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Do you experiment?

Discussion in 'DNA Questions and Answers' started by John Dancy, Sep 14, 2023.

  1. John Dancy

    John Dancy LostCousins Superstar

    On 15 Jan 1824 T’s 3x great grandparents William Shearman and Elizabeth Payne were married at Sudbury in Suffolk. William was a shoemaker in Shoreditch, Elizabeth, by the census’s, was born between 1802 and 1806 in Ixworth in Suffolk. When adding them to T’s Ancestry tree ten years ago (and still today) , all the ‘helpful’ Ancestry member trees gave Elizabeth as one of the eight children of Robert Payne and Mary Wright, baptised in Barrow, Suffolk in 1805. 12 miles from Ixworth. We added them to T’s tree. In the years to now we have picked up 53 DNA cousins descended from William and Elizabeth, mostly shown as CAs but some without trees, or unlinked. No matches linked to Robert and Mary, or earlier. Last week, tracing a new relative with a Payne in their tree, by using ‘Search’ every time I found an’ unknown’ parent, I got back to a William Pain and Sarah Sharman who had seven children baptised in Ixworth between 1778 and 1798. Including an Elizabeth in 1786. Sarah passed away in 1803.

    This morning I did a ‘what if’. What if their Elizabeth had died as an infant and Sarah had died in childbirth?

    At 8am I replaced Robert and Mary with William and Sarah. By 10am Tricia had 16 new Common Ancestor DNA matches to Elizabeth's parents, including three to Elizabeth’s grandparents.

    It is possible that the elder Elizabeth had died as an infant and that the younger Elizabeth’s baptism had been delayed or forgotten due to the death of her mother.

    Do you have any “What If’s”?
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2023
  2. peter

    peter Administrator Staff Member

    Common Ancestors hints are based on Ancestry trees - I wouldn't read too much into them.
  3. John Dancy

    John Dancy LostCousins Superstar

    Peter - actually the opposite, reading what they say, and using it to guide you in building your tree, (researching and adding all the births, deaths, censuses etc) can help break down brick walls. - I currently have 190 Common Ancestor DNA cousin links, my wife has 150. Between us only around a dozen do not have a green 'linked to tree' symbol as the branch that goes to them is uncertain due to a corrupt Ancestry tree. The rest are all perfectly correct and valid DNA cousins who have helped us link over 450 DNA cousins to our trees. The more cousins linked, the more sense you can make out of the "Shared matches" returns.
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2023
  4. Pauline

    Pauline LostCousins Megastar

    Essentially I agree with Peter on this, and with this sort of experimenting you do need to take great care that it doesn't send you off on the wrong track, though I acknowledge that it could prove helpful if done with care and with eyes well and truly open.

    I haven't actually tried it myself, but a third cousin and I share an illegitimate 2x great grandmother, and he has used this method, and in my opinion has come out with the wrong answer. I use a particular colour to mark those matches who could potentially show a link to the father of our illegitimate ancestor, and between the three of us (me, my 3rd cousin and my sister), there are very few such matches, and all pretty distant - only one over 20 cM - and 3 of which are shared by all 3 of us.

    Admittedly my cousin started by making what I would consider a classic error, in assuming that our gggm's father would be an ancestor of one of the potential linking matches, when there is no reason to suppose he would be. He then went on to add the chosen person to his own tree and when this produced two very distant common ancestor matches, saw this as proof that he'd found the right man.

    However, I have quite strong reservations on this, not least because there are around 8 or 9 other men related to the potential match in question, who would fit the bill equally well and would likewise have produced the new common ancestor matches (neither of whom are matches to me or my sister).

    So I think you really need to keep your wits about you when experimenting like this, and make sure you consider other scenarios which might produce the same results, especially if the any new CA matches are very distant.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  5. John Dancy

    John Dancy LostCousins Superstar

    Pauline, I agree with you - DNA cousins shown as Common Ancestors are a guide to where your tree may go. Subsequently building your tree branches then either confirms or denies the link. The vast majority of ours have proved to be true links, and added links to other cousins.
    What I hadn't mentioned in my initial entry was that T's DNA matches contain a large number with Sharman Suffolk ancestors - and no idea until now as to how there was a connection.
    Also - I have found that people's sense of place when they state exactly where they were born for the censuses, rather than county, is actually very accurate, it is the transcription that confuses, so Elizabeth saying consistently that she was born in Ixworth is almost certainly right.
  6. peter

    peter Administrator Staff Member

    That's a risky assumption, especially in a county like Suffolk with a very large number of small parishes - according to FamilySearch there are 27 other parishes within a 5 mile radius.

    If you can find someone at home with their mother, then it's highly likely that the birthplace shown is correct. But once they've left home the birthplace shown becomes significantly less reliable - often it's the first place they remember from their childhood.

    Of course, if the birthplace in the census is supported by a baptism in that parish then, unless the name is a very common one, the chance of it being the correct baptism increases significantly. But that isn't what has happened in this case.

    Have you looked at the Elizabeth Payne who was baptised at Walsham-le-Willows in 1807, aged about 10 years?
  7. John Dancy

    John Dancy LostCousins Superstar

    Peter, no I haven't. Elizabeth states she was born in Ixworth. As she grew up in a large family she still has relatives living there through to the 1911 census and beyond., and she would have been visiting them throughout her life, so no reason to forget where she came from. Example, her nephew George Kemp, also born in Ixworth (or rather Ixworth Thorpe) Family trees have him born Ixworth in 1851 and 1861, then through to the 1911 living with his family, place of birth changed to Wymondham (some miles away) . Only he died in Texas, single, in 1925, place of birth on the death certificate Ixworth Thorpe. He had emigrated in 1864. Place of birth was provided by his nephew who had joined him (from Ixworth) in 1904. The DNA connections now revealed by Ancestry confirm the potential for the links.
  8. peter

    peter Administrator Staff Member

    You can't forget something you didn't know in the first place. Many people did not know where they were born - it wouldn't necessarily have come up in conversation.

    In any case, if she was baptised at the age of 10 it's surely quite possible that her parents moved the 5 miles from Ixworth to Walsham-le-Willows at some point during that time?
  9. John Dancy

    John Dancy LostCousins Superstar

    Peter, many thanks for this conversation. I am not 100% convinced that William and Sarah are Elizabeth's parents but the identification of DNA cousins with links to both sets of Elizabeth's grandparents means, I think, she is no further from them than grandchild.
    I agree that most people did not know where they were born, and their baptisms were often where was most convenient at the time rather than their place of birth. But they knew where they lived whilst they were growing up. On the baptism,they could have been taken to stay with relatives, fallen out with the local vicar, lived nearer to the neighbouring parish church or the church itself was closed for repairs (Great Longstone baptisms all took place at Bakewell in the mid 17thC for this reason, and the book is missing....) But is 'where were you born?' the same as 'where were you baptised?
    I suggest we pause our conversation until I have done more research on the newly disclosed cousins.
    But my original question still remains, does anyone else experiment to see whether they get helpful results?
  10. peter

    peter Administrator Staff Member

    No - but I don't see the relevance to this discussion.
    It doesn't - but it's a good working hypothesis.
    There is a more fundamental question, which is whether there is a sound basis to this technique. Pauline is doubtful; my view is that you can achieve the same or better results more quickly and more transparently by following the strategies in the DNA Masterclass (ie searching the tree of your matches for ancestral surnames and/or birthplaces).

    Although I am a great believer in using DNA to correct deficiencies in the records, I always start with the records themselves - which is why I asked if you had considered the Elizabeth Payne who was baptised at the age of 10 in the nearby parish of Walsham-le-Willows.

    I also checked burials at Ixworth, which show that an Elizabeth Pain was buried there in 1801 aged 15 - just the right age to be the daughter of William & Sarah. This entry is in the National Burial Index at Findmypast (you don't need a subscription to find it).
  11. John Dancy

    John Dancy LostCousins Superstar

    The relevance of place of birth is because that is what the census records, and Elizabeth states Ixworth as her place of birth on the census.

    Exactly, and that is how I got to where we are today. These are the results from doing exactly what you said. T has a large number of Payne and Sharman DNA cousins, a lot with Ixworth references, one tree led back to William and Sarah. I have just taken it one stage further and revised my tree to match - and thence to 16 new cousins with Common Ancestors.

    Many thanks for this - this actually adds credence to my theory earlier that Elizabeth was a late child of William and Sarah, families have a habit of naming new children after a previously deceased one. One recent discovery tried Henry twice, they switched to Harry for the third and he survived .

    Have not got a lot further yet but two of the DNA cousins ancestors track through William and Sarah' grandson Richard who was transported to Australia in 1831 for stealing Barley from an Ixworth resident. His younger brothers William and Sharman Paine, were sent to prison for three months for stealing wood from the same gentleman.
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 16, 2023
  12. peter

    peter Administrator Staff Member

    That's why I drew your attention to it - and why we should check the records before coming up with hypotheses based on DNA matches. DNA is not a substitute for good old-fashioned research, and if we give that impression it's only going to discourage those who haven't yet tested from doing so.
    Some families do, some don't (perhaps they thought it was tempting Providence). It's most common when the child was named after the father or the mother.

    Occasionally they take a middle course and use the forename of the deceased child as the middle name of a later child. But there are also examples of children being named after recently-deceased cousins, so keep that possibility in mind - there were several PAIN/PAINE/PAYNE families in the area at the relevant time.
  13. John Dancy

    John Dancy LostCousins Superstar

    Peter, we think alike. Putting the 'criminal' Paines mother's maiden name (an uncommon one) into Surname Search has generated even more DNA cousin matches going back two generations. She could be their eldest sister ?
    Will continue the search
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 16, 2023
  14. Stuart

    Stuart LostCousins Member

    John, you started this discussion with "On 15 Jan 1824 T’s 3x great grandparents William Shearman and Elizabeth Payne were married at Sudbury in Suffolk." Did you really mean "Sudbury"? The parish record (on FMP or the SFHS CD) is in Ixworth, with Elizabeth resident there (and the licence corresponds). I did wonder if there was a bishop's transcript somewhere transcribed without the parish, but I can't see any record of the marriage on Ancestry or Family Search.

    Her being in Ixworth does favour the theory that her baptism record is simply missing, for which there are several possible reasons. Given the burial record for Elizabeth 1786 (which I see Peter has now found), I don't see the need for extra theories to explain this. Near the same time and place, I've found a few of these the other way around - as "missing siblings" of my known ancestors. In the case of my 3xG grandmother Delariviere Manistre the unusual surname means some of them were known about as possibles pre-DNA (though it can also be mangled so badly it's missed by searches).
  15. canadianbeth

    canadianbeth LostCousins Star

    I have. When I first received my DNA results a few years ago now, the closest match after my niece was C..W. He had a small linked tree but the names on it were all from Norfolk so, since I received no reply to my messages, I let it go for a while. Then, since I had the names of his grandparents I checked them out and discovered one son in the 1901 and 1911 census who lived in close proximity to where my grandmother had been sent as a servant. The address, as near as I could tell from my distance here in Canada, appeared to be close if not correct. So I followed him and found that he had three sons, all in their late teens, and in 1901 and 1911 had servants - not my grandmother of course since she was there between those dates. My hypothesis is that one of those sons was possibly my grandfather. My grandmother was 16 when she was sent there and was described as being simple-minded and easily led. I have added the names to my FTM and Ancestry trees in hopes of possibly getting a match or two, I did get the one for C.W. right away but so far nothing more.
    One of the sons died in WW1, from the dates it appears the first week it began.

    Since C.W. appeared as my closest match after my niece I have had four others appear with higher cM, only one of which I have identified as a cousin, she is my maternal uncle's daughter. One with no trees is listed as both sides and when I do the shared matches I have common ancestors going back to 2nd greats on both sides. 1053cM, 15%, 36 segments, and C.W. is in the shared list.

    I added the names to the 1911 census at Lost Cousins but had no match.
  16. John Dancy

    John Dancy LostCousins Superstar

    Stuart, Thanks for this. My original information came from Ancestry's "Suffolk, England, Extracted Church of England Parish Records". It has William "of Shodes Well, Limehouse" and Elizabeth "of Inworth" but the collection is Suffolk - Sudbury marriage licences". Hence Sudbury. But I am more than pleased to be corrected. William Shearman is himself an enigma. On other trees he has at least two other wives, including Eliza Earl whom he married on the same day, he is a shoemaker at the same time as being an apprentice druggist and was born on a variety of dates between 1792 and 1799. His daughter, Sarah, my wife's great great grandmother passed away (the same date on all trees) , but was then able to sue her husband for desertion seven years later, and even appeared in court to give evidence (our information from FMP). That must have been a sight.
    Canadianbeth, thank you I did not think I could be alone.
  17. peter

    peter Administrator Staff Member

    A great number of FamilySearch transcribed records for Suffolk are incorrectly attributed to Sudbury, which is the Archdeaconry (I imagine they have been taken from Bishop's Transcripts). Those of us with Suffolk ancestors learned this lesson long ago, but as you're researching someone else's tree you won't have been through the same learning curve (although there may well be similar defects in FamilySearch transcripts for other counties).

    As Stuart pointed out you can find a more accurate transcription at Findmypast, in the Suffolk Marriages record provided by Suffolk FHS. What he didn't mention is that you can find the information with a couple of FREE searches. Always take full advantage of what is available online when it's free!

    Shodes Well is probably Shadwell.
  18. John Dancy

    John Dancy LostCousins Superstar

    Thanks Peter, T is getting more embedded into Suffolk ancestry as I research her, it is almost certain that Elizabeth's husband, William Shearman's forebears were also Suffolk, as Sherman, she has 28 so far identified DNA connected cousins (including my own cousins through their mother) who are descendants of William Sherman and Elizabeth Thurston of Rougham
  19. John Dancy

    John Dancy LostCousins Superstar

    Peter, T's second cousin, 4x removed in 1881 living next door to Charles and Eliza Calver in Brockdish ? any relation?
  20. peter

    peter Administrator Staff Member

    Not to my knowledge. Calver was a fairly common surname in Suffolk in the 19th century (though many of my Calver relatives had moved to the London area by 1881). The only Charles Calver in my tree who was alive in 1881 was unmarried and still living in Gt Barton, where he was born.

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