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Clara's Quilt.JPG

Where Are They From?

All of my direct ancestors, that I have discovered in nearly fifty years of serious research, were born in England. There is no record of the birthplace of the more distant ancestors, so I have used their place of baptism instead. People weren't always baptised where they were born but it is very likely that almost all of them will have been baptised in their county of birth. I have used traditional county boundaries and names, such as they were prior to the 1974 reorganisation.

My parents and I were all born in Surrey. My grandparents were born in Cornwall, Buckinghamshire, Middlesex and Surrey. Another generation back adds Northumberland and Essex to the list. Two great grandparents were born in Cornwall, two in Middlesex and one each in Surrey, Essex, Northumberland and Buckinghamshire. The tally for my sixteen great great grandparents, born between c.1804 and 1842 is Middlesex four, Cornwall three, Northumberland, Buckinghamshire and Essex two each and Devon, Norfolk and Sussex one apiece.

Next come my thirty 3x great-grandparents, born between 1771 and 1815. There are only thirty because my great grandparents were first cousins, as were their parents, so the same people appear more than once in my ancestry. For the purposes of this exercise, I have counted the duplicates twice. This is also the generation where my information begins to be less complete. Three of the thirty two cannot be confirmed and one whose name I have is lacking a birthplace. I am almost certain who two of the missing three were and have a very likely candidate for the third. Let's look at those I am confident of. Six were Cornish, four each were from Buckinghamshire and Essex, three were from Middlesex, two from Devon, Northumberland, Sussex, Norfolk and Oxfordshire and one from Surrey. Of the missing four, it is almost certain that two were also from Northumberland; the likelihood is that I also need to add Worcestershire and Shropshire to the mix.

What happens if I go back further still? My direct paternal line turns out to originate on the Devon side of the River Tamar but Cornwall still makes up a larger part of my ancestry than any other county. It is very likely that the brick wall ancestor who is my 4x great grandfather three times over, really best not to ask, came from Hertfordshire so I could pencil that one in as a potential ancestral county. Regardless of how far back I go, no new counties appear as part of my make up.

It is interesting to compare this analysis with the suggested ancestral counties identified by Living DNA who provide an ethnicity estimate at a county level. Note of course that this is an estimate, it can change and it is only as good as the base data that the company is using.

Map of ancestral origina

Ancestral Counties according to the Documentary Evidence

Map drawn using Genmap from Archer Software

Pie chart of DNA origins
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