14 Dec 2012

DNA Tests for Christmas?

I have talked a lot in this Blog about the use of DNA tests to answer questions about the relationships between the various branches of the Swinfield family. They can be a great tool to supplement the paper and parchment documents for our ancestors which we, as genealogists, use to put together a family tree.
My grandparents' grave - St Michael's churchyard,
Yorktown, Surrey
Genealogical records such as birth, marriage and death certificates, census returns, parish registers, wills and gravestones provide us with the “facts” about our ancestors' lives but they often do not tell the whole story! As has been discovered and illustrated during this series of the articles, to be read here, although they are documents which purport to provide a record of the important events in the lives (and deaths) of our relatives, they are often far from truthful. Every time one of our forebears provided information to the relevant authorities, whether the state or the church, he or she may have “bent” the facts or just lied. They often altered their ages, invented names for errant fathers, or hid illegitimacy.
Genetic inheritance cannot lie to us. It provides an accurate account of the real ancestors who donated the code which makes us who we are. If we can read the blueprint, we sometimes find clues, especially in the male line (like mine), which tells us that a branch contains hidden illegitimacy. After all, we only have our female ancestor's word for who was the true father of any of her children. We can compare men, using the Y-chromosome tests, to see how closely they are (or are not!) related. This has already told us a lot about the Swinfield lines from which we have samples. We were even included in an article, published in The Guardian last Saturday, about genetic tests which are being done on the possible body of Richard III.  
DNA Worldwide test kit
I have very recently “targeted” 18 male Swinfields who are representatives of six major branches of the family from which no one has yet been tested or where more samples are needed. I have sought their participation to see if any are prepared to take advantage of a seasonal cut-price offer which is currently available through FamilyTree DNA. Until 31st December, the price of a 37-marker test is just £75 ($119), a saving of over £30 off the normal price. To date, only two have replied, wishing me well with the study, providing genealogical information, but declining to pay for a test.
So if you are still looking for that very special and personal present for your beloved Swinfield male for Christmas, what better gift could there be? What's more, if you test one member of a family, you will get a result for his father, brothers, sons and even his grandsons! They all have the same Y-chromosome. You would also contribute significantly to our knowledge of the wider family's history so it would be a much- appreciated present for me too!
Happy Christmas and a great genealogical New Year!  

12 Nov 2012

Part 24: More answers, more questions

Exciting new information has now been found about the Swinfield family of Earl Shilton. This adds significantly to the story of Thomas and Sarah, who had married on 25th January 1829 at Trowell in Nottinghamshire, and their family.
In earlier parts of this Blog, I have told the story of this colourful couple and their children. One of them, William (1841-1905) was to become my great-grandfather. Their first child, Jane, was baptised at Earl Shilton, Leicestershire, which was Thomas's home parish, less than two months after the marriage, on 8th March 1829. Sarah would have been at least seven months pregnant when they were married. Only two further children were baptised. They were Mary and William in 1836 and 1838. William was to die at only 10 months. Two others, Ann and Richard, born in 1831 and 1834, have no recorded baptism. Clearly this was not a happy union as by 1839 Thomas was living in Nottinghamshire with another woman, Maria Cooper, with whom he had a daughter, Elizabeth. Meanwhile, Sarah was cohabiting with Thomas Brown and she had two illegitimate children, presumably by him, named as Joseph in 1843 and Sarah in 1845. She was still living with Thomas Brown at her death in 1862!
By June 1841, Jane Swinfield was languishing in Millbank Penitentiary, London, apparently aged 13. In Part 3 of the Blog, I reported how she had been tried by the Leicester Quarter Sessions on 4th January 1841 for larceny and sentenced to seven years transportation to Australia. This week, the latest addition to FindMyPast's extensive collection of databases, a collection of British newspapers from 1750 to 1900 was put online. Of course, the first thing that interested me was, “What Swinfield articles are included?” Brief accounts of her trial and conviction were published in the Leicester Mercury on 9th January and the Leicester Chronicle on 16th January 1841. These tell us that, at the age of only 11, she had stolen some quite valuable property from her mistress, Charlotte Bugg, in August 1840. She was eventually pardoned and released in August 1841.
Leicester Mercury - 9th January 1841

In Part 16, I wrote about what appeared to be her death in the OldWindsor Union Workhouse on 23rd November 1854. She had died aged only 26 of phthisis. There is no other woman in my database who could have been this deceased and, of course, there are no surviving records of the Workhouse for that year. Imagine my surprise when I discovered (thanks to Joan Rowbottom of the Guild of One-Name Studies who completed the Market Bosworth marriage challenge) that a Jane Swinfield, aged 20, had married in Bagworth church, Leicestershire, on 26th March 1848. This is the parish where her two brothers, Richard and William, were working as coal miners in 1851, but were incorrectly given the surname of Hewit. As Jane's father was recorded as Thomas Swinfield, FWK (framework knitter), there is no doubt that she was the child christened at Earl Shilton in March 1829. Her husband was Joseph Rudens, a collier.
1848 Marriage of Jane Swinfield at Bagworth 
Neither Jane Rudens nor Jane Swinfield can be identified in the 1851 census. Her husband, Josh Rudings was a 40 year-old married coal miner in Bagworth, who with his widowed mother, Sarah, was lodging with a family called Kilnam. Where was his wife of just three years? Her death is not recorded under any variant of her husband's surname. Had this marriage broken down too and had she wandered away as far as Windsor, where she was to die as a “spinster” in 1854?

Leicester Mercury - 21st August  1847
The Newspaper Collection includes one more delight. On 21st August 1847, the Leicester Mercury reported the deliberations of the Earl Shilton Petty Sessions held four days earlier. The Overseer of the Poor presented Thomas Swinfield, currently living near Arnold, Nottinghamshire, for deserting his wife. After pleading not guilty, he claimed that she (Sarah) had lived “in a state of adultery for the last eighteen years, and had six illegitimate children”. Sarah admitted that to be true and the case against Thomas was dismissed with costs payable by his wife. There are clearly two sides to every story.
It would appear that the marriage of 1829 had broken down almost immediately and that Jane was probably their only legitimate child! Thomas has sought solace with Maria Cooper, the Chartist movement, and eventually spent the last 40 years of his life in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.  

Part 23: A new tree from Australia

I am pleased to have received another and very productive communication as a result of the letter which was sent out to the Australian Swinfields.
One of those who received it was Raymond Francis Swinfield of Rozelle, New South Wales. He is part of Family 3,being the great-great-grandson of the immigrant William Swinfield (1804-1876) by his first wife, Sarah Ballard, who had died in England three years before the family left. 
Marriage of Daniel Swinfield in 1869
William's son, Daniel Swinfield (1842-1877), born at Hartshill in Warwickshire, travelled to the other side of the World with his family and was to become Ray's great-grandfather through his son, also named Daniel (1877-1905). The family settled in Sydney and worked as gardeners, engineers, plumbers, carters and storemen. I have received detailed information, copies of documents and even photographs of his ancestors from Ray over the years. Once again, he took the time to send me an updated tree with the latest additions.
Daniel Swinfield (1877-1905)
His brother, John Anthony of Tennyson Point, who is now also in his late 70s, has provided me with a copy of another part of their family tree, which was sent to him some years ago. This documents a whole branch which I did not know of until now! It had been compiled by John Campbell Swinfield (1912-1995), also of NSW and records himself, his eight brothers and sisters, and their descendants. They were the children of John Swinfield (1873-1961) and his wife, Margaret Prior (1882-1961). John was a postal worker and the family lived in the areas of St Leonards, Redfern, Bankstown and Marrickville. John was another son of Daniel Swinfield, born in England in 1842.
I now have knowledge of 15 grandchildren of John and Margaret, of whom 9 were born as Swinfields. This is just the new information which I had been hoping for!Indeed it has allowed me to link Penny Swinfield, who joined the group in May, back to John and Frances Swinfield of Wolvey, who married in 1755. What a result!
There must be others who have that sort of information which I would love to have from YOU.

4 Nov 2012

Part 22: The Story of Family 5

Having used DNA tests to confirm the probability that the Swinfields of Family 3 & 4 and those of Family 5 have a common ancestry, the question now is where do they “join up”? Is the link between these two major lineages in the 17th century, the 15th century or as early as the 1300s, shortly after Swinfield was chosen by our distant ancestors to be used from then onwards as our hereditary surname?
Marriage of John Swinfield at Wolvey in 1755
In Part 7 of this Blog, which I have now been writing since the end of August 2011, you will find what is known about the origins of Family 3 & 4. Its story can currently be extended back as far as the marriage of John Swinfield and Frances Collins at Wolvey in Warwickshire on 25th August 1755. They had five children baptised in that parish church from 1756 to 1781. It was their last son, Thomas, who is the earliest known ancestor of not only all living Swinfields who were born in Australia but also many other English people with the surname whose male ancestors did not choose to travel to the other side of the World. You can read more about those parts of the Swinfield lineage in other episodes of this Blog.
Those of us whose descent is via Family 5 and its numerous branches in England can trace our ancestry back to the parish of Earl Shilton, Leicestershire, in the first decade of the 19th century. In Part 1, I outlined our descent from Thomas (1808-1893), who is “on paper” my great-great-grandfather. Thereby, as avid readers who have been paying close attention will know, hangs another story! He and his brother, William Swinfield (1813-1885), who married Elizabeth Kenny at Cosby in 1832, are the progenitors of everyone on this tree.
Kirkby Mallory church 
Ashby-de-la-Zouch church  
Their parents, Thomas Swinfield and Sarah Toon, had married at Kirkby Mallory in 1803 and were to be buried at Earl Shilton in 1833 and 1821 respectively. Thomas, who was christened on New Year's Day 1770 in the church of St Helen's in the town of Ashby de la Zouch, Leicestershire, was the only son of John Swinfield and Jane Radford, who had married there two years previously. John's sister, Alice, also married in that church just five months earlier. John buried his wife in 1809 but he survived until the ripe old age of 81, before dying in April 1820.
Inside of Ashby church 
Smisby church 
John and Alice were both baptised in the neighbouring church of Smisby, where they had lived when they married, which lies across the county boundary into Derbyshire. He was christened on 13th August 1738 and Alice was named in 1744 by their parents, John and Mary Swinfield. John senior lived until 1788, then being laid to rest in Smisby churchyard. They had produced five known issue.
Marriage of John Swinfield at Norton in 1732
It is probable that John Swinfield married Mary Meacham some eight miles to the south in the church of Norton-juxta-Twycross, back in Leicestershire, on 30th May 1732. To date, I cannot identify a convincing candidate for the baptism of this man in the very late 17th or, more likely, the first decade of the 18th century.
So how close did the earliest known ancestors of these two major Swinfield lineages, both called John, live about 1720? They were about 15 miles apart as the crow flies across the fields of north-west Leicestershire. Did they know each other and were they near kin?

16 Sep 2012

Part 21: Swinfield DNA update

We have the result of another DNA test which adds significantly to our knowledge of the relationship between the larger branches of our family. Andrew Swinfield of Sydney, New South Wales, commissioned a 37 marker test through Family Tree DNA. The results are now in. You can see and compare the results that we now have on the Swinfield DNA &Genealogy page hosted by FTDNA. What do they tell us? I have discussed these results in detail there.

To summarise what we know, we now have three men who have been tested. They are:
Andrew John Swinfield                       born 1957   Sydney, NSW          Family 3A         
Derrick George Joseph Swinfield        born 1928   Leicester                  Family 5F
Paul Frederick Swinfield                     born 1957   Crayford, Kent         Family 4 & 13

Andrew & Derrick match at 29 of 32 markers
Paul & Derrick match at 31 of 32 markers
Andrew & Paul match at 34 of 37 markers
Wolvey church
Only two of them are known to be related through genealogical records. Andrew is the 4th cousin, once removed, to Paul, both being part of the extensive family which is designated as Family 3 & 4. They both descend from Thomas Swinfield and Elizabeth Hackett who married in the parish church of Monks Kirby, Warwickshire, on 21st August 1803. They named their children in the neighbouring church of Wolvey from 1804 to 1820 before moving on to Mancetter where they named their last three sons from 1822 to 1827.

Andrew’s ancestor was William (1804-1876) who emigrated to NSW in 1848. He is the forebear of all living Swinfields in Australia. Paul’s great-great-grandfather, George Swinfield (born 1825), remained in England after his two oldest brothers, William and John (1806-1874), travelled to the other side of the World.

Derrick is part of my branch of the Swinfields, Family 5, an equally large lineage. Unlike me, through the unfortunate illegitimacy which resulted in my great-grandfather, in 1841 (see Part 6 of the blog), he would appear to have a “typical” Swinfield Y-chromosome. He has inherited this from his direct male ancestors. His almost exact match with the two representatives of Family 3 & 4 strongly argues that the two largest pedigrees are branches of one much larger family tree. If only records had survived from that early, it would be possible to show that all those named Swinfield descend from a single ancestor who assumed our surname in about the 13th century when names became hereditary. 
It would appear that the "Swinfield haplotype" is:  

DYS Value DYS Value
393 13 448 19
390 24 449 30
19 14 464a 15
391 10 or 11 464b 16
385a 11 464c 16 or 17
385b 14 464d 17
426 12 460 11
388 12 GATA-H4 11
439 11 YCAlla 19
389a 13 YCAllab 23
392 13 456 15
389b 29 607 14
458 17 576 19
459a 9 570 17
459b 9 or 10 CDYa 35
455 11 CDYb 36 or 37
454 11 442 12
447 24 438 12
437 14

We now need to test men from other branches to see if they have the same haplotype too. Volunteers please raise your hands! 

12 Sep 2012

A letter to Australian Swinfields

Since my last blog in early May 2012, Andrew Swinfield of Sydney, New South Wales, has volunteered to send out a letter to all those Swinfields who are listed in Australian White Pages. It was hoped that its content, composed as a joint effort between Andrew and myself, would encourage a positive response and elicit many replies, offering new information about the ancestry of and the relationships between those who share our surname in the Antipodes.

The problem with research in NSW is that only indexes to births to 1906 can be searched online. This means that there is a large gap, of more than a century, between the last available birth registration records which can be accessed from England, all of whom would now be dead, and those who would be alive today. Who are the parents and grandparents of today’s residents in NSW and those who have migrated to other states of Australia? Of the 43 Swinfields, for whom there are telephone listings, 33 still live in NSW. The other ten are spilt between South Australia (4), Queensland (3), Western Australia (2) and just 1 resident of Victoria.

After the letter went out in very late May, we waited expectantly for a great response and continued to wait! Disappointingly, only three people chose to reply. I am still waiting for one, Greg Swinfield, to provide greater detail of their part of the family after he has collected data from his close relatives. Meanwhile, he has sent me a great photograph of his family (taken in the 1930s?). I hope to learn more from him soon. Others may still reply but I am not holding my breath!

By far the most informative reply to date was from Leslie Ernest Swinfield and his daughter, Cheryl Cooper. They had received in 1989, a copy of a Swinfield genealogy which had been compiled by Barbara May Glass nee Swinfield. She had collected information about “Family 3A” by contacting living members at that time. This adds greatly to our knowledge of this major branch of the Australian family in the 20th century. Cheryl and Les have updated their own line for me, bringing it right up-to-date. 

Barbara included an intriguing statement in her narrative: "The Swinfields were very talented people but their liking for alcohol prevented many from reaching their potential in life. They were also very tall, one known to have reached 7' in height." How many of us fit that description?   

The circular letter proved very worthwhile for just this one new contact and all the information which it has produced.

8 May 2012

How many of us are there, do you think?

I have been applying my mind to trying to calculate how many people there are living who are using our surname. How is that to be estimated? As far as I know, unless someone can tell me differently, we are only talking about populations in England and Australia and just one family in Canada (which I understand numbers 8).     

Starting with this country, I have a database of births registered from the middle of 1837 to 2011. That totals 904. Of course many of those are no longer with us. I reckon that, of those born as Swinfields, about 229 males and 126 females (who have not married and changed their surname) are still alive. To that we have to add, at my calculation, 106 living women who have “married into the family” and still bear the surname. That makes an English population of approximately 461.

For the English Swinfields, I have also been trying to produce a list of as many current addresses as possible so that we know who lives where and with whom! To date, the commercially-available indexes to current electoral registers combined with the online telephone directories through BT.com have produced names and addresses for 195 adults. In addition, there are 106 children, aged 17 and less, who are too young to be registered voters. That accounts for 201 of the population of 461. We know where about 43.6% of them are living. By the way, there may be as many as 38 of them who are aged 80 or more. The oldest man is, as far as I can ascertain, Eric Swinfield of Leicester who was born in 1920. 

How many would come to our family reunion do you suppose? I am still hoping to arrange one for this Autumn.   

I did recently highlight the amazing statistic that jumped out at me as I was doing this calculation. Of those 114, who were born in the years from 1973 to 1993, as few as 12% have formally married from 1990 to 2009. Marriage is rapidly going out of fashion amongst the younger Swinfields!

The Australian Swinfields are far more difficult for me to count from this far away. They would all appear to be natives of the state of New South Wales unless you can tell me otherwise. The online registration indexes are only accessible only for births to 1909, marriages to only 1956 and deaths to as late as 1977. None of those in the birth indexes will still be alive.

How many Swinfields are there living in Australia to add to our total population? Just send me the names and addresses of youself and your living relatives and I will compile the list. Looking forward to receiving your input very soon.

7 May 2012

Part 20: An Australian Prospector by Di Bouglas

Fans of the film actor, Humphrey Bogart, will remember that in 1948 he made a film called The Treasure of the Sierra Madre with the veteran actor, Walter Huston. Walter won an Oscar for his role as a grizzled old gold prospector, just two years before his death in 1950. Another Walter who tried his hand at prospecting, but as a much younger man, was Walter Swinfield who, according to the information we have, was born in New South Wales in 1879 and died at Bathurst in 1952, making him about the same age as his actor namesake.
Coolgardie in the 1890s

I have recently been using the Trove website of the National Library of Australia. They have digitised almost seven million pages of Australian newspapers and made them available for free on the site. A search for Swinfield produces over 350 results and I have been working through some of these to try and find out more about the Swinfields who emigrated to Australia in the 19th century.

A number of articles about Walter Swinfield caught my eye, all written in 1894. It seems that he was the victim of a confidence trick and his story, and the subsequent hunt for the tricksters, was picked up by newspapers across the whole of the country.
Coolgardie today
Walter was said to have been a young miner from Queensland, who was travelling to Coolgardie via Sydney and Melbourne, presumably to try his luck in the Western Australian town where gold had been struck in 1892. He was befriended in Fitzroy, Melbourne, by two confidence tricksters who succeeded in taking from him £28 in gold and £10 worth of opals. Their method involved a bogus inheritance and a betting game. The two men, Frederick Francois, alias Temple Perkins, and Francis Dawson, alias Johnson, were arrested soon after and eventually jailed. The full article can be read on the Trove website.
We know that Walter married Marie Nielsen in Annandale, New South Wales in 1900. Did they have any descendants? The closest relatives we are in contact with are Linda and Andrew Swinfield, the great-grandchildren of Walter's oldest brother, Henry. There must be people still alive who remember Walter. Did he find his fortune in Coolgardie? Did he and Marie have any children? We'd love to know if anyone has heard of Walter and his adventures.

2 May 2012

Part 19: Ruth Cuff comes to England

It was really good to meet recently with Ruth Elizabeth Cuff, who lives in Tasmania, during her visit to England. She was touring the places in England where her ancestors lived.

Geoff Swinfield & Ruth Cuff

Di and I had the pleasure of having lunch with her in Dulwich and sharing what we have discovered about the Swinfield line of her ancestry. She is part of Family 4 and her ancestor, John Swinfield, and his family left Warwickshire for New South Wales on the “Beejapore”, which arrived in early 1853. He lost his wife and one of his sons through disease soon after they had arrived. Ruth is his great-great-granddaughter.

Letter to Mary pages 1 & 4
Her great-grandmother, Mary (1838-1918), was the younger sister of Edward Swinfield who did not travel to the Antipodes with the rest of his family. Instead he found a job as a planter on the West Indian island of St Kitts. He became manager of the Willetts Estate on the north coast and even took on the role of Registrar of births and deaths for the parish of St Paul. Whilst there, he wrote to his siblings in Australia. Two letters dated 27th August 1861 were sent to Mary and her brother John from the Ogee Estate and Ruth still has them. In the one addressed to his brother, Edward recounts the recent story of taking his fiancĂ©e, whose name is not recorded, for a ride when the horse took fright and the gig overturned. Neither of them was badly hurt but she was severely bruised and took great fright.

Letter to Mary pages 2 & 3
It may be that this incident precipitated the end of their relationship. It was not until 1866 that he returned to Atherstone in England to marry Emily Rowley. The newly married couple went to St Kitts where they had three children, two of whom survived to adulthood. It is not known what became of Edward, who ceased to be registrar at the end of June 1873. His wife, son and daughter were to return to Staffordshire.

Letter to John recounting the accident with his fiancee

Mary and her three siblings, the brother and two sisters, all moved to Hobart in Tasmania as they did not get on with their father’s new wife. Their descendants still live there today. Ruth has been back to England to revisit their ancestral home. How nice it was to meet her here.  

5 Feb 2012

Part 18: My Grandfather

Arthur Swinfield was born on 27th March 1883 at Barossa Common in Camberley, Surrey. He was the third son but the only child of William and Elizabeth to survive to adulthood. His teenage brother, William Thomas, died in the Boer War.

1901 census of Earl Shilton
He joined the army after 1901, when he had been making boots in the ancestral home in Leicestershire, and served in India. No attestation and discharge records exist for him at the National Archives in WO97.

By 1911, after leaving the army and returning to England, he was working as footman to Major General Charles Matthew Griffith and his family at Maes Gwyn in Winchester, Hampshire. The General had been born at Poona, India, and perhaps they had met on the subcontinent.

1911 census of Winchester
In September 1912, he successfully applied for a job as a butler at the Royal Military College (later the Royal Military Academy), Sandhurst. The following year, on 4th August 1913, he married Edith Elizabeth Worsfold at St Michael’s Church, York Town, Camberley. He was then 30 and working as a waiter.

His WWI medal card

He enlisted for WWI in December 1914 and saw action in France with the Leicestershire and Lincolnshire Regiments. Once again, no records have survived to document his service in the Great War in either WO363 or WO364 at TNA.  
Sandhurst service record 
After the war, he returned to Sandhurst where he was to work until January 1925 according to his recently released employment record. For some reason, that records him as C. Swinfield and he was earning a little more than £2-10s per week after more than 10 years service there! While there, he was a member of the Rifle Club and won a spoon in one of their monthly competitions.

At that time, the marriage finally produced issue. Their only child, Reginald Ernest, who was to become my father, was born on 11th January 1925, almost twelve years after their wedding.

In his retirement, Arthur was a keen supporter of Camberley Football Club and on Saturday afternoons before the Second World War, he would take Reg to watch them playing at their home ground of Krooner Park. During WWII, on its formation in 1940, he joined the Local Defence Volunteers (later to become the Home Guard) and served until it was disbanded in 1944. Was he Corporal Jones or Private Godfrey?

1895 map of Camberley reproduced by Alan Godfrey
In October 1946, when the RMA closed, he was presented with a certificate expressing gratitude for more than 34 years of service to those who trained there. He liked to play darts and most evenings, on his way home from work at 8pm, he would call in at the Staff Hotel for a game and a pint or two of beer.  He always cycled the two miles from his home at 9 St Mary’s Road, Camberley, to work. His bicycle had 30” wheels and a  high gearing which meant that it was  hard to pedal and he progressed very slowly!

He retired from the RMA in 1948 when he was 65 and did some odd jobs gardening until he became too breathless to work as a result of emphysema. He died at home after a long illness on 19th March 1956, at the age of nearly 73, and was buried in York Town churchyard. 

15 Jan 2012

Part 17: Working in the West Indies

Previous editions of this account of the Swinfields (parts 7, 8 & 13) have described that part of the family which settled in New South Wales, Australia. Those branches descend from the two brothers who left Wolvey, Warwickshire, in the mid 19th century. I have recently heard, through what I have written, from Ruth Cuff of Tasmania. She is the great-granddaughter of Mary Swinfield, born in 1838 at Mancetter, as one of the daughters of John and Mary Ann, who arrived on the ill-fated voyage of the Beejapore. The mother died whilst in the quarantine station leaving John to bring up his four surviving children. John quickly remarried to Eliza Hartley and, apparently due to their dislike of the step-mother, the four issue by his first wife left for Tasmania where they all married. Mary and her two sisters, Caroline and Mary Ann, produced many children of their own and consequently have many descendants who still live there. The only son, John William, has no known issue and so the name of Swinfield is not to be found on the island.   
Amongst family papers, Ruth has two letters which were written in 1861 by their brother, Edward, who was “unable to emigrate” with his parents and siblings in 1853 and his emigration fee was refunded. They were addressed from St Kitts in the West Indies. You will remember that Edward married Emily Rowley at Atherstone in Warwickshire in 1866 when he described himself as a planter. He must have returned from his work there to marry and then he and his new wife went back to the island.

It is known from the 1891 census of Bolehall and Glascote in Staffordshire that Emily, a widow and professional nurse, was living with her two children, then in their 20s, who had been born on St Kitts. She claimed to have lost her husband by as early as 1881 when she was back in Tamworth.
1881 Tamworth showing Emily Swinfield as a widow 
The London Family History Centre holds
microfilm copies of most of the indexes and actual returns of births, marriages and deaths for St Kitts. Not only were the births of the two known children, Mary Emily in 1867 and Edward Arthur in 1868 confirmed, but Edward and Emily had produced another son, Irvine John, who died aged just 7 months in 1871. Edward was working as the manager of Willetts Estate at St Paul’s at the north of the island.

Registrations of births at St Paul's, St Kitts, in 1870 
Not only that, he was acting as the Registrar of births and deaths for the parish during the whole period and recorded all four events for his family members. It remains a mystery what became of Edward as his death is not registered there from 1871 to 1925. Where did he go and did he or his wife really have twin sons as late as 1888?
They are not included in the birth indexes of that date under Swinfield or anything which looks like Higginbotham either. I am told by family members that they were of a very dark complexion and had curly hair!