So, having not updated in far too long, I thought I’d finally give a brief rundown of where I’ve got to with the family tree.
I’ve had a few brick walls pop over over the years and, after much searching, have managed to break through a few of them.
The two biggest breakthroughs are both with the Haleys.
Firstly, by trawling through parish relief records, I found the family of Elizabeth Dancer – the mother of Thomas Haley b. 1806 – because she was interviewed as a result of her sister applying for relief. In this interview she gives details of the family including names of parents, occupations and where they lived and died! So i now know that her father, Charles Dancer, owned a dust yard off Curtain Road in Shoreditch with his brothers William and Richard. I now also know that Elizabeth’s mother was named Mary Judet and that she was a Hugenot! Now I have to sort out going to the Hugenot Library so see what else I can find about her family. Her father was called William Judet and her mother Elizabeth Gostick. I do not know it Elizabeth Gostick was also Hugenot but hopefully the records will give me some clues to that.
The second breakthrough came through Ancestry DNA. I finally took a test a few years ago and it was only this week, when scrolling through the list of matches, that I noticed someone with the family name of Ayton. I have a Jane Ayton in my tree – she married Charles Lloyd Warner – who was born 1792 but who died before any of the census that gave place of birth were taken. I have also been entirely unable to find any baptisms that might fit. As a result, I have no idea where she was from or who her family were. This seems to have now been resolved. Contacting the match through Ancestry, they told me the name of their great grandfather who was born in the East End of London. They also said that there is some confusion over that branch of their family. Doing some digging I can see what they mean! I am not convinced they have the name of their great grandfather correct but, in a search for similar names – the middle name is Groom which is unusual – I found other people who seem to be related. A number of these are from Laxfield in Suffolk and checking back, in 1792, a John Ayton and his wife had a daughter called Jane Ayton! The big problem is that Suffolk parish records are not available online anywhere – which is why a baptism never turned up – so I am going to have to go to the Suffolk archives for a visit.
Anyway, all good stuff and very heartening. It only goes to show that breakthroughs are possible as new data sources go online and as DNA testing gets more sophisticated.