Keeping Howze - April 2024

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Keeping Howze - April 2024

Post by mardler »

Hello everyone. End of the month. Time for another newsletter. As one of my Italian colleagues once told a meeting, "You know it's the end o'the month, because o'the name change!" It's crept up on me rapidly this month because I've been busy with my house here in England.

Howes in the News
You may have noticed that the US was transited by a total eclipse of the sun! The whole country seemed focused on it and in Iowa, Professor Gregory Howes was quoted (and pictured) by a local news service, here: ... ty-photos/. His specialty is astronomy. So he knows whereof he speaks. Now, as far as I can tell, he's not in our database. Does anyone know this man?

One of my daughters-in-law is currently on a plane in mid-Atlantic coming over to visit. She's a teacher, works in a Boston suburb and is apparently well-regarded. However, she's not the only Mrs Howes who's doing well at teaching! Michelle Howes from Eastern Iowa has received an award after a glowing recommendation from a parent of a former pupil! She was pictured here: ... ents-grow/. And, yes, as far as I can see, she's not in our file either . . . . .

I would like to repeat my request from last month: if you are a direct male descendant of Thomas Howes and Mary Burr, particularly from the line of their middle son, Thomas, please would you consider taking a yDNA test from If you can afford it, go for the 111-marker test. It's really quite important.

Same plea if your Howes family comes from Besthorpe, Wymondham or Attleborough in Norfolk, England.

It's important for us to verify our findings reported last month so that we can identify the origin of Thomas Howes who arrived on Cape Cod in 1637. People have been looking for his origins since the late 19th century. I'm not even related and I'm keen to solve the puzzle too! We have technology now which Victorian could not even have dreamt about.

I'd also like to have more House men take the test too. There is a House family who arrived in Massachusetts at about the same time and it would be good to nail down their English origins. Some of that family's descendants are now named Howse or Howes. You know who you are! As long as you are a direct male descendant, that's enough.

Understanding DNA test results from
I had a question from a correspondent this month, saying that her husband didn't match with a Howes family but her nephew did. Here's my attempt to explain what might have happened. I hope it makes sense!
"I'd want to see the actual numbers and the relationships involved but I will say that the answer may well lie with the way that DNA recombines at each conception.

"You got 50% of your DNA from each parent. That much is obvious and simple. They got 50% from each of theirs. Same there. So, in theory, you got 25% from each grandparent. However, was each of those 50%s that you got from your parents exactly half from each of their parents? The likelihood is no. You might have got 20% from one grandparent, 30% from another and maybe 25% from the other two. If you work this process for another few generations you can easily see that it's quite possible you received no measurable DNA at all from a great-great-grandparent, but your sibling just might. I got so much DNA from one line through my grandmother that I have a good match with a 7th cousin! But there are many 7th cousins with whom I share no DNA at all and many more where the amount shared is too small to show up.

"If you do an internet search for "dna relationship chart percentage" you will see lots of complicated charts, They're sometimes difficult to interpret. So here's a simple table which explains what I mean: ... -Relatives. If you just look at the table for you and your grandparents, you can see that the variability is even wider than I said above."

Wonderful new took from FamilySearch
Here's a real bonus for the genealogists among us. The good folks at FamilySearch have developed a tool which can read handwriting and turn it into searchable text. That means that FamilySearch can put online a massive amount of material with relatively little effort AND for us it means you can search for your ancestor's name without having to wade through thousands of pages of microfilm. The tool is still in experimental stage but I'm hearing reports that it is leading to breakthroughs in research.
The five data sets already included are:
1. U.S. Land and Probate Records 1630-1975
2. Mexico, Notarial Records, 1600-1909
3. US Plantation Records cs. 1700s-1865
4. Victoria, Australia Probates 1853-1976
5. Auckland, New Zealand Wills and Probates 1834-1997
Something for almost everyone!

I did a search for "Howes Barnstaple Massachusetts" (that's Cape Cod). It returned 4.2 million hits! No doubt it will narrow down as you enter a given name too.

Given all the tasks I have set myself, I really can't pay it as much attention as I would like. Do take a look. If you make a breakthrough do send me a note about what happened. You know how to reach me!

Our monthly progress
There are only so many hours in the day and many of those are taken up with other things. I've had a lot of correspondence this month and have been to the Guild of One-Name Studies annual conference in Wales. By the way, if anyone reading this has a Welsh background, you might like to see some of the presentations. I think they are available to the public for another week or so at this address: Unfortunately, my own presentation was not recorded.

As I was saying, if I do one thing, it means that something else goes undone! So this month we are back to a 'normal' addition of about 800 people, finishing on 212,812 people, but I completed only 2 1/2 years of my huge marriage project. Right now, I'm working on 1924. The good news on that front is that there are many fewer marriage registers available from this point and none after 1938. So the final 50-odd years should go a lot more quickly. We will see! In total we now have 49,500 marriages to share with the Guild for their public indexes, making us the largest single study contributor.

As ever, thanks for all your support
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