17 Aug 2014

New Swinfield projects

I have used the Swinfield Blog, since I began it almost three years ago at the end of August 2011, to publish articles about the history of those who share the surname and to record what we know about the separate branches of the family. 

It has also been used to tell you what DNA tests have told us about the probable origins of the family. It has been a forum for publicising and reporting the two very successful Swinfield Gatherings which we have held in England and Australia in 2013/4. I hope that you find it very informative about others who share our very unusual surname and how we are related to one another. 
The Swinfield Gathering
September 2013
My current project is to gather together a photograph album of as many Swinfield faces as I can. How many images can I collect of those who are or have been Swinfields now and in the past? It is the older generations that I need help with. Do you have any photos of your ancestors or their relatives who you can positively identify? If you can dig them out of your cupboards, attics or from your own photo albums, I would love to add them to the Swinfield Photograph Collection. I am particularly interested in group photographs taken at Swinfield marriages or baptisms. However, I will be pleased to receive copies of any old photographs that you can find. Do you or your close relatives have some that you are willing to share with us all?

Australian Swinfields? Who are they? 
If you have, just send the copies to me, telling me who the people are. It would also be excellent if you know approximately when and where the pictures were taken. This will form a fantastic archive and the photos will be saved forever! I have also been thinking about what else we can achieve. What can we do to preserve the stories of our ancestors? A new project, to which I hope you will want to contribute, is to produce a short account of the life of a favourite or much-loved relative. This could be a father or mother, grandparent(s) or any other Swinfield who you remember with great affection. Let's write down their stories. You can see an example of one that my father, Reg Swinfield, and I wrote about my grandfather, Arthur Swinfield (1883-1956).

Arthur, Reginald & Edith Swinfield and a friend
with young Geoff taken in about 1954
Camberley, Surrey   

It will be an opportunity to record and honour their life. Would you do one for someone, living or dead, who is dear to you and your family? All I need from you is about 300 to 400 words which recounts their life, achievements and any funny or interesting stories that you and your family remember about them. Add a photo or two and I will put it up on a new section of the Swinfield Blog. With your input, we will produce a collection of Swinfield Biographies for our favourite relations. You have the stories and memories, let's collect them now! It will be a way of showing them just how much they mean to us. 

I hope that you will join in. Let me know what you can contribute to these two projects.

Geoff Swinfield (e-mail: geoff@gsgs.co.uk)

28 Jun 2014

More DNA results have arrived!

The results of the three DNA tests, which were taken during the Swinfield Gathering in Sydney, have now been received! What do they tell us about the members of Family 3 and the wider Swinfield genealogy?

Leslie, Ray & Ian give their samples
watched by John William
(the father of Andrew John) 

Fortunately, all three men, Leslie Ernest from Family 3A, Raymond Francis of Family 3B and Ian George of 3C match almost exactly. They only differ at one marker out of the 37 markers at which they were compared. This tells us that they really are Swinfields and do not have an errant paternal ancestor somewhere in the past as I do!

They really are “genetic” third cousins being descendants, as is Andrew John also of Family 3A, from William Swinfield (1804-1876), the emigrant of 1848. They also match with the other English representative of Family 3, Paul Frederick, who has been tested.

Swinfields genetic testers at the English Gathering
of September 2013. Paul Frederick, Derrick, Geoff and John Arnold
study the pedigrees
Furthermore, the five testees from Family 3 match very closely with those from Families 2, 5 & 12, who also been sampled. We now have 8 Swinfields whose DNA is almost identical. This suggests very strongly that all four branches have a common origin before 1700 and that, by inference, Family 4 which descends from William Swinfield’s younger brother, John, (sadly with no known living male descendants who have the surname) also joins on to that much larger lineage.

All the tests are identical at 32 of the 37 markers tested. There are only differences at 5 markers as:

Family 391 459b 464c 576 CDYb Genetic

Derrick Swinfield 5F 11 10 17

Maxwell Swinfield 12 & 7 & 30 11 10 17 19 36 0
John Arnold Swinfield 2 & 9 11 10 17 18 36 1
Paul Swinfield 3 & 13 10 10 17 19 36 1
Andrew John Swinfield 3A 10 9 16 19 37 4
Leslie Ernest Swinfield 3A 10 10 16 19 36 2
Raymond Francis Swinfield 3B 10 10 16 19 36 2
Ian George Swinfield 3C 10 10 16 18 36 3

It now appears that the separate families are most likely to join up, based on the known genealogy of Family 3 and the DNA results as:

The results for those Swinfields, who have now been tested through FTDNA, can be viewed on the Swinfield Project page there. You can also read,in greater detail, what they tell us. Don't forget that is where you can also see the relationships between your male ancestors.

We now need a sample from another person on a different branch of Family 5. It would also be very useful to test members of Family 1 and Family 44 (the Swinfield-Wells branch). Those are the next goals for the genetic research into the Swinfield lineage.

11 Jun 2014

John Anthony Swinfield (1933-2014)

We are very sorry to learn of the recent death of John Swinfield. Born in the Pyrmont area of Sydney on 27th January 1933, he passed away on 24th May 2014. That was exactly three weeks after being at the Swinfield Gathering at Ryde in Sydney. He and his wife, Annette, were an integral part of that very successful day, which was held at the retirement home where his brother Ray now lives. We were very pleased to enjoy his company.

John leaves two sons, John and David, and three grandchildren, Samantha, Lachlan and Claudia. He will also be missed by his two daughters-in-law, Julia and Annette. John's funeral was held at St Charles Borromeo Catholic Church, Victoria Road, Ryde, on 30th May followed by cremation at Macquarie Park.

John, Ray, the third brother Jim, and their families were reunited in September 2013 when 11 members met at Ryde. They were the three sons of John Anthony Swinfield (1902-1960) and Emily Delaney (1900-1991). I am sure that the meeting will provide them with very happy memories to cherish now that John is no longer with them.

19 May 2014

DNA was taken at the Gathering

38 Australian members of Family 3 attended the Gathering in Sydney. They represented the three distinct parts of this large genealogy which descend from three sons of William Swinfield (1804-1876) and his first two wives, Sarah Ballard (1800-1845) and Sarah Williamson (1816-1861):

Family 3A descends from John (William) Swinfield (1838-1903)
Family 3B has as its ancestor Daniel Swinfield (1842-1877)
Family 3C comes from George William Swinfield (1854-1936)

Geoff explaining DNA testing to the Gathering 
Two present-day members of this lineage have already been DNA tested. One is Andrew John Swinfield of Family 3A, the son of John William. Both were at the Gathering. The other testee is Paul Frederick Swinfield, who lives in England. He does not have William as his ancestor. Rather he descends from William's much younger brother, George Swinfield (born 1825). Andrew is Paul's 4th cousin, once removed and they match at 34 of the 37 markers on the Y-chromsome for which they have both been tested. This suggests that they have a common ancestor as has been proved by genealogical research. Unfortunately, we cannot test their close cousins from Family 4 as the other brother, John Swinfield (1806-1874), has no known male descendants.

To expand our knowledge of the DNA of this branch of the Swinfield tree, we took the opportunity to take samples from three other men who were at the Gathering. 

They are:
Leslie, Ray and Ian prepare to test  
Family 3A - Leslie Ernest       3rd cousin to John William
Family 3B - Raymond Francis 3rd cousin to John William
Family 3C - Ian George          Half 3rd cousin to John William

John William looks on as the
three men give their samples 

Di & Geoff prepare the DNA samples to send off to the lab 

It will be very enlightening to see how closely these three samples match with those results which we already have on the Swinfield DNAand Genealogy Group results page of the Family Tree DNA website. As soon as the new results are available, I will analyse what they tell us about the relationships between Family 3 and the other major branchesWatch this space!  

18 May 2014

Family 4 was there too!

It was a great pleasure that three members of Family 4 came to the Swinfield Gathering. They are descended from John Swinfield (1806-1874) another son of Thomas Swinfield, the labourer, of Wolvey in Warwickshire and his wife, Elizabeth Hackett. John married Mary Ann Bates at Mancetter in the same county in 1833. They had 6 children in that parish from 1834 to 1850. In late 1852, presumably at the suggestion of his brother, William, who had already settled in Sydney, he and his wife embarked on the arduous three month journey onboard the ill-fated “Beejapore”. Of the nearly thousand passengers who set out, 55 or 56 died on the voyage, all but one of them being children. On arrival, the ship was put into quarantine at the station on North Head, close to what is now Manly. There a further 62 perished from typhus and measles during the time that they were accommodated in just 90 tents in the height of summer. These included John's wife and his youngest son, William, who was only 3. The ship was released to complete its journey into Sydney Harbour on 9th February 1853.
Ruth & Geoff study the
pedigree of Family 4
Our three attendees at the Gathering all descend from John's daughter, Mary, who was born at Mancetter in 1838 and who was 15 when she disembarked. The four surviving children did not stay in NSW for long. They all married in Tasmania from 1857 to 1868. Mary married Henry Chesterman at St David's Church, Hobart, Tasmania on 13th October 1857 and they had 12 children and many modern descendants.
I had already met Ruth Cuff on her visit to London in April 2012. She then brought with her copies of two letters which were sent to his brother and sister by Edward Swinfield (1834-1881) who did not make the voyage to Australia. Rather he went to be a planter in St Kitts in the West Indies where he died. He has no descendants. Neither, as far as we know, do either of the other two surviving sons of John Swinfield by his two wives.
Col, Jordan & Ruth  


Col & Jordan Barling 
 The other two people to come to the Gathering were Col Barling and his daughter, Jordan. It was great for them to meet there and we exchanged photographs and documents. I have also recently been in contact with their cousin, Bob Chesterman, who has as his ancestor not only Mary Swinfield (1838-1918) but also her sister, Mary Ann (1846-1930), who married Moses John Clark!

Map of North Head and the
Quarantine Station

Geoff at Q Station 
Today Q Station is a hotel. However it provides a very informative visitors' centre which Di and I visited to see its very good exhibition. That documents its time as a place of quarantine for the emigrants into Sydney until as late as the 1980s! 
Quarantine Beach where the emigrants landed.
Just above the beach would have been the final resting place
of John's wife and young son who died in 1853.   

11 May 2014

Family 3C was there too!

The third part of Family 3 in Australia has as its ancestors William Swinfield (1804-1876), the tailor, and his second wife, Sarah Williamson (1816-1861). They had also married at Nuneaton in 1846 after his first wife died the year before. That marriage was to produce 7 more children for William after the family emigrated in 1848 on the Walmer Castle.  

Second cousins meet:
John Butcher, Ian George Swinfield,
Vanessa Swinfield & Karen Butcher
Only one of their two sons, George William (1854-1936) has living descendants who constitute Family 3C. 9 children were born to his wife, Elizabeth McCarthy, who he married at St Paul's in Redfern on 27th November 1874. There is a wonderful photograph of their family which I have been given by separate branches of their family and which I wrote about in Part 8 of the Blog back in September 2011.
Carolyn McKellar and her father,
Frank Stott

One of their grandchildren, Frank George Stott, and three great-grandchildren, Ian George Swinfield, Karen Butcher and Carolyn McKellar, were at the Gathering representing three of their children, George William Swinfield (1881-1956), Arthur Edwin Swinfield (1891-1975) and Jessica Vera Stott (1900-1972) respectively.

Belinda Saywell, Kylie Gravitis, Peter Swinfield, Ian Swinfield,
Fiona Burrows, Sue Swinfield, Nelleke & Vanessa (Ness) Swinfield  
Nelleke Swinfield, the widow of Colin Thomas Swinfield (1937-2012), another of the great-grandsons, came all the way from Nambour in Queensland to join her brother-in-law, Ian George, and his daughters, Kylie Gravitis and Fiona Burrows. It was very good that Vanessa and Peter, Nelleke's two children, and her niece, Belinda Saywell, were also able to be there. Ness brought along a huge collection of family photographs and documents for us all to share. I look forward to receiving copies of all that when she has the time to scan it! 

The Australian Swinfields gathered in force!

Di and I are now home from our five week holiday, where we visited Indonesia, to see my son Tom, and Australia. It was a wonderful experience to see just a very small part of Australia, travelling the east coast from Sydney to Brisbane and then moving on to Cairns and into the rain forest where we stayed at the wonderful Bloomfield Lodge.

On our return to Sydney, the Swinfield Gathering took place on Saturday 3rd May 2014 at the Calvary Retirement Community, now home to Ray Swinfield. He arranged for us all to meet there in what proved to be an excellent venue where we could mingle and chat with the 45 people who came together. 

Although the majority were from the Sydney area of New South Wales, others made the journey from other parts of the state whilst others travelled in from as far afield as Queensland, Tasmania and Victoria! Ray's sister-in-law, Annette, ably supported by his brother and nephew, the two Johns, brought in a wonderful array of cakes and kept everyone supplied with tea and coffee.

There was great excitement as people found themselves on the family trees which I had brought with me from England, identifying how they were related, and meeting newly-found cousins.
The attendees were all from Families 3 and 4, being descendants of William (1804-1876) and John (1806-1874), the two sons of Thomas and Elizabeth Swinfield who arrived in very late 1848 and very early1853. The vast majority are part of the very large pedigree 3, accounting for 38 of those who were there. Three members of Family 4 also came, representing John's family, which includes, as far as we know, no living Swinfields. 

Di kept us all in order so that we all knew exactly “who was who” and made sure that we had a photographic record of what was a very enjoyable and informative event.