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.
Investigations are continuing into the large number of DNA matches we found among our Somerset Sainsbury cousins and descendants of Sainsbury families in three specific areas of Wiltshire (Urchfont, Potterne, and the Wylye Valley) to figure out which might be our nearest “family of origin.”
At the same time, work has continued on one other “high priority” cluster we identified last year: the Sainsburys of Castle Combe and other villages in north Wiltshire. (See: DNA Match Profile: The Saintsbury family of Castle Combe.)
In this case, however, further investigation turned what was a very promising “shared match” into a false positive — which for us means a genealogical match on a “non-Sainsbury” line.
Anne Sainsbury Lessiter (c. 1750 – 1820)
Last year we identified a pair of 2nd cousins in the US whose shared Sainsbury ancestor is Harriet Sainsbury (b. 1816, Congresbury, Somerset). They both share a genetic match with a Canadian descendant of Anne Sainsbury and William Lessiter. (See: Seeking Triangulation: Anne Sainsbury of north Wiltshire.)
It was obvious they all shared a common ancestor, but was it a Sainsbury?
The answer, it seems, is No.
Joseph Holbrook (1750? – 1819)
Both sides of this match had Somerset ancestors, both had done a great job documenting their family trees, and both trees include Joseph Holbrook, who was born in Somerset in 1750 and died in Chew Stoke, Somerset in 1819.
As it turns out, one side of this shared match descends from Joseph’s son, Jacob (1792 Somerset, Eng. – 1848 Ballsville, Oneida, Ontario).
The other descends from Joseph’s daughter Millicent (1829 East Harptree, Somerset – 1910 Hagersville, Ontario).
They are approximately (if not exactly) fifth cousins on this Holbrook line.
So where does this leave us?
Based on the documented evidence of their Holbrook cousin-ship, this shared match is almost certainly a “non-Sainsbury” match. As such, it does not point to our Sainsbury ancestor’s origins among Anne Sainsbury Lessiter’s family in north Wiltshire.
This seems like a disappointment. But seen another way, the result is very helpful because, by decreasing the likelihood that our Somerset Sainsbury ancestor came from this north Wiltshire family, it increases the likelihood that he came from one of the other clusters we identified last year: