This research project began with the knowledge that there were three, maybe four, baptismal records for “Richard Sainsburys” who were born in an appropriate time frame to be our first ancestor in North Somerset:
- Richard Sainsbury and Elizabeth Pony had a son, Richard Sainsbury, bap. 25 Dec 1704 • St Peter and St Paul, Marlborough, Wiltshire, England.
- John Sainsbury and Elizabeth Wilkins had a son, Richard Sainsbury, bap. 5 Sep 1708 • Urchfont, Wiltshire, England.
- Richard Sainsbury and Jane Sanders had a son, Richard Sainsbury, bap. 3 Apr 1716 • West Lavington, Wiltshire, England.
- William Sainsbury and Ann Jones had a son, Richard Sainsbury, bap. 28 Feb 1722 • Westbury, Wiltshire, England.
Can we find a set of DNA matches to any of these individuals?
The first phase of our research was to search the DNA matches of as many known Sainsbury cousins as possible for anyone who has a Sainsbury, Saintsbury or Sansbury in their family trees.
In theory, if our set of known cousins descends from one of these four couples (through their son, Richard), then we would find other Ancestry members who also descend from that couple. This would provide DNA evidence that the couple in question could be our common ancestors, and thus the parents of “our” Richard Sainsbury.
In fact, after searching for DNA matches with Sainsbury or a variant in their ancestries, we found 115 Ancestry members with 18th-century Sainsburys in their trees of which (only) 1 descends from John Sainsbury and Elizabeth Wilkins, 1 descends from Charles Sainsbury and Jane Sanders, and 1 descends from William Sainsbury and Ann Jones.
In conclusion, this DNA investigation did not provide the strong evidence we’d hoped would point to one of these four documented Richard Sainsburys.
Can we find a pattern among these Sainsbury matches?
Although we didn’t find a clear indication that one of these Richard Sainsburys could be our ancestor, we also found no DNA reason to discount any. In fact, by finding matches to three of their descendants, they all remain “in the running” — except perhaps the son of Richard Sainsbury and Jane Sanders. References to that Richard Sainsbury’s bad behaviour in Hunt’s Justicing Notebook place him in West Lavington, Wiltshire at the time our ancestor was a newlywed in Somerset.
That documentation doesn’t mean he couldn’t have travelled back to his home village for a few month’s of drinking, stealing vegatables, and hitting his father. We could look for a record of that Richard’s burial in West Lavington to confirm him as “not our ancestor.” (See Additional Information, below.)
What we did find among those 115 Sainsbury matches were faint patterns that could suggest which branch of the very large Sainsbury family we belong to. It’s possible our Richard Sainsbury was not baptised or the record was lost, so we could perhaps turn to our DNA results to find clues to our origins.
In theory, if some of those 115 Sainsbury matches share common ancestors and/or cluster around a particular location, that might indicate our ancestor’s branch of the family.
In fact, of the trees we’ve analyzed there are two main clusters — Hampshire and West Lavington — with smaller cluster indicated in this list:
Up until now our data collection efforts have focussed on finding DNA matches with Sainsburys in their family trees. But not every Ancestry user has a well-documented tree going back to the late 17th or early 18th century!
What we need to do next is systematically investigate the shared matches between various combinations of our known cousins.
Those matches might be more likely than our surname search to reveal our unknown 6th – 8th cousins — those who descend from Richard’s siblings or cousins who did not move to Somerset but who stayed … who knows where? West Lavington? Hampshire?
Time . . . your help … and a lot more DNA and traditional genealogy will tell!
Numerous citations in Hunt’s Justicing Notebook [PDF] place Richard Sainsbury (bap. 1716) in West Lavington around the time our north Somerset Richard (bap. ?) is getting married and starting his family in Nailsea/Clapton in Gordano, Somerset.
149. 23 Oct 1744. Warrant against Richard Sainsbury of Littleton, carpenter, for beating his father and at his complaint. But upon their appearing at the sessions above, they agreed it.
257. 9 Jul 1745. Summons against Richard Sainsbury of West Lavington for frequenting alehouses of a Sunday. [NB: Was this Richard Sainsbury a different person from the one designated Richard Sainsbury of Littleton, who was the son of Charles Sainsbury and Jane Sanders?]
275. 19 Sep 1745. Summons on complaint of Charles Sainsbury W. Lavington, carpenter, against … Richard Sainsbury , James Sainsbury, … sitting tippling in the houses of Robert Sainsbury and Thomas Parry, victuallers.
392. 16 Jan 1747. Summons at complaint of Charles Sainsbury of the tithing of Littleton, carpenter, against Daniel Salter of Great Chiverell, victualler, for his suffering Richard Sainsbury, son, to sit tippling in his house and for taking divers[e] tools from his said son of his property as a pawn for his reckoning.
438. 12 Jun 1747. Warrant at the complaint of Richard Philpott of West Lavington, gardener, against James Sainsbury, labourer, and Richard Sainsbury, carpenter … stealing cucumbers and cherries.
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.