The earliest known ancestor of our clan of North Somerset Sainsburys was a Richard Sainsbury who married Mary Willis in Portbury, Somerset in 1745. He died in 1785 and was buried in Nailsea, Somerset.
However, we don’t know where Richard came from or who his family was. So that’s the question we’re trying to answer with traditional genealogical research and analysis of DNA results.
On the DNA research front, we’ve done two things:
One, we’ve created lists of shared matches between 10 known cousins — all descendants of Richard Sainsbury and Mary Willis. We can examine these for overlaps or other patterns. In theory, some of these matches will be with descendants of Richard’s siblings or cousins, and if their Sainsbury lines are traceable back to a brother or sister early 18th-century Richard, he might be our man.
Of the nearly 500 shared matches we’ve recorded, only about 5 of these are matched by more than one combination of known cousins. We’ll be investigating the family trees of those (and others on the list) to determine whether they’re descendants of Richard and Mary, or whether they’re descendants of Richard or Mary’s siblings or cousins–which is what we’re seeking.
The other approach we’ve taken is to search the family trees of our DNA matches for any common Sainsbury, Saintsbury or Sansbury ancestors that might explain the match. So far, we have identified almost 100 DNA matches with these names in their ancestries.
However, very few of these lines are tracable back to common Sainsbury ancestors, and only one of these matches has a tree that leads a sibling of a known Richard Sainsbury. This was someone who’s descended from Sarah Sainsbury (also spelt Saintsbury) who was born in Urchfont, Wiltshire in 1713. She was the sister of a Richard Sainsbury (baptized as Saintsbury) in Urchfont in 1708. Their parents were John Saintsbury (the younger) who died abt. 1720 and his wife Elizabeth Wilkins, whose family may have been from West Lavington.
So the work continues! Who was Richard Sainsbury’s family? Where did he come from? What brought him to Portbury, Somerset in the early 18th century?
Disclaimer: As with any research project, when new evidence comes to light, former theories may change. This blog post includes theories and conclusions developed from the best available evidence at the time this post was written. It may be corroborated or refuted by later research. This post must therefore be considered in the context of all information presented in earlier and later posts.