Having been warned that the new improved ancestry.com format is very sensitive to place names I decided to tackle the tidying job on all my place names. A combination of manual clumsiness in typing, names plucked automatically from poor transcriptions and my laziness in not adding country names mean that I have quite a task ahead of me. If I don’t sort this out before switching to the new format then I am going to find many of my border region ancestors will be assumed by ancestry to come from USA, Canada or Australia. It seems to search for all of these possibilities before considering that a Northumbrian town might be in England. Tonight I dealt with the obvious mistakes, using the “resolve place names” function in Family Tree Maker. That has cut my list of unresolved place names from 485 to 338, just by clearing up spellings, commas, and adding country to some. Still have a long way to go though, as many of the suggestions made by the software were wrong, so I will have to go through the whole list again manually.
I treated myself to a new pair of specs a couple of week ago. Perhaps they will give me some new insight into this little conundrum. I am trying to find proof of whether my theory about a Gowans connection is correct. This death certificate is for William Gowans, aged 74, who died of typhus fever at Alnwick on 12 June 1841. His death was witnessed by Eleanor Gowans. I am trying to figure out whether William was my 4th great grandfather. This hinges on whether or not my probable 3rd great grandfather William Cracket married an Isabella Gowans. If that theory is correct, then the next question to work on is whether William was her father. Paper trail for these folks in the border lands is a bit thin and so far there is nothing substantial popping up in DNA matches to say yea or nay.
My second DNA success is a match that gives me increased confidence about my 3rd great grandparents John Henderson and Harriet Miller Newton. My match on AncestryDNA is descended from their daughter Elizabeth and I am descended from their son John. It was interesting to see that Ancestry only thought we had Harriet in common. The reason for this is that John was a bit of an enigma. My match has him documented with information from the census, as being born in Haydon Bridge. This is what I started out with too, but I have subsequently found a baptismal record in Kirkwhelpington which makes reference to his birth in Haydon Bridge. For more information about this match take a look at the article: “MRCA: John Henderson and/or Harriet Miller Newton” on my page DNA plus paper.
The first DNA result that I was able to make sense of gave me an increased confidence that my paper trail back to 3rd great grandparents John Thornton and Margery Hall is correct. John and Margery were married at Hartburn in 1822. I have found 8 children for them. The DNA match is between my maternal aunt and a descendent of their son Hall Thornton, born 1838, who emigrated to Lackawanna, Pennsylvania. To read more about this match take a look at the article: “MRCA: John Thornton and/or Margery Hall on my page DNA plus paper. This article explains the lines of descent.
Latest additions to the brief profiles for my end of line ancestors:
- William Watson – 4th great grandfather, born about 1792 at Ryle, Northumberland
- Joseph Hutchinson – 5th great grandfather, probably born before 1773, maybe near Felton, Northumberland
- Thomas Brown – 6th great grandfather, probably born before 1747, maybe near Felton, Northumberland
- Margaret Brewhouse – 6th great grandmother, probably born before 1747, maybe near Shilbottle, Northumberland
More details of their marriages and children and any relevant census information can be found on my end of line ancestors page.
Added brief profiles for the following end of line ancestors:
- Thomas Thornton – 5th great – probably born before 1750, possibly Hartburn
- Jane Nichol – 4th great – probably born before 1771
- Hannah Hunter – 5th great – born about 1740, maybe Elsdon
- William Thompson – 5th great – born about 1738, maybe Elsdon
- Isabel Hedley – 5th great – probably born before 1748, maybe Elsdon
- Andrew Oliver – 5th great (tentative) – probably born before 1759, maybe Hartburn
- Alice Carr – 4th great – probably born before 1791, maybe Wallsend area
Added brief profiles to the following end of line ancestors:
- Archibald Henderson – 4th great – may have been baptized in Ovingham in 1790
- Jane Turnbull – 4th great – probably born before 1792
- Thomas Newton – 6th great – probably born before 1719, maybe Felton
- Lancelot Wilson – 7th great – probably born before 1687, maybe Shilbottle
- Mary Wilson – 7th great – probably born before 1687, maybe Shilbottle
- William Johnson – 6th great – probably born before 1726, maybe Shilbottle
- John Stavers – 5th great – probably born before 1762, maybe Woodhorn, maybe Simonburn
- Dorothy Charlton – 5th great – probably born before 1762, maybe Woodhorn, maybe Simonburn
- Ann Laidler – 4th great – probably born before 1792, maybe Rothbury
- Margaret Young – 3rd great – born about 1812 at Morpeth Banks. Parents may be Thomas Young and Margaret Storey. Working to confirm this theory.