Month: July 2019

US shared matches lead to Vest and Alexander

UPDATE: October 2, 2020

  • People in this cluster share a “sticky segment” of DNA in what is known as a pile-up region of chromosome 1.
  • This segment has probably remained intact for more than 1,000 years.
  • Several members of this group share the same segment with a MyHeritage user in Denmark whose ethnicity is 77% Scandinavian, 19% Celtic, but 0% English.
  • Therefore, this segment of DNA has probably been in the British population since some Dane entered what was England during the Viking Age.
  • That would explain why the segment seems so prevalent, and why it hasn’t been possible to find a recent common ancestor within a genealogical timeframe. (However, see note about Rachel LONG, below.)
  • If this Danish migrant” theory is correct, the common ancestor for any 2 people with this segment could have lived anywhere from as few as 1 to as many as 20 or more generations ago — and possibly in what is now Denmark.
  • Original post from July 26, 2019 follows:

Examining shared DNA matches among known cousins can help identify common ancestors.

As part of this project we’re examining a set of about 60 matches shared by two six SAINSBURY cousins whose common ancestral couple were Richard Billet SAINSBURY (1753-1811) and Elizabeth SPROD (1749-?). That couple lived in North Somerset, England in the late 18th century.

A previous post described a subset of four matches of identifiable English origin who are descendants of William PINNELL and Sarah ELLOWAY (mother’s name, Dinah HINTON).

We’ve recently discovered a subset of five Americans among that group of 60 who are all descendants of George Washington VEST and Nancy aka Sarah (Sallie) O’NEAL who lived in Virginia in the late 18th century.

Here are their lines of descent:virginia

This adds a new subset to the full set of matches shared not only by those SAINSBURY cousins but with each other. This internal matching pattern suggests there is a common ancestor among all 60 shared matches.

A cursory investigation of the ancestries of George Washington VEST and Nancy O’NEAL leads to origins in Germany, Ireland, and France. This is not a hopeful sign in the search for English ancestors.

However, it’s easy to determine that three of these five matches also descend from James ALEXANDER (son of William Corpulent ALEXANDER and Jean McNUTT) and Rachel LONG (daughter of Andrew LONG and Ann JONES).

  • James ALEXANDER 1723 Lancaster, PA ? – 1809 Fayette now Jessamine, KY
  • Rachel LONG 1739 – 1811 Jessamine, KY

This could be the line that leads to a common ancestor among all 60 shared matches because ALEXANDER and LONG are both Wiltshire surnames. 

UPDATE (October 2, 2020): Edmund LONG (fl. c. 1500, Wiltshire) and his wife Thomasin (Thomysen) were the 6th great-grandparents of Richard SAINSBURY who was born in Urchfont, Wiltshire in 1708. He may have migrated to north Somerset where he died in 1785. Several of his “north Somerset Sainsbury” descendants have this segment of DNA.

So the search continues…