And I thought the Cornish were Celts!

Category: DNA

I've been tracing Harvey's deep patrilineal ancestral roots (father's father's father's line etc.) through the use of Y-DNA.

Join me as I journey from 'Adam' in Africa through to the 20th century Barnes family living in Newlyn, Cornwall. You'll meet 10,500 year old cattle herders from Mesopotamia, Bronze Age Scandinavians and Iron Age Germanic tribes. Oh, and not a Celt in sight!

Newlyn properties owned by the Barnes family during the 20th century
Newlyn properties owned by the Barnes family during the 20th century

For those who are interested, Harvey's larger haplogroup is U106 and his subclade is R-S18890*.

Read the full story by clicking HERE.

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On This Day in 1992

Category: On This Day...

My Granny Hibbitt with my Dad
My Granny Hibbitt with my Dad

It's hard to believe it's 25 years to the day since I lost my Granny Hibbitt. So long as I live and breathe she won't be forgotten.

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GEDmatch Starter Guide

Category: DNA

I've reorganised the DNA section of my website and now I have an index page available here.

GEDmatch - Tools for DNA and Genealogy Research

There are a few links near the bottom of the page, one of which is a tutorial to help you get started with GEDmatch. This can be found here.

GEDmatch is a free service where you can upload your raw DNA data file with the potential of matching with more cousins than just the ones you see at your testing company. The site also provides some useful analysis tools, not necessarily available at your testing company, and other utilities such as Admixture (ethnicity) tools.

I highly recommend GEDmatch for anyone who wants to make more of their DNA results.

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

George York's will breaks down my genealogical brick wall

Category: Ancestors Corner

Will belonging to George York of Kidderminster
Will belonging to George York of Kidderminster

Today's genealogy tip: when you come up against a brick wall sometimes collaboration can be key. It's wise to carry out your own research as much as you can beforehand as it's not fair to expect others to do all the spadework for you. Two heads are often better than one and it may be that you can help other family historians with their research making it a mutually beneficial exercise.

You may recall in a previous post that I was trying to obtain a second will in the name of George York from Kidderminster. Having acquired the first will which didn't belong to my family (he may be an, as yet, unknown distant cousin) I did manage to get hold of the second one via the Worcestershire Archives Digitisation Service. This time I hit the jackpot - the will belonged to my 5 x great-grandfather, George York, who died in 1767.

George's will was straightforward, leaving his four properties in Franche, Kidderminster, to his wife, Hannah (nee Dixon). After her death or remarriage, the various houses were to be divided between George's four children, together with the residue of his estate.

I was able to confirm my suspicion that George, who was a yeoman, had previously been married to Ann Youngjohns. Ann died a couple of years after their nuptials but they had a son called Henry who was mentioned in the will.

A crucial piece of the puzzle in trying to trace further back in time was that George named his cousin, Thomas Crane of Habberley, as one of his executors. Low Habberley, where Thomas lived, is not far from Fanche but there were quite a number of Crane families in the area so it wasn't easy trying to work out who was who. I was fortunate to find a tree on Ancestry constructed by a descendant of Thomas Crane and the tree owner was very helpful in supplying me with the information I needed to confirm how George and Thomas were related.

George was born in 1727 in Old Swinford (called Oldswinford nowadays) which is in Stourbridge. There were quite a number of York families in and around Stourbridge so it was vital to eliminate them one by one, finishing up with Thomas Crane being George's 1st cousin once removed; George's father and Thomas' grandfather were brothers.

One small mystery remains. George mentioned in his will 'my Son in law Job Mitchel' to whom he gave 'two of the largest pewter Dishes that were his Mothers before her intermarriage with me'. I have been unable to figure out how Job fits into the family but it might be that son-in-law meant something different in the 18th century than it does today.

Finding George's will opened doors to several more generations. More on them soon!

If you've managed to break down any genealogical brick walls please share your experiences in the comments section of my blog or on Facebook.

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

On This Day in 1916 - A Narrow Escape

Category: On This Day...

Early aviation during the First World War was a hairy business. Harvey's grandad, Cyril Ellen, was involved in two recorded incidents whilst serving with the R.N.A.S. (Royal Naval Air Service) onboard HMS Riviera. Riviera saw service with the Dover Patrol where her aircraft flew spotting missions for naval bombardments off the Belgian coast. Both times Cyril was in a Short Admiralty 184 Type Tractor Biplane Seaplane, often called the Short 225, which was a British two-seat reconnaissance, bombing and torpedo carrying folding-wing seaplane. A Short 184 was the first aircraft to sink a ship using a torpedo.

The first incident was perhaps indicative of the difficulties which often occurred when hoisting seaplanes out of the water. Recorded in a book entitled 'Royal Navy Aircraft Serials and Units, 1911-1919' by Ray Sturtivant and Gordon Page as follows...

8384: Damaged while coming alongside after patrol 31.5.16 (F/L GW Price & CPO Mech3 Ellen).

The repair must have been relatively straightforward as the seaplane was flying again on 3rd June.

Possibly a photograph of the damaged seaplane reported in the incident of 31st May 1916
Possibly a photograph of the damaged seaplane reported in the incident of 31st May 1916

The second incident took place on 18th June 1916 and was potentially more serious...

8357: Engine cut, FL in German minefield 8m N of Ostende, put fire out, attacked by 3 enemy seaplanes which were driven off by Lewis gun fire, towed home by ML105 18.6.16 (F/L GW Price & CPO Mech3 Ellen).

ML105, the vessel which gave the crew a tow, was a Motor Launch of the Fairmile A class.

The action was cited by HMS Riviera's Commanding Officer in a letter written to the Vice Admiral, Dover Patrols, dated 29th July 1916 when he stated that Cyril had "assisted to beat off attacks of enemy seaplanes" and the event also received attention in a newspaper at the time...

Cyril Ellen kept this newspaper cutting of the incident on 18th June 1916
Cyril Ellen kept this newspaper cutting of the incident on 18th June 1916

June 18 - A seaplane was forced to descend, owing to the engine catching fire, into the middle of an enemy mine-field. A hostile aeroplane and two seaplanes attacked it with machine guns, but the enemy was driven off by our fire. Our seaplane was uninjured, and drifted on the tide towards Nieuport, where the crew were safely rescued.

Cyril's ordeal lasted for several hours. Riviera's ship's log recorded how the seaplane was airborne at 3.32pm and did not arrive alongside until 10.15pm. Both pilot and observer must have been exhausted.

Were your ancestors in any close scrapes? Please share your stories.

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

My Who Do You Think You Are? Timeline

Category: Sharing Memories

I've created a timeline of my ancestry showing my great-grandparents and grandparents. Come and see. (Click the image below.)

My Who Do You Think You Are? Timeline
My Who Do You Think You Are? Timeline

And click the tree below to view the people mentioned in my timeline.


Click the image for a larger version.

On This Day - Remembering the Quetta Earthquake of 1935

Category: On This Day...

Today, 31st May, sees the 82nd anniversary of the earthquake at Quetta, Balochistan, British India, which is now part of Pakistan. Harvey's grandparents and mother, who was a child at the time, were caught up in the disaster which killed between 30,000 and 60,000 people.

Quetta Earthquake 1935 - Buildings were reduced to rubble
Quetta Earthquake 1935 - Buildings were reduced to rubble

Harvey's grandad, Cyril Ellen, was the squadron leader of No 5 (AC) Squadron which was based at Quetta and his grandmother, Gladys Ellen (nee Gardner), was awarded the Kaisar-i-Hind Silver Medal for the part she played in the rescue effort.

The earthquake struck in the early hours and the RAF suffered heavy losses in the airmen's barracks. Conditions were horrendous during the days and weeks which followed.

It appears that Cyril remained in Quetta until he took a flight to Karachi on 20th June. The family sailed from India on 20th July, arriving back in England on 9th August.

We have no precise details of Gladys' contribution in the aftermath of the quake but the Muswell Hill Record & Friern Barnet Journal paid tribute to the bravery she displayed in the rescue work.

The Kaisar-i-Hind Silver medal awarded to Gladys Ellen
The Kaisar-i-Hind Silver medal awarded to Gladys Ellen

Handy links:

A web page detailing Cyril and Gladys' story including photographs and copies of documents. I've also transcribed an excerpt from the RAF Operations Record Book giving an account of the earthquake.

Photographs taken by Cyril after the earthquake.

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York families of Kidderminster

Category: Ancestors Corner

St Mary & All Saints Church, Kidderminster
St Mary & All Saints Church, Kidderminster

On my father's side, my 3 x great-grandmother, Hannah, who married Edmund Cotterill had been a long-standing brick wall until recently when I managed to make some progress.

I hadn't been certain of Hannah's maiden name although I had previously found a marriage between an Edmund Cotterill and a Hannah Smith. The censuses told me that my Hannah was born in Kidderminster in about 1799 but I could not find a baptism for a Hannah Smith with these details.

The breakthrough came when it became clear that Hannah's original name was not Smith. She had been married before and William Smith was her first husband. Hannah's father's name was recorded as George York in the register when she married Edmund and I then quickly discovered a baptism for Hannah York on 25th March 1799 in Kidderminster.

Hannah was the youngest and only daughter of five known children of George York and Elizabeth (nee Price). When George died it was his daughter, Hannah, who acted as his executor.

Elizabeth's heritage is still unknown but George York was the son of another George York and his wife, Hannah (nee Dixon). This couple were married in Kidderminster in 1751 and three children were born there between about 1754 and 1760.

I recently ordered a couple of wills from the Worcestershire Archives belonging to two different George Yorks of Kidderminster. One was not available but I'm still trying to obtain a copy and, unfortunately, the other didn't appear to belong to either of my Georges. I have a suspicion that my Yorks may have originated from Oldswinford near Stourbridge but, as yet, this is unproven.

Image: From Google Street View

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Website changes and how to subscribe to my blog

Category: What's New at Hibbitt.org.uk

The Hibbitt and Barnes Family History website home page
The Hibbitt and Barnes Family History website home page

Having neglected my website for a little while I've finally got around to decluttering my home page. Gone are the reams of text which used to occupy the lower part of the page. Now I simply direct people to my Sitemap if they want to find their way around my website.

At the bottom of my homepage is a Facebook icon which links to my Blog on Facebook. Anyone is welcome to follow my family hstory posts. If email is your preference, there's a box where you can subscribe for free updates or if RSS is your bag there's a button for that too.

I've also added a new page under the DNA section called 'Our List of DNA Verified Ancestors'. So far I've managed to confirm nine ancestral couples on my side of the family and five on Harvey's through the use of DNA matching to other descendants. The list is available by clicking here.

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

My Grandpa Geake, a moving history

Category: Cine Films and Videos

One hundred years ago on 25th April 1917, my Grandpa Geake (William Hellyer Geake), known as Bill, was born in a blizzard in South Wales. Hopefully the snow was outside!

Grandpa was the fifth of eleven children and the family lived at Gilfach Goch, a few miles from Pontypridd. After leaving school at 14, he went to work in the coal mines and I was told the story of the roof collapsing one day. Grandpa escaped in one direction and a friend of his went in another and the friend was sadly killed.

When Grandpa was 15, most of the family returned to Tavistock in Devon, in the area where their ancestors had lived for generations. Grandpa worked as a milkman for the Co-op before World War Two broke out.

He enlisted in the Royal Marines on 1st January 1941 and served in Egypt, Palestine, India, Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) and Belgium. After the war, Grandpa became a founder member of the Tavistock Royal Marines' Association and he also belonged to the Royal British Legion.

He had various jobs, one of which was as a postman, and afterwards Grandpa had his own greengrocery round which he ran for 15 years. This is how I first remember him. It was hard graft in all weathers covering some remote areas including Princetown on Dartmoor. Towards the end of his career, he became the Greengrocery Manager in Key Markets which was a local supermarket in Tavistock.

Grandpa Geake married my Gran in 1938 in St Eustachius Church, Tavistock, where he was a bell ringer and the bells were rung as the couple left the Church. They began married life living at No. 19 Bannawell Street and, within a few years, they moved to their council house at 4 Crelake Park which was to be their home for the rest of Grandpa's life and even longer for Gran. They had two daughters and in 1988 they reached another milestone when they celebrated their Golden Wedding Anniversary.

There was a small number of allotments a few yards from the bottom of their house and Grandpa had one of them but I always had the impression it was serious stuff so I wasn't allowed to misbehave or interfere, especially with any of the neighbouring allotments.

Grandpa took up bowling in his retirement, belonging to the Tavistock Sir Francis Drake Bowling Club. This hobby was the catalyst for other family members to get involved with bowls which they still enjoy today. I also remember how Grandpa spent a lot of time in his shed in the garden, a shed he inherited from his Aunt Lil (Lily Elizabeth Thompson, nee Hellyer). He was handy with his hands and he used to make all kinds of items out of wood. I think it was also an excuse to have some time to himself.

All four of my grandparents got on with each other like a house on fire. My brothers and I were the only grandchildren for both sets of grandparents and so many happy memories include family get-togethers where we were the centre of attention.

Grandpa was not blessed with good health and developed Type I diabetes at a fairly early age. He passed away on 18th June 1994 in Derriford Hospital in Plymouth, aged 77.

Grandpa enjoyed gadgets and he took many cine films and bought a video camcorder in the early 1990's. He painstakingly transferred the cine films onto video (for which I shall be eternally grateful) and I have since converted them to DVD and Mpeg format. Here is a compilation of some of the scenes when Grandpa himself appeared in the footage.


This video can also be viewed on my YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lR91ILigkRk and in my website video gallery.


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