I'm off work for about ten days over the Christmas period, so between the turkey, mince pies etc I'm finding a bit of time for my favourite hobby.
Over the past month I've had a couple of new contacts on the treeing front. It's always good to hear from "new" Bankes descendants. I'm trying to make sure that when we upload the updated tree to the website in a few weeks time it is as up to date as possible, so if you do have anything to add to it now would be a good time for you to contact me.
As I think I mentioned in my last blog entry, I'm currently working on updates for the website. I'm reviewing the existing pages, and also looking at adding some new material. It will take me a little while to complete this work, as we have had a really good year in terms of interesting new discoveries, but I'll let you know when it's done.
One of the tools that has recently become widely available to family history researchers is DNA testing. I have long considered whether it would be worthwhile to have a DNA test carried out, without coming to a conclusion. The June 2008 issue of Ancestors magazine (Issue 70) carried an interesting feature on the subject. Two different people each had a DNA test carried out and reported on the results in two separate articles. Without going into a lot of detail, one of the articles was very positive about the outcome of the test, whilst the other one was very negative. I can understand that this probably suited the purposes of the magazine editor very well, as the two articles taken together put the pros and cons of DNA testing in a very tangible way, but as a means of clearing my uncertainty about such a project it didn't help at all!
In November I celebrated my 60th birthday. I had a day off work and celebrated by spending the day at home. In the evening we had a lovely family gathering and meal, and I was fortunate enough to be given some birthday gifts. One of these was a DNA test. Jan and Helen had obviously concluded that, left to my own devices, I'd never get the thing done, so they took the initiative. My thanks to both of them.
I was amazed at the speed with which the test results were available to us - less than two weeks after my saliva samples were posted off to Salt Lake City the results were there on the computer screen on Ancestry.com. Fantastic!.
What did the test results tell me?
Well, it seems that on my male side I "belong to haplogroup R1b, The Artisans, who first arrived in Europe from West Asia about 35,000 - 40,000 years ago". Evidently about 70% of people now living in southern England are descended from the Artisans, and there are also many Artisans descendants in Spain, Portugal, France, Wales, Scotland and Ireland.
My test results have been compared to the results of other participants, and I have been linked to a 250 people whose DNA matches mine. My nearest relations among these are four people, all resident in the USA. Two of these people who share a common ancestor with me within 13 generations, and the other two share a common ancestor with me within 15 generations. When you consider that I am 11 generations away from Mary (Rand) Mitchell (c1668-1738/9) half sister to John Bankes, it probably means that the unnamed ancestors I share with these people were born between 1550 and 1620.
My test results also matched those of a further 246 people, the matches with these occurring between 21 and 40 generations ago. That's a very long time ago!
I have the opportunity to send an email to these people, and I may do that in the case of the two who are most closely matched to me. You never know, it may result in an exciting new chapter in my Culshaw family history research!
Speaking of Culshaw research, in my last blog entry I told you about the Hesketh research that Chris had carried out. We were hoping that it would link to our Ellen Hesketh (c1761-1846). Alas, Chris tells me that it does not appear to link to our ancestor.
That's all for now. I wish you all a happy and healthy 2009, and - if you are treeing - good hunting!