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 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

Derrick Swinfield 5F 11 10 17

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!  

18 May 2014

Family 4 was there too!

It was a great pleasure that three members of Family 4 came to the Swinfield Gathering. They are descended from John Swinfield (1806-1874) another son of Thomas Swinfield, the labourer, of Wolvey in Warwickshire and his wife, Elizabeth Hackett. John married Mary Ann Bates at Mancetter in the same county in 1833. They had 6 children in that parish from 1834 to 1850. In late 1852, presumably at the suggestion of his brother, William, who had already settled in Sydney, he and his wife embarked on the arduous three month journey onboard the ill-fated “Beejapore”. Of the nearly thousand passengers who set out, 55 or 56 died on the voyage, all but one of them being children. On arrival, the ship was put into quarantine at the station on North Head, close to what is now Manly. There a further 62 perished from typhus and measles during the time that they were accommodated in just 90 tents in the height of summer. These included John's wife and his youngest son, William, who was only 3. The ship was released to complete its journey into Sydney Harbour on 9th February 1853.
Ruth & Geoff study the
pedigree of Family 4
Our three attendees at the Gathering all descend from John's daughter, Mary, who was born at Mancetter in 1838 and who was 15 when she disembarked. The four surviving children did not stay in NSW for long. They all married in Tasmania from 1857 to 1868. Mary married Henry Chesterman at St David's Church, Hobart, Tasmania on 13th October 1857 and they had 12 children and many modern descendants.
I had already met Ruth Cuff on her visit to London in April 2012. She then brought with her copies of two letters which were sent to his brother and sister by Edward Swinfield (1834-1881) who did not make the voyage to Australia. Rather he went to be a planter in St Kitts in the West Indies where he died. He has no descendants. Neither, as far as we know, do either of the other two surviving sons of John Swinfield by his two wives.
Col, Jordan & Ruth  


Col & Jordan Barling 
 The other two people to come to the Gathering were Col Barling and his daughter, Jordan. It was great for them to meet there and we exchanged photographs and documents. I have also recently been in contact with their cousin, Bob Chesterman, who has as his ancestor not only Mary Swinfield (1838-1918) but also her sister, Mary Ann (1846-1930), who married Moses John Clark!

Map of North Head and the
Quarantine Station

Geoff at Q Station 
Today Q Station is a hotel. However it provides a very informative visitors' centre which Di and I visited to see its very good exhibition. That documents its time as a place of quarantine for the emigrants into Sydney until as late as the 1980s! 
Quarantine Beach where the emigrants landed.
Just above the beach would have been the final resting place
of John's wife and young son who died in 1853.   

12 May 2014

Family 3C was there too!

The third part of Family 3 in Australia has as its ancestors William Swinfield (1804-1876), the tailor, and his second wife, Sarah Williamson (1816-1861). They had also married at Nuneaton in 1846 after his first wife died the year before. That marriage was to produce 7 more children for William after the family emigrated in 1848 on the Walmer Castle.  

Second cousins meet:
John Butcher, Ian George Swinfield,
Vanessa Swinfield & Karen Butcher
Only one of their two sons, George William (1854-1936) has living descendants who constitute Family 3C. 9 children were born to his wife, Elizabeth McCarthy, who he married at St Paul's in Redfern on 27th November 1874. There is a wonderful photograph of their family which I have been given by separate branches of their family and which I wrote about in Part 8 of the Blog back in September 2011.
Carolyn McKellar and her father,
Frank Stott

One of their grandchildren, Frank George Stott, and three great-grandchildren, Ian George Swinfield, Karen Butcher and Carolyn McKellar, were at the Gathering representing three of their children, George William Swinfield (1881-1956), Arthur Edwin Swinfield (1891-1975) and Jessica Vera Stott (1900-1972) respectively.

Belinda Saywell, Kylie Gravitis, Peter Swinfield, Ian Swinfield,
Fiona Burrows, Sue Swinfield, Nelleke & Vanessa (Ness) Swinfield  
Nelleke Swinfield, the widow of Colin Thomas Swinfield (1937-2012), another of the great-grandsons, came all the way from Nambour in Queensland to join her brother-in-law, Ian George, and his daughters, Kylie Gravitis and Fiona Burrows. It was very good that Vanessa and Peter, Nelleke's two children, and her niece, Belinda Saywell, were also able to be there. Ness brought along a huge collection of family photographs and documents for us all to share. I look forward to receiving copies of all that when she has the time to scan it! 

11 May 2014

Family 3B had 13 attendees at the Gathering

Brothers Ray and John and their family tree
Our hosts at the Swinfield Gathering were brothers, Raymond Francis and John Anthony of Family 3B. I wrote about their own family reunion in my post of 5th January 2014 on this Blog.

Family 3B

This part of the family can trace their ancestry back to the youngest son of William Swinfield (1804-1876) who claimed to be a tailor in England by his first wife, Sarah Ballard. That son was born in Hartshill in Warwickshire before the family left for Australia in 1848. They are the great-grandsons of that immigrant, Daniel Swinfield (1842-1877), and his wife, Eliza Hayes through their youngest son, another Daniel (1877-1905). John's wife, Annette Marie, and their two sons, John Joseph and David Gerard were also with us. David's wife, also Annette Swinfield, brought along their two children, Samantha and Lachlan to meet more distant relations.

John Allan Swinfield with Penny and Felicity 
They were the descendants of Daniel's older brother, John Swinfield (1873-1961), though his wife, Margaret Prior. John Allan Swinfield is their grandson and he brought with him his two daughters, Penny and Felicity. Unfortunately, John's cousin, Ronald John, could not be with us but his wife, Stephanie, was there with one of her daughters, Debbie Humphries. 

Debbie Humphries, Stephanie Swinfield,
David Swinfield & John Swinfield

Family 3A was very well represented

38 members of Family 3 came to the Gathering. All are descended from William Swinfield (1804-1876), a native of Wolvey in the county of Warwickshire in the English Midlands, who arrived with his family aboard the Walmer Castle which reached Sydney on 30th December 1848.

Family 3A has as its ancestor William's second son who survived to adulthood. That was John Swinfield (1838-1903) who was the child of William's first wife, Sarah Ballard (1800-1845). John's mother died prior to the family's emigration. By then, his father had married again to Sarah Williamson, the progenitor of Family 3C. John's oldest brother, Thomas (1824-1881), did not travel to Australia with his father and siblings. He has a large number of descendants still in England.
John and his wife, Eleanor Sophia Burrows (1840-1890), a granddaughter of Frederick Meredith, who had arrived in the First Fleet of 1788, produced 10 children. Three died in their infancy.

Leslie Ernest and David Frederick Ebenezer 
Andrew, Chloe, Lauren with
John William Swinfield 

Of their 6 adult sons, two were represented at the Swinfield Gathering. The oldest son, Henry (1858-1923), had two grandsons who were there. They are David Frederick Ebenezer and John William, who are first cousins. All 4 children of John William and 4 of his grandchildren also came along to meet their relatives.
Thea, Pamela, Lauren, Helen,
Andrew and Chloe descendants
of Henry & Eleanor Sophia Swinfield  
Sid and Linda Swinfield,
two more of Henry's descendants  

Leslie Ernest Swinfield, the grandson of their fifth surviving son, James Ernest (1871-1923), was also able to join us. He is second cousin to David and John. 

Alan and Cheryl Cooper with her father,
Leslie Ernest Swinfield  
He was accompanied by his daughter Cheryl and her husband, Alan Cooper, who celebrated his birthday on the day of the Gathering! 

10 May 2014

The Australian Swinfields gathered in force!

Di and I are now home from our five week holiday, where we visited Indonesia, to see my son Tom, and Australia. It was a wonderful experience to see just a very small part of Australia, travelling the east coast from Sydney to Brisbane and then moving on to Cairns and into the rain forest where we stayed at the wonderful Bloomfield Lodge.

On our return to Sydney, the Swinfield Gathering took place on Saturday 3rd May 2014 at the Calvary Retirement Community, now home to Ray Swinfield. He arranged for us all to meet there in what proved to be an excellent venue where we could mingle and chat with the 45 people who came together. 

Although the majority were from the Sydney area of New South Wales, others made the journey from other parts of the state whilst others travelled in from as far afield as Queensland, Tasmania and Victoria! Ray's sister-in-law, Annette, ably supported by his brother and nephew, the two Johns, brought in a wonderful array of cakes and kept everyone supplied with tea and coffee.

There was great excitement as people found themselves on the family trees which I had brought with me from England, identifying how they were related, and meeting newly-found cousins.
The attendees were all from Families 3 and 4, being descendants of William (1804-1876) and John (1806-1874), the two sons of Thomas and Elizabeth Swinfield who arrived in very late 1848 and very early1853. The vast majority are part of the very large pedigree 3, accounting for 38 of those who were there. Three members of Family 4 also came, representing John's family, which includes, as far as we know, no living Swinfields. 

Di kept us all in order so that we all knew exactly “who was who” and made sure that we had a photographic record of what was a very enjoyable and informative event. 

1 Apr 2014

Four weeks to the Australian Gathering!

Tomorrow Di and I leave for our holiday in Indonesia and Australia. After a two week tour of the East Coast from Sydney to Cairns and a spell in the Rain Forest, we will be back in Sydney by 26th April.

Just a week later, on Saturday, 3rd May, it is now certain that we will have a very successful Swinfield Gathering. Thanks to Ray Swinfield, we will all meet together at:

Dalton House Auditorium
Calvary Retirement Community
678 Victoria Road
RYDE, NSW 2112

Anyone who is now called Swinfield, was one in past, or who is descended from someone who had the surname, will be very welcome to join us there from 1-4pm. There will even be tea, coffee and afternoon cakes!

At present, 35 people have told us that they will be coming from many parts of the country. Another 8 have suggested that they may be able to be there. No doubt others will come along on the day unannounced. The more the merrier to make it a great success!

Of the “definites”, they represent these parts of the family:

Family 3A             7
Family 3B             9
Family 3C           14
Family 4                3
Family 5                2

So whichever branch you are on, of the Swinfield tree in Australia, there will be cousins there for you to meet, probably for the first time. Don't miss out on being there. If you have other relatives who have not yet decided to come, encourage them to be there too. A Swinfield Gathering does not happen often! They will regret missing out. 

Bring with you any old Swinfield documents, photographs or certificates that you have in your cupboards or attics to share with us all. You will also be “encouraged” to be in the group photographs, which will document the day for posterity.

We look forward to meeting you all on what, we are sure, will be a great day.
Geoff, Di, Ray, John, Andy & Linda  

3 Mar 2014

The Australian Gathering will happen!

In only two months time in early May, Di and I will be nearing the end of our visit to Indonesia and Australia. On the last weekend before we fly home via Singapore, there will be another Swinfield Gathering. This time we will be in Sydney on Saturday, 3rd May 2014.  

Ray Swinfield of Family 3B has arranged for us to all meet together from 1-4 pm at the Auditorium of the Calvary Retirement Community, 678 Victoria Road, Ryde NSW2112 where he lives. All current Australian Swinfields, or those who have used our surname in the past, are very welcome to come along. There you will be able to find yourself on the family trees, which I have drawn up showing the Antipodean bearers of our name, and, most excitingly, meet up with new cousins and distant relatives who were previously unknown to you. This is a not-to-be-missed opportunity gather together to share in the history of “our family”. The vast majority of Swinfields there will be related as they are descendants of William Swinfield (1804-1876) who reached NSW at the end of 1848.You will all be cousins of some sort. I will show you how!

How many Australian Swinfields may be there? I have a rather vague idea how many people with our rare surname live near Sydney. My guess is somewhere in excess of a hundred. There are certainly 43 subscribers listed in the current White Pages of whom 33 live in NSW. All were written to back in mid 2012 by Andrew Swinfield. He will now be contacting you again, inviting you to be there. Please respond so that we will know how many to cater for. We hope that as many of you as possible will make the effort to come along to find out about the family's history. Bring along your family's documents and photographs to share with your new-found relatives. 

It is likely that we will have attendees from as far afield as Queensland, Adelaide and Tasmania.  Let's make their trip worthwhile by as many people as possible being there from the NSW area. I will be there from the other side of the World representing your English cousins!

Put this date in your diary and be there on May 3rd!

26 Jan 2014

DNA gives us more clues to a single ancestor!

Another DNA test result has now been received for a male Swinfield. John Arnold Swinfield of Family 2, who was one of thepeople who attended the Swinfield Gathering inSeptember 2013, commissioned a test from Family Tree DNA. We have now have the answer!

Family 393 390 19 391   385a          385b 426 388 439 389a 392 389b 458 459a 459b 455 454
Derrick Swinfield 5F 13 24 14 11 11 14 12 12 11 13 13 29 17 9 10 11 11
John Swinfield 2 13 24 14 11 11 14 12 12 11 13 13 29 17 9 10 11 11
Maxwell Swinfield 12 13 24 14 11 11 14 12 12 11 13 13 29 17 9 10 11 11
Paul Swinfield 3 13 24 14 10 11 14 12 12 11 13 13 29 17 9 10 11 11
Andrew Swinfield 3A 13 24 14 10 11 14 12 12 11 13 13 29 17 9 9 11 11

447 437 448 449 464a 464b 464c 464d 460 GATA-H4 YCAIIa YCAIIb 456 607 576 570 CDYa CDYb 442 438
24 14 19 30 15 16 17 17 11 11 19 23 15

12 12
24 14 19 30 15 16 17 17 11 11 19 23 15 14 18 17 35 36 12 12
24 14 19 30 15 16 17 17 11 11 19 23 15 14 19 17 35 36 12 12
24 14 19 30 15 16 17 17 11 11 19 23 15 14 19 17 35 36 12 12
24 14 19 30 15 16 16 17 11 11 19 23 15 14 19 17 35 37 12 12

John is an exact match to Derrick Swinfield of Family 5 at the 32 markers at which both have been tested (Derrick's test was done through DNA Worldwide). This must surely lead us to the conclusion that families 2 and 5 have a common origin. Of the other three men, who have also had a 37 marker test from FTDNA, Maxwell from Australia, a member of Family 12, differs at only one marker from John, giving him what is termed a "genetic distance" of only 1, having a different value at marker DYS 576. Paul Swinfield of Family 3, has a genetic distance of 2 from John, also having a different value at marker DYS 391. Surprisingly Andrew, Paul's cousin, has a “GD” of 5, having a different STR value at three other markers. However, they do share a common mutation at DYS 391 where, unlike the other three men, they have a value of 10.   

John, Derrick, Maxwell and Paul all seem to have a "typical" Swinfield Y-chromosome. It is now very likely that the four families which they represent (2, 3, 5 & 12) have a common origin. They must surely share a common ancestor, within the last seven centuries, since the surname of Swinfield came into existence! I wonder how the other main branch, Family 1, would match up?

All we have to do now is to find the “paper trail”, through genealogical research, to join them all together. Easier said than done!

John and his sister, Clare Woodward, can trace their ancestry back to Burbage via the parish of Quorn(don). Their great-grandparents are buried in the churchyard there. In the adjacent grave is their infant son, William Henry, who died at only 6 months. This parish has a fantastic website which provides access to most of its records.

How is their great-great-great-grandfather, the blacksmith of Burbage, who was born about 1773/4, related to the earliest known ancestor of each of the other main branches? The DNA results tell us that they were all “cousins”!