Archive for October 2016

Where there's a Will there's usually a way - but not in this case!

Category: Handy Family History Links

Did you know the majority of wills that were proved in Devon were destroyed during an air-raid on Exeter in 1942? Some Devon wills, however, were originally proved in London at the Prerogative Court of Canterbury and these have survived.

Somewhat tantalizing is the fact that calendars (lists) of many of the lost wills had been compiled before the war and so we know about the previous existence of a will that our Devon ancestor left but, in many cases, the contents have been lost forever.

Over a number of years, the Devon Wills Project tracked down a proportion of copies, transcripts and abstracts of the lost wills and administrations from a variety of sources and created a central index of where these documents can be found. The index can be viewed at and is also available to FindMyPast subscribers at

I'm currently researching some of my North Devon ancestors and have learnt that my 7 x great-grandfather, Nathaniel Randal from Hatherleigh, left a will after he died in 1731. You've guessed it, all we have now is a list entry. I wonder what his will would have told us about his family, his occupation and his wealth and status in those times. Sadly, we shall never know!

[Note: All content on the Hibbitt & Barnes Family History website and blog is copyrighted. Click here for conditions of use.]

Testing dad's Y-DNA in search of my Hibbitt roots

Category: DNA

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A Y37 Y-DNA kit for my dad is on order from FamilyTreeDNA in the hope we may be able to learn a little more about our direct paternal ancestry. This would be our Hibbitt line where our earliest known ancestor is John Hybit who married three times in Exton, Rutland, between 1712 and 1732.

Only men can take the Y-DNA test as women don't possess a Y chromosome. The aim is to see whether my dad's DNA matches anyone else with a similar surname, or if not, then perhaps find a pointer to see where to look if a different surname pops up frequently with any other men who have tested.

The Y37 test looks for STR markers which change slowly from one generation to the next. This means if dad has a match, they could end up being related within or outside the genealogical time frame where records can assist in the research. Let's hope he gets a close match!

If you are male and have, or you know any men with, the following surnames it would be great if you/they could also take the Y-DNA test at FamilyTreeDNA and then join the recently started Hibbert DNA Project to find out whether we have a common ancestor:


The Y37 test also provides an estimated Y-DNA haplogroup which indicates where a person's deep paternal ancestry may have originated. I have already calculated dad's Y-DNA haplogroup using his autosomal DNA test from AncestryDNA (using Method One here) so it will be interesting to note whether the FamilyTreeDNA Y37 test confirms this.

Dad's calculated haplogroup is S190 which points to an ancestor who probably lived in Scotland somewhere near Stirling about 1800 years ago. In order to fine-tune dad's membership of the Little Scottish Cluster, as it is known, we have ordered a specific Y-SNP test which other men in this group have tested positive for. We now wait with bated breath.

Thanks dad, for being a great sport.

Update June 2017: Since my original blog post, Dad's SNP test confirmed his subclade as CTS2187/S190. He then undertook the Big Y test and his terminal SNP has now been refined to R-Z36747.

[Note: All content on the Hibbitt & Barnes Family History website and blog is copyrighted. Click here for conditions of use.]