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?

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