3 Nov 2013

Family 2 was there too

John, Geoff & Clare study the family trees  
Brother and sister, John Swinfield and Clare Woodward, were representatives of Family 2 who came to the Swinfield Gathering. This is one of the smaller branches of the tree and extends back to John Swinfield who died in February 1851. He had been the blacksmith at Burbage, Leicestershire, for many years and was
Will of John Swinfield proved 1856
clearly much respected in his community as reflected by the notice of his death, published in the Leicester Mercury. He left a will which was not proved until 1856.
It is through his youngest son, William (1825-1900), who married Susannah Collier (1827-1891) at Ratby in 1852 that John and Clare can trace their descent from their great-great-great-grandfather. They are the only Swinfield descendants from that union and were able to provide me with photographs of their great-grandparents, John William Swinfield and Catherine Shield, and their son, John Henry Shield Swinfield (1890-1965).
John William & Catherine
(Shield) at their wedding
in 1915 

John Henry, Marjorie Claire & Mary Jane
Swinfield at The Corner,
Donington le Heath
John,the blacksmith, had a very large family of at least 12 children.However, from those there are only three lines of descent to people currently called Swinfield. One branch would not carry the Swinfield Y-chromosome as it can be traced back to his daughter, Martha, born in 1817, who had an illegitimate son Alfred (1836-1899). That branch culminates in about 11 people who bear the surname today and who all descend from his son Tom (1859-1910).
The only other living Swinfield line from the 12 children is through their oldest son, Joseph (1800-1849), who like his nephew Alfred, continued the family trade of blacksmith in the Burbage area, which they probably learned from their father and grandfather respectively. There are 8 living
Burbage parish church 
Swinfields who stem from his great-grandson Frederick (1887-1954) who worked all his life on the railways in Leicester.
Burbage village from the churcyard
The origins of this branch can only be extended if we can find the baptism of John Swinfield who was born about 1773/4. We do not know where he came from as his died just a month before the 1851 census was taken in which he would have stated where he believed he had been born. All we know is that he married Catherine Lawson at Thurlaston in 1800. His origins are probably in that area of Leicestershire.
John Swinfield has indicated that he would be willing to provide a DNA sample so that we can compare his Y-chromosome against those already tested for living males from families 3, 5 & 12. If they match, it is likely that Family 2 also shares that common origin and allfour lineages descend from one ancestor! I will keep you posted.  

15 Oct 2013

Family 5 was there in force!

Three weeks have now passed since we were all together at Appleby. It is very sad that the Gathering has 
Swinfield Families
3, 5, 2 & 12 all together at last!
come and gone. Will we meet again I wonder? What did we discover about the families of those who were there? It was so good that we had at least one representative from each of the major families.
Sandra Bates and her family and trees 
Family 5 was the most represented with 13 attendees. There were another 11 member of the extended Bates family there too, being close relatives of Sandra, who did so much to organise the event. These all stem from the marriage in 1803 at Kirby Mallory of Thomas Swinfield (1770-1833) and Sarah Toon (1776-1821) and are “on paper” descendants from their two sons, Thomas (1808-1893) and William (1813-1885). This part of our history was described in Part 1 of this Blog which I wrote way back in September 2011.
Family 5D: Aaron, Kierran, Kristofer, Darren,
Alan, Dawn & Michael - newly found cousins
I am documented as the great-great-grandson of Thomas (1841-1905) whilst Sandra and her family are descended from his wife, Sarah Swinfield nee Hewitt, through her illegitimate son, Joseph (1843-1905).
Families 5F & 5D: Mark, Derrick, Tina Carter,
Kierran, Aaron, Darren & Geoff meet for the first time 

William Swinfield was the forebear of the other members of Family 5 who were at the Gathering. He had two grandsons, George Ernest Tertius Swinfield senior (born 1876) and Joseph Herbert Swinfield (born 1880), of Family 5D. Michael and his son and daughter, Alan and Dawn, are from George Ernest Tertius junior. Darren and his three sons 
Paul Swinfield (Family 3) with Mark Swinfield
& Pat Kirby (Family 5F) study the displays
who were there, Aaron, Kristofer and Kierran, are descended from Joseph Herbert. As such, Alan, Dawn and Darren are 2nd cousins. Joseph Herbert has grandchildren now named Derrick George Joseph Swinfield and Pat Kirby (Family 5F). They too were present with their respective sons, Mark Swinfield and Matt Kirby, who are 3rd cousins to the younger descendants of Family 5D. They are all the 4th cousins, once removed, of yours truly!
It is a pity that, despite expressing their intention to attend, no-one was there from the other very large parts of this lineage, being Families 5B and 5E. It would have been great if they had been there too. They would have met so many new cousins too.
These relationships and trees can all be seen on the Family Tree DNAwebsite.

4 Oct 2013

We were there at Appleby!

It is amazing that, after all the planning and fretting that no-one would be there, the Swinfield Gathering happened! On Sunday, 22nd September 2013, 37 people actually came to the Sir John Moore Foundation in Appleby Magna, Leicestershire, to meet others who are interested in the surname and its history. I do not know if any were inspired to attend through the interview which I did with Radio Leicester on the Saturday morning.
It was so gratifying that all seemed to enjoy such a great afternoon. A beautiful room where our hosts gave us such a warm welcome and couldn't have been more accommodating. My thanks must go to Sandra and Allan who found such a good venue where we could display and study all the family trees, photographs and documents that have been gathered during so many years of research. New cousins were discovered and it was so exciting when attendees found that they were cousins of some degree, albeit in some cases fairly distant. I met people for the first time who have the same great-great-great-grandparents and are therefore my 5th cousins. How amazing it was to put a face and personality to what had previously only been a name on a pedigree!
The early arrivals 
Those present were:
Family 2: John Swinfield & Clare Woodward
Family 3: Paul and Julie Swinfield
Family 4A: Rachel, Tracey, Katie and Kirstie Swinfield
Family 5: Geoff, Derrick, Mark, Darren (& Tina Carter), Kierran, Kristofer, Aaron, Michael and Alan Swinfield; Dawn Moore-Elphick, Pat & Matt Kirby
Family 12: Stephen & Katherine Swinfield, Sue Regan (all the way from Australia who worked so hard on the day)
The Bates Family (part of Family 5A): Sandra Bates, Allan Francis, Arthur Eyre, Jean Millward, Elizabeth Lubek, Michael Lower, Peter Chapman, Ann Birch, John Bates, Brian and Susan Kendrick
David Bligh, a resident of Appleby Magna
Administrator: Di Bouglas (who did so much to make it run smoothly and ensure that people found themselves on the right tree!)

This is, I hope, just the beginning of those new friendships and relationships. It would be great if we can continue to build on what was achieved on that special afternoon. I will be blogging about the exciting
The afternoon gathering
connections and discoveries that were made. You will hear lots from me about each of the families who were there. I hope that you too will have more to contribute as you go back to your close family to ask questions and collect still more memories and photographs to share. I know that some have been inspired to take this further and will visit older relatives who were not able to be there. Please send me what you learn and I will happily add that to the future blogs.
Don't just rely on me to produce the copy, you can contribute to the study too. Let's not let that enthusiasm just fade away. We will put together a Swinfield e-mailing list and if you, or anyone else you know, would like to be added, just let us know at geoff@gsgs.co.uk. That way, you will be kept in touch with all the news and notified when a new blog is published. Don't forget the Swinfield Genealogy and DNA Facebook Group
Come and join us there too to see what we are talking about. Keep in touch! We are so pleased to have met you all.  

15 Sep 2013

The Swinfields are coming home!

In July 2013, I wrote about what is known about the earliest members of each of the current Swinfield lineages. Since then further research has connected Family 33 to Family 5. Family 44 has been joined to Family 12. So we are down to only four or five distinct groups which can be traced back to the middle of the 18th century, whose roots lie in that small area to the west of Leicester either side of the A5 (Watling Street). Last weekend, whilst at the Exodus genealogical conference at Hinckley Island, I was in the heart of Swinfield country. More photographs could be taken of churches and graveyards where our ancestors were baptised, married and buried. It is amazing to remember that they walked through those doors and stood around those fonts more 250 years ago.
So where did the Swinfields live in the previous century during the Civil War from 1642-1660? What did they witness then and how did they live? Parish registers reveal that the name appeared frequently then at
Markfield church
Ibstock, Markfield, Hugglescote, Shackerstone and Thornton in Leicestershire. It is also to be found further in places like Weeford in Staffordshire and Old Swinford in Worcestershire. Swinfields also lived in London, where they used the churches at St Michael Crooked Lane, St Peter Cornhill, St Botolph Aldgate and St Giles, south of the Thames, in Camberwell. The Londoners had “died out” by the time of the Great Fire in 1666. How were they related?
St Magnus the Martyr, London  
Shackerstone church
Wills have survived for 14 Swinfields in the 16th and 17th centuries. Seven of those were for the family of fishmongers, the earliest dating from 1558, who lived and worked in the area of St Magnus the Martyr in the City of London very close to Fishmongers Hall. There must have been close connections with those in the Midlands as William, who died in 1593, left his cloak, his buff jerkin and a hat to his brother Richard who still lived at Odson, Leicestershire. I suspect that this would be the hamlet of Odstone
Will of William Swingfelde fishmonger of London 1593
which lies between Ibstock and Shackerstone.
Of the Leicestershire testators, we have documents for three brothers, William, John and Ralph who lived at Heather, Ibstock and Donington and died from 1633 to 1658. They left bequests to each other and may have been the grandsons of William of Sutton Cheney who died as early as 1570. All these places are less than 10 miles apart.
Will of George Swinfield of Appleby Magna 1680
In the next generation, John's sons and nephews (the children of his brother Ralph) all had land in Appleby Magna. The family would have been very familiar with the spectacular boy's school, built by Sir Christopher Wren in 1697 for Sir John Moore, Lord Mayor of London in 1681.
This is where the Swinfield Gathering will be held on Sunday, 22nd September 2013. We are coming home.
The question now is “did the Swinfields come from London or Leicestershire?"

19 Aug 2013

Countdown to the Swinfield Gathering: Five weeks to go!

It is now only five weeks until we all meet up at the Swinfield Gathering on Sunday, 22nd September. It is great that some of you have already told us that you will definitely be there.
If you have not let us know that you are intending to come, there is still time to plan your visit. I have been trying to encourage and persuade as many people as possible to attend so that we will all have the opportunity to meet as many other “Swinfields” as possible. To date, I have no idea how many will be there but I am hopeful that it will be somewhere between 40 and 70.
Many will come from the family's homeland in Leicestershire and Warwickshire. Others have pledged to come from as far away as Kent, Hampshire, Devon and Yorkshire. We even have Sue Regan who is travelling all the way from Australia, to represent “our cousins”, who are descended from those who have emigrated to the other side of the World on several occasions since 1848.
If you have not yet pinned down your immediate relatives, who may decide to be there, now is the time to twist their arms. If they are not there, who knows when they will get another chance like this. Use all your persuasive skills to get them to come along.
So what will you be able to do and see on the day? We will be at the SirJohn Moore Foundation at Top Street, Appleby Magna, Leicestershire DE12 7AH from 12 noon to 6pm. It is a great venue in a lovely setting. You can be there for as long as you want or just drop in at some point in the afternoon with your family to see what is happening. Even if all of your party is not madly interested in the Gathering, bring them along and they can enjoy the grounds or have a picnic. There will be light refreshments for sale in the cafe.
In the meeting room in the main building, you will be able to spend time with the other Swinfields who are present. Some of them, we will know, are your proven relations. You will be able to find yourselves (with our help if necessary) on the displayed family trees, which have been constructed through over 40 years of research into those who share our rare surname. You will be able to consult our databases to learn more about your extended family and ancestors.
We want to compile a photographic record of those who are present which we can then all share. So we need to have as many Swinfields present as possible, aged from 0 to 100! There will even be an opportunity to see what DNA tests have told us about the relationship between the distinct family groups.
Please bring with you any Swinfield photographs. These can be of any members who are no longer with us or your relatives who just cannot be there on the day. Share with us all any old documents which you have in your cupboard or attic. These could be birth, marriage or death certificates, apprenticeships, wills etc. Collect them together and bring them with you. We would love to see them and share your family stories.
This will be a unique chance to meet your cousins and share in the history of the Swinfields. Don't miss it! Bring your relatives with you. The more the better! See you all at Appleby in just five weeks' time.
Geoff Swinfield, Di Bouglas & Sandra Bates

7 Jul 2013

Your relatives will be there: the DNA tells us so

Of those who have expressed an interest at being at the Swinfield Gathering in September, there will be representatives of most of the eight main families or lineages, which have been identified during my 40 years of research into Swinfield history. These, I have named as Families 1-5, 12, 33 & 44 (the Swinfield-Wells family). At present, we have no-one coming from Families 1, 3 and 44.
What are the chances that those who are there will be related to each other? At present, the genealogical sources have not enabled us to join these eight trees together. They are currently:
                               earliest location                   date
Family 1                Nuneaton, Warwicks           1760
Family 2                Burbage, Leics                    1800
Family 3 & 4         Wolvey, Warwicks              1755
Family 5                Smisby, Derbys                   1732
Family 12              Markfield, Leics                  1717
Family 33              Leicester, Leics                   1940s
Family 44              Markfield                            1815

What does the genetics (DNA) tell us about them? By looking at the Y-chromosomes (passed down from father to son together with their surname) from four men from these lines, who have commissioned tests, we have learned something very interesting! What is that, I hear you ask?

Family 12 taken as the “standard” Swinfield Y-chromosome
Family 3&4 one English representative differs at 1 marker (out of 37) from Family 12
Family 3&4 an Australian descendant differs at 4 markers (from 37) from Family 12
Family 5 member matches exactly at 32 of 32 markers with Family 12
You can read more at the Swinfield DNA & Genealogy website hosted by Family Tree DNA. There you can see those family trees too.
Appleby Magna church

Thirza Swinfield of Family 5 at Top Street, Appleby  
This leads us to speculate that these three main Swinfield lines of descent ultimately descend from a common ancestor! In other words, they are distant cousins and their lineages will each lead back to the original man who assumed the unusual surname of Swinfield some 700 years ago (about 30 generations). Was he proud to keep pigs (swine) in a field or did he live at a place called Swinfield? Whichever it was, he chose to immortalise himself in the hereditary name that was passed down to his descendants.

There is a good chance that all legitimate lines of Swinfield descent (which unfortunately does not include my branch) are related genetically. Those who come to Appleby Magna will really be meeting their cousins.
Now's your chance to see how you are related!

The Swinfield Gathering countdown: ten weeks to go!

The last time that I wrote on the Swinfield Blog was back in early March. I excitedly announced that it had been decided to hold the first ever Swinfield Gathering for anyone who is interested in our unusual surname. Just before we went away for a couple of weeks' holiday, I dispatched 148 invitations to Swinfields. On my return, I was expecting to have to lever the front door open, which would now be blocked by all the responses. There was just ONE! Not much of a response for £75 of postage and all that effort.
Some have now responded by more modern forms of communication. I have had e-mails from family members who have indicated their intention to attend. Pinning down just who will probably be coming to Appleby Magna, Leicestershire, on Sunday, 22nd September 2013, has been far less straightforward. To date, just ten weeks away from the day, I think that somewhere between 30 and 50 people may be gathering. I would love it to be many more and hope to be pleasantly surprised by how many are there on the day.
So if you haven't yet made up your mind, you will be most welcome to come along to meet other Swinfields. We would love to see you all! Who knows if and when it might happen again.
There is no charge and you do not have to commit yourself. All I ask is that you let me know if you think that you will be there and who else you will be bringing with you, both young and old. E-mail geoff@gsgs.co.uk or ring me on 0208 325 3670.  

9 Mar 2013

The Swinfield Gathering is happening!

                                  Attention ALL Swinfields 
We have at last arranged the first ever and long-awaited SWINFIELD GATHERING. It will take place in September 2013! Whoever can come, you will all be most welcome to be there.
The date and place will be Sunday, 22nd September, at the SirJohn Moore Foundation, Top Street, Appleby Magna, Leicestershire DE12 7AH. Our thanks must go to Sandra Bates who has found us such a lovely venue which is within very easy reach of where the majority of Swinfields live.
Sir John Moore Foundation 
Those of you who I could find addresses for will be receiving an invitation including all the details within the next couple of days through our wonderful postal service. If you do not get one, let me have your address and I will have one winging its way to you. I would ask you to let me know, through the tear-off slip, that you will be coming and how many you will be bringing along. It is open to anyone who is interested in the history of our surname. Spread the word to other Swinfields too and come as a group. The more the merrier!
The event will be FREE but we would hope that we will raise enough in donations on the day to cover the cost of hiring this great venue. Their cafe should be open for us to purchase light refreshments.
We will be there from 12 noon to 6 pm. We would love to see you for the whole afternoon or you can just drop in to see us at any time. It will be a great chance to meet up with lots (I hope!) of other Swinfields. They will be your close and your rather distant cousins. Some you will know and others will be long-lost relatives.
A Swinfield family gathering in Australia  
This will be a unique opportunity to look at family trees and documents for the “Swinfield Clan”. You will be able to find yourself on the charts and see who else you are related to. You may even meet some of them there! We would hope that you will bring along your own old photos and any documents that you have, so that they can be shared with others. There may be others there who can to put “names to faces”.
What a photo opportunity it will be too. Try to be there.
Put it in your diary NOW!    

20 Jan 2013

Happy New Year!

Happy 2013 to all Swinfields or those who are part of the wider “Swinfield family”. I hope that it brings all that you would wish for.
As we enter yet another New Year, we all tend to look back on the past and especially what we have done over the last twelve months. We should also look forward to the future and set ourselves goals to be achieved. What have we learned through our work on the Swinfields and what more is there still to do?
I hope that I have both informed and entertained you with the Swinfield Blog. It will have been successful if you look forward to receiving each issue and enjoy reading it. I have tried to produce articles as regularly and often as I can so that there has been something new for you to learn about our family. I will endeavour to keep you informed of new developments and discoveries this year too. As I have already dealt with the history of the main lines of the family in the 19th and 20th centuries, my contributions will mainly centre on the earlier story of the family. I aim to tell you about what is known of the Swinfields of the 17th and 18th centuries. In addition, if any of you would be willing to contribute stories about your relatives, just send me the copy and I will “put it up”.
Through Andrew Swinfield's efforts, a mailshot was dispatched to all Australian Swinfields listed in White Pages. Although not inundated with replies, we did receive some very valuable responses and significant new information from previously unknown branches. A worthwhile project.
Indeed, that has resulted in one new male, Maxwell Henry Swinfield, commissioning a DNA test. We await, with great anticipation, the test results when they have been processed. It would great if other Swinfield men would join in. There are some families from which we have no participants. I contacted about 20 men in December 2012 who I had “targetted” as those who I would dearly love to contribute samples (purely for valid genealogical research reasons). Sadly, none responded by paying for a test, despite there being a much reduced rate available through the FTDNA Christmas sale. Perhaps they will in 2013!
I would also love to collect as many photographs as possible of anyone who is, or has ever been, named Swinfield. The written records will probably always be with us but the faces of our ancestors and relatives are far less durable. We need to gather them together before they are lost or thrown away. These could be pictures of those who are living or those who are no longer with us. If you have any images that you are willing to share with us all, please send them to me now, telling me who they are, how they are related to you and, if possible, when and where it was taken. You could start me off by e-mailing me a group photo of yourself, your brothers and sisters (if you had any) and your parents. I will happily become custodian of the new massive Swinfield family album.
Geoff  Swinfield (born 1951), Tom Swinfield (born 1984),
Ben Swinfield (born 1985) & Reg Swinfield (born 11th January 1925) 
As an example, on 11th January, we celebrated my Dad's 88th birthday. Reg Swinfield was born in 1925. Here he is with his me, his son, Geoff Swinfield and two of his three grandsons, Tom and Ben Swinfield, taken in the Half Moon at Sherborne, Dorset. Very rarely do four Swinfields gather together in one place which sells beer! It was something to record and commemorate!
My sincere wish for this New Year would be to have a Swinfield family gathering. I have long been hoping to organise an event where anyone and everyone who has our surname or has used it in the past (or may do so in the future?) can convene. There we could meet up with long-lost cousins and exchange information. Just think of the photo opportunity too! It would clearly attract most people if it took place close to Leicester where the majority of Swinfields still live. To get it off the ground, I do need help from those who live in that area. Where and when could we hold it? Do you know of a venue which would accommodate up to 100 Swinfields? Would you be willing to help me to fulfil my New Year's resolution?