My name is Liz, and I have been researching my family history since 1999. My surnames of interest include Jones (Brynamman, Wales), Williams (Cwmtrch, Wales), Bowen (Brynamman & Rhydyfro, Wales), Rees (Llanguicke, Glamorgan), Keer (Suffolk), Raymer (Suffolk), Langham (Woolwich and Plumstead), Page (Kent), Denman (Somerset), Allen (Ilminster & Taunton, Somerset), Thomas (Dunster and Minehead, Somerset), Bridges (Wiltshire), Fisher (Wedmore & Mark, Somerset), Leighton/Layton (Herefordshire & Gloucestershire), Willsman (Devon), and Sanders (Devon).
I have taken DNA tests at AncestryDNA, Family Tree DNA, 23 & Me, and have uploaded my results to MyHeritage and Gedmatch.
There is a page on this website for the lineage of each of my 8 great grandparents. I’ve presented them chronologically, but to prevent them from being dry, I’ve created ‘embellished lineages’ if you will, using parish registers, certificates, censuses and family stories to tell a brief history of the families through time. However, many of these people had stories that deserve closer investigation and inspection, and which are of sufficient length that were they included within these lineages, the chronology would be difficult to follow. It is my intention to tell these stories in a blog on this website.
If you share any of the surnames or locations, please don’t hesitate to contact me. This is a section of my pedigree, showing my great grandparents and my great great grandparents, around which this website is based:
My Jones and Bowen ancestors are from the Glamorgan/Carmathenshire area of Wales, specifically the village of Brynamman, which straddles both counties.
My paternal grandmother was a Keer; the name is very localised to the Framlingham, Orford and Sudbourne area of Suffolk.
My Langham ancestors hail from North West Kent; Plumstead and Woolwich to be precise. Many generations worked in Woolwich Arsenal.
The Denman family hail from North Curry in Somerset, England. I have hit a brick wall with my ancestor William Denman born 1760-1770 in Somerset. I have found five possible candidates for William, the most likely having been born in South Petherton. But rather than assume, I am trying to trace what happened to all five William Denmans, and using DNA, to ensure the accuracy of my tree.
The Fisher family originated in Mark, Somerset, before our branch moved to the nearby village of Wedmore. A Fisher descendant, Ron Baker, started a family newsletter in 1985, producing 4 a year for 14 years, and bringing together Fisher descendants from Canada and England. He was a mine of information and has helped me immensely.
The earliest Thomas I’ve traced is from Minehead, Somerset, and one of his descendants later moved to Dunster, where our branch lived from the late 1850s to the 1920s.
The Willsman/Welsman family originate from the Otterton area of Devon. My earliest Willsman, Thomas, was born 1775 or possibly slightly earlier. Initially his surname was spelt with one L, but he wasn’t baptised in Otterton, so I expanded my search outwards in ever increasing circles until I find a likely candidate. In early records of this family, the surname was spelled Welsman, Wellsman Willsman or Wilsman; the first three variants exist to this day. W*lsman seems to be very much a Devon name, but I have found early instances of the name in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight which I need to investigate further.