UPDATE. January, 2022. Y-DNA testing indicates Richard Sainsbury of north Somerset was born in Urchfont, Wiltshire in 1708. Any speculation in this post that suggests otherwise is therefore obsolete. It remains online as a record of this research project.
We’ve been searching for other Sainsbury descendants in the DNA matches of many Somerset Sainsbury cousins. We’ve been doing this with the hope that a clear “winner” would emerge among the families and locations we identify–which would, in theory, be the family and place of origin of our earliest Sainsbury ancestor before he arrived in the Bristol area. (See the About page for an overview of this research.)
However, we didn’t find just one Sainsbury family and location — we found several. Other blog posts in this DNA Match Profile series have described Sainsbury families (and our matches to them) in Heytesbury and the Wylye Valley, Chippenham and Melksham, Potterne, Castle Combe, and Urchfont.
This post looks at the most surprising — and, we hoped, the most useful — DNA clusters among our matches.
Our Hampshire Cousins?
To date, we’ve found eight Sainsbury (also spelt Sansbury) descendants from a family in Portsea Island, Hampshire that are a match to five of our Somerset Sainsbury cousins. We also have one Somerset Sainsbury cousin who matches three descendants of a single Sainsbury couple who lived in Odiham, Hampshire in the 18th century.
If could trace these Hampshire families back to one of the Wiltshire clusters already described in this series of DNA Match Profiles, it would tend to support that cluster as the place and family of origin of our Somerset Sainsbury ancestor.
However, it seems the Hampshire parish records don’t go back far enough, or are not complete enough, to make that connection.
What did we find?
What we found were two sets of matches to two branches of Hampshire Sainsburys. Furthermore, we found most of these matches involve just two Somerset Sainsbury cousins who both descend from Edward Sainsbury (1811-1871) and Eliza Parsons (1820-1880) of Congresbury, Somerset.
The Sainsburys of Portsea Island
Among our Somerset Sainsbury cousins we found eight matches to descendants of a James Sainsbury who lived in Portsea Island, near Portsmouth, Hampshire in the late 1700s and early 1800s.
Of those eight matches, four are shared with just one Somerset Sainsbury cousin. These multiple matches to a single Somerset Sainsbury descendant could indicate a strong genetic connection between these two Sainsbury clans.
Further testing would be needed to see if those matches share the same “piece” of DNA. If so, it would likely have been inherited from a common (likely Sainsbury) ancestor.
Here is the family tree showing DNA connections shared by descendants of James Sainsbury of Portsea Island and Richard Sainsbury of North Somerset:
The Sainsburys of Odiham
Just under 40 miles north of Portsea Island is the parish of Odiham. Although situated in rural Hampshire, Odiham has important transportation and commercial links.
According to a description of the parish in the 1800s:
The Basingtoke Canal passes about a mile N.E. of the town, and has on its banks commodious wharves, chiefly employed for the conveyance of chalk, timber, and coals, in which a considerable trade is carried on.The National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland (1868)
These commercial and transportation links may have provided employment to the Sainsburys who lived in Odiham at the time.
Fast-forward to present day, and we found one Somerset Sainsbury cousin with a genetic link to three descendants of a William Sainsbury who lived in Odiham, Hampshire in the late 1700s and early 1800s.
As with the multiple matches shared between one of our Somerset Sainsbury cousins and the Portsea Island Sainsbury descendants, these multiple matches could indicate a strong genetic connection between the two Sainsbury clans.
Here is the family tree showing DNA connections shared by descendants of William Sainsbury of Odiham and Richard Sainsbury of North Somerset:
More research needed
So while these two sets of matches between Hampshire and Somerset Sainsburys suggest a genetic connection between the families, more work is needed to trace back the Hampshire lines to see where they lead.
They likely trace back to Wiltshire. But how far back? And do they converge on one of the Sainsbury clusters we’ve identified by studying the matches of our Somerset Sainsbury cousins?
Time and more research will indicate if we’ve reached a brick wall here in Hampshire, or if these matches can help us solve the mystery of where Richard Sainsbury came from before he settled near Bristol by 1745.