Genealogist Walking.

Genealogist Walking.

Onwards for my self-styling Genealogist walking with all due respect to Derek Brockway the ‘Weatherman Walking’.

After last time’s stroll along through Blackpill. Eva and I another day, set off following the aforementioned Mumbles Railway back towards Swansea in front of the Ashleigh Road playing fields also known as George V fields. In light of my blogs so far the 1831 map I’ve used previously shows a few dwellings along the way which I will have a look at the first being ‘Lower Sketty’[1] which admittedly stands a bit back from our walk, but I am a fully paid up member of the poetic licence society. In 1831 the property was available for lease…

              “A desirable Residence for a small Family. All that very desirable farm and lands called Lower Sketty. The Farm consists of a neat Cottage, lately repaired, with an excellent Garden in front; also, of a Stable, Beasthouse, and Barn, contiguous thereto, and 56 Acres of excellent Arable, Meadow, and Pasture Land, in high state of cultivation. The Lands are delightfully situated within the distance of three miles of Swansea, commanding a fine view of Swansea Bay and the Bristol Channel. If desirable the proprietor will have no objection to divide the Lands into two lots. For particulars apply at the Office of Messrs. James and Collins, Solicitors, Swansea…”[2]

This land, impinges I’m sure on the present-day playing fields[3]. In 1841 William Hughes a farmer aged 50 was living in Lower Sketty[4] it would appear he had taken the lease on. In 1851 the family at Lower Sketty were still that of William Hughes aged 62, he was married, Head of the household, a freehold farmer born in the  Parish of Swansea, his wife Mary Hughes aged 55, born also Parish of Swansea, his niece Emmy Rosser aged 18, born Parish of Swansea, William Jones aged 2, Visitor (it would be interesting to work out this child’s relationship to William) born Parish of Swansea, Isaac William aged 24 unmarried, a Servant, born Parish of Swansea, Elizabeth Davies 28, unmarried, a Servant, born in the Parish of Llangyfelach, Glamorganshire and Mary Harry 20 unmarried, a Servant, born Narberth, Pembroke, it seems the land was freehold now[5]. This family is eminently traceable, contact me if you would like to know more.

Lower Sketty in there somewhere.

Back to the walk, along the path on the old railway line. Past the Footgolf course! Then on the left as we head towards Swansea sits the Boating Pool Lodge listed in CADW[6] or alternatively Ty Harry Lodge an…

“Early C19 lodge. Said to be a design of P F Robinson (1776-1858), which appears in his `Designs for Lodges and Park Entrances’ 1833, but [the] lodge appears on OS 25 1st Edition map with different plan to present, and is probably extended to N.”[7].

The census will always be the first port of call to find a person at an address, 1911 gives William James Luxton living there at Ty Harry, Head of the household, he was married aged 31, an Electric crane driver working at Baldwins Steel works also known as  Cwmfelin Steel works, he was born in Swansea, his wife was Jane Luxton (nee Williams) aged 27, they had been married for 6 years no children yet, she was also born in Swansea. Living there also was Jane’s mother Martha Williams a widow aged 62, she was Charwoman working on her own account born Cillgeran Cardiganshire[8]. Another family to investigate perhaps, on the winding road of family history. If you are interested Robinson’s design can be seen from the afore mentioned book ‘Designs for Lodges and Park Entrances’[9].

Robinson’s design. 1834.

Further along the walk, just before we turn up into Singleton Park is Singleton Abbey, originally known as Marino when it was built in 1784 for Edward King. Swansea Museum is a good place to kick start a search for him.  A watercolour…

“… although not signed or dated, carries its title in Thomas Baxter’s hand. It shows the unique house, ‘Marino’, built for Edward King and his wife, Jane Morris (sister to John Morris, the industrialist) in 1784. Edward King was responsible for collecting His Majesty’s Customs at Swansea. The innovative architect was William Jernegan (1750/1-1836), who enjoyed a long and successful career at Swansea.

In 1817, John Henry Vivian, owner of the Hafod Copper Works, leased ‘Marino’ and later purchased it, making only modest alterations initially before financing the major building scheme which created ‘Singleton Abbey’ around the original house.” See the image on the Museum website.[10]

This Gothic-style building began life as an octagonal marine villa sited to view Swansea Bay. Set as it is on a small hill looking over the bay. More people to reflect on during our stroll.

Singleton Abbey. Singleton Abbey – Wikipedia

Into Singleton Park, we didn’t walk past the farm, that’s for another day. My next and last note for this piece will be Sketty Hall. Built in the 1720s for Rawleigh Dawkin (later Mansel) the son of the squire of Kilvrough in Gower, and on his death passed to his brother Mansel Mansel. Refigured about 1780 by the addition of the bay windows. Then Swansea architect, William Jernegan (see above) later added the western part of the frontage for Ralph Sheldon, MP. In the 1820s the house was remodelled by Charles Baring of the London merchant banking family. He added an extra floor to Rawleigh Dawkin’s house and a parapet running the whole length of the south front. In 1831 the house was bought for £3,800 by Lewis Weston Dillwyn, owner of the Cambrian Pottery in Swansea. He commissioned the architect Edward Haycock Snr. in the early 1830s to build the present entrance hall and adjacent large room on the north side of the house. In 1881 Frank Ash Yeo, Chairman of the Swansea Harbour Trust, added the dining room to the east of Dillwyn’s entrance hall. Richard Glynn Vivian, an art lover from the Vivian family who gave the Glynn Vivian Art Gallery to Swansea, bought the Hall in 1898 as his home. He added the balconies and masks of Italian marble, laid out the ornamental gardens and installed the gazebo tower on the roof. During the Second World War, the house was requisitioned to serve as an ARP area headquarters. Later it was used by the British Iron and Steel Research Association as a major research centre for the steel industry. The Hall was completely renovated in 1993.[11] Selecting one name from the above and a quick search finds Frank Ash Yeo Esq. of Sketty Hall as an ex-officio Guardian for the Swansea and District Poor Law Union[12]. This part of our walk ended outside Sketty Hall, with a brief glimpse via the poor law record into social history, and recording enough families to fill a book.

Sketty Hall.

Genealogist walking, where next?


Contact me if you are interested in a heritage walk or tour around a locality in your ancestry.


[2] The Cambrian. (1831) Lower Sketty. The Cambrian. 19 November. p. 1e. : accessed 30 May 2021.

[3] Google Maps. (2021) Swansea.,-3.985839,1940m/data=!3m1!1e3?hl=en-US : accessed 09 June 2021.

[4] Census records. Wales. Lower Sketty, Swansea, Glamorganshire. 06 June 1841. HUGHES, William. HO107/1424/F. Collection: Census Transcript Search, 1841-1911. : access 30 May 2021.

[5] Census records. Wales. Lower Sketty, Swansea. 30 March 1851. HUGHES, William (head). HO107/2466/F. Collection: HO107/2466/F. : accessed 30 May 2021.

[6] CADW. Summary Description of a Listed Buildings. Boating Pool Lodge in Singleton Park  . accessed 09 June 2021.


[8] Census records. Wales. Singleton, Cockett, Swansea. 02 April 1911. LUXTON, William James (head). RG14PN32734 RG78PN1868 RD594 SD1 ED15 SN256. Collection: 1911 England & Wales Census. : accessed 09 June 2021.

[9] Robinson, P.F. (1833). Designs for Lodges and Park Entrances. London: Priestly and Weale. p. 21. : accessed 09 June 2021.

[10] Swansea Museum. Marino – Thomas Baxter. : accessed 09 June 2021.

[11] Wikipedia. Sketty Hall. : accessed 09 June 2021.

[12] Swansea and Surrounding Area, Wales, Poor Law Union Records, 1836-1916. YEO, Frank Ash. 1875-1879. Collection: Poor Law Records. West Glamorgan Archive Service, Swansea, Wales. : accessed 09 June 2021.

More Genealogy as you walk, Blackpill, Swansea.

Eva and I enjoyed our walk in North Wales with the bits and pieces of genealogy thrown in so much we decided to have a stroll a bit nearer home here in Blackpill, Swansea.

The first part of the walk was past the site of the now demolished building Llwynderw, it is a gated estate now, but in 1939 it was the household of Mrs Folland, widowed born in 1878, a widow of private means[1]. This house is not noted on the ordnance Survey map first series of 1830, however a familiar name which we walk by is another place ‘Lilliput’[2] seen on the same map[3], demolished in about 1962[4] as part of the development of Mumbles Road. The1851 census taken for Lilliput on Mumbles Road will find Mr. James Strick born Cardiganshire the head of the household aged 38 an insurance agent married to Emily aged 39, she was born Devonshire, they had four children all born Swansea age 8 down to 1, also living there were an 18 year old governess Fanny Suttril born Bridport, Dorset and  Susan Davies 21 year old servant from Llandeilo[5].

“Llwynderw was here” Eva.

Then we take in a bit of the route of the Mumbles Railway, you can have a look at a BBC history blog for some insights[6], one of the initial investors in the line was Benjamin French of Morriston and latterly of Neath, here he is in the 1841 census of independent means his address being the Parade in Neath, Mr. Benjamin French aged 70, not born in the county of Glamorgan, of Independent means, his wife (implied) Ann French aged 55, not born in the county either, Elizabeth French aged 15 not born in the county and Hannah Lawrence aged 20 not born in the county a house servant[7].

(Aside from the person details for the family historian, be aware that the 1841 census more often than not noted the ages of those over 15 were rounded down to the nearest 5, so Benjamin French could have been 75 to 79 years of age this is true for this page as looking at the rest of the census page all ages over 15 are multiples of 5, I’ve also noted the relationships are implied because this census did not record a household head or the relationship to that person, you can see the delineation between households with // on the records.)

Look back towards Lilliput with the road that replaced it.

The route of the railway is now the walking and cycle path, on the left as we walked back to Blackpill from the direction of Mumbles would have been a Smithy (Blacksmith) long gone now, nearby to the Woodman pub which is still there for a pint or two. Investigating these places, old maps hold a plethora of information[8], ways to emphasize other types of research you might be able to do. For instance if you had an ancestor from Blackpill they would have known of (or been)… “BLACKPILL CORPORAL’S D.C.M. Corporal Sidney Lloyd (154309), Motor-Transport A.S.C., son of Mr. and Mrs. I D. Lloyd, 3, Brookside-terrace. Blackpill, has been mentioned in despatches and recommended for the D.C.M. for gallant conduct in Egypt. Lloyd, who joined up in October 1916, took part in the capture of the Delhia Oases, and for over 12 months acted as Q.M.S. at Karga Oases. Before joining up he worked for his father, the well-known Blackpill blacksmith, and was one of the original members of the Mumbles V.A.D., doing duty as an orderly at the local hospital. Another brother, in the Welsh Guards, is serving in France.[9]  A glance at the 1901 census will give the family viz. David Lloyd married aged 45, Head of the Household, born Bishopston, Glamorganshire a Coach Builder (employing blacksmiths) his wife Sarah aged 46, she was born Swansea, Glamorganshire and their family of five sons including the above mentioned Sydney aged 12, born Oystermouth and attending school.[10]

Along the Mumbles Railway

Nearby in the same census was the Woodman Hotel where the Licensed Victualler was Sarah Maddams a widow aged 63, Head of the household born LLandeilo, Carmarthenshire and her daughters Edith Crooke married aged 39 born Bayswater, London and Lilian Mary Fitness married aged 24 born Fulham, London.[11]

The Woodman in the trees

The path we were walking near the Woodman was reported on in 1874 for a highway robbery! The highwaymen described as two ruffians, Anthony Burke and Edward Simons living on waste ground at Blackpill. They supposedly, had accosted a Mr. Henry Edward Clasham an apprentice to a tea broker in London but living at Brunswick Street Swansea, after he had met up with a friend at the Woodman on the way back from Mumbles to Swansea on horseback. The ruffians attempted to pull him off the horse and demanded a shilling which he gave them, he rode back to Blackpill and got the policeman PC Hodges who arrested Simons, Simons claimed it wasn’t him who committed the dirty deed.[12] More names to be researched if you were of a mind to.

Beware the HIghwaymen

Back to the walk for Eva and I, into Clyne Gardens and the connection to the well documented and well heeled Vivian family. The probate record for William Graham Vivian of Clyne Castle, Glamorgan and 7 Belgrade Square Middlesex, died 21 August 1912 shows his estate value was £1,000,000[13], 19th century industrialists did not live without ostentation.

Clyne Castle

Finally, a stroll home to our house built in the 1950’s on land which was stated in 1845 on the tithe map, as arable land, being the middle field number 206, the occupier and landowner was Berrington Jenkin Davies[14].

A short walk with plenty of genealogy for me, and for Eva a vestige of Clyne Forest, an important 11th Century Norman landmark[15], but all she cares about is playing among the trees.

11th Century Forest and Eva.

[1] 1939 Register, Wales. Llwynderw, Mumbles Road, Swansea, Glamorganshire. FOLLAND, Leah N. 21 September 1939. RG101/7288B/007/32 Letter Code: XIBE. Collection: 1939 register. The National Archives. : accessed 18 May 2021.

[2] University of Portsmouth. A Vision of Britain through time. : accessed 18 May 2021.

[3] Ibid.

[4] Baker, Mark. A Complete List of Lost Welsh Country Houses. : accessed 18 May 2021.

[5] Census records. Wales. Liliput Cottage, Oystermouth, Swansea. 30 March 1851. STRICK, James (head) HO107/2467/F. Collection: Census Transcript Search, 1841-1911. : accessed 19 May 2021.

[6] Carradice, Phil (2011) The Mumbles Railway. Wales History [blog]. 24 March.,Construction%20was%20completed%20in%201806%20and%20services%20began. : accessed 19 May 2021.

[7] Census records. Wales. Neath, Glamorganshire. 06 June 1841. FRENCH, Benjamin. HO107/1421/F. Collection: Census Transcript Search, 1841-1911. : accessed 18 May 2021.

[8] The National Library of Wales. Welsh Tithe Maps. : accessed 19 May 2021.

[9] South Wales Weekly Post.  (1918) Blackpill Corporal’s DCM. South Wales Weekly Post. 25 May. p.3c Collection: National Library of Wales Welsh Newspapers Online. : accessed 20 May 2021.

[10] Census records. Wales. Blackpill, Oystermouth, Glamorganshire. 31 March 1901. LLOYD, David (head). RG13/5084/F. Collection: Census Transcript Search, 1841-1911. : accessed 20 May 2021.

[11] Census records. Wales. Blackpill, Oystermouth, Glamorganshire. 31 March 1901. MADDAMS, Sarah (head) (head). RG13/5084/F. Collection: Census Transcript Search, 1841-1911. : accessed 20 May 2021.

[12] Cardiff Times. (1874). Highway Robbery at Swansea. 16 May. p. 3b. Collection: British Newspapers. : accessed 20 May 2021.

[13] Testamentary Records. Scotland. 27 September 1912. VIVIAN, William Graham. Calendar of Confirmations and Inventories p 418. Collection: Scotland National Probate Index (Calendar of Confirmations and Inventories), 1876-1936. : accessed 20 May 2021.

[14] The National Library of Wales. Welsh Tithe Maps. : accessed 20 May 2021.

[15] Swansea Council. Clyne Gardens. : accessed 20 May 2021.

Genealogy as you walk.

I’ve been quiet for a little while, with the easing of lockdown and the need to get going again we set off for a break to N. Wales in the motorhome. Eva the Jack Russell needed occupying as she was not allowed off the lead. Somehow, I had the foresight to pack my walking boots and here’s a bit of the adventure.

1st stop was Llanberis, the obvious walk was to the top of England and Wales, yr Wyddfa (Snowdon). There is a railway line to the summit, but it was closed due to the pandemic. Got me thinking, the owner of the land which the line cut through was a Mr Assheton-Smith of the Vaynol estate, he wasn’t happy (about 1870) thinking the railway would spoil the scenery[1] some genealogy on that family Charles Gordon Assheton-Smith can be found in the London Gazette[2] appointed to be deputy Lieutenant signed by the Lord Lieutenant of Caernarvonshire in 1906.

A random look in the 1911 census shows some residents of the village of Llanberis viz. John E. Davies aged 48, Head of the family Married, born Llanberis, Carnarvon, Shop Keeper, an Antiques Dealer, bilingual speaking both Welsh and English, his wife Elizabeth Davies 47, married 27 years they had had 7 children, 6 were still living, she was born Llanidan, Anglesey, bilingual also. Living there too were Margaret Clara Davies 26, their Daughter, Single, born Llanidan, Anglesey, bilingual. Buddug A. Davies 16, their Daughter, Single, born Llanberis, Carnarvon at School, bilingual. Goronwy Owain Davies 13, Son, born Llanberis, Carnarvon at School, bilingual, and Maelir Glyn Davies, 12, Son, Llanberis, Carnarvon, at School, bilingual.[3]

The area is overseen by the slate quarries, so here is a family of that industry in 1911 note the form is in Welsh. Robert Henry Jones aged 59, Penteulu (head of the family pen) Priod (married), born Tygwyn Waenfawr Plwyf Llanbeblig, Carnarvonshire, Cloddiwr Mewn Chwarel Lechi (excavator at the slate quarry) gweithiwr (worker), Cymraeg (speaks Welsh only) his wife Ellen Jones 49, Gwraig (wife) Priod 27 years, born Murmawr Llanberis, Carnarvonshire, y ddwy (bilingual), their son John Evans Jones 19, Mab (son), Sengl (single) born Murmawr Llanberis, Carnarvonshire, Myfyriwr Mewn Coleg (student at college) y ddwy (bilingual). They lived at Minynant Llanberis[4], it would be a project to find both the address now…

 2nd a quick stop at Betws y Coed, the railway had a major influence on the development of this area, again an arbitrary look found a Mr. C.E Clarke, he was a booking Clerk at Bettws y Coed, he was born 21 April 1874, joined the company 6 November 1891, his annual rate was £60 5/-, he transferred to Blaenau Ffestiniog on 1 February 1898[5].

We transferred ourselves to Gellydan near Blainau Ffestiniog a newspaper search is useful for biography in genealogy…” BLAENAU FESTINIOG. MEDICAL SUCCESS.—The son of Dr R. D. Evans, Mr Thomas John Carey Evans, has passed the primary examination for the Fellowship of the College of Surgeons, England. F.R.C.S. at an examination held from April 3rd to May 5th, at The Examination Hall, London. -The subjects were: Advanced anatomy, advanced physiology, and comparative anatomy. He is 18 years of age the average age to go in for the examination is 23…”[6] . The Motorhome site was in Gellydan, a tithe map search shows Robert Pugh [7] in the Tithe maps of Wales so if your are related to him you can see area walked.

Finally, Devil’s Bridge a walk through the farm fields, bothies along the Mynach and into the forestry all covered in snow the next day. Prompted a look at some local history which can be used for genealogy. I was walking around the former estate described in 1848 “EGLWYS-NEWYDD, or LLANVIHANGEL-Y-CREIDDYN-UCHÂV, a chapelry, in the parish of Llanvihangel-y-Creiddyn, union of Aberystwith, hundred of Ilar, county of Cardigan, South Wales, 14 miles (S. E.) from Aberystwith; containing 1131 inhabitants…This place derives the latter of these names from its relative situation in the parish, and the former from the erection of a church, in 1803, by the late Thomas Johnes, Esq., on the site of a previous edifice built here in 1620, by the Herberts of Havod, for the convenience of the family, and the accommodation of the miners employed in the adjoining district of Cwm Ystwith. Havod, the seat of the late Mr. Johnes, was originally the residence of a branch of the Herbert family, who, embarking in the mining adventures of the neighbourhood, built a house here, which, from the nature of the ground and the badness of the roads, being inaccessible except during the summer, obtained the appellation of “Havod,” signifying a summer residence.”[8] So we have the Herbert’s  Mr Thomas Johnes and later in the article Henry Hoghton Esq. all eminently searchable.

There is always plenty to keep the genealogist occupied!

If you think you would like a tour of the places your ancestors lived in Wales, get in touch, once things are opening up we can make that happen.

[1]Wikipedia.SnowdonMountainRailway. : accessed 08 May 2021

[2] Recorded in The Gazette (London Gazette), 23 February 1906 Issue:27889 Page:1356.

[3] Census records. Wales. Llanberis, Caernarvon. 02 April 1911. DAVIES, John E. (head). RG14 – PN34439 RD630 SD2 ED7 SN159. Collection: Census Transcript Search, 1841-1911. : accessed 08 May 2021.

[4] Census records. Wales. Llanberis, Caernarvon. 02 April 1911. JONES, Robert Henry (penteulu). RG14 – PN34439 RD630 SD2 ED7 SN196. Collection: Census Transcript Search, 1841-1911. : accessed 08 May 2021.

[5] Railway Employment Records, 1833-1956. CLARKE, C.E. Class: RAIL410; Piece: 1847. Collection: London and North Western Railway Company: Records; : accessed 09 May 2021

[6] Carnarvon and Denbigh Herald and North and South Wales Independent (1903).  Blaenau Festiniog.  Carnarvon and Denbigh Herald and North and South Wales Independent.  08 May. p. 5a : accessed 09 May 2021

[7] The National Library of Wales. Map of Maentwrog parish in the County of Merioneth. : accessed 09 may 2021.

[8] Samuel Lewis. “Edern – Eidda,” in A Topographical Dictionary of Wales, (London: S Lewis, 1849), 320-328. British History Online, accessed May 10, 2021,

Yr Wyddfa

Near Pontarfynach

Star of the show mo madadh beag Eva the Jack Russell

Nursing Genealogy. UK & Ireland, Nursing Registers, 1898-1968.

UK & Ireland, Nursing Registers, 1898-1968 digitised to  Queens Nursing Institute (QNI – district nursing) – digitised onto  The National Archives (TNA) (which I have been writing on in past weeks) – useful for military nursing records.  Royal Medico-Psychological Association (1891 – 1951) – trained and registered Mental Nurses or Attendants.  Royal British Nurse’s Association (RBNA) (1887-1966) – kept the first ‘list’ of qualified nurses. There are 10,000 nurses on this list held at King’s College London Archive – this is now available online as transcriptions of entries.  Queen Alexandra’s Imperial Military Nursing Service (QAIMNS) – early 1900’s military nursing.  The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) – you can now search for more recent nurses registered with the NMC here.

I will look at the first one for this blog post.

The UK and Ireland nursing registers 1898 – 1968 were created to monitor those working as nurses but, as the preface to the 1898 directory states “ …the compilers of the directory do not claim for it any authority analogous to that possessed by the medical Register… Anyone possessing this Directory can ascertain the experience or training of each nurse whose name appears in it” What is noteworthy in the early days is that it was not compulsory and that all those working as nurses were not necessarily registered.

However, the genealogist is not so much interested in the fitness to practice or training of a specific nurse, but biographical details to be found in any verifiable record. The early records relied on the veracity of the returns, and the cooperation of the ‘Matrons’ which was not always forthcoming.

Nevertheless, if your ancestor was nurse, I would say this is a good place to search.

The producers of the early directories would ask nurses who wished to be included to send relevant details. For instance:

The 1898 directory asked for:

  1. Name in full and address.
  2. Present occupation and date of entry to that.
  3. Probationer at Hospital… from 18.. to 18..
  4. Staff nurse ad Hospital… from 18.. to 18..
  5. Sister at Hospital… from 18.. to 18..
  6. Matron at Hospital… from 18.. to 18..
  7. Private nurse at.. from 18.. to 18..
  8. General training certificates received at Hospital… for … years training.

Any of the following certificates:

  • Midwifery certificate Hospital and date.
  • L.O.S certificate (London Obstetrical Society) Dates of certificate:
  • Monthly Nursing Certificate Hospital and date.
  • Massage Certificate. Hospital or institution, and date.
  • Medico-psychological Certificate: Date of certificate.
  • Give list of medals and badges held if any.
  • Any other qualifications or experience beyond what is given above.

There is potential for a wealth of genealogical, family history available.

A typical entry from 1898 is:

Young, Georgina Victoria.

Shotley Bridge District Nursing Association Co. Durham.

Queen’s District Nurse since Jan. 1895.

Probationer, Addenbrooke’s Hosp. (Cert. 1 year, 3 months training), May 1891 to August 1892.

Pupil Midwife, British Lying in Hosp. (Midwifery Cert.), January to April 1893.

Queen’s District Probationer Central Home Q.V.J.I.N. Bloomsbury WC. Aug. 1893 to Feb. 1894.

[Queens Nurse July 1894].

Queen’s District Nurse Bramley Yorkshire to January 1895.

Cert. L.O.S., April 1893.

Get in touch if you would like your nursing ancestors discovered.

Ancient DNA

John Colclough. 19 January 2021

Truncated for Bwrdd:

I was fascinated by Cheddar man, the Mesolithic skeleton discovered in 1903 at Gough’s Cave in Cheddar Gorge. His ancient DNA has helped Natural History Museum scientists depict one of the oldest modern humans discovered in Britain. He lived about 10,000 years ago, was a Mesolithic hunter-gatherer with dark skin, blue eyes and was about 166cm tall. After the DNA had been processed the local area was checked and a resident was shown to be ‘related’ to Cheddar man.

I cannot compare my DNA results to Cheddar man, his is not out there in my accessible world. But I haven’t let that stop me looking. Using online tools, I compared my DNA results to some other ancient people…

I share about 0.43% DNA with an individual found at Ludas-Varjú-dűlő, in The Great Hungarian Plain. Living about 3,200 years ago, they probably had light brown skin and brown eyes and predicted to have lactose tolerance, a response to a dietary focus on raw milk from domestic cattle.

Now, Loschbour man, found in Luxembourg, a pre-agricultural European circa 8000 years ago. A Mesolithic hunter gatherer, lactulose intolerant into adulthood, dark skin, and >50% probability of blue eyes, not unlike Cheddar man. Loschbour and I have about 0.28% DNA in common.

I match about 0.22%  very ancient DNA with the 45,000-year-old remains of an early modern human from Ust-Ishim, Siberia, appearance was similar to a modern Tibetan. They had 2% Neanderthal DNA, roughly the same as all today’s non-Africans. My proud connection to Neanderthal.

Found near Stuttgart, a female European farmer of circa 7500 years ago and I share about 0.17% DNA, she was from the LBK Culture, makers of distinctive banded decorated pottery. Lactose intolerant in adulthood, she had a > 99% probability of dark hair and brown eyes.

Hungary again, from Polgár-Ferenci-hát, a female living about 7,200 years ago in the Central European Neolithic period, lactose intolerant, dark skinned and brown eyes comparable to present day peoples local to Sardinia, we have circa 0.15% DNA in common.

Discovered at Sabinka, a male possibly blue eyed, fair skinned with light coloured hair, living about 3200 years ago, probably of the bronze age Karasuk culture around Minusinsk Basin, far eastern Russia. We share about 0.14% DNA.

Next, a small match, to the male Clovis baby, lived between12,500 and 12,800 years ago in Montana. Clovis culture is often characterized by the distinctive style on projectile points used by an early North American. We share 0.09% DNA. The match is more of a measure I suspect, of the origin of two paths one leading to Ireland and one to Montana, than me being an American.

Lastly, a Battle ‘Axer’, an adult male lived 3,700 years ago, buried at Lilla Bedinge, Sweden. Battle Axe Culture named from the distinctive shape of their axe heads. We share a small amount of DNA, 0.05%, minimal battle axe in me, but I’ve worked with one or two.

Another utility says, I’m 50% 45,000-year-old Hunter Gatherer, who chased the large herds as the climate warmed, 38% Farmer, who migrated after the last Ice Age 7,000-8,000 years ago, into the European continent from the Near East. Then 12% 3,000 year old Metal Age invader from the eastern steppes, lactulose tolerant, who brought domesticated horses, wheeled vehicles and metal tools.

Summing up, Hunter Gatherer, as a child I fished for trout in the local ‘burn’ in Donegal, I’d struggle killing a creature now. Farmer, all my great grandparents were ‘of the land’. Metal age invader, I’ve seen Deep Purple a couple of times. I let my imagination run…

Full text here:

Test your DNA with one of the commercial databases, receive your results, provided you are sanguine about using public data processing utilities you can let your imagination run free. Which I have…

I was fascinated by the story of Cheddar man, the Mesolithic skeleton discovered in 1903 at Gough’s Cave in Cheddar Gorge, Somerset. His ancient DNA has helped Natural History Museum scientists depict one of the oldest modern humans discovered in Britain. He lived about 10,000 years ago, was a Mesolithic hunter-gatherer with dark skin, blue eyes and was about 166cm tall. There is a good explanation of the extraction of the Cheddar man’s DNA on the Natural History website[1]. After the DNA had been processed the local area was checked and a resident could be shown to be ‘related’ to Cheddar man, in that there had been a common maternal ancestor to them both[2].

As it is, I cannot compare my DNA results to Cheddar man, he is not out there in the accessible world yet. But I haven’t let that stop me looking. Using a free utility called GedMatch I have compared my DNA results to some other ancient people.

Working from the largest (albeit in quite small amounts) percentage of shared DNA I have found the following, setting minimum parameters to try to eliminate chance matches, some of which the matches may well be.

DNA was sequenced from an individual found at Ludas-Varjú-dűlő, Hungary, a person with probably light brown skin and brown eyes living about 3,200 years ago, given the identifier BR2, classified now as Central European Genotypes. Within this period the trade in commodities across Europe increased and the importance of the Great Hungarian Plain as a node or intersection of cultures is indicated by the growth of heavily fortified settlements in the vicinities of the Carpathian valleys and passes linking North and South. The individual BR2 was predicted to have lactose tolerance, a response to a dietary focus on raw milk from domestic cattle. It has been postulated that this change/mutation happened circa 5,500 years BC, possibly in association with the Neolithic LBK culture within Central Europe, but it has also been shown its appearance is delayed until the more recent Bronze Age individuals, who lived only 1,000 years BC, including the BR2 person[3]. The BR2 DNA I share is shown on Chromosome 1, 3.5cM and 3.3cM on two sections, Chromosome 10, 5.2cM, Chromosome 11, 3.3cM and 4cM on two segments, Chromosome 14, 3.1cM, Chromosome 17, 3.8cM and Chromosome 21, 3.1cM, see Isogg wiki[4] for a definition of cM. The percentage total autosomal DNA we share is about 0.43%.[5]

The second match of note is to Loschbour man, who was found in Luxembourg, this person’s DNA indicated they were from pre-agricultural Europeans from circa 8000 years ago, and possibly one of the last of the culture, a likely Mesolithic hunter gatherer Lactulose intolerant into adulthood, dark skin, and >50% probability of blue eyes [6], so not unlike Cheddar man. The DNA analysis was used in a basis for proposing a ‘metapopulation’ in Europe of Western Hunter Gatherers (WHG)[7], I share 2 segments on Chromosome 2, 3.2cM and 3.4cM, Chromosome 8, 3.7cM, Chromosome 10, 3.1cM and o Chromosome 17, 5.7cM using the same calculations above about 0.28% shared autosomal DNA.

The oldest of the ancient DNA I can match to is a person found at Ust-Ishim,Siberia, so called Ust’-Ishim man the 45,000-year-old remains of one of the early modern humans to inhabit western Siberia. The fossil is notable in that it had intact DNA which permitted the complete sequencing of its genome, the oldest modern human genome to be so decoded[8]. It is noted that… “The most intriguing clue about his origin is that about 2% of his genome comes from Neanderthals. This is roughly the same level that lurks in the genomes of all of today’s non-Africans, owing to ancient trysts between their ancestors and Neanderthals. The Ust’-Ishim man probably got his Neanderthal DNA from these same matings, which, past studies suggest, happened after the common ancestor of Europeans and Asians left Africa and encountered Neanderthals in the Middle East.

Until now, the timing of this interbreeding was uncertain — dated to between 37,000 and 86,000 years ago. But Neanderthal DNA in the Ust’-Ishim genome pinpoints it to between 50,000 and 60,000 years ago on the basis of the long Neanderthal DNA segments in the Ust’-Ishim man’s genome. Paternal and maternal chromosomes are shuffled together in each generation, so that over time the DNA segments from any individual become shorter.” [9]

Comparing myself and Ust-Ishim man we share, on Chromosome 2, 3cM, Chromosome 6, 4.7cM, Chromosome 20, 3.9cM, Chromosome 22, 3.4cM, about 0.22% autosomal DNA shared, my proud connection to Neanderthal.

Next match I identified was LBK, Stuttgart, LBK being Linearbandkeramik Culture, a description of the distinctive banded decorated pottery associated with early European farmers[10]. The DNA was sequenced and reported that LBK was a an early (probably female) European farmer of circa 7500 years ago found near Stuttgart, Germany, the DNA analysis suggested they were lactose intolerant in adulthood, had a > 99% probability of dark hair and brown eyes, the DNA was part of a basis for describing a ‘Metapopulation’ Early European farmers (EEF)[11]. This individual and I share DNA, on Chromosome 6, 3cM, Chromosome 14, 5.3cM. Chromosome 15,3.1cM, roughly we share 0.17% autosomal DNA.

Heading back to Hungary, my DNA sequence has some vestige of the individual known as NE1, who was found at Polgár-Ferenci-hát, Hungary, lived about  7,200 years ago, this person very likely female, lactose intolerant, dark skinned and brown eyes comparable to present day peoples local to Sardinia, the DNA sequenced, there is some evidence from DNA to tentatively support the incorporation of local male hunter-gatherers into farming communities during the Central European Neolithic period.[12] NE1 and I share on Chromosome 1, 3.1cM, Chromosome 18, 3cM, and Chromosome 22, 4.1cM, thus sharing about 0.15% autosomal DNA.

Found in Sabinka, Russia was RISE493, this male lived about 3200 years ago, probably of the bronze age Karasuk culture which thrived from about 1200 to about 70 BCE—the dawn of the Iron and historical age—the Karasuk culture was located in the Minusinsk Basin, on the Yenisey River and on the upper reaches of the Ob River. Its creators must have been in touch with East Asia, for certain bronze objects, notably elbow-shaped knives, are related to those used between the 14th and 11th centuries BCE in China during the Shang period. Stone pillars topped either with ram’s heads, stylized animal forms, or human figures have also been discovered. Dzheytun, northwest of Ashgabat (Ashkhabad) in the Kyzylkum Desert, is the oldest known agricultural settlement in Central Asia. It possessed a thriving Neolithic flint industry[13]. The area in the present day is in Khakassia the far east of Russia. The male was possibly blue eyed, fair skinned with light coloured hair. [14] We share on Chromosome 1, 3.6cM, Chromosome 2, 3cM, and Chromosome 14, 3.6cM, so sharing about 0.14% autosomal DNA. Not far from Genghis Khan.

Next result was a small match, possibly little enough to be ‘noise’ or chance, but interesting, it is to the Clovis baby, a male baby lived between 12500 and 12800 years ago in western Montana USA. Clovis culture is often characterized by the distinctive Clovis style projectile point on an arrow or spear of sorts, they were probably the widest spread of the early N. American peoples about 13,000 years ago [15]. On Chromosome 7, the infant and I share 3.1cM and on Chromosome 9, 3.3cM or about 0.09% autosomal DNA in total, I’m not a native American but I might be more than one petulant multibillionaire springing to mind, if the match is valid it is more of a measure I suspect, of the origin of two paths one leading to Ireland and one to Montana.

Lastly Scandinavia, and indexed as RISE98, Sweden, an adult male lived 3,700 years ago, buried at Lilla Bedinge, in Grave 49. Someone of The Battle Axe Culture appearing in the archaeological record of south, central and west Sweden around 2800 BC, marking the start of the Middle Neolithic period. Named from the distinctive shape of the axe heads associated with this culture. They are most often made from polished flint stone as a curved shape resembling a boat. The axe heads are almost exclusively double headed and some examples show a great attention to detail. It is likely that these heads were of a ritual significance and were most certainly a symbol of status within the society. The ritual axe heads that have been found are often worked from black stone with angular sides and a pronounced lip, together with a rounded crushing end. The axes were deposited in burials as grave goods, and might have had a ritual or funerary significance, alongside being a status symbol for the wearer. Such axes were definitely a deadly weapon that gave the Battle Axe culture an advantage in warfare: numerous burials from the era display catastrophic, crushing head wounds, giving rise to the name “Age of Crushed Skulls”[16] a regional variation of the continental Corded Ware Culture [17]. A note on the Corded Ware Culture… “In historic and archaeological terms, the Corded Ware culture is crucial. It emerged as an offshoot of the Yamnaya culture, which today is considered to be the source of the Proto-Indo-Europeans and their language. Thus, as the Corded Ware culture spread eastwards and northwards, it displaced the Proto-Indo-European populations of Europe and brought with it a new language and advanced technology. Through these migrations a new world was created that would come to reshape the course of history”[18]. I share a small amount of autosomal DNA 3.5cM on Chromosome 18 about 0.05%, minimal battle axe in me, definitely not a crusher of skulls.

In another type of DNA analysis on FamilyTreeDNA (FTDNA), I’m 50% Hunter Gatherer, an Anatomically modern Human (thank goodness) arrived continental Europe about 45000 years ago following the large herds as the climate warmed[19], my Ust’-Ishim man above and possibly Loschbour too. FTDNA tells me I’m about 38% Farmer, 8,000–7,000 years ago, after the last Ice Age, modern human farming populations began migrating into the European continent from the Near East. This migration marked the beginning of the New Stone Age, modern humans practicing a more sedentary lifestyle as their subsistence strategies relied more on stationary farming and pastoralism, further allowing for the emergence of artisan practices such as pottery making[20].

The same era as NE1 above. My last bit of make up according to FTDNA is 12% Metal Age invader, the Bronze Age people, fitting nicely with BR2 above as these people were largely lactulose tolerant, also the bringers of domesticated horses, wheeled vehicles and metal tools[21].

To sum up, Hunter Gatherer, I used to go fishing for trout in the local ‘burn’ in Donegal as a child, I think I’d struggle killing a creature now. Farmer, well all my great grandparents were ‘of the land’ in Ireland. Metal age invader, I’ve seen Deep Purple a couple of times. So, I could have done all the above in this last paragraph. But as I said let your imagination run…

[1] Natural History Museum. Cheddar Man: Mesolithic Britain’s blue-eyed boy. : accessed 02 January 2021.

[2] BBC. Cheddar Man: DNA shows early Briton had dark skin. : accessed 02 January 2021.

[3] Gamba, Cristina et al. (2014). Genome flux and stasis in a five millennium transect of European prehistory. Nature communications. 5 (5257). October. : accessed 02 January 2021.

[4] Isogg. CentiMorgan. : accessed 02 January 2021.

[5] Ibid.

[6] Lazaridis, Iosif et. al. (2013). Ancient human genomes suggest three ancestral populations for present-day Europeans. Nature. 10 (1038). December. : accessed 02 January 2021.

[7] Ibid.

[8] Wikimedia Foundation Inc. Ust’-Ishim man. accessed 02 January 2021.

[9] Callaway, Ewan (2014). 45,000-Year-Old Man’s Genome Sequenced. An analysis of the oldest known DNA from a human reveals a mysterious group that roamed northern Asia. : accessed 02 January 2021.

[10] Hirst, K. Kris. Linearbandkeramik Culture – European Farming Innovators. : accessed 02 January 2021.

[11] Lazaridis et. al. (2013). Ancient human genomes suggest three ancestral populations for present-day Europeans. Nature. 10 (1038). December. : accessed 02 January 2021.

[12] Gamba, Cristina et al. (2014). Genome flux and stasis in a five millennium transect of European prehistory. Nature communications. 5 (5257). October. : accessed 02 January 2021.

[13] Brittanica. Visual Arts-Prehistoric cultures- Paleolithic cultures. : accessed 03 January 2021.

[14] Keyser, C. et. Al. (2009). Ancient DNA provides new insights into the history of south Siberian Kurgan people. Human Genetics. 126, pp.395–410 : accessed 03 January 2021.

[15] DNAeXplained – Genetic Genealogy. Clovis People Are Native Americans, and from Asia, not Europe. accessed 03 January 2021.

[16] Vuckovic, Alekska. (2020) The Battle Axe Culture: Piecing Together the Age of Crushed Skulls. accessed 03 January 2021.

[17] Fornander, Elin. (2013). Dietary diversity and moderate mobility – isotope evidence from Scanian Battle Axe Culture burials. Journal of Nordic Archaeological Science 18.  pp. 13–29.!/menu/standard/file/Fornander.JONAS18.pdf : accessed 03 January 2021.

[18] Vuckovic, Alekska. (2020) The Battle Axe Culture: Piecing Together the Age of Crushed Skulls. accessed 03 January 2021.

[19] FamilyTreeDNA. My Ancient Origins-Hunter Gatherer. : accessed 04 January 2021.

[20] Ibid.

[21] Ibid.


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