Author Topic: Attempting to work out biological father of ancestor  (Read 498 times)

Offline brjhh2001

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Attempting to work out biological father of ancestor
« on: Tuesday 04 January 22 15:03 GMT (UK) »
Hi folks! I hope I'm posting this in the right place. Possibly a long post ahead so bear with me -
So I'm in the process of trying to uncover who the biological father of my 3rd great grandfather, John William Thurston, was. Using DNA matches I've been able to whittle it down to 3 candidates (William Weld, Henry Erasmus and Arthur Alma Wren.) My initial thought was that the child's middle name was a clue, however the mother's father was also John William Thurston. My great aunt's DNA relationships with descendants of Will Wren's also indicate that he was probably not the father. Feeling a bit stumped, I recently decided to order a transcription of John's birth certificate and his mother Sarah Thurston's marriage the year after he was born.
I immediately noticed that her marriage took place in the church on the large station which the illegitimate son's paternal grandfather, Henry Wren, managed. I also noticed that a Henry Wren, either his grandfather OR his possible father Henry Erasmus, was a witness to the wedding. Given she was likely not employed at the station (employees typically lived there which she did not,) I figure holding the wedding at the station and having a Wren as a witness is a relatively decent indicator that she was still pretty involved with the family. The possibility of assault was mentioned to me in terms of the circumstances of conception but I find the idea of getting married at the family's station and having the baby's grandfather as a witness very weird if that were the case.

So all that begs a few questions - why did she not marry the father of the child even though she was evidently still involved with the family? If the witness to the wedding was indeed Henry Erasmus Wren (I have requested the original document to compare the signature to the grandfather Henry Wren's) why would the child's father be a wedding witness? Were the Wrens aware the bub's father was a Wren? What happened in the year between the child's birth and her getting married?
Possibly significant possibly not - Sarah named two of her later children by another hubby Henry and Arthur. Her illegitimate son John gave one of his sons the middle name Arthur, although I'm unsure if he was even aware that he was illegitimate.

I'm aware that none of you are time travellers (assumedly) and obviously can't answer it for sure. I just thought I'd throw it out there and see if anybody had any ideas :)
Cheers!

Online CaroleW

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Re: Attempting to work out biological father of ancestor
« Reply #1 on: Tuesday 04 January 22 16:27 GMT (UK) »
Welcome to Rootschat

You have given us a lot of names etc but no idea of what dates are involved in any of those details nor exactly whereabouts in Australia any of these events took place.

Please note that RC has a strict "no living persons" policy so the names of any persons who could still be alive should be removed from your post
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Offline mckha489

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Re: Attempting to work out biological father of ancestor
« Reply #2 on: Tuesday 04 January 22 17:16 GMT (UK) »
Deleted. 
Side tracked to a friendís very interesting Norfolk families. MORGAN, PRATT, HORNOR, SUCKLING, GLEANE etc. And in London DOWNES, du CROZ, MORGAN (same MORGANs as the Norwich lot)


Offline brjhh2001

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Re: Attempting to work out biological father of ancestor
« Reply #3 on: Tuesday 04 January 22 17:18 GMT (UK) »
Hi there -
Youíre correct, my apologies. Thank you for the welcome!
John Thurston was born in Aug 1872. His mother was born in May 1852 but she apparently did not know exactly how old she was.
Will Wren was born in 1848 so would have been around 23 at the time of the conception, Henry Erasmus b. 1850 so 21 ditto, Arthur Alma b. 1854 so 17 ditto.
If itís relevant - Henry Wren (grandfather) was born in 1818.
Wedding took place in July 1873 at Holy Trinity Church, Kameruka.
Sarahís two other kids I mentioned were born late 1880s/early 1890s. Johnís son mentioned was born in 1911.

No living people of course.
Hope these help! 😊

Offline majm

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Re: Attempting to work out biological father of ancestor
« Reply #4 on: Tuesday 04 January 22 18:55 GMT (UK) »
Welcome to RootsChat  :)


Thank you for providing that additional information.   So we are looking at New South Wales in the 1800s, when it was a British Colony. 

1873 marriage in regional NSW .... the NSWBDM record is likely only a summary, BUT it should record the details of who gave permission for a person aged under 21 to marry.  There may well be blanks on a number of sections on the NSWBDM copy and it may be all written in the one hand ... the clergyman's hand .... who was he?  It is possible he was on a circuit and only got to that district once a year or less frequently

The 1872 birth record...
 who is recorded as the informant, and what is recorded for the informant's relationship to the baby?  Have you looked for baby's baptism in same denomination as marriage of his mum?   Baptism may have clergyman's margin note re baby's father.

Have you sought out the Station's archival records?  Particularly for the 1870s. If these exist,  the Overseer diaries may make interesting reading.

ADD .... further checking ... I need to mention that Kameruka was, in that era, much more than just a station.  It was a settlement,  a village,  so much more than a  pastoral leasehold that comprised a station with an Overseer in charge of all aspects of its operations.

JM

Hi there -
Youíre correct, my apologies. Thank you for the welcome!
John Thurston was born in Aug 1872. His mother was born in May 1852 but she apparently did not know exactly how old she was.
Will Wren was born in 1848 so would have been around 23 at the time of the conception, Henry Erasmus b. 1850 so 21 ditto, Arthur Alma b. 1854 so 17 ditto.
If itís relevant - Henry Wren (grandfather) was born in 1818.
Wedding took place in July 1873 at Holy Trinity Church, Kameruka.
Sarahís two other kids I mentioned were born late 1880s/early 1890s. Johnís son mentioned was born in 1911.

No living people of course.
Hope these help! 😊
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Offline majm

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Re: Attempting to work out biological father of ancestor
« Reply #5 on: Tuesday 04 January 22 19:09 GMT (UK) »
In case it is significant,  I should gently mention that the online Index has the 1872 birth under THIRSTON with baby's mum as Sarah Ann.  The index was originally set up in the 1930s, and the record would have been handwritten.  Confusing "i'"  for "u" in handwritten documents is not at all unusual.

6876/1872.  Indexed only under one surname.   ::)  district BEGA

ADD
I can see that NSW BDM has Sarah's baptism in 1855.  Does it have her birth date as 1852?  If so, then she would be free to give her own consent to marry Samuel THICKNESSE in 1873 once she had reached 21 years of age.   He was a much older man; he was born 1819 in  England, and he had been widowed in 1868 with death of Emily in Wollongong NSW.  He was a schoolmaster.    See this RChat thread https://www.rootschat.com/forum/index.php?topic=483705.0

JM
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Offline majm

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Re: Attempting to work out biological father of ancestor
« Reply #6 on: Tuesday 04 January 22 22:08 GMT (UK) »
Hi,

Yes,  I am not a time traveller,  but here's some fairly reliable info that you may not already have. 

Grevilles Post Office Directory 1875
KAMERUKA, a settlement in the electorate of EDEN, in the County of AUCKLAND.
Ö.
Wren, Henry, a squatter.
.....

NSW Electoral Roll 1870 EDEN
Henry WREN residing Kamaruka (spelling as per the roll), qualified Freehold situate at Tarragandra   
William WREN, residing The Island, qualified leasehold situate at The Island
NONE with surnames WELD or THURSTON or THICKNESSE listed on that Eden roll.


NSW ER 1878 EDEN
Henry WREN, residing Kameruka, freehold situate at Tarrangandra,
Henry Erasmus WREN, residing Kameruka, freehold situate at Kameruka
William W WREN, residing Tarrangandra, freehold Tarrangandra
Arthur Alma  WREN, residing Tarrangandra,
NONE with the surnames WELD or THURSTON listed on that Eden Roll. 

Sarah Ann marrIed Samuel James Theodore THICKNESSE in 1873,  and I note that the 1878 electoral roll for EDEN has the following chap listed:
Samuel THICKNESSE, residing DRY CREEK 

Re WELD and WREN and a possible connection to Sarah THURSTON's parents...

William Weld WREN born 1776, Essex England had n 1798 married Mary VASSAL born 1779, Essex England.  This info needs checking, as it is part of a submission to the Monaro Pioneers website.   I mention that couple as several of their children came to NSW, and as Sarah Ann THURSTONís mother may have been nee VASSAL or similar.  So it is possible the DNA connection is because of a cousin relationship on Sarah's maternal line.  Here is a link to Monaro Pioneers. http://www.monaropioneers.com/

There are (civil) parish maps of the Kameruka district at  https://www.nswlrs.com.au/  it is not the friendliest website but the historic parish maps can often contain clues to help with family history quests.   - look for parish and historic maps in their search engine option.  You may need 'patience'.

Hi folks! I hope I'm posting this in the right place. Possibly a long post ahead so bear with me -
So I'm in the process of trying to uncover who the biological father of my 3rd great grandfather, John William Thurston, was. Using DNA matches I've been able to whittle it down to 3 candidates (William Weld, Henry Erasmus and Arthur Alma Wren.) My initial thought was that the child's middle name was a clue, however the mother's father was also John William Thurston. My great aunt's DNA relationships with descendants of Will Wren's also indicate that he was probably not the father. Feeling a bit stumped, I recently decided to order a transcription of John's birth certificate and his mother Sarah Thurston's marriage the year after he was born.
I immediately noticed that her marriage took place in the church on the large station which the illegitimate son's paternal grandfather, Henry Wren, managed. I also noticed that a Henry Wren, either his grandfather OR his possible father Henry Erasmus, was a witness to the wedding. Given she was likely not employed at the station (employees typically lived there which she did not,) I figure holding the wedding at the station and having a Wren as a witness is a relatively decent indicator that she was still pretty involved with the family. The possibility of assault was mentioned to me in terms of the circumstances of conception but I find the idea of getting married at the family's station and having the baby's grandfather as a witness very weird if that were the case.

So all that begs a few questions - why did she not marry the father of the child even though she was evidently still involved with the family? If the witness to the wedding was indeed Henry Erasmus Wren (I have requested the original document to compare the signature to the grandfather Henry Wren's) why would the child's father be a wedding witness? Were the Wrens aware the bub's father was a Wren? What happened in the year between the child's birth and her getting married?
Possibly significant possibly not - Sarah named two of her later children by another hubby Henry and Arthur. Her illegitimate son John gave one of his sons the middle name Arthur, although I'm unsure if he was even aware that he was illegitimate.

I'm aware that none of you are time travellers (assumedly) and obviously can't answer it for sure. I just thought I'd throw it out there and see if anybody had any ideas :)
Cheers!
 

JM
The information in my posts is provided for academic and non-commercial research purposes. 
Random Acts of Kindness Given Freely are never Worthless for they are Priceless.
Qui scit et non docet.    Qui docet et non vivit.    Qui nescit et non interrogat.   
All Census Look Ups Are Crown Copyright from www.nationalarchives.gov.uk
I do not have a face book or a twitter account.

Offline brjhh2001

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Re: Attempting to work out biological father of ancestor
« Reply #7 on: Wednesday 05 January 22 00:01 GMT (UK) »
Hi -

Excellent research, thank you! Thank you also for the kind welcome :)
Re the clergyman for the wedding - it is listed as A.D. Faunce on the marriage record transcription. I have done a preliminary search for a Bega resident under that name and I can't seem to find anything so I think you may be right.

Re 1872 birth record - informant is listed as his mother Sarah, aged 19 (she was actually born in May 1852 as per her birth index entry and was in fact 20 years old by this time, so evidently she didn't know her exact age.) Father is recorded as "illegitimate." I can't seem to find a baptism record for either John William Thurston/Thirston or John William Thicknesse, which is interesting.

The Thirston vs Thurston difference in records is likely because she was illiterate so whoever was writing it down had to go with how it sounded.
Re her being 21 at the time of marriage - technically yes, however she did not actually know that this was the case. If she thought she was 19 in August 1872, she would have thought she was 20 in July 1873. The record doesn't seem to have any mention of who gave permission for her to marry, though.

Unfortunately, Kameruka & Tarraganda are very close and the Wrens would undoubtedly have flitted between the two regularly so it is difficult to try and work out the father based on who was listed as where. It is a shame that there are no records (thus far, that I can find) on what Sarah was up to in 1870/1871. Was she an employee at Kameruka or Tarraganda? It is entirely possible she wasn't and had simply met one of the Wren sons in town or something like that. One thing I do notice - on John's birth certificate, her usual residence is listed as Colombo (which is now Bemboka.) Given she went back to Kameruka to marry and had a Wren wedding witness it doesn't seem like she was shunned or anything so there would be no reason to leave Kameruka if she had been residing there previously. As mentioned in original post, employees typically lived at Kameruka.

A thought on Samuel Thicknesse - he lived in Bemboka and taught the half-time school there. Kameruka has a school in it and I can see absolutely no reason he would have been connected to the Wrens so clearly the marriage location and the Wren witness was Sarah's doing.

Re Sarah Thurston's parents - her father was John Thurston and her mother was Mary Ann Goulding so no relation to Henry Wren's parents. I know for sure that that is not the connection as my great aunt and I have DNA matches from Elizabeth Dawson (Henry Wren's wife)'s family. From what I can gather, both of Sarah's parents died in November 1865 when she was 13 years old in Back Creek, which is not far from Kameruka and Tarraganda. That does make me wonder about her general circumstances leading up to the conception.

Cheers again! :)

Hi,

Yes,  I am not a time traveller,  but here's some fairly reliable info that you may not already have. 

Grevilles Post Office Directory 1875
KAMERUKA, a settlement in the electorate of EDEN, in the County of AUCKLAND.
Ö.
Wren, Henry, a squatter.
.....


Offline sparrett

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Re: Attempting to work out biological father of ancestor
« Reply #8 on: Wednesday 05 January 22 01:57 GMT (UK) »


A few hints in the papers of the time suggest Rev A D FAUNCE was resident at Bega in 1873.

This is one such

Resident at the parsonage Bega in May 1873
https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/106752883

Sue
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