24 Dec 2011

How can you learn about the Swinfields?

Happy Christmas to all those who follow the Swinfield Blog.

When you are together over the festive season, let us find some time to talk to other family members about our relatives and the ancestors from who we are descended. Now is a good time to collect those family stories. Let us remember where we came from and record all the family memories and tales before it is too late. Dig out all the old family photos and record the names, dates and places of the images from our past. Then make a New Year's resolution to share them with all of us who are part of the wider Swinfield clan. I would love to hear from you and to have new material and images to write about in 2012. Tell me what you have discovered so that we can pass the information to all who are interested. This Blog is a great medium for telling stories and illustrating them with documents and photographs.

If you have not done so, join the Swinfield Genealogy & DNA Group too. As of today, there are 58 members. 47 are called Swinfield or are members of one of its family trees. The other 11 members are friends and colleagues or are just interested in what we are trying to achieve and discover. I am grateful with all your support. If no-one reads it, what is the point of writing?

Of the 47 Swinfields, I can identify 37 of them with certainty on my pedigrees. The other 10 have yet to give me enough information to tell me exactly who they are. They can be categorised as:
Family 5:    20 members
Family 3:    7 members
Family 4:    8 members
Family 33:  1 member
Family 44:  1 member (Swinfield-Wells)     

Of the eight major lines, on to which nearly all of us can be placed, we still have no representatives of the remaining three families which are now named as 1, 2 and 12.

If you want to look at the main family trees, albeit the male lines of ancestry and descent, these can be viewed on the Family Tree DNA Swinfield DNA & Genealogy website. There you should be able to link into your own Swinfield line. If not, let me know and I can consult my extensive records.

On the FTDNA site, you can also view the results of the limited number of DNAtests that we have done so far. More males are urgently needed to participate please so that we can learn so much more! Their sale price offer of just £80 is available until 31st December. Any takers? Write to me at geoff@gsgs.co.uk .  

8 Dec 2011

Updated family trees. I need to hear from you!

At the top right hand side of this page, you can view the pedigrees of the Swinfield families whose story has been told through the first 16 parts of my Blog. These illustrate the lives and the connections between all of those who have featured in my accounts of the history of our relations.

There are other branches whose stories are still to be told! Many of you out there must have people in your Swinfield families who have stories which need to be told. Let me have your tales and have your photographs and I will be delighted to include them. I look forward to hearing from you.

7 Dec 2011

Part 16: A question resolved!

Those of you who have followed this Blog from the beginning will remember the tragic story of Jane Swinfield. My great-great-aunt, who was baptised at Earl Shilton in 1829, was convicted at the Leicester Quarter Sessions of January 1841 for stealing her mistress’s purse containing money, a gold ring and a pair of scissors. An account of her sentence can now be read through the very recent release of the digitised images of many 19th century newspapers from the British Newspaper Archive. Both the Leicester Mercury and Chronicle ran the story. We now know that Charlotte Bugg was the victim of the larceny.

Jane was sent away to Millbank Prison, Westminster, in late May where she was still awaiting transportation for seven years at the time of the 1841 census. Due to the intercession of a charitable prison visitor, who petitioned on her behalf, she was pardoned and released in very early August. What became of her?

No sign can be found of Jane in the 1851 census using any clever searches in the national indexes which are available from any of the major providers and there is no “good” marriage for her. The only possible record for her was a death registered in late 1854 in the Windsor district of Berkshire. Was that her? I have now obtained a copy and her fate is known.

Poor Jane died on 23rd November in the Union Workhouse aged just 26. It would be interesting to know when she was admitted as she was certainly not there in April 1851 at census time. Of course, no records of that institution survive from that date. The cause of her demise was recorded as phthisis, otherwise TB. It seems that she finally succumbed to the physical weakness which had been the reason for her early release from prison. Her “unsound lungs” gave up in the early winter of 1854. Perhaps she would have been better served by being sent to the other side of the World to join her distant cousins in sunny New South Wales!