Well that’s a very good start to the genealogy year: a DNA match with a positively identified MRCA (Most Recent Common Ancestor). Both my wife and I have had lots of good matches with our autosomal, X chromosome, and mitochondrial DNA tests, and I’ve had some good Y chromosome matches too, but until now we’ve had to be content with knowing that we are definitely related to our matches, but not precisely how.
Now, my wife Christine has a good X chromosome match with a chap in New Zealand, and they can both trace their family lines back to a William Tringham, a Journeyman Wire Drawer, who was born in Clerkenwell, London on 8th Dec 1809, worked in Newcastle upon Tyne where he met and married widow, Charlotte Hall née Turner, on 10 Aug 1845 at St Peter’s, moved to Glasgow in 1847, and died at the city’s Royal Infirmary of Typhus Fever on 13th April 1864.
William’s wife, Charlotte Turner, was born in Newcastle upon Tyne in 1821. On 16 Jul 1838, at the tender age of 17, she married George Hall, a joiner, 10 years her senior, and they had a daughter, Ann in 1840. Sadly George died in 1843, leaving Charlotte to raise her daughter alone, but her situation improved, when, as described above, she married William Tringham in 1845. When William died in 1864 at Glasgow Royal Infirmary, she was left in a difficult position, however, her eldest two sons, both shoemakers, and her other children were soon bringing enough into the family home to keep them all in reasonable comfort. Charlotte was found dead in bed at her home, 21 Boden Street, Glasgow, at 11.00 a.m. on 4th January 1881. Her cause of death was “Probably Heart Disease and Bronchitis”.
William and Charlotte’s third child, Mary Jane Tringham, was born in Glasgow in 1850, and like many young girls in Glasgow, she worked as a Woollen Power Loom Weaver when she left school. She married widower Robert Ellis on 14 Jul 1873 and they had three daughters, Charlotte Turner Ellis, Elizabeth Ellis and finally, on 16 Oct 1880, Robertina Ellis. It was not, however, a happy marriage, and very soon after Robertina’s birth, Mary Jane ran away to Liverpool, taking baby Robertina with her. She took a job as “housekeeper” to a single man called Joseph Matthew Highton, an engineer. Soon she started producing more children, Lily in 1883, William in 1885, Louisa in 1888, Jesse in 1890 and Joseph in 1892. The “family” had moved up to Gateshead around 1886 – taking Mary Jane very close to her mother’s birthplace – and they moved over to South Shields in the 1890s. Mary Jane’s husband, Robert Ellis, died in Glasgow in 1895, leaving Joseph and Mary Jane free to marry. They finally tied the knot on 17 Aug 1897 at South Shields Register Office. Joseph and Mary Jane’s son William Highton (1885-1966) was my wife Christine’s maternal grandfather.
William and Charlotte’s fifth child, Caroline Tringham, was born in Glasgow on 3 Dec 1857, and like her sister, she worked as a Power Loom Weaver. She wasn’t satisfied with her lot in Glasgow, so, shortly before her 20th birthday, Caroline emigrated to Otago, New Zealand. On 28 July 1879 at Knox Presbyterian Church, Dunedin, she married George Delvin Byford, who was 27 years her senior. George and Caroline had five children, George in 1880, Caroline in 1881, William in 1884, David in 1885, and, finally, on 23 Sep 1889, James. James was the maternal grandfather of Royce James Davidson, who is the gentleman whose X chromosome matches my wife’s.
Sisters Mary Jane and Caroline were 11,000 miles apart in 1937 when they both died. Now, in 2014, thanks to DNA and the Internet, their descendants have, in a sense, reunited them.