18 Jan 2015

Reginald Ernest Swinfield














On 11th January 2015, family and friends gathered in the West Abbey Care Centre in Yeovil, Somerset, to celebrate the life and 90th birthday of Reg Swinfield, my father. 

Born at Bagshot, Surrey, he was the only child of Arthur Swinfield (1883-1956) and Edith Elizabeth nee Worsfold (1884-1976), born 11 years after their marriage. In his early years, he suffered from ill health having measles, whooping cough and double pneumonia in quick succession, leaving him needing to be in a pushchair until he was five years old! His father was then working as a butler at the Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst.

In April 1930, Reg started his education at Yorktown School. His strength gradually improved and at age of eight, he joined the Frimley and Camberley Cadet Corps and eventually was promoted to be commander of Yorktown Platoon. He won several medals for both physical and athletic achievements. A very keen sportsman throughout his life, he played football and cricket for his junior school and in 1938 was selected to play football for Farnham Schools when they won the Wood Cup, the Surrey Schools Competition for under 12s.

Having not been successful in the examination at 11 to attend the local grammar school, he passed the 13+ examination to attend Guildford Junior Technical School from 1938 to 1940. In his first term, he played football for Guildford Schools who won the Hood Shield for all Surrey Schools in March 1939.
Leaving school in May 1940, he became an engineering apprentice at the world-renowned Royal Aircraft Establishment at Farnborough, Hampshire, where he trained until 1946, obtaining his Ordinary and Higher National Certificates. At the age of 17, in Jan 1942, he joined the Home Guard during WWII and served alongside his father until it was disbanded in 1944.
In August 1946, Reg joined Fairey Aviation Company at Hayes in Middlesex as a junior stressman, commuting four hours by train and bus each day, for the princely weekly wage of £5-19-6d. He worked on the Firefly Mk5 for six months and was then transferred to the team involved in the design of the new Gannet anti-submarine aircraft. 
During the football season 1947/8, he captained the Camberley Reserves when they won the Surrey Senior Reserve Section Challenge Cup.
On New Years Eve 1947, at a dance in Camberley, he met Evelyn May Bird (1924-2008). They became engaged on Evelyn’s 24th birthday and were married in St Peter’s Church, Frimley, Surrey, on 16th July 1949. Geoffrey Mark, their only child, was born on 2nd October 1951.
In his lifelong career, he was promoted to Assistant Chief Stressman and was made a Fellow of the Royal Aeronautical Society and a Chartered Engineer. When Fairey Aviation was taken over by Westland Helicopters in 1960, the Rotodyne project was cancelled and he was transferred to the Scout and Wasp helicopters. By 1966, he was promoted to Deputy Chief Structural Engineer and spent some time at Cowes on the Isle of Wight developing the SRN4 hovercraft and later the Lynx helicopter.
From 1950 to 1972, he was a stalwart all-rounder for Bagshot Cricket Club, captaining the First XI for many seasons, scoring thousands of runs and taking well over 1000 wickets. Also a keen golfer, at one time playing to a handicap of 14, he was still playing in his early 80s.
Evelyn and Reg moved to Sherborne in Dorset in August 1972 with the closure of the Hayes factory by Westland and its transfer to Yeovil. Appointed its Chief Structural Designer and later the Chief Structural Engineer, he finally retired in May 1986 after 26 years with that company. In early 1987, they embarked on an eight-week round-the-world tour with their friends, David and Madge Hollely, visiting Honolulu, Fiji, New Zealand, Australia, Thailand and Hong Kong.
They have three grandchildren, Thomas William born in 1984, Benjamin Alan 1985 and Samuel John in 1988. His great-granddaughter, Lexia Lou, was born in September 2013.

17 Jan 2015

John William Swinfield (1922-2014)

On 10th November 2014, one of our most senior Swinfields passed away at the age of 92. 

John William Swinfield was born on 23rd July 1922. A native and lifelong resident of Sydney, New South Wales, he was the son of a builder, John Andrew Swinfield (1897-1964) and Jessie Isabella nee Mitchell (1893/4-1971) who married in the Granville area of the city in 1918. As such, John William was the great-great-grandson of William Swinfield (1804-1876), the tailor who left Hartshill, Warwickshire in England for Australia in 1848 with his second wife Sarah (Williamson) and their family of four children. Those included his 10 year-old son, John, who was to become John William's great-grandfather.

Attending Enfield Primary School and Belmore Technical College, he left formal education when he was just over 14, during the depression of late 1936, to try to find a job. He first delivered milk, making two runs a day for 12s-6d per week! Later he became a delivery boy for a grocer's shop at Hill Street in Leichhardt before gaining employment with the firm of Brico at Camperdown, which made piston ring and cylinder liners. By 1939, he was with Amalgamated Wireless in Ashfield as a fitter and turner in its machine shop.


During WWII, he served as a fitter and engineer with the Royal Australian Air Force, posted to Coomalia Creek Airstrip in Northern Territory (which was bombed three times!) and then in Northern Queensland. 

After the War, John sailed as second engineer on a trading vessel to Papua New Guinea where he lived for a couple of years. Returning to NSW in 1947, he found his first long-term position from 1950 to 1970 with Michael Nain & Co, makers of floor coverings at Auburn. Shortly afterwards in 1954, he married Joan Patricia (Boyne) and they had four children, John Andrew in 1957, Helen Jessica 1959, Pamela May in 1960 and Linda Jane 1963.

For the last ten years of his working life, he was a purchasing officer for the NSW Returned and Services League (RSL), of which he was an active member and President of its Burwood Club for 15 years. He took early retirement at 58 in 1980.

John William Swinfield became an expert on antique firearms and co-authored Australian Antique Arms & History published in 2009. He was President of the Antique Arms Collectors Society of Australia for many years.

It was pleasure to have him with us at the Swinfield Gathering held at Ryde in Sydney in May 2014, just six months before his death. He was there with all four of his children and four of his six grandchildren. 

24 Dec 2014

A Very Happy Christmas to all Swinfields

A very Happy Christmas to all Swinfields wherever you may be in the World! I hope that you are still enjoying reading about the developments in the search for “our” genealogy and family history. I will try to keep you informed of progress regularly in the New Year.


The most significant happening of 2014 was the very successful Gathering held in May in Sydney. I guess that the English Swinfields will be after another one in 2015 to see if they can wrest back the record for the number of attendees from our Australian cousins! 

Sadly two of those who were there are no longer with us. John Anthony and John William have left us for a better place, we hope. We are thinking of their families at this time.  

Of course, there have also been new arrivals during 2014. Children have been born with our surname to add to our number.  

John William Swinfield and family 
My current project, to be continued in 2015, is to build up a collection of photos of as many Swinfields, both by birth or by marriage, as I can find or be given. So far I have managed to obtain images of more than 360 of us. How many will we have by the end of the project?

Input from any Swinfields, wherever you live and are celebrating Christmas and the start of a brand New Year, will be much appreciated. 

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







distance
Derrick Swinfield 5F 11 10 17

0
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!