Monday, July 18, 2016

Its all in the Genes. A DNA Connection

A couple of weeks ago I posted about a DNA match that had given me a whole new family branch, as I discovered my mothers DNA link to Thomas Sandall, who was a Mormon pioneer. Initially I could see little way that our family and the Sandalls could be connected, but with a location search I had made a discovery that had lead to a rewrite of my family tree.

For someone who has tried very hard to have paper records to prove every connection it really goes against the grain to add to my tree in a way that has no paper record proof, and probably never will.

Its entirely possible that Thomas Sandall may never have even known he was the father of Henry Abbott, born in 1837 in Kidlington Oxfordshire. Its even more likely that   Henry himself didnt know of his biological father.  In his marriage document he states his father was a Richard Dickson. Possibly his mother Martha was unsure who was the father of her first born son.
I needed to put this information into a pictorial format to allow my family to understand the situation so today I completed this layout. Names of the DNA matches are blurred out in this image for their privacy.

I originally had my DNA tested to help break down some brick walls in my family tree, but I quickly found it wasnt going to be the instant help I thought. In fact I quickly found it posed more mysteries than it solved. I decided to get my mothers DNA tested to try and sort out the various connections I had. and on doing so I was posed a very different sort of mystery. Ancestry’s algorithm brings up suggested New Ancestor Discoveries, by grouping people who share DNA and comparing their family trees.  This group of NADs below was to prove very interesting . The group included Emily Sandall, Edwin Ford, Ann Hill and Thomas Sandall.
A quick bit of research indicates that Edwin Ford is the husband of Emily Sandall, and Ann Hill is the wife of Thomas Sandall who is Emily's father. Its clear here the connection is actually with the Sandall family and not the spouses.
The other clue is that there is a common birth location between the trees of Thomas Sandall and my maternal tree. My mothers 2x G Grandfather was Henry ABBOTT.  He was born in 1837 ( baptised 10 September 1837) in Kidlington, Oxfordshire.
Thomas Sandall was also born ( in 1818) in Kidlington Oxfordshire. He was baptised as an illegitimate birth, and was given his mothers surname Abbott as his surname. however his marriage record stated his fathers name was Richard Dickson who had long been  a brick wall on my family tree as I could find no trace of such a person living in Kidlington or the surrounding areas.
I decided I needed to do a little more research on the Sandall family to see if I could find a connection between Martha and Thomas. I was not to be disappointed! The first record I investigated was the 1841 census for Kidlington.
Martha was living in Church End, and right next door, the very next entry on the census form shows Thomas’ parents, William and Mary Sandall, and their other children.
By this time Thomas was not living with his parents, having moved to Surrey, and married Ann Hill soon after. Martha goes on to have one more illegitimate child - Mary, in 1843, in Woodstock Oxfordshire, before marrying John Matthews in 1844, but by 1851 the Matthews, and all their children, including Henry and Mary are living back in Kidlington right next door to Thomas Sandalls parents again.
As you can see from the chart on the facing page, my mothers DNA profile is liked to 8 people descended from Thomas Sandall - 2 of them share 100 cM with her which is actually more than what you would expect from a 1/2 3rd cousin relationship. They descend not only from Thomas' daughter Emily but also  from his son Joseph and one from son Thomas.
This combination of various descdendants of Thomas Sandall do appear indeed to confirm that a young Martha and Thomas Sandall - both born 1818 had a liason in their late teens which resulted in the birth of Henry Abbott.
I doubt paper proof of the relationship between Martha Abbott and Thomas Sandall will ever be found (or for that matter has ever existed) however the scientific proof of this relationship keeps getting stronger as more descendants of Thomas are matched to my mothers DNA.


  1. Really great work there, and I especially love the pictorial layout to explain the connection!

  2. Fabulous. So we'll put and thought through...