerspury, Northamptonshire (Not very far away at all) to a William and Elizabeth on the 25th December 1854.

John, possible son of Thomas and Sophia did have a brother called William, however, there are baptisms to seemingly the same William and Elizabeth at Paulerspury going back to 1848, and William Chapman (brother of the possible John Walter Chapman) son of Thomas and Sophia is currently thought to appear on the 1851 census as a single man, at Oliver Street, Ampthill.

Perhaps time will eventually confirm or deny that John Walter was possibly a grandson of Thomas and Sophia, via an illegitimate birth, with the father being a Chapman, and the mother possibly being a Hamman/Hammon/Hammond or a Skinner.  (I’m thinking Martha Ann Hamman was the likely wife of Edwin Skinner.)

If there are any descendants of any of the Hamman/Hammon/Hammond and Skinner families reading this, you may hold the keys to unlocking this mystery in your DNA.

Until then, I will continue checking my matches regularly.

Update 2nd June 2016 – I have been informed that a baptism record has been located at Ingrave, Essex.  John was baptised to Thomas and Sophia.

Update 4th July 2016 – According to the records of Thorndon Hall RC Chapel, West Horndon, Essex, John Walter Chapman, son of Thomas and Elizabeth was born on the 14th March 1837 and baptised on the 19th April 1851.  Research courtesy of P. Chapman






DNA testing for family history

In recent years, DNA testing has been linked closely in the popular mindset with those tv programmes which are on during the day, with titles such as “I’m going to prove you’re the dad of the baby we had before you decided to run off with the babysitter”.  And in some ways, lots of people think of that sort of scenario when you mention the words “DNA test” to them.

However, in this post, I am aiming to explain that DNA testing can be very useful for family history and genealogical research.

It was only relatively recently that the cost of having a DNA test has fallen, making it more affordable for many people, who couldn’t previously afford it, to take one of these tests.

There are several different types of test available however, with different testing companies.

Many who have taken a test with one company also choose to take a test with another company.

One of the tests which is useful to take for family history purposes is called the “autosomnal DNA” test.  There are other dna tests available, which are not necessarily heavily marketed towards those researching their family trees.

An interesting thing which various companies test is the geographical genetic composition within your dna, I think this is a common feature of the main testing companies.  Below is my home page on Ancestry DNA which shows an overview of my ethnicity estimate and DNA matches, alongside a feature called “DNA circles”, which highlights other dna matches who together belong as descendants from shared ancestors in common, and something called “New ancestor discoveries” (As far as I can make out is some sort of automated guesswork.  I certainly don’t know how Patsy Jane Exendine or James Ellis Harmon could possibly fit into my family tree):

23 and me is a company which also tests for certain traits and potential risk factors for various health conditions, however, you can easily opt out of receiving your “health reports” by ticking a box on their website.  As you can see from the screenshot below,  they also provide an estimate of how neanderthal you are.  This screenshot highlights the Ancestry section of my reports, which i’m most interested in.


While Family Tree DNA is another provider of DNA test services.  I uploaded my Ancestry DNA results to FTDNA, which you can do free of charge.  Although haven’t yet made any confirmed matches through that website.  Their services, however, do seem very professional.  This is a screenshot as an example of how matches will appear.  (I’ve scrubbed out some of the personally identifiable information here)

FTDNA Matches page screenshot

More recent additions to the dna testing companies listed above are My Heritage. (You can find out more about what they offer by clicking here – They accept uploads from other testing companies) and Living DNA.

(Living DNA have formed a partnership with Find My Past. You can see more on that by clicking here)

My Heritage DNA summary page screenshot

So, as you can see, there are different companies available for you to test with, if you are interested in using DNA to further your family history research.  And, using DNA for this purpose can certainly help.

I’ll give an example.

One of my 8 times great grandparents, called Randulph (or Randle) Poynton/Pointon was a potential son of 2 different sets of parents.  Looking at baptismal records from Norton in the Moors, Staffordshire, and then searching through my match lists for people with the surname Poynton/Pointon in the family trees also solved this riddle.

I could not have been related to another match via one of the baptisms as following that line would have taken me well beyond the predicted relationship range of the match, while looking at the predicted relationship range on Ancestry, and then using the Gedmatch website to check what it said about the number of estimated generations to our most recent common ancestor, the other baptism was a perfect match when comparing our trees also.

And that is a key thing I believe, when you decide to take one of these DNA tests, make sure you have a family tree available for comparison, otherwise, the process doesn’t seem to make any sense.

When I first took a DNA test, I didn’t have a clue how they worked or how the matches worked, I still don’t know a lot, however, i’m learning more now.  One of the main things is to provide some method of comparison, or at least provide a method of contact so that somebody who is a potential match can get in touch to share notes, and ask how they may be related.

When you have provided your sample with one of the companies, and registered the DNA kit, before sending the kit back to the company, please take a little time to familiarise yourself with the settings on the website, and to at least add some family surnames and places where the family lived, possibly add a tree, privatising any people who are living if you would like to do so, or, indeed, any other family members, and, please, if you are going to take a DNA test and add no other information, please at least provide a means for contact.

Finally, when you have your results and are able to log in and view them, I highly recommend the Gedmatch website.

Gedmatch Analysis tools screenshot

It’s a great free tool for making comparisons with others who have been tested, and, it gives you an estimated number of generations to a most recent common ancestor. So far, the estimated number of generations with my confirmed matches has been pretty much exact.

Additionally, and, crucially, I believe for DNA and family history research combined, it does combine DNA and family tree data pretty well.

Your testing company will have a section allowing you to download your DNA data.  If you do that, you can then upload it to Gedmatch, there is even a section which checks your DNA and brings up family tree results for people who match your DNA.

DNA testing is fascinating stuff which I don’t fully understand, I don’t believe that any of the sites quite understand how to combine both DNA testing and family trees fully as yet.   However, it’s clearly the case that DNA testing can bring some successes, and can sometimes confirm your research, if you are unsure.