Keeping House - March 2024

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Keeping House - March 2024

Post by mardler »

Hello everyone. This month's newsletter is going to be heavily weighted towards DNA and two important findings we have this month. DNA is a very powerful tool to back up 'paper research'. Usually, it's able to confirm or at least back up a strong hunch. Sometimes it can lead and focus research on a particular line or area.

Co-incidentally, both of our big findings involve the small village of Besthorpe, between the towns of Wymondham (pron: Windham) and Attleborough to the South West of Norwich in the county of Norfolk, in England. In the past, I've called Besthorpe, the epicenter of our name (or at least the Howes spelling). The number of people named Howes in both larger towns was very large , and in the parish registers of Besthorpe there runs a thick vein of us.

Siberian man proves Besthorpe ancestry
You may recall that back in September (viewtopic.php?f=50&t=240) and October (viewtopic.php?f=50&t=241) I talked about working with a correspondent in Siberia whose ancestor, William Howes had built some of the railways in Latvia and further into what is today Belarus. We could see that this William had married Eleanor Ibbitt in Hertfordshire in 1850, moved to Denmark, had two children, sent them back to England when Eleanor died, married a Norwegian woman and then moved to Latvia, having several more children. At his initial marriage he had stated his father's name was James. Turns out it was actually Meshach! Boris, our correspondent in Barnaul, Siberia finally managed to take a DNA test with Ancestry and proved genetic links to two siblings of William son of Meshach. So we were pleased that DNA confirmed a strong hunch we had had between us and were very very happy to join together two previously disconnected families.
Here's the resulting record for William: ... ee=Onename

Hints about the origin of the family of Thomas Howes and Mary Burr get stronger
When I set out on this quest, sixteen years ago, one of my key goals was to establish the origins of the Howes family on Cape Cod. This month we had our strongest signal yet that the family emerged from Norfolk, England.

Just as an aside, many North American Howes descendants believe their "ancestral home" was Morningthorpe Manor, also in Norfolk. This was disproven back in the 1960s by Colonel Bob Howes, who realized that Thomas and Mary had left for the New World some sixty years before the local Howes family came into possession of Morningthorpe. However, the myth had lived on, and still does.

Back to DNA, we had had some clues back in the last couple of years when at our encouragement two US male descendants of Thomas & Mary had believed in our efforts enough to take quite sophisticated yDNA tests. These are not your regular DNA test that you can get from Ancestry,com or 23and me or MyHeritage, and so on, but only available from focused only on the y-chromosome. Pause to explain: men normally inherit two things from their fathers: (1) their surname and (2) their y-chromosome. This y-chromosome does not mutate very fast. So if we find two men with very similar y-chromosomes, we can deduce that they had a common ancestor.

OK, let's call the two US men who tested RG and BC (I don't want to break any confidentiality without their agreement but they are both named Howes). One is directly descended from Joseph Howes, the eldest son of Thomas and Mary. The other is descended from Jeremiah, Thomas's youngest son. They are tenth cousins. At their own expense, both have upped their testing level from the basic 37 markers to 111. Across their 111 markers and therefore twenty-two different possible mutation events, they are only 8 markers apart.

Now, it transpires that we have two British men named Howes, both of whose families hail from Norfolk, one from Besthorpe, who have also tested at 111 markers, again at their own expense. Let's call them JA and BR. When we compare JA and BR to RG's results, what we find is simply astounding! JA is only 7 markers away from RG and BR is 8 markers different. Let that sink in for a moment. Thomas and Mary left the UK nearly 400 years ago and yet there is a British man alive today who is genetically more closely related to an American descendant than one of that descendant's own known cousins! And, there's another British man who is just as closely related. There is even a further Norfolk descendant (let's call him A) whose family has Besthorpe links, who has tested at 37 markers and appears to match all four other men.

So, let me say a few things:
- it is beyond doubt that RG, BC, JA and BR are all genetically related. So Thomas & Mary's family hailed from Norfolk, where those other families come from.

- I would VERY much like to find more direct male descendants of Thomas & Mary to take a yDNA test from at 111 markers. Particularly, I would like to find a descendant of Thomas's middle son, Thomas. Is anyone up for this, please? Pretty please!

- similarly, I would like to find other Howes men whose families originally come from the Wymondham, Besthorpe and Attleborough areas to take the same test.

- is there ANYONE who can spare a few thousand dollars to support a testing effort? It might be possible, for instance, to persuade more people to take more tests if we could subsidize the effort. Similarly, we might be able to further upgrade the tests of those folks who have already paid quite a bit to produce a genetic tree for the 4 or 5 men.

- I want to thank every man who has taken a yDNA test. Thank you for your belief that something might come of spending your money.

- honestly, I'm very excited to be getting this close to a solution and I hope you are too!

Howes in the News
I had a lot more to share this month, also on DNA basics, but I'll keep that for subsequent months. Amazingly, Howes people have been in the news a lot this month. So here's a selection of I hope interesting happenings:
- if you've never watched an Aussie football game, you haven't lived! A man named Blake Howes is now playing for Melbourne in the AFL, Here are three clippings selected from many about his season debut: ... Id=1499978 ... highlights ... s-reflects
Who is he? Anyone know?

- who knew there's such a thing as a musical archaeologist? Kevin Howes does. He is one and he was interviewed on Toronto radio. ... sode-1449/
I repeat: "Who is he? Anyone know?"

- We've mentioned Edward Howes before. He was one of Britain's last grand butlers. There's a lovely article about him here: ... tlers-1971 and you can see his record here ... ee=Onename

- and, finally, here's an obituary for a very fine man who didn't let his disability get in the way of helping others. Indeed he saw it as an advantage. Our condolences to his family. ... n-howes-2/

Is there someone reading this who had their honeymoon at Niagara Falls?
Could you have had any idea that your hotel would be selling your hotel register entry to for evidence of marriage? Well, it happened!

Our monthly progress
We finished this month on 212,034 people, having added almost 700 people. We also completed four years of our marriage project and are now partially through 1921. I genuinely hope things will go more quickly on this front from now on as the number of online marriage entries decreases substantially.

That's all, folks! Gotta go. Thank you for your continued support.
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