DNA: which test?

I have taken quite a few genetic tests and for over 10 years have included DNA tests in talks and articles and so I am occasionally asked to recommend particular companies for tests.

I am really just a novice and am still trying to make sense of what the results tell me. But I respond “it depends on what you are trying to find out”: maternal ancestry, paternal ancestry but most seem interested in the so called ethnicity tests (autosomal). This makes sense for people with limited documentary evidence and/or mixed-ancestry but really at the moment this is the least useful for researching ancestral roots below continental level, but is great for connecting with close family.

For a recent talk recounting the motivation behind my family history research  and experience researching my Barbadian ancestry I thought it would be interesting to summarise results. Some of the information has been discussed in these pages: My genes and my genes update, but I was most surprised by the results when I saw my ethnicity tests in a table.

DNA ethnicity tests from 5 companies

Results from 5 ethnicity tests

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Barbados slave registers

Introduction

The records of the slave registries are among the most important and comprehensive for slave research in the British West Indies for the period 1812 to 1834. The slave registers provide a census of all slaves and slave holders until the abolition of slavery on 1 August 1834.

Between 1812 and 1834 the British government and Anglo-Caribbean colonial governments registered the enslaved population to help manage the illegal movement of slaves following the abolition of the slave trade. See my article on slave registers for more information.

Original returns may survive in the local Caribbean archive, though  none have been found for Barbados. From 1819 copies (including the Barbados returns) were sent to the London Registry and these are held by The National Archives under the reference T 71

The registers were later used as evidence of slave ownership for the compensation awards following the abolition of slavery in 1834. A brief description of the awards and a database of the Barbados awards is on the Caribbean Family History website. A more extensive database for the all countries with biographical and other information on slave holders is at Legacies of British Slave-ownership.

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Reflections of past two years

I am surprised that it has been over 2 years since I last wrote on this blog. The highlight for 2016 for me was working with the Barbados and Friends Association (Reading) on their Heritage Project: The Story so far: a celebration Barbadian settlement in Reading. We hosted workshops where people from the local Bajan community brought artefacts and were invited to talk about their experiences of Barbados, and their settlement, education and employment in Reading. The project ended with a Cultural Extravaganza and a display of artefacts in Reading Museum.

Over the past two years I had lost the energy and enthusiasm in pursuing my personal and Caribbean research. I put off giving talks and writing articles and didn’t undertake any family history. Even so, I continued to play and active role in the Berkshire Family History Society as a volunteer on the committee on the Computer branch and gave a couple of talks to several branches. I took the opportunity on further price drops and sales  for DNA tests to take further autosomal tests with AncestryDNA and 23&me. These haven’t really added much to my knowledge but have different sets of matches which I will follow up. 

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My genes update

This is an update on my earlier blog on my DNA tests. Since the blog was written in 2014 four other Grannums have undertaken DNA tests and we all have close paternal matches – in addition three of them match as genetic cousins. Because of the genetic evidence suggesting that were possibly related within about 5 generations we used personal and online indexes and linked documentary evidence to join two previously unknown family groups, rewrite the family tree for one family and take both families back several generations to the 1840s. The testers have joined the FamilyTreeDNA Grannum project at https://www.familytreedna.com/groups/grannum/about
ydna-from-ftdna

Paternal DNA markers – the highlighted sections indicate differences. The red are faster changing STR markers

From: https://www.familytreedna.com/public/grannum?iframe=yresults

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Searching for William Granham

All family historians will hit a brickwall where they can’t find more information on a person. My brickwall is William Crannum who was resident in Barbados in 1735 but I don’t why he was in Barbados, how he got there or where he came from.

The earliest record I have found is the baptism of Andrew to William and Ann Granham on 13 June 1742 in St Thomas parish church, Barbados; they were resident of St James’

Baptism of Andrew Granham, 13 June 1742

13 June 1742, Andrew the son of William and Ann Granham ???h of St James Parish & baptiz’d in St Thomas Church. Barbados archives, RL1/49 p23.

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Stephen Bourne, Black Poppies

Stephen Bourne is a really interesting and engaging speaker. He is a community historian and author specialising in black British history and communities using first hand accounts to bring their history to life.

Stephen Bourne, Black Poppies

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Barbadian contingents in the First World War – part 2

This information is copied with some expansions from a copy of Percy Sinclair Leverick’s Directory, 1921, pp65-83, in the Barbados Museum Library.

This is a continuation from the previous post listing Barbadians living abroad who served in the First World War.

List of other Barbadians who served in the Great War

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Barbadian contingents in the First World War

Roll of Honour, First World War. Barbados Volunteer Force.

Roll of Honour, First World War. Barbados Volunteer Force (source: TNA CO 1069/245)

This information is copied with some expansions from a copy of Percy Sinclair Leverick’s Directory, 1921, pp46-83, in the Barbados Museum Library.

I have added some occasional notes usually where the copy is unclear.

This post contains information from pp46-64. Pp65-83 is in part 2.

Barbados Citizens’ Contingent

Committee of Management

Dudley G Leacock, Esq, MCP – Chairman
JE Mayers, Esq – Honorary secretary
Lieutenant WM Bowring
RG Cave, Esq, MCP
FAC Collymore, Esq, MBE
Reverend Canon HA Dalton, DD
Reverend Fred. Ellis
EA Hinkson, Esq
AJ Mascall, Esq
G Douglas Pile, Esq
JH Wilkinson Esq
Harold Wright, Esq

Medical Board

Surgeon-Captain R Mortimer Johnson
Gerald Manning, MD
Norman D Parris, MD

The Barbados Citizens’ Contingent Committee was formed about the end of November 1915, and the original promoters of the movement were Messrs Dudley G Leacock, FAC Collymore and RG Cave.

The primary object of the Committee was to enable your men of respectable parentage to proceed to England to join His Majesty’s Forces – either the Royal Navy or English fighting regiments, and thus to take their part in the Great War. Continue reading

First World War records of service

This is portal page aims to bring together websites which provides information about people from Anglo-Caribbean countries who served in the First World War in the British army, navy, air forces and merchant navy. Continue reading

Reginald Anthony Grannum searching for his birth

All genealogists and historical researchers will have unfinished work. For every piece of information found there will be at least one new question to find an answer for. Some questions will be easier to answer than others and thanks to the internet and growth of online historical catalogues and indexes and digitised archives many are far easier to find now that in the past. But many will still elude you. These get put to one side and many will be forgotten.

Family picnic Clifton Yvonne and Anthony
Clifton, Yvonne and Anthony on a picnic (place and date unknown but possible late 1920s)

Looking at my family tree the other day I remembered that I had a gap for my grandfather’s brother. My grandfather (Clifton Winnington Grannum) died in the Second World War and over the past 40 years or so the family had lost contact with his brothers and sisters. They had met his sisters (Dorothy) Edmee  and (Joyce) Yvonne and their children but I don’t think that they had met his brother. In fact they were uncertain about his name and so on my family tree I had written Robert Anthony Grannum (he was known as Tony). I wrote ‘Robert’ in my wiki article about my great-grandfather Reginald Clifton Grannum and an MGrannum in November 2010 amended it to Reginald. While I was researching my great-grandfather I noted that he had taken extended leave in 1911 and 1913 and assumed that this was due to the births of his two youngest children and that there were probably born in either British Guiana (where he was working and living) or Barbados (where his family lived). Continue reading