Mitochondrial – the Maligned DNA

The good news is that the current mitochondrial DNA sale at Family Tree DNA has generated quite a bit of stir and discussion in the genetic genealogy community. The bad news is that some of it hasn’t been terribly positive.

Some people equate this to the glass half empty – glass half full type of perspective, and to some extent, this is true. What I’d like to do here is talk about why you might want to test your mitochondrial DNA, in spite of the fact that it’s more difficult to work with than Y DNA.

Let’s talk about that first, in fact. Here’s the problem in a nutshell – surnames for women in Europe and the US change in every generation. Because of that, when you do have a match, you can’t just look at the name and see that it’s the same as your surname. In fact, if you match with someone who also shares your ancestor, and the match is back more than a couple of generations, you’re very likely NOT going to recognize the surname.  So yes, there is some elbow grease involved.

The descendant fan chart below is only 3 generations in depth. I couldn’t utilize the fourth and fifth generations, because I wasn’t absolutely positive that everyone was deceased. However, each family seemed to introduce about 3 new surnames, on average, in each generation. That means, of course, females marrying. On the chart below, that means that only descendants from lines with red arrows qualify – if they continue to descend through all females.

Mito descendant fan

In just these generations, you have 6 surnames and that’s before the female children married.

However, all is not lost. People do upload their GEDCOM files and they do answer e-mails asking about their oldest linear ancestors. Granted, not everyone does but that’s not at all exclusive to mitochondrial DNA.

Yes, you have to do a little digging, but one good “hit” makes it all worthwhile.

Here’s the bottom line…

You don’t know what you don’t know.

Let me say that again…

you don't know

Now let me ask a question – aside from a pure financial aspect – why would you NOT open that door? Ancestral information is inside. It’s a package wrapped in a neat bow with your name on it. It’s a gift from your ancestors. Why would you decide not to open it?

gift bag

Let’s talk about what you might discover.

The Story of Anne-Marie

The Story of Anne-Marie is particularly close to my heart. After using this story as a mtDNA success story in presentations for some time, I too discovered Anne-Marie in my Acadian tree.  I imagine my surprise!

In Marie Rundquist’s words, when she received her mitochondrial DNA results “I nearly fell out of my chair.” Why? Because Anne Marie was a Native American woman, not French.

Marie had no idea what was in her mitochondrial DNA gift box from her ancestor. She didn’t know what she didn’t know.

And, had Marie not tested, and shared, I would never know either.  Thank you, cousin, Marie!

Native or English

Recently, one of my clients for whom I as writing a DNA Report asked if her ancestor was Native American or English. She was confident that she was one or the other.

Her haplogroup showed unquestionably that her ancestor was not Native American, at least not originally.  She could, of course, have been adopted into a tribe. As to where her ancestors were from in the UK, her matches map at the full sequence level showed the following cluster.

cluster map

Where do you think her ancestors were probably from? England? Scotland? Ireland?

The great thing about haplogroups, mapping and clusters is that you don’t need to know your ancestor’s name for this information. It’s from your ancestral DNA – not your genealogy.

And while this might seem like trivial information, it’s certainly not. It may well provide you with an idea of what population to focus on. In early Pennsylvania and Virginia, for example, the Scots-Irish and the Germans inhabited some of the same areas. If you didn’t know your ancestor’s surname, and she was from this area, where would you focus your research efforts after seeing this map?

Who’s the Mother?

My ancestor, William Crumley, who I’ll refer to here as William Jr., was born between 1785 and 1790 in Frederick Co., VA and died between 1852 and 1860 in Appanoose County, Iowa and was at least twice married. His first wife was Lydia Brown and his second wife, whom he married much later, was Pequa.

Furthermore, he had the same name as his father, William Crumley, referred to here as William Sr., who was born in 1767/1768, also in Frederick County, VA and died 1837/1840 in Lee County, Virginia where both Williams lived for many years after initially settling in Greene County, TN. One of these William Crumley’s had the bad judgement to remarry in October 1817 to an Elizabeth Johnson – not leaving us any concrete information as to which William was marrying.

Of course, as luck would have it, my ancestor, Phoebe, was born to William Jr. on March 24, 1818, 5 months after the marriage. Yes, she could have been the reason that William Crumley married Elizabeth Johnson, but was she?

We know who her father was, but who was her mother? I know, this is the opposite of what genealogists normally face.

We mitochondrial DNA tested one of Phoebe’s descendants.  Why, because we had the opportunity and, well, you don’t know what you don’t know.  Our family does carry oral history of Native in that line.

Then we waited. And we waited. And waited.

Eventually, a full sequence match arrived.  Phoebe’s descendant matched another person who descended from one of Phoebe’s older sisters. Therefore, we know that Phoebe IS the daughter of Lydia Brown, not Elizabeth Johnson, AND we now also know that it was William Sr. who married Elizabeth Johnson in October of 1817, not William Crumley Jr.

Two mysteries solved with just one DNA match!  Not bad!

So, tell me again, why wouldn’t you open that gift box???

You don’t know what you don’t know, and you’ll never find out if you don’t test.



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Elizabeth Bowling and the Catholic Martyr – 52 Ancestors #13

It’s just 13 generations between me and a Catholic martyr.

My ancestor, Elizabeth Bowling, was married to immigrant Thomas Speak(e), sometime before November of 1663, probably in St. Mary’s County, Maryland. In the fall of 2013, the Speak Family Association undertook a trip back to the homeland of both Speak and Bowling families, both from Lancashire, England, about 30 miles distant from each other. In preparation for the trip, I compiled information about the Bowling family from various sources. Aside from the DNA portion, little of this is my original research. I am grateful to all of the original contributors for their diligence and hard work, much of it done in the churches in England.

According to cousin Harold Speake, now deceased, Thomas Speak(e), who may have been an indentured servant, arrived from England sometime before 1662. We know that in 1662, he was arrested for debt, so he had been here long enough to acquire that debt.

We know that Maryland was organized as a haven for Catholics, persecuted in England, and the Speake family was indeed Catholic. They were in England, their family records being found in the original Catholic, now Protestant, church in Gisburn, and they were in the colonies as well. Bowling Speake, born in 1674, the son of Thomas Speake and Elizabeth Bowling was prosecuted and proudly pled guilty in June of 1752 for publicly drinking to the health of the “Pretender,” the Catholic and deposed King James. In other words, Bowling was Catholic and proudly and publicly so, regardless of the consequences.

The Bowling family was also Catholic in England as well as in Maryland. They lived near and in the village of Chorley and the area of Charnock Richard, some 30 miles from Gisburn, in Lancashire. The Bowling family members found themselves on the list of recusants, in other words, devout, religious warriors or stubborn, unrepentant Catholics, depending on your perspective.

On the map below, A is Chorley and B is Gisburn, both in Lancashire.

Chorley Gisburn map

No record of the marriage of Elizabeth Bowling and Thomas Speake has been found in the UK churches, so it’s presumed that they married after both families settled in St. Mary’s County, Maryland. They probably both lived at or near Boarman’s Manor, given that Elizabeth’s brother James is recorded as living there. There was only one Catholic church in that area at that time, and both families likely attended. We were told during our visit in 2011 that the early church services were held in people’s homes. If your religion was enough to lose your land and your life for, holding and attending services was something that would have been a very important part of everyday life. And of course, they would have sought other Catholics to marry.

In his article, “The Bowlings of Boarman’s Manor,” Jeffrey Wills, Bowling family historian, tells us that the records of early Maryland give evidence of the Bowling family starting with James Bowling (1636-1693) who arrived in the province sometime before 1658.  The Bowlings became associated with other Catholics who eventually settled on Boarman’s Manor in what is now Charles County, Maryland. James had no children from his two marriages, but his will makes clear that there were descendants from his siblings, John (died 1684), Thomas (died 1700) and Elizabeth who married Thomas Speake.

Jeffrey states that the family in Maryland was Catholic and possibly shoemakers by trade. Court records exist that establish relationships with a couple of people, neither of whom have been identified, but the most important clue to the Bowling origin comes from a 1734 deposition, where it is stated that John Bowling, brother to James, “came from Lancashire and left a brother there by the name of Roger Bowling” (Charles Co. Court Rec. R2, 528).  Now we have the names of three brothers: John, James and Roger Bowling.

The Bowlings In Lancashire

In Lancashire, practically the only family of the Bowling name is one centered in Charnock Richard in the parish of Standish.  T. C. Porteus, in his 1927 history of the parish, describes the township of Charnock Richard as “a nursery of recusants,” meaning a hotbed of Catholic nonconformity to the new Elizabethan church.  Among the recusants listed there in 1628 are a John Bowling and wife.  The township of Chorley is adjacent and there is a village of Chesham is about 15 miles southeast, shown on the Lancashire map below, both names that the Bowling family of Maryland used for their land holdings.

Charnock Richard old map

One problem with the Bowling family, and most English families of this timeframe, is that they reused every first name in every generation. That means if your father’s name was John, then one son would be named John, and one grandchild in every child’s family would be named John. If the original John had 10 living children, that means he had 1 son John and 10 grandsons John and in the next generation, using the same math, there would be 100 Johns in just the original John’s line. And every family had someone named John. If you were lucky, your ancestor was named something like Balthasar, not John. But in both the Speake and Bowling families, there were lots of Johns, James and Williams, etc.

Originally, the Bowling family that James and Elizabeth belonged to were identified as the children of Roger Bowling of Charnock Richard, a shoemaker who wrote a will 17 Sept. 1673, proved on 10 Nov. 1673.  He refers to his children: John Bowling, Thomas Bowling, James Bowling, Ann Bowling, Jenet Bowling, eldest daughter Elizabeth (wife of John Catliffe). He also mentioned a grandson Roger Bowling, son of John.

However, the information about Elizabeth Bowling being married to John Catliffe, given that “our” Elizabeth married Thomas Speake, had to be reconciled. Some have suggested that John Speake, the innkeeper, might have been Thomas Speake’s child by a first, unknown, wife, with Elizabeth perhaps marrying Thomas as a widow in 1773, having Bowling in 1774. There is no evidence to support this speculation.

The Bowlings in England are not easy to unravel.

The baptisms of about fifty Bowlings are attested from the 1550 to 1650, and Roger is a name found in several generations, so locating the specific line is not straightforward. The fact that there is no baptismal record for the children mentioned in Roger’s will of 1673 suggests that there could be many more Bowlings than attested in the Anglican church records. Of course, Catholics attempted to prevent their children from being baptized in the Anglican church – and apparently often succeeded, much to the chagrin of genealogists today.

Jeffrey suggested that Elizabeth Bowling Speak’s line was as follows:

  • Elizabeth, daughter of
  • Roger “the shoemaker” Bowling, born 1619 who married Elizabeth, son of
  • Hugh Bowling, born 1591 who married Ellen Finch, son of
  • Raffe Bollling

Shirley Bowling Platt along with Jean Purdy, in England, have put together a summary of information as well. Shirley was kind enough to send me her detailed work, for which I am exceedingly grateful, and I have extracted from it below.

Jean and Shirley found additional information that proves that our Elizabeth Bowling was not the Elizabeth Bowling who married John Catliffe, so our Elizabeth was not Roger the shoemaker’s daughter.

Jean says, “Burt saw Roger’s original will which is now too fragile to see. He thought her husband’s name was Ratcliffe. I have never found any Catliffes, but Radcliffes or Ratcliffes abound. The family originated in Radcliffe Towers, the ruins of which are about 200 yards from where I live. The chapel there was used by Catholics throughout the penal years. Steuart Bowling drew my attention to a marriage in 1672 on IGI of a John Radcliffe to Elizabeth? at Saddleworth Yorkshire. The place is misleading as it is actually on the Lancashire side of the Pennines, just above Oldham and is now part of the Greater Manchester connurbation. I have been to the church and Elizabeth Bowling of Charnock Richard married John Radcliffe (son of Alexander) at Saddleworth church in 1671. Sadly she is also buried there in 1676 and John married again in 1680.”

Therefore, we confirm that our Elizabeth is not the daughter of Roger Bowling.

Shirley and Jean attribute our Elizabeth Bowling to Hugh Bowling and Ellen Fynch/Finch, so eliminating Roger the shoemaker and attributing Elizabeth to Hugh directly and not as a grandchild. A daughter Elizabeth was born to Hugh and Ellen in Charnock Richard in June of 1635 and died in March of 1637/38. A second daughter Elizabeth was born to this couple on 25 Oct 1641, also in Charnock Richard, Lancashire. She was christened on 25 Oct 1641 in Standish. This is believed to be our Elizabeth who died before 1692 in St. Mary’s County, MD.

The rest of the children’s names proven through James Bowling’s will are found in this family as well, at least the ones we know, so this certainly seems to be the right family.

Shirley and Jean’s proposed ancestry for Elizabeth, listing oldest generation first, was as follows:

  • Robert Bowling born 1520 in Chorley married Agnes, last name unknown, who died on April 26, 1566 in Chorley
  • Hugh Bowling born 1540 and died July 17, 1598, married Constance Bibbie on 12 May 1560 in St. Wilfred’s, Standish, Lancashire. Constance was born about 1540 and was buried on 18 Dec 1601 in St. Wilfrid’s Church, Standish. This is the oldest Bowling burial record.

Perhaps she is buried here in the area where some stones have been cleared.

Wilfrid's cemetery

Or maybe here, near the church entrance, nourishing the newly planted trees.

Wilfrid's cemetery 2

Her funeral would have been preached in this stunningly beautiful church. This nave has heard many Bowling funerals over the centuries.

Wilfrid's nave

This exquisite carved cross has overseen many joyful and sorrowful events in the Bowling family – many baptisms, weddings and funerals. All of life’s events took place under the vigilance of this cross – first as Catholic and then as Anglican.

Wilfrid's cross

Most of the Bowlings, including Constance and her husband, Hugh, up until the early 1700s, were on Papists lists and/or fined for recusancy. Hugh Bowling and Constance Bibby were convicted of recusancy, which probably led to them losing their lands in 1591.

A record from Steuart Bowling (apparently translated from Latin):

Hugh Bowling of Charnock Richard, husbandman (small farmer); Constance Bowling of Charnock Richard, Roger Bowling of Charnock Richard, and Elizabeth of Charnock Richard, Cecily Bowling of Preston and John Pilkington of Coppull, husbandman, land in Coppull.” Choppull is adjacent to both Chorley and Charnock Richard.

  • Raffe Bowling born 1563 in Chorley, Lancashire. He was christened on 4 Dec 1563 in Standish, Lancashire, probably in this same baptismal font, and died in 1600.

Wilfrid baptismal

Raffe (Ralph) Bowling was in Leeds, Yorkshire as late as April 16, 1590 (christening record of his son, Rauffe)–but was in Chorley as early as 6 Aug 1591 (christening of his son Hughe). Raffe married Margaret Marston in 1588 in St. Peter’s, Leeds, Yorkshire. There is a question if Margaret Marston was the second wife of Raffe…since some of children were born before this marriage in 1588.

Jean Purdy states that there is no proof whatsoever that our Hugh’s father Ralph (Raafe) was the one marrying in Leeds. She searched all the records of people given leave to reside in Charnock Richard. This was necessary under the Poor Laws—-there was a John Bowling in the late 1600s—but no Ralph or Rafe.

  • Hugh was born in 1591 in Charnock Richard, Lancashire. He was christened on 6 Aug 1591 in Chorley, most likely in the old bapistry, shown below, now retired, in St. Laurence in Chorley.

Chorley baptismal

Hugh died on 7 Sep. 1651 in Charnock Richard and was buried on 7 Sep 1651 in Parish Church, Standish, Lancashire. Perhaps his coffin was carried in through this gate in the church wall.

Wilfrid's gate

Both Hugh and his wife Ellen’s funerals were most likely preached in this church, before their coffin was carried outside to be buried in the church yard.

Wilfrid's windows

Hugh’s grave is now unmarked someplace in the cemetery below.

Wilfrid's cemetery 3

The cemetery surrounds the church, some areas having been cleared of stones for maintenance. Some graves reused. The oldest stones, of course, would have been located closest to the church and now are, sadly, long gone.

Wilfrid's cemetery 4

The cemetery extends right up to the church walls, shown below.

Wilfrid's cemetery 5

Wilfrid's wall

Burial space was and remains an issue for all of these old churches. In some cases, extra land was annexed for the “burying ground,” but that wasn’t always possible. They had to make do with what they had and they did, using every possible inch and then reusing older graves whose families were no longer there or whose markers were not legible. Of course, there are also burials inside the church, in the floor and in crypts. Those burial locations were reserved for the wealthy or the notorious. Our family fell in neither category.

Wilfrid from street

The death bed testament of Hugh Bowling gives his residence as “Bowleings Farm.” Later land records suggest this was at Four Lane Ends—where the lane in Charnock Richard crosses the road to Preston and Lancaster.  There was another farm “Bowlings in the Fields,” which Jean believes belonged to the other branch of the family (that of Roger the Shoemaker).  It was later acquired by Henry the Blacksmith’s Great Grandson, another Hugh Bowling, in the late 1700s. Jean was unable to pinpoint where that was—but the name suggests it was out of the village.  Charnock Richard is about half way between Standish and Chorley.

Charnock Richard map

Hugh married Ellen Fynch, daughter of Roger Fynch and Isabella or Elizabeth Brears on 9 Apr 1616 in St. Laurence Church, Chorley, Lancashire, probably entering through the front door shown below.

Chorley church

The Fynch Family

Ellyn Fynch was born in Jan 1597/1598 in Charnock Richard. She died on 13 Jun 1659 in Charnock Richard and was buried on 13 Jun 1659 in Standish Parish Churchyard, Lancashire, below.

Wilfrid's cemetery 6

It is believed that Roger Fynch (born 1573) is the son of John Finch (born circa 1548-84). He is believed to be the martyr, John Finch (Fynch), yeoman farmer of Eccleston, who was arrested at Christmas 1581, tried in Lancaster on April 18, 1584 on the charge of harboring Catholic Priests and subsequently found guilty and executed.

St. Mary’s the Virgin Church in Eccleston, below, dates to the 1300s, so it is likely the home church of John Fynch. The name of Eccleston itself came from the Celtic word “eglēs” meaning a church, and the Old English word “tūn” meaning a farmstead or settlement – i.e. a settlement by a Romano-British church. It’s quite ancient, having been mentioned in the Doomsday Book in 1086.

St Mary Eccleston

John Fynch’s devotion to the Catholic religion in the face of adversity is very likely representative of the devotion felt by the entire Catholic conclave in Lancashire.

John Fynch was a yeoman of Eccleston, Lancashire, from a Catholic family, but brought up an Anglican. When he was twenty years old he went to London where he spent nearly a year with some cousins at Inner Temple. While there he was struck by the contrast between Protestantism and Catholicism in practice, and determined to lead a Catholic life.

Failing to find advancement in London he returned to Lancashire where he was reconciled to the Catholic Church. He then married and settled down, his house becoming a center of missionary work, he himself harboring priests and aiding them in every way, besides acting as catechist. He drew on himself the hostility of the authorities, and at Christmas, 1581, he was entrapped into bringing a priest, George Ostliffe, to a place where both were apprehended. It was given out that Finch, having betrayed the priest and other Catholics, had taken refuge with the Earl of Derby, but in fact, he was kept in the earl’s house as a prisoner. For three years he was held prisoner in various locations and prisons, alternatively tortured and bribed to obtain information on other Catholics.

He was eventually removed to the Fleet Prison, Manchester, and afterwards to the House of Correction. When he refused to go to the Protestant church he was dragged there by the feet. Following that, he was returned to Lancashire where on April 19, 1584, he was tried with three priests, convicted and executed with Priest James Bell, on April 20, 1584 at Lancaster for secreting a Catholic priest for Christmas services and denying that the Queen was head of the Church.

St Mary John Finch Window cropped

John Fynch was Beatified in 1929 as one of the Lancashire Martyrs. Beatification in the Catholic Church is to be one of the blessed and thus worthy of public religious veneration in a particular region or religious congregation. The Catholic Church canonizes or beatifies only those whose lives have been marked by the exercise of heroic virtue, and only after this has been proved by common repute for sanctity and by conclusive arguments.

One of the church windows in St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Chorley honors John Fynch of Eccleston who is pictured with a haystack, because they say, on the church website, that he was of “farming stock.” They also mention that John Finch’s relatives still live in the Mawdesley area.  The map below shows that these locations are in relatively close proximity, 3 or 4 miles, to each other and also to Charnock Richard.

Eccleston Mawdesley map

It seems that Bowling Speake came by his proud, defiant recussancy honestly. John Fynch, his great-great-great-great-grandfather, would have been proud of him, some 171 years after John’s own act of defiance and 168 years after his barbaric death, being drawn and quartered. I’m sure that Bowling knew that his great-great grandfather was a Catholic martyr. That isn’t a story that is lost in a Catholic family. I’m sure it was both a source of great pride and great sorrow.

I have to wonder where John Finch/Fynch was buried, if the family was allowed to gather what remains of him they could find and if they were allowed to bury anything. He surely would not have been buried in the churchyard which was Anglican at that time. So where was he buried, and the priest also killed with him?

In the book, “The Antiquities of Canterbury In two Parts” by Nicolas Battely it states that John Finch, William Selling and Thomas Goldston were “buried in the Martyrdom.” This is in the History of Christ-Church in Canterbury section, page 35. Elsewhere in the book, it says “John Finch – of this prior’s acts or what he did living, I have seen no monument, but that of him dead, you may find in the Martyrdom, where he lies interred under this broken Epitaph, which is in the Appendix Numb LV.” Other places in the book refer to the Martyrdom as an actual location and in one place it is called “The Altar of the Martyrdom of St. Thomas” in the cathedral.

To say I was excited by this was an understatement. It was about 3 AM – I was hyperventilating. Was it even possible that I had stumbled upon the final resting place of our John Finch? And if so, why didn’t they tell us this when we visited St. Mary’s church in Chorley? They had other information about the family- why not this? Something seemed wrong.

I found the book online, scanned by Google, but as luck would have it, the ONE page I needed, page 62 in the final appendix, had been missed during the scanning. I had to give up and go to bed, but not before sending a message to a cousin asking him to see if he could find the elusive page 62.

I had even found a picture of the altar near where John Finch is buried in Canterbury. The next day, cousin Jerry found page 62, I typed the Latin of John Finch’s epitaph into a Latin translator, and here’s the English equivalent, more or less:

“Here lies John Fynch of Winchelsey once prior to this ecclefise who takes on 9 January eificia conftrueta closing many other goods whose soul.”

I wondered where Winchelsey was, and set about to find out. I discovered that it is no place close to Lancashire, on the Southeast coast of England, and the John Fynch from Winchelsey was a politician that lived in the 1600s. Crumb. Crumb. Crumb. Not our John at all. Our John Fynch/Finch is still MIA. I hate wild goose chases and I felt terrible about involving my cousin in this one – getting everyone’s hopes up. But I’m very glad we persevered for page 62!

Elizabeth Bowling in America

Jean Purdy feels that Elizabeth Bowling accompanied her brothers, James, Thomas and John from England to Maryland, departing for America with her brothers Thomas and John after their mother died in 1659. James Bowling was already in Maryland by that time.

What we do know is that Elizabeth Bowling Speake was subpoenaed to court on November 3, 1663 to testify. She had son John Speak, the Innkeeper, whose birth was determined from 2 depositions given by John as an adult to have occurred in 1665. This implies her marriage about 1663, and possibly somewhat earlier, to Thomas Speake. She had son Bowling in 1674 according to numerous depositions given by Bowling throughout his lifetime. It’s rather unusual that they didn’t have any more children. Perhaps they had children that did not live to adulthood.

Thomas died in August of 1681, still a relatively young man of 48, his will leaving everything to his eldest son, John. He appoints his brother-in-law, James Bowling, his executor and wills “that my Loving brother in Law James Bowling hath the Disposall of my children to be brought up in the Roman Catholick faith.” Elizabeth was apparently gone too, less than age 50, by the time her brother James made his will in 1692. James was childless and left his estate to his siblings and the children of his siblings, including John and Bowling Speake.

It must have been difficult on John and Bowling Speak to lose their father in 1681, their mother sometime in the next decade, before 1692, and their uncle in 1692 who was or probably had been raising them. John would have been about 27 in 1692 and Bowling about 18. That’s a lot of loss and a rough beginning for 2 young men.

Beginning with John Finch, the Martyr, to me, we find the following:

  • John Finch of Eccleston, the Martyr was born 1748, died April 20, 1584
  • Roger Fynch born 1573-1642, Eccleston married Isabella or Elizabeth Brears (1569-1631) in Charnock circa 1595.
  • Hugh Bowling was born in 1591 in Charnock Richard, Lancashire. He was christened on 6 Aug 1591 in Chorley. Hugh died on 7 Sep 1651 in Charnock Richard and was buried on 7 Sep 1651 in Parish Church, Standish, Lancashire. Hugh married Ellen Fynch, daughter of Roger Fynch and Isabella or Elizabeth Brears on 9 Apr 1616 in St. Laurence Church, Chorley, Lancashire.
  • Thomas Speake (c 1634-1681) married Elizabeth Bowling (1642 – before 1692)
  • Bowling Speake (1674-1755) married Mary Benson
  • Thomas Speake (1698-1755) married Jane, last name unknown
  • Charles Beckworth (or Beckwith) Speake (1741-1794) married Anne, last name unknown (1744-1789)
  • Nicholas Speak (1782-1852) married Sarah Faires (1786-1852)
  • Charles Speak (1804-1840/1850) married Ann McKee (1801/1805-1840/1850)
  • Elizabeth Speak (1832-1903) married Samuel Claxton (Clarkson) (1827-1876)
  • Margaret Claxton (1851-1920) married Joseph Bolton (1853-1920)
  • Ollie Florence Bolton (1874-1955) married and divorced William George Estes (1873-1971)
  • William Sterling Estes (my Dad) (1903-1963)

So there you go, just 13 generations between me and a Catholic martyr. Well, possibly, assuming all of that is correct.

What can we do, if anything, to solidify this connection? Can DNA help?

Can DNA Help?

How would we go about determining if there is a Finch connection in our Speak line? Actually, it’s in the Bowling line that feeds into the Speak line with the marriage of Elizabeth Bowling to Thomas Speake in Maryland in the 1660s. What this means is that if there is a Finch connection, every descendant of both the Bowling family in American through the Maryland group, and the Speaks family in America though Thomas and Elizabeth are descendants of the Finch family.

The first thing to do is to be sure that every Speak(e)(s) descendant who has taken an autosomal test is in the Speak project so that I, as the administrator, can see if they match any individuals with the ancestral or current surname of Finch.

Currently, we have 18 individuals in the Speak project who meet the criteria and have already taken the autosomal DNA test. When I began this comparison a few weeks ago, we had 12 Speak individuals, but I checked the matches of all 12 individuals and found another dozen or so autosomal matches to people with Speak lineage. I invited those people to join the Speak DNA project, even though they are not descended from the direct paternal line. In order to keep this straight, I have an autosomal grouping category in both the Y and mtDNA portions of the project since I’m actually using it for autosomal matching as well.

Next, I searched for Finch and Fynch matches for each of the project participants. It’s surprising how many I found. Among 12 participants, there were 42 Finch matches. Of those, four ancestral groups were repeated more than once. Looking at these groups, it’s possible that they could share a common ancestor between them. That is encouraging.

I checked the Finch DNA project to see if I can tell anything about the Finch groups I found with repeated autosomal matches to Speak descendants.

  • John Finch born 1625 England – his son Guy Finch b Aug 18 1655 in Berkeley Gloucestershire, England d 1688 Calvert Co., MD, married Rebecca, daughter Mary Finch married Charles Beaven.
  • Also in Calvert Co., MD, Elizabeth Finch born 1687 Woodbridge, Calvert Co., MD died in 1729 Charles Co MD married William Elder.
  • Margaret Finch b c 1590 in Stanley, Gloucestershire, England married John Flood and died in Charles City, VA (also shown as Surry Co., VA)
  • Stamford CT Finch group
  • One lone person who says “Finch- Lancashire,” but doesn’t answer the e-mails

The Calvert County, MD group could well be Catholic as well.

The Finch DNA project and site tells us that the CT group is from Yorkshire. Unfortunately, the Calvert County group seems to be unrepresented in Y DNA testing. There are also no families from Charles City, VA or Surry Co., VA.

Even more encouraging is that one individual listed their Finch ancestor as being from Lancashire. Unfortunately, I e-mailed them and they have not yet replied.

Shortly, I’ll check the list of Speak participants for Bowling matches as well to see who we match in that line that I could invite to join the project to see if the Bowlings are descended from the Finch family utilizing the same methodology.

From this point forward, we need to do the Finch genealogy work on one hand, relative to the matches, and on the other, we need to work on triangulation to see if we can attribute a DNA match to two people who share the same common ancestral line. That would confirm, along with a match to us, that we do share that common ancestor with them.

However, our common Finch ancestor is many, many generations removed. Little of John Finch’s DNA may be remnant in his descendants – but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try to find it. You can’t fail if you don’t try, but you also can’t succeed!

This job will take a little bit of genealogy sleuthing, some genetic analysis, a dash of synchronicity and a huge dose of good luck.

Wish me luck!! I’ll get back with you on this one. I’m busy hunting for my magic DNA wand right now. A little bit of magic dust wouldn’t hurt either!



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The Bowling Family of Charnock Richard, Lancashire

A week into our DNA journey across England, I awoke for the last time in the Ribble Valley. This photo is an extremely misty sunrise in the Ribble Valley, through our window in the Stirk House Lodge. Pendle Hill is out there, always out there, but you can’t see it. Just like it’s still in my mind and heart everyday.

Stirk House misty window

This morning, we prepare to leave the Ribble Valley which we have come to love and to view in an odd sort of way as “home.” It only took a very few days for us to adopt this homeland in our hearts as “ours.” We own it in our soul now. It is interwoven into part of who we are, and who we were.  We know we are related to many of these families in this valley, centuries back…those whose names and surnames we will never know. Our families were here before surnames were needed. This ancient land holds our history and our family.  This is from whence we sprung in the times and days before records.  Social history of the region is all that we have now of our early families.  The history of the Ribble Valley is the history of our ancestors – the invasions, the wars, the victories – all theirs and all ours as well.

I look at Pendle Hill and I know that before the Quakers received their divine message there, before Catholics and Protestants, before Christianity, before the Romans invaded in the first generation after Christ lived, that Pendle Hill was used for worship. Around the world, the highest sites in the landscape were used for temples to worship deities, and some deities were female, Goddeses. Pendle Hill had to have been one of these places. Our ancestors were surely among these people.

It was hard to say goodbye to Pendle Hill, the Ribble Valley and the Stirk House, because we know it’s forever.

Ribble Valley goodbye

Today, we switch sides of the family. Thomas Speak born about 1634 married Elizabeth Bowling, presumably shortly after immigrating to Maryland before November 1663 when she was subpoenaed to court to testify.  The Bowling family was also Catholic, and from an area about 30 miles distant from the Ribble Valley, named Charnock Richard, near Chorley and Standish.

Charnock Richard old map

We boarded the bus for Chorley and the St. Laurence Church, where many of the early Bowling burials were recorded.  This is our family’s church, as well as St. Wilfred’s at Standish.  As it turns out, Charnock Richard lies not terribly far down the main road and is between Chorley and Standish – and of course the ever-present traffic circle, known as a round-about, welcomed us.

Chorley welcome

Chorley St Laurence

Our Bowling family was from Charnock Richard, which tells us they were probably vassals of the Charnock family, one of the landed families who owned a manor and was one of the families with a crest who is remembered in both churches. Unfortunately, the Charnock Manor Hall no longer exists.

The church, St. Laurence, in Chorley is a small church created for a small congregation. Chorley was a market town, and this church was not the main church of the region, but a chapel church for outliers.  The photo below is of the original church before the additions.  This is the church our ancestors knew and attended as Catholics, then as Anglicans when forced to.

St Laurence old photo

Today’s church is the third church on this location, built the third time in the 1500s, but an earlier church was almost certainly present on the site in the Anglo-Saxon era as the daughter church of Croston. The first documentary record is dated 1362 and refers to a priest for the church. A letter dated 1442 refers to a reliquary owned by the church which is said to contain bones of Saint Laurence for which the church was named.

St Laurence windows

The stained glass windows in this church are stunning. Of course, each window has its story.

St Laurence window 2

And like all of the other churches in this timeframe, many “floor burials.”

St Laurence floor burials

I can’t help but wonder about this ancient secreted passageway.

St Laurence secret gate

The gargoyle, the silent sentry, always standing guard. He would have been here when our ancestors laid eyes on him too. Maybe one of our ancestors carved him, or set him where he has been for hundreds of years. How many generations has he seen come and go?

St Laurence gargoyle

The photo below is the original baptistery.  It was relegated to the back corner where I discovered it with a bunch of stuff stacked against it.  I asked about it, and the guide told me that the current rector is modernizing and replaced it and it has been retired.  I think this is sacrilege after how many centuries.  I dug it out and photographed it.  And I didn’t put the stuff back up against it either.  This is the ancient font from which our Bowling ancestors would have been baptized.

St Laurence baptisty

Look at these ancient carvings on this baptistery.

St Laurence bapistry bowl

St Laurence bapistry carvings

This was also the church of the Standish family, as in Myles Standish, the pilgrim on the Mayflower. Are we related? Not that we know of, but who knows back before records are available. The families certainly lived in the same area and knew each other well, at least through the church, if not socially. The Standish family was “well off” and had their own box seat in the church, shown below.

St Laurence Standish box

St. Laurence was originally a Catholic church, of course, but became Anglican along with the rest of England following King Henry VIII’s break with the Catholic church in 1534. From St. Laurence, we visited St. Mary’s Catholic church, maybe a quarter or half a mile away.

We walked through the old market town area.

Chorley market

St. Mary’s is a Catholic church and includes the martyr’s windows, specifically one for our John Finch, brutally killed in 1584.

Elizabeth Bowling is believed to be the daughter of Hugh Bowling (born 1591) and Ellen Finch (born 1598). Ellen Finch is the daughter of Roger Finch (born 1573) who was the son of John Finch (born 1548) who we believe is the John Finch who was martyred.

The history of St. Mary’s church tells us that Catholicism had been the faith of most of the English from the time of St. Augustine in 597AD until the 16th century. Despite this, from 1535 until about 1789, those who remained faithful to this “old religion” suffered fines, arrests, confiscation of property or mob violence, and some 500 were executed. No less than 10 Catholic martyrs either originated from or served in the current Chorley Borough area.

The Mass and Sacraments were celebrated secretly and illegally through the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries in the various halls and farmhouses around Chorley still in Catholic hands. Lancashire had a higher proportion of Catholic recusants than any other English county, estimated at over 20% even in the 1700s. Catholic worship remained illegal until 1791. The Catholic church here was founded in 1847, but this building was built in 1927.

Chorley St Mary

St. Mary’s includes 5 stained glass windows commemorating five local martyrs.

  • Venerable Roger Ashton from Crostin, executed at Tyburn in 1592.
  • Bd Roger Wrenno, weaver, from Alfred’s Court off Anderton St. Chorley. Executed for shelttering Father John Thules and hanged with him on March 18, 1616 at Lancaster. The rope broke at the first attempt. behind him is a weaving frame.
  • Bd Lawrence Richardson, a priest who served at Park Hall, shown behind him, home of the Catholic Charnock family. Executed in 1582 at Tyburn.
  • Venerable John Finch, a yeoman farmer of Eccleston, executed at Lancaster in 1584.
  • Saint John Rigby from Harrock Hall by Mawdesley, executed at Southwar in 1598.

One end of the church commemorates the martyrs in a beautiful enclave.

St Mary Martyr Windows

Here is John Finch’s window.

St Mary John Finch Window cropped

I must say, I am not Catholic, but when I approached those windows, every single hair on my body stood up.  I had a very physical reaction, something I haven’t had in any other location on this trip and was very unexpected.

The church provided this information about John Finch.

church Finch info

Me with the windows and the baptistery and John’s window.

Me at Finch window

We learned a lot about the Catholic’s in this region.  Charnock Richard was called a “nursery of recussants” meaning they had more “refusers” of the Catholic faith than anyplace else.

Bowling Green

Just the other side of Charnock Richard, actually, across from it, is the Bowling Green Inn, land where the Bowlings used to live.  This inn has been here for hundreds of years in one form or another.

Bowling Green google 1

Bowling Green google 2

In the painting and photograph below, purchased from the Lancashire County Council, we can see the Bowling Green Inn in historic times.  You can still see this older building in the current complex, if you look closely.

Bowling Green old photo

Bowling Green old photo 2

This quaint road sign, directly across the street from the Bowling Green Inn today, points the way from Charnock Richard to Wigan, 7 miles, and Preston, 10 miles.

Charnock Richard sign

Charnock Richard google

On the map above, the Bowling Green Inn is the red balloon. The green balloon is where Google misplaced the inn. The red arrow points the location, in the photo below, of the other end of Delph Lane, which begins directly across from the Bowling Green Inn.  The road is not contiguous today, but it was originally. The areas between Delph Lane and The Bowling Green Inn is the area believed to be where the Bowling family lived, or the area of Bowling Green.  It’s amazing that we can find this location today.

Delph lane

Delph Lane directly across from the Bowling Green Inn is shown below.

Delph Lane across from Bowling Green

Unfortunately, we can’t take a virtual street view drive down Delph Lane on Google, but on Church Road, where, ironically, another church was later built, we can see some of the fields.

Church road

Delph Lane Church road

The road leading to the Bowling land at Charnock Richard turns to the left here at the bridge on Delph Lane.  It’s a dead end today and we didn’t try it in the bus. It’s just fields, sheep and English countryside, much like it was then.  Our ancestors lived here, probably for many generations.  They worked and walked these lands.

Bowling Green fields

Our next destination was Standish, and we drove through quaint villages with wonderful pubs, reaching back centuries in time. The pub and the church are the two establishments in every village that was timeless and survived through the centuries.

village road

Hinds Head

Dog and partridge

Black bull

When we arrived at Standish, at St. Wilfred’s Church, they had been waiting for us at the Peace Gate…perhaps for centuries.

St Wilfrid gate

This church was named for St. Wilfrid (634-709) who was the son of a Northumbrian Thane, educated at the Lindisfarne Monastery, studied in Rome and Lyon, and became a monk of the Benedictine order. He returned from Europe to Ripon as Abbot in 657 and introduced Benedictine rule to an area under the Celtic form of Christianity.

The earliest reference to this church is in the year 1205 when it is recorded that a dispute arose between the Standish and Langtree families regarding the advowson or right to appoint a Rector. No doubt the church had been in existence before that date. The first recorded Rector was Alexander de Standish in 1206.

In 1543 it was confirmed by the Bishop of Chester that the church was in great ruin and that the whole parish should decide on its repair and rebuilding. That apparently didn’t happen, because Record Moody’s tomb refers to this “twice-ruinated temple.” In 1582, the church was rebuild with Robert Charnock as their representative and a go-between with the master mason Lawrence Shipway. Work was completed in 1589. If the Charnock family was involved, you can rest assured that the Speak family, who probably worked for them, was involved too.

Standish Parish was quite large and served 11 townships until in the 1900s. Charnock Richard was among those. The Bowling family obviously attended two churches, perhaps different branches of the family, or at different times – both at Chorley and at Standish.

St Wilfrid old

Here’s an early photo of St. Wilfrid church, which was obviously taken after the Peace Gate was built in 1926.

St Wilfrid churchyard

The porch entryway to the church, below, is from the 1500s. Inside the inner church door is found an Acanthus flower and it’s leaves. This is a Mediterranean plant used in classical design, probably brought back to England returning from the Crusades.

St Wilfrid entrance

St. Wilfrid’s Church in Standish records many Bowling burials, although no stones remain intact today.  Like many other churches, they have rearranged some of the remaining stones to make maintenance easier.

St Wilfrid cemetery

The churchyard walls incorporate earlier remnant carvings, probably Anglo-Saxon in origin.

St Wilfrid walls

In many of these churches, expansions were built right over graves and in that time, place and culture, that was no problem.  In fact, it might have just made you holier.  This church is particularly interesting because it has a secret staircase hidden in one of the pillars – actually carved in.  It led to a chantery where people who died paid for priests or monks to chant for them to get them into Heaven.  Of course, when it became Anglican, the chantery was no longer needed – as the concept of Purgatory is a Catholic concept – as is praying your soul out of Purgatory in return for money.

St Wilfrid stone stair

I thought this recess was the font for holy water, just inside the entrance so that the early Catholics could cross themselves upon entering.

St Wilfrid recess

However, the church history says that it might have been for a pen and ink or an old lamp or statue. This is in the porch, and the church porch was utilized for a significant number of things, aside from sheltering the door. The first part of the baptismal and wedding services took place here and in the days when women were denied admission to the church after childbirth, the “churching ceremony” was held in the porch.

The churching ceremony was where women were blessed after childbirth and thanks was given for their survival, even if the child had died or was stillborn, and even if the child died unbaptised. It symbolized ritual purification of the Virgin Mary as discussed in the New Testament. The churching ceremony generally took place about 40 days after the woman’s “confinement,” or when the birth took place. In some places it was regarded as unwise for a woman to leave her house to go out at all after confinement until she went to be churched. In the UK and Ireland, new mothers who had yet to be churched were regarded as attractive to the fairies, and so in danger of being kidnapped by them. Customs varied by church and region, although this version seems typical.

On the fortieth day after childbirth, the mother is brought to the temple to be churched; that is to say, to receive a blessing as she begins attending church and receiving the Holy Mysteries (Sacraments) once again. The child (if it has survived) is brought by the mother, who has already been cleansed and washed, accompanied by the intended sponsors (Godparents) who will stand at the child’s Baptism. They all stand together in the narthex (the entranceway) before the doors of the nave of the temple, facing east. The priest blesses them and says prayers for the woman and the child, giving thanks for their wellbeing and asking God’s grace and blessings upon them.

At her churching, a woman was expected to make some offering to the church, such as the chrisom or alb placed on the child at its christening.

Augustine Schulte in the Catholic Encyclopidia described the churching ceremony:

The mother, kneels in the vestibule, or within the church, carrying a lighted candle. The priest, vested in surplice and white stole, sprinkles her with holy water in the form of a cross. Having recited Psalm 23, “The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof”, he offers her the left extremity of the stole and leads her into the church, saying: “Enter thou into the temple of God, adore the Son of the Blessed Virgin Mary who has given thee fruitfulness of offspring.” She advances to one of the altars and kneels before it, whilst the priest, turned towards her, recites the appropriate blessing, and then, having sprinkled her again with holy water in the form of the cross, dismisses her, saying: “The peace and blessing of God Almighty, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, descend upon thee, and remain forever. Amen.”

The Parish Clerk undertook much of his business on the church porch too. Contracts were signed, debts paid and executors of wills distributed legacies to beneficiaries on the church porch.

This baptistery (below) has a very old Anglo-Saxon base, pre-dating the current church significantly, and the current church is hundreds of years old. The baptismal font represents three dates. The stem is the oldest and dates from the earlier church. The bowl is 16th century and probably dates from the rebuilding and the base is an 18th century replacement.

St Wilfrid bapistry

St Wilfrid bapistry close

This church is stunningly beautiful. I can feel the presence of so many ancestors and I look around, drinking in my surroundings, absorbing as fast as possible, to see what they saw.  This is their life I’m visiting in a place most sacred to them.

St Wilfrid nave

The armorial shields were gifted to the church in 1917 and represent the chief families in the 11 townships of the ancient parish. Charnock Richard’s is shown below.

St Wilfrid Charnock Richard

This beautifully carved oak pulpit was donated by Ralph Standish in 1616, so it would have been here, and relatively new, when our Bowling ancestors stood to hear the sermon, or perhaps sat in the pews.


Aside from the typical floor burials, the oldest of which is from the 14th century, there are two actual tombs in the church. One, that of Richard Moody, from about the same time, bears the cheerful message of, “As you are I was and as I am you shall be.”

St Wilfrid crypt

This is an ancient church and a sarcophagus was found under the church suggesting this was a very early religious site as well – probably back to pagan days.  It’s now a flower holder outside of the church, along with what they consider to be “a huge boulder” also found on the grounds.

St Wilfrid sarcophagus

I love the sundial, and the gargoyles in various places positioned on the roof or eaves.

St Wilfrid sundial

The inscription below the sundial reads, “Let no passing cloud of bitterness thine accustomed serenity o’ershadow.”

The grounds are ancient and hallowed. The graves may not be marked, but we know the bodies of all of the families that lived in this area are interred here, probably stacked and intermingled after generations of reburial, much as the DNA of their descendants is today.

St Wilfrid tree

The oldest marked grave here dates from 1621. Stones surround the church.

St Wilfrid cemetery 2

The church graciously arranged for the group to have lunch in an old restored building, I believe the old restored rectory which is now a Parish Hall. Group meals, while organizationally challenging were also some of the most rewarding times, as we visited with each other. Notice the old wooden beams. Everything in England is either very old or very new.


After leaving Standish, we stopped outside Liverpool and visited Speke Hall which, ironically, has nothing to do with our family. Speke Hall obtained its name from Speke Township which was first found in the Doomsday survey of 1086 where Spec (Speke) appears as one of several local properties held by the Saxon Thane Uctred, and is described as comprising “two carucates of land worth sixty-four pence”. A carucate was a measure of land that could support a family and measured between 60 and 120 acres according to the fertility of the soil. However, the similarity between Speke and Speak served to confuse and tantalize genealogists for years.

Speke Hall

Despite the fact that it’s not from our family, Speke Hall did have a “priest hole,” shown below, designed to hide and protect Catholic priests who were, of course, persecuted on pain of death after the reformation. Priest holes were often found in Manor homes where clandestine services were held.  It is very difficult to see, but here is the well-disguised entrance. The exit is to the Mersey River where the priests could easily exit to the coast and quickly escape back to Ireland.

Priest hole

After walking back to the visitor center in the drenching cold rain, Jim and I had our own version of “high tea” with creamed tea, scones with locally made jam and “fresh cream” which is not whipped cream. The perfect end to the perfect day!

high tea

Bowling DNA

While the Bowling family may seem like any other Catholic Lancashire family, they weren’t. In fact, their DNA is quite rare, something that by the time our ancestors were getting ready to leave for America was probably long forgotten in their family.

In fact, by the time that the Doomsday book was written in 1086, the Bowling family origins in the UK were already roughly 43 generations in the past, and had probably been forgotten for about 40 of those generations.

How do we know this? It’s written in the Bowling Y DNA, and when combined with the historical knowledge of what was happening in the world during that time, it’s relatively easy to construct a “most likely” scenario.

In fact, this part of the story is so interesting, it’s deserving of its own telling, so please join me for the future article, “Bowling DNA, Rare as Hen’s Teeth.”

What, you want a hint?

Ok, but just one….

sand dunes



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Haplogroup Comparisons Between Family Tree DNA and 23andMe

Recently, I’ve received a number of questions about comparing people and haplogroups between 23andMe and Family Tree DNA.  I can tell by the questions that a significant amount of confusion exists about the two, so I’d like to talk about both.  In you need a review of “What is a Haplogroup?”, click here.

Haplogroup information and comparisons between Family Tree DNA information and that at 23andMe is not apples and apples.  In essence, the haplogroups are not calculated in the same way, and the data at Family Tree DNA is much more extensive.  Understanding the differences is key to comparing and understanding results. Unfortunately, I think a lot of misinterpretation is happening due to misunderstanding of the essential elements of what each company offers, and what it means.

There are two basic kinds of tests to establish haplogroups, and a third way to estimate.

Let’s talk about mitochondrial DNA first.

Mitochondrial DNA

You have a very large jar of jellybeans.  This jar is your mitochondrial DNA.


In your jar, there are 16,569 mitochondrial DNA locations, or jellybeans, more or less.  Sometimes the jelly bean counter slips up and adds an extra jellybean when filling the jar, called an insertion, and sometimes they omit one, called a deletion.

Your jellybeans come in 4 colors/flavors, coincidentally, the same colors as the 4 DNA nucleotides that make up our double helix segments.  T for tangerine, A for apricot, C for chocolate and G for grape.

Each of the 16,569 jellybeans has its own location in the jar.  So, in the position of address 1, an apricot jellybean is always found there.  If the jellybean jar filler makes a mistake, and puts a grape jellybean there instead, that is called a mutation.  Mistakes do happen – and so do mutations.  In fact, we count on them.  Without mutations, genetic genealogy would be impossible because we would all be exactly the same.

When you purchase a mitochondrial DNA test from Family Tree DNA, you have in the past been able to purchase one of three mitochondrial testing levels.  Today, on the website, I see only the full sequence test for $199, which is a great value.

However, regardless of whether you purchase the full mitochondrial sequence test today, which tests all of your 16,569 locations, or the earlier HVR1 or HVR1+HVR2 tests, which tested a subset of about 10% of those locations called the HyperVariable Region, Family Tree DNA looks at each individual location and sees what kind of a jellybean is lodged there.  In position 1, if they find the normal apricot jellybean, they move on to position 2.  If they find any other kind of jellybean in position 1, other than apricot, which is supposed to be there, they record it as a mutation and record whether the mutation is a T,C or G.  So, Family Tree DNA reads every one of your mitochondrial DNA addresses individually.

Because they do read them individually, they can also discover insertions, where extra DNA is inserted, deletions, where some DNA dropped out of line, and an unusual conditions called a heteroplasmy which is a mutation in process where you carry some of two kinds of jellybean in that location – kind of a half and half 2 flavor jellybean.  We’ll talk about heteroplasmic mutations another time.

So, at Family Tree DNA, the results you see are actually what you carry at each of your individual 16,569 mitochondrial addresses.  Your results, an example shown below, are the mutations that were found.  “Normal” is not shown.  The letter following the location number, 16069T, for example, is the mutation found in that location.  In this case, normal is C.  In the RSRS model of showing mitochondrial DNA mutations, this location/mutation combination would be written as C16069T so that you can immediately see what is normal and then the mutated state.  You can click on the images to enlarge.

ftdna mito results

Family Tree DNA gives you the option to see your results either in the traditional CRS (Cambridge Reference Sequence) model, above, or the more current Reconstructed Sapiens Reference Sequence (RSRS) model.  I am showing the CRS version because that is the version utilized by 23andMe and I want to compare apples and apples.  You can read about the difference between the two versions here.

Defining Haplogroups

Haplogroups are defined by specific mutations at certain addresses.

For example, the following mutations, cumulatively, define haplogroup J1c2f.  Each branch is defined by its own mutation(s).

Haplogroup Required Mutations  
J C295T, T489C, A10398G!,   A12612G, G13708A, C16069T
J1 C462T, G3010A
J1c G185A, G228A,   T14798C
J1c2 A188G
J1c2f G9055A

You can see, below, that these results, shown above, do carry these mutations, which is how this individual was assigned to haplogroup J1c2f. You can read about how haplogroups are defined here.

ftdna J1c2f mutations

At 23andMe, they use chip based technology that scans only specifically programmed locations for specific values.  So, they would look at only the locations that would be haplogroup producing, and only those locations.  Better yet if there is one location that is utilized in haplogroup J1c2f that is predictive of ONLY J1c2f, they would select and use that location.

This same individual at 23andMe is classified as haplogroup J1c2, not J1c2f.  This could be a function of two things.  First, the probes might not cover that final location, 9055, and second, 23andMe may not be utilizing the same version of the mitochondrial haplotree as Family Tree DNA.

By clicking on the 23andMe option for “Ancestry Tools,” then “Haplogroup Tree Mutation Mapper,” you can see which mutations were tested with the probes to determine a haplogroup assignment.  23andMe information for this haplogroup is shown below.  This is not personal information, meaning it is not specific to you, except that you know you have mutations at these locations based on the fact that they have assigned you to the specific haplogroup defined by these mutations.  What 23andMe is showing in their chart is the ancestral value, which is the value you DON’T have.  So your jelly bean is not chocolate at location 295, it’s tangerine, apricot or grape.

Notice that 23andMe does not test for J1c2f.  In addition, 23andMe cannot pick up on insertions, deletions or heteroplasmies.  Normally, since they aren’t reading each one of your locations and providing you with that report, missing insertions and deletions doesn’t affect anything, BUT, if a deletion or insertion is haplogroup defining, they will miss this call.  Haplogroup K comes to mind.

J defining mutations

J1 defining mutations

J1c defining mutations

23andMe never looks at any locations in the jelly bean jar other than the ones to assign a haplogroup, in this case,17 locations.  Family Tree DNA reads every jelly bean in the jelly bean jar, all 16,569.  Different technology, different results.  You also receive your haplogroup at 23andMe as part of a $99 package, but of course the individual reading of your mitochondrial DNA at Family Tree DNA is more accurate.  Which is best for you depends on your personal testing goals, so long as you accurately understand the differences and therefore how to interpret results.  A haplogroup match does not mean you’re a genealogy match.  More than one person has told me that they are haplogroup J1c, for example, at Family Tree DNA and they match someone at 23andMe on the same haplogroup, so they KNOW they have a common ancestor in the past few generations.  That’s an incorrect interpretation.  Let’s take a look at why.

Matches Between the Two

23andMe provides the tester with a list of the people who match them at the haplogroup level.  Most people don’t actually find this information, because it is buried on the “My Results,” then “Maternal Line” page, then scrolling down until your haplogroup is displayed on the right hand side with a box around it.

Those who do find this are confused because they interpret this to mean they are a match, as in a genealogical match, like at Family Tree DNA, or like when you match someone at either company autosomally.  This is NOT the case.

For example, other than known family members, this individual matches two other people classified as haplogroup J1c2.  How close of a match is this really?  How long ago do they share a common ancestor?

Taking a look at Doron Behar’s paper, “A “Copernican” Reassessment of the Human Mitochondrial DNA Tree from its Root,” in the supplemental material we find that haplogroup J1c2 was born about 9762 years ago with a variance of plus or minus about 2010 years, so sometime between 7,752 and 11,772 years ago.  This means that these people are related sometime in the past, roughly, 10,000 years – maybe as little as 7000 years ago.  This is absolutely NOT the same as matching your individual 16,569 markers at Family Tree DNA.  Haplogroup matching only means you share a common ancestor many thousands of years ago.

For people who match each other on their individual mitochondrial DNA location markers, their haplotype, Family Tree DNA provides the following information in their FAQ:

    • Matching on HVR1 means that you have a 50% chance of sharing a common maternal ancestor within the last fifty-two generations. That is about 1,300 years.
    • Matching on HVR1 and HVR2 means that you have a 50% chance of sharing a common maternal ancestor within the last twenty-eight generations. That is about 700 years.
    • Matching exactly on the Mitochondrial DNA Full Sequence test brings your matches into more recent times. It means that you have a 50% chance of sharing a common maternal ancestor within the last 5 generations. That is about 125 years.

I actually think these numbers are a bit generous, especially on the full sequence.  We all know that obtaining mitochondrial DNA matches that we can trace are more difficult than with the Y chromosome matches.  Of course, the surname changing in mitochondrial lines every generation doesn’t help one bit and often causes us to “lose” maternal lines before we “lose” paternal lines.

Autosomal and Haplogroups, Together

As long as we’re mythbusting here – I want to make one other point.  I have heard people say, more than once, that an autosomal match isn’t valid “because the haplogroups don’t match.”  Of course, this tells me immediately that someone doesn’t understand either autosomal matching, which covers all of your ancestral lines, or haplogroups, which cover ONLY either your matrilineal, meaning mitochondrial, or patrilineal, meaning Y DNA, line.  Now, if you match autosomally AND share a common haplogroup as well, at 23andMe, that might be a hint of where to look for a common ancestor.  But it’s only a hint.

At Family Tree DNA, it’s more than a hint.  You can tell for sure by selecting the “Advanced Matching” option under Y-DNA, mtDNA or Family Finder and selecting the options for both Family Finder (autosomal) and the other type of DNA you are inquiring about.  The results of this query tell you if your markers for both of these tests (or whatever tests are selected) match with any individuals on your match list.

Advanced match options

Hint – for mitochondrial DNA, I never select “full sequence” or “all mtDNA” because I don’t want to miss someone who has only tested at the HVR1 level and also matches me autosomally.  I tend to try several combinations to make sure I cover every possibility, especially given that you may match someone at the full sequence level, which allows for mutations, that you don’t match at the HVR1 level.  Same situation for Y DNA as well.  Also note that you need to answer “yes” to “Show only people I match on all selected tests.”

Y-DNA at 23andMe

Y-DNA works pretty much the same at 23andMe as mitochondrial meaning they probe certain haplogroup-defining locations.  They do utilize a different Y tree than Family Tree DNA, so the haplogroup names may be somewhat different, but will still be in the same base haplogroup.  Like mitochondrial DNA, by utilizing the haplogroup mapper, you can see which probes are utilized to determine the haplogroup.  The normal SNP name is given directly after the rs number.  The rs number is the address of the DNA on the chromosome.  Y mutations are a bit different than the display for mitochondrial DNA.  While mitochondrial DNA at 23andMe shows you only the normal value, for Y DNA, they show you both the normal, or ancestral, value and the derived, or current, value as well.  So at SNP P44, grape is normal and you have apricot if you’ve been assigned to haplogroup C3.

C3 defining mutations

As we are all aware, many new haplogroups have been defined in the past several months, and continue to be discovered via the results of the Big Y and Full Y test results which are being returned on a daily basis.  Because 23andMe does not have the ability to change their probes without burning an entirely new chip, updates will not happen often.  In fact, their new V4 chip just introduced in December actually reduced the number of probes from 967,000 to 602,000, although CeCe Moore reported that the number of mtDNA and Y probes increased.

By way of comparison, the ISOGG tree is shown below.  Very recently C3 was renamed to C2, which isn’t really the point here.  You can see just how many haplogroups really exist below C3/C2 defined by SNP M217.  And if you think this is a lot, you should see haplogroup R – it goes on for days and days!

ISOGG C3-C2 cropped

How long ago do you share a common ancestor with that other person at 23andMe who is also assigned to haplogroup C3?  Well, we don’t have a handy dandy reference chart for Y DNA like we do for mitochondrial – partly because it’s a constantly moving target, but haplogroup C3 is about 12,000 years old, plus or minus about 5,000 years, and is found on both sides of the Bering Strait.  It is found in indigenous Native American populations along with Siberians and in some frequency, throughout all of Asia and in low frequencies, into Europe.

How do you find out more about your haplogroup, or if you really do match that other person who is C3?  Test at Family Tree DNA.  23andMe is not in the business of testing individual markers.  Their business focus is autosomal DNA and it’s various applications, medical and genealogical, and that’s it.

Y-DNA at Family Tree DNA

At Family Tree DNA, you can test STR markers at 12, 25, 37, 67 and 111 marker levels.  Most people, today, begin with either 37 or 67 markers.

Of course, you receive your results in several ways at Family Tree DNA, Haplogroup Origins, Ancestral Origins, Matches Maps and Migration Maps, but what most people are most interested in are the individual matches to other people.  These STR markers are great for genealogical matching.  You can read about the difference between STR and SNP markers here.

When you take the Y test, Family Tree DNA also provides you with an estimated haplogroup.  That estimate has proven to be very accurate over the years.  They only estimate your haplogroup if you have a proven match to someone who has been SNP tested. Of course it’s not a deep haplogroup – in haplogroup R1b it will be something like R1b1a2.  So, while it’s not deep, it’s free and it’s accurate.  If they can’t predict your haplogroup using that criteria, they will test you for free.  It’s called their SNP assurance program and it has been in place for many years.  This is normally only necessary for unusual DNA, but, as a project administrator, I still see backbone tests being performed from time to time.

If you want to purchase SNP tests, in various formats, you can confirm your haplogroup and order deeper testing.

You can order individual SNP markers for about $39 each and do selective testing.  On the screen below you can see the SNPs available to purchase for haplogroup C3 a la carte.


You can order the Geno 2.0 test for $199 and obtain a large number of SNPs tested, over 12,000, for the all-inclusive price.  New SNPs discovered since the release of their chip in July of 2012 won’t be included either, but you can then order those a la carte if you wish.

Or you can go all out and order the new Big Y for $695 where all of your Y jellybeans, all 13.5 million of them in your Y DNA jar are individually looked at and evaluated.  People who choose this new test are compared against a data base of more than 36,000 known SNPs and each person receives a list of “novel variants” which means individual SNPs never before discovered and not documented in the SNP data base of 36,000.

Don’t know which path to take?  I would suggest that you talk to the haplogroup project administrator for the haplogroup you fall into.  Need to know how to determine which project to join, and how to join? Click here.  Haplogroup project administrators are generally very knowledgeable and helpful.  Many of them are spearheading research into their haplogroup of interest and their knowledge of that haplogroup exceeds that of anyone else.  Of course you can also contact Family Tree DNA and ask for assistance, you can purchase a Quick Consult from me, and you can read this article about comparing your options.



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Bowling Speake (1674-1755) Drinks to the Pretender – 52 Ancestors #12

Bowling Speake was born in 1674 in St. Mary’s County, Maryland and died there, in the same location, which by then was Charles County, Maryland, after he signed a deed on July 23, 1755 and before his will was probated on Sept. 13, 1755.

Thomas Speake, his father, had arrived in the colonies about 1660 and subsequently married Elizabeth Bowling.  They were having children by 1665 when their son John, known as John the Innkeeper, was born.  A record of their marriage does not exist.

Their only other known child was Bowling Speake, although it would have been very unusual to have only two children.  John and Bowling are the only ones named in the will of Thomas or that we can find in either earlier or subsequent records.

We know positively that Elizabeth Bowling and Thomas Speake were Catholic because Thomas states in his will “that my Loving brother in Law James Bowling hath the Disposall of my children to be brought up in the Roman Catholick faith.”

According to Harold Speake, early Speake historian, now deceased, John Speak left the Catholic Church when he married Winifred Wheeler, an Anglican (the date of the wedding was apparently August 11, 1685).  Bowling Speak remained a Catholic and retained the family homestead.

In March of 1722, Bowling gives a deposition about the bounds of a tract of land called Mudd’s Rest that he purchased about 13 years prior from the daughter of Thomas Mudd.  This would put his land purchase in about 1709.

In 1718, we discover that Bowling was a shoemaker.

Charles Co. Land Records Liber D2 p. 203
6 Aug 1718 mentions Bowling Speake, shoemaker.

In September of 1718, Bowling Speak acquired land called “The Mistake,” 200 acres, for 5000 pounds of tobacco, in an area known as Zekiah Manor which is today the land on which the current St. Peter’s Church is located.  I have always wondered how “The Mistake” got it’s name.  There has to be a good story in there someplace!

Land known as “Speak’s Enlargement” abutted “The Mistake,” according to a 1754 deed in which he deeded both to his son Thomas in which the land was identified as “where Thomas Speake’s dwelling place now is.”

In August of 1718, Bowling also purchased part of a tract called “Boarman’s Reserve” for 9000 pounds tobacco and later, in 1739, patented land called “Speake Meadow” which abutted Boarman’s Reserve.

These two tracts of land were located about 7 miles apart in Charles County, Maryland.

Bowling lived on his land at Boarman Manor, according to his will which says he leaves Edward “my dwelling plantation and a small tract of land called the Meadow.”  Before Bowling’s death, he had sold part of the Boarman’s Manor land.

Upon  Bowling’s death in 1755, he left the balance of his “Mistake” and “Speake’s Enlargement” lands to his children.  In his will, he gives the location of this land which Speak cousin, Jerry Draney, traced through deeds to the current owners, the Catholic Church.   Bowling’s son, Thomas (known as Thomas of Zachiah or Zekiah), born about 1698, lived on this land.

On July 23, 1755, Bowling Speake deeded land to his son Thomas Speake.  Bowling’s will was then probated on September 13, 1755.  On August 2, 1755, Thomas Speake, Bowling’s son, wrote and dated his will.  His will was also probated September 13, 1755, the same day as his father.  I can’t help but wonder if his father’s death in some way contributed to his own death.  Or perhaps Thomas’s death was more than Bowling could stand.

Bowling’s poor wife, Mary – to lose her husband and her son within days of each other must have been almost too much to bear.  We know she was alive at Bowling’s death according to his will, unless she had died between October 20, 1750, when he wrote his will and his death nearly 5 years later.  It was unusual during that timeframe for men to make wills significantly prior to their death.  He may have had an earlier scare and recovered.  Wills at that time were often much more of an “on my deathbed” kind of event.  Mary signed a release of dower in 1744 but when land was sold but in 1754 and 1755, no dower release was signed.  We don’t know when she died.

Thomas’s children lost both a father and grandfather as well.  The entire family was in double mourning.

Thomas of Zachiah left his land, today the land of St. Peter’s church, to his children, specifically to sons Charles Beckworth (or Beckwith) Speake and Nicholas Speake.  Thomas’s will and his father Bowling’s will were probated at the same court session on September 13, 1755.  That must have been a very sad day.

St Peter's Jordan Run

St Peters tour

Charles Beckworth (or Beckwith) Speake was born in 1741 to Thomas of Zachiah and wife Jane.  His brother Nicholas, who shared the land with him, was born in 1734.  To date, a sale of this land has never been found, but it surely was sold, because Charles Beckworth Speak would strike out for North Carolina by 1788, taking with him his young son Nicholas Speak, born in 1782, who would in the 1820s found the Speaks Methodist Church in Lee County, Virginia.  Nicholas’s great-grandfather, Bowling, probably turned over in his grave!  His grandson had become a Protestant!

You can read more about this land and see it today in the article “Thomas Speak (c1634-1681) – The Catholic Immigrant.”

In a 1739 record, we discover that Bowling Speak married Mary Benson, via this archival record dealing with land in 1739 and that her father’s name was Hugh Benson.

Archives of MD v40 Assembly Proceedings, May 1–June 12, 1739
(LHJ Lib. No. 45)

Your Commitee find on Inspecting the papers of the Petitioners and Land Called Crackburns Purchase Containing Two Hundred acres was Granted on the 24th Day of October Ann. Domr. 1659 unto Richard Crackburn assignee of Walter Peak and Peter Mills assignee of Paul Simpson in ffee.  Your Committee furhter find that the said Richard Crackburn by his deed bearing Date the 17th Day of November 1681, Did bargain and sell the said Tract of Land to Richard Gardiner of St. Marys County in ffee.

Your Committee also find that Richard Gardiner and Mary his wife of St. Marys County afd. Did Convey to Hugh Benson of the same County Planter one Hundred acres part of the said Tract in ffee.

Your Committee Likewise find that Mary the Daughter and Heiress at Law of Hugh Benson Intermarried with Bowling Speak of Charles County and that the said Bowling Speak and the said Mary his wife by their Deed bearing Date the 31st day of March 1739 did Convey the said Parcell of Land unto the Petitioners in ffee….

Bowling’s Act of Defiance

This next 1752 record involving Bowling is just a wonderful peek into his life.

Archives of MD 50, p57-58
Assembly Proceedings, June 3-23, 1752  The Lower House.
L.H.J. Liber No.47; June 17 (p237-238)

The Lord Proprietary against Bowlen Speak} The said Bowlen Speak being bound by Recognizance for his Appearance here this Court, to answer of and concerning a Presentment by the Grand Jurors, for the Body of the Province of Maryland, against him found; for that he, on or about the first Day of March last, did, in a public Manner, drink the Pretenders Health, and good Success in his Proceedings; and being demanded whether he is guilty of the Premisses in the Presentment aforesaid mentioned, or not guilty, says he is guilty thereof, and submits to the Court’s Judgment thereon.

Therefore it is considered by the Justices here, that the said Bowlen Speak, for the Offence aforesaid, be fined to his Lordship the Lord Proprietary in the Sum of Ten Pounds Current Money; and he is ordered to give Security for the Payment of the Fine aforesaid: But for the Want thereof, he is committed to the Custody of the Sheriff of Charles County, there to remain until, &c. who being present here in Court, took Charge of him accordingly.

And it is further ordered, that he give Security in the Sum of Fifty Pounds Current Money, himself, with one Security, in the like Sum, or two Securities in the Sum of Twenty-five Pounds like Money each, for his the said Bowlen Speak’s keeping the Peace, and being of good Behaviour, until next Court; and do for the payment of the several Officers Fees arising due by Occasion of the Premisses aforesaid.

Thereupon the said Bowlen Speak, being present here in Court, acknowleges himself to owe and stand justly indebted to his Lordship, the Right Honourable the Lord Proprietary, in the Sum of Fifty Pounds Current Money, together with William Bryant of Charles County, Planter, as his Security, being likewise present here in Court, acknowleges himself also to owe and stand justly indebted unto his Lordship, the Right Honourable the Lord Proprietary, in the like Sum of Fifty Pounds like Money: And they severally acknowlege, that the several above Sums shall be levied on their respective Bodies, Goods, Chattels, Lands and Tenements, to and for the Use of his said Lordship, his Heirs, and Successors; in case he the said Bowlen Speak, shall not keep the Peace, and be of good Behaviour, until the next Provincial Court, and shall not pay the several Officers Fees arising due by Occasion of the Premisses aforesaid.

A true Copy from the Records of the Provincial Court, Liber E I, No. 10.
Folios 231 and 232.
Per R. Burdus, Clerk.
In Testimony whereof the Seal of the said Provincial Court is hereunto affixed, this 15th Day of June, Anno Domini 1752. L.S.

What was Bowling doing, and why?  The Pretender here probably refers to “Bonnie Prince Charlie” given the date of 1751 when Bowling uttered these traitorous words for which he stated he was guilty and was remanded to jail because he did not have the fine of 10 pounds.  Ironically, his security recognizance to be released, after paying the 10 pounds, to assure his good behavior “until the next court” was 5 times that much – 50 pounds.  Apparently the judges felt that Bowling’s good behavior was anything but a sure bet!

However, Bowling’s friend, William Bryant, paid the security, of course, assuming I’m sure that Bowling would behave and his security money would be returned.  The lesson here is never open your mouth unless you can afford the consequences or you’ll wind up in jail!!!

Bowling was not a young man when this happened.  He was 78 years of age.  His children were in their 50s, probably rolling their eyes and scurrying about trying to scrape together the money to bail Bowling out of jail.  It makes me wonder if he was suffering perhaps from dementia that made him forget what was politically correct.  Or maybe, at age 78, he simply didn’t care anymore.  He was going to say what he wanted, the consequences be damned.  I love his spirited heart and am so glad he left us this unquestionable view of his beliefs.

The Jacobites

All of this dissention hearkens back to the Protestant vs Catholic battles and politics in England, Scotland and Ireland, and was at the heart of the Jacobite movement.  Remember that the US was a colony of Great Britain, so indeed, this mattered to the people who lived here.  It involved who officially ruled them.  The phrase “Pretender” alluded to one who believes he is rightfully entitled to the English throne, but who is currently not King. In this case, the men who would have been King has England been a Catholic country at that time.

Jacobitism was the political movement in Great Britain and Ireland to restore the Roman Catholic Stuart King James II of England and his heirs to the thrones of England, Scotland and Ireland. The movement took its name from Jacobus, the Latinised form of James, and refers to a long series of Jacobite risings between 1688 and 1746.  After James II was deposed in 1688 and replaced by his Protestant daughter Mary II, ruling jointly with her Protestant husband and first cousin (James’s nephew) William III, the Stuarts lived in exile, occasionally attempting to regain the throne. The strongholds of Jacobitism were the Scottish Highlands, Ireland and Northern England. Significant support also existed in Wales and South-West England.

The Jacobites believed that parliamentary interference with monarchical succession was illegal. Catholics also hoped the Stuarts would end recussancy. In Scotland, the Jacobite cause became entangled in the last throes of the warrior clan system.

The emblem of the Jacobites is the White Cockade. White Rose Day is celebrated on 10 June, the anniversary of the birth of the Old Pretender in 1688.

Yorkshire rose

Yorkshire Rose, heraldic symbol of the House of York

White Rose of York

White Rose of York from a manuscript of Edward IV in the late 1400s

After the execution of Charles I in 1649, his son Charles II became Pretender until his restoration 11 years later.

After the overthrow of the Catholic James II and VII in the Glorious Revolution in 1688, many refused to accept the legality of the new regime of William and Mary, James’s Protestant daughter and son-in-law, and continued to recognize James as King. James made a significant effort in 1690 to recover Ireland, but was defeated by William at the Battle of the Boyne. After James’s death, his supporters recognized his son, James Francis Edward Stuart, the Roman Catholic son of the deposed King James VII and II.

James was barred from the succession to the throne by the Act of Settlement 1701. Notwithstanding the Act of Union 1707, he claimed the separate thrones of Scotland, as James VIII, and of England and Ireland, as James III, until his death in 1766. In Jacobite terms, Acts of Parliament (of England or Scotland) after 1688, (including the Acts of Union) did not receive the required Royal Assent of the legitimate Jacobite monarch and, therefore, were without legal effect. James was responsible for a number of conspiracies and rebellions, particularly in the Highlands of Scotland. The most notable was The Fifteen, which took place in 1715-16.

Charles Edward Stuart, James’ elder son, the would-be Charles III, known as Bonnie Prince Charlie, led in his father’s name the last major Jacobite rebellion, the Forty-Five, in 1745-46. He died in 1788, without legitimate issue.

In essence, what Bowling said, publicly, in 1752, probably, if I had to guess, after having a bit too much to drink, was that he supported the overthrow of the government under which he was living.  Not a wise thing to say in public.  However, for Bowling’s descendants, it makes him a colorful man and allows us a peek at his true character.  We know he remained a strong Catholic.  This also tells us that his wife would have been Catholic as well, and his children baptized in that faith.

Bowling’s Will

Bowling Speake, born in 1674, according to several depositions during his lifetime, in St. Mary’s County, Maryland, died in August or early September 1755 in Charles County, Maryland, just three years after publicly drinking to the Pretender. His will was probated on September 13, 1755.

In the name of God Amen I Bowling Speake of Charles County in the province of Maryland being in perfect health and memory thanks be to God do make & ordain this my will & testament in manner & form following Viz.

Imprimis I give and bequeath to my son Thomas Speake his heirs & assigns forever 121 acres of land being part of a tract of land. ..Mistake beginning at the first bound tree and running thence to Jordan Branch & up the Branch to a small (sic) next of his Dwelling place and thence to the beginning to make acres –

Item I give and bequeath to my son William Speake two hundred and two acres with Dwelling place being part of a tract of land called mistake to him & his heirs forever and bequeath to my well beloved wife my Dwelling plantation and the use of all my persc Estate during her natural life and after her decease I give and bequeath to my grandson Speake the son of Thomas Speake my Dwelling Plantation and also a small tract of land c(alled) the meadow also his first choice of the negroes and the first choice of my beds and fuz

Item I give and bequeath to my granddaughter Ann Higdon the second choice of my beds an furniture my great chest one Dish & three plates one iron pot & Cattle and Sheep that a make to her without interuption –

Item I give & bequeath to my Daughter Mary Baggott th 112 of my cattle and sheep one feather bed and furniture and one chest

Item I give & to my son William one negro –

Lastly I do hereby nominate constitute and appoint my beloved wife Mary Speake and my aforesaid grandson Edward Speake the son of Thomas Speake full sole Executors of this my last will and textament

In Witness whereof I have hereunto se hand and affixed my seal this this(sic) Twentieth day of October in the year of our Lc Signed sealed published & delivered in the presence of us

Will McPherson Junr Wm Comes                                    Bowling Speake     seal
Ma–maduke Semmes

Annexed to the foregoing will was the foll(owin)g probate to wit

Maryland for 13th September 1755 Marmaduke Semmes William McPherson Junior and William Coomes the three subscribing witnesses to the foregoing will being duly & solemn sworn on the hole Evangels deposeth and saith that they saw the Testator Bowking Speake & seal the within will and heard him publish & declare the same to be his last will and and that at the time of his so doing was to the best of their apprehensions of sound & mind & memory and that they severally subscribed as witnesses to the said will in the presence of the Testator & at his request which was taken in the presence of Edwd Speake heiz who did not object to the same.

Perhaps Edward was Bowling’s executor because his son Thomas was already ill.

Children of Bowling Speake and Mary Benson were:

  • Thomas Speake, born 1698 in St Mary’s County, Maryland; died between August 2nd and September 13, 1755, in Charles County, Maryland; married Jane, last name unknown
  • William Speake, born about 1699.
  • Mary Speake, born about 1700; married ? Higdon and a Baggott?

However, it seems there was more than religion that separated John Speake from his brother, Bowling.  As it turns out, there might be DNA as well.

Lancashire DNA Speaks

In 2013, on our Speaks family trip to Lancashire, we were very fortunate to meet several of our Speak(e) cousins in various locations.  Several joined us for dinner one evening at the Stirk House, a country manor house once owned and restored by Harry Speak himself.

Our trip was precipitated upon DNA findings. Our cousin, Doug, from New Zealand tested and matched our American line descended from Thomas Speak(e) born about 1634 and who immigrated to America around 1660.  The blessing was that Doug knew exactly where his Speak ancestors were from – Gisburn, Lancashire, England.

During and shortly after our visit, three of our British cousins, Gary, Stan and David took the Y DNA test to see if they matched each other as well as Doug.  The prevailing sentiment was that indeed, the Speak families were not related to each other.

David, based on his genealogy, we know is a cousin of our New Zealand cousin, Doug, who matches the American line.  In fact, it’s  Doug’s fault that we were all there, in Gisburn – because our New Zealand cousin knew who his oldest ancestor was – John Speak – the man whose children were baptized in the 1700s in St. Mary’s of Gisburn.

Gary indicated that he was told that his line is not related to ours.  By this time, in the 1900s, the different Speaks families were on the other side of Pendle Hill, not terribly close to each other and in different communities.  The known ancestral villages of the three different Speaks lines are shown on the map below.  Pendle Hill is the high area in the middle.  The two most distant points, Gisburn and Bolton are about 25 miles as the crow flies, or about 30 miles driving, and Bolton is a more recent location.

Lancashire men map cropped

So indeed, we are all quite interested in the outcome of the Y DNA testing.

And the answer is……drum roll…..all 4 men, Doug, David, Stan and Gary do share a common paternal ancestor.  So yes, we are all related. Of course, figuring out exactly how we are related, and how far back, is another matter altogether.

I’ve reconstructed their pedigree charts as best I can.  The men graciously provided me with their genealogy information.

Lancashire men SS

What I’ve tried to do with these results is to group them according to ancestor.  In other words, in the group above, 201632 and 312514 both share a common lineage via the John born in 1822 in Burnley and who married Mary.

Lancashire men ss 2

This second chart is a bit more complex.  We know that Gary’s ancestor Thomas was the brother of Harry who owned the Stirk House.  Gary is still working on his ancestry, but in the mean time, I found a lovely family tree on provided by the granddaughter of Harry Speak.  It’s fully sourced, so I felt good about using it.  So even though we don’t have a DNA sample from Harry of the Stirk House, we do have his genealogy which I aligned side by side with Gary’s, as the genealogy should be identical from brothers Thomas and Harry on back in time.

As you can see, the oldest ancestors here are Henry who was born in Twiston and baptized in Downham in 1650 and John born in 1700, location unknown, but who died in Hey, Houlridge and who married Mary.

The common ancestor between these two groups is further back in time.  We really don’t know how much further back, but we do know it was after the adoption of surnames.  The first mention of a Speak or similar surname male in this region is found in 1305 when Robert Speke was named as a landowner in Billington, which is inside the Whalley parish.  This is the earliest known Speak or similar surname record.  Given this information, we can safely say that the common Speak ancestor lived sometime between the 1300s and about 1650, a span of about 14 generations.

Let’s take a look at the DNA results found in the Speakes DNA project.

Lancashire dna headerLancashire DNA body

In the first section, after the kit number, you can see the names of the participants oldest ancestors, followed by DNA values at specific markers found on the Y chromosome which they inherited from their fathers unmixed with any DNA from their mother.  Therefore, their Y chromosome also matches that of their father, and grandfather, on back in time on the paternal side – except for an occasional mutation.  We count on those mutations to identify families and within families, to identify specific lines of descent.

Lancashire line markers

This is actually quite interesting, because all of the British men, plus Doug from New Zealand, have a value of 17 at location DYS19.  Two of the American participants have this value as well.  This tells me one thing and then begs a second question.

The piece of information this provides me for sure is that the value of our original ancestor in this location was 17. We know this because all of the British samples and the New Zealand sample have this value.  This tells me that the mutation happened either in Thomas, the American immigrant’s generation, or thereafter.

The fact that two American samples also have this value isn’t unusual, as one would expect for Thomas to have carried this value as well.  However, here’s the fly in the ointment.  The two American men who carry this value are from two different sons of Thomas the immigrant.  However, none of the rest of the American men have this value.  This means one of a few things – options below.

  1. The genealogy of one of the two American men who carry this value is incorrect and they both descend from the same son of Thomas who carried the original mutation.  This means that Thomas’s other son had a mutation to a value of 16.
  2. Both of Thomas’s sons had a value of 17, and both of their lines fairly quickly had a mutation to a value of  16.  This is unlikely but not unheard of.
  3. Of course, the problem is that both of the two known descendants of Thomas Speak, the immigrant, have additional descendants that have tested and who don’t carry a value of 17.

How can we find out what happened here?  We can’t.  We can continue to research and if we find something significant in the research that suggests a different genealogy for one participant, that might shed light on the topic.  But assuming this is a genetic mutation and not a genealogical problem, the only way we could ever sort through this to test people who descend from every generation of men along the way to see when and where this mutation took place. It’s interesting, but it’s not THAT interesting nor will it answer the question of which Lancashire line the American line is closer to genetically.

What I was hoping to find was a marker that differed between the Lancashire men.  For example, if the green group of Lancashire men had a value of 12 at the first marker, 393, and the red group of men had a value of 13 at 393, we would immediately surmise that we most likely were more closely related to the group that sported a value of 13, since all of the Americans carry that value. Unfortunately, there is no marker yet tested in the British men that shows this level of differentiation.

However, we also haven’t tested everyone to 111 markers.  The 111 marker upgrade was created for exactly this type of situation.  Indeed, the answer may well be waiting for us, waiting to be uncovered or discovered in the 111 marker test.



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Bluejacket Reunion with a Tomahawk

I want to thank Carlyle Henshaw for this wonderful article.  When I asked him for permission to publish, here’s what Carlyle had to say.

“I really had fun researching that article.  The three Bluejacket brothers that establish Bluejacket Crossing were George, Henry and Charles.  Henry was my great great grandfather.  The three brothers were grandsons of Shawnee Chief Blue Jacket, 1737-1808.  He was the last principal war chief of the Shawnee Tribe of Indians.  We have 15 members in our PekowiBlueJacket Project.  All trace to Blue Jacket genealogically.  We all descend from the three brothers via DNA.  Nine of us have Family Finder.  Four males have fathers who are named Bluejacket and all match each other.  One is haplogroup Q and three are Q1a3a1.  All in all, everyone matches up in the Blue Jacket line, genetically and genealogically.  We have sixth, seventh and eighth generations from Blue Jacket represented.”


by Carlyle Hinshaw

Twin Bridges State Park — On July 1, 2001, the Shawnee Indian Blue Jacket family held its biennial reunion at this lovely place eight miles southeast of Miami, Oklahoma. The picnic was comprised of 60 relatives and other Shawnee friends and two fine Ottawa County Coon Hounds who know a Shawnee repast when they see, er, smell one! Blue Jackets from the Cherokee Nation (Cherokee Adopted Shawnee), Eastern Shawnee Tribe and Shawnee Tribe gathered to celebrate their long, illustrious history. Several excellent stories arose and are being told as time allows for the telling.

Robert Harry Withrow, Jr., of Kanab, Utah, brought a Pipe Tomahawk used by and handed down through, his family from Shawnee days in northeastern Kansas Territory during the middle 1800’s. Robert also brought along the story of the Pipe Tomahawk.

On November 30, 1831, a group of 334 Shawnees, including families of Chief John Perry, Henry and James (Jim) Blue Jacket, Peter Cornstalk and John Woolf arrived at the Shawnee Agency in Kansas after a three month “Trail of Tears” from Allen County, Ohio. Most of the adults rode horseback and the children in baggage wagons. These Wapaghkonetta and Hog Creek Shawnees had ceded (August 8, 1831) their homelands to the U. S. Government for 100,000 acres within or contiguous to, the existing Shawnee Reserve south of the Kansas (Kaw) River. The following year, 24 Shawnees of the River Huron in Michigan Territory made their trek to the new Shawnee country. In 1833, 14 more followed suit and in 1839, the total of River Huron Shawnees in the Shawnee Reserve was 38. (Louise Barry, THE BEGINNING OF THE WEST, p. 223-24, Kansas State Historical Society, Topeka, 1972).

The new Shawnee lands were however, smack dab in the middle of the great western migration. Starting with a fur party path in 1827 (Sublette’s Trace), several trails headed up in the Independence, Missouri – confluence of the Kaw and Missouri rivers area and the main trace of the Oregon California Road crossed Shawnee lands south of the Kaw. Westward Ho traffic steadily increased and reached a crescendo after the discovery of gold in California in 1849. Settlement along the various trails began and Indian lands became more and more desirable to emigrants wanting to establish roots.

Treaty of 1854

Successful in their continual efforts to displace Indians, the U. S. Government had Shawnee leaders travel to Washington DC and sign a treaty on May 10, 1854, ceding 1, 600,000 acres of their land for 200,000 within the same area. Now that was a hell of a deal for the governmental’s! Shawnee signers of the document included: Joseph Parks, Black Hoof (was he still around?), George McDougal, Silverheels, Paschal Fish, Long Tail, George Blue Jacket, Graham Rogers,  Wa-wah-che-pa-e-kar (or, Black Bob), Tooly and Henry Blue Jacket. Witness’s to the signatures included Agent Benjamin F. Robinson and Interpreter Charles Blue Jacket. Each Shawnee was awarded, in severalty, 200 acres and that included Absentee Shawnees and Adopted Shawnees.

BLuejacket crossing

Hughmongous tracts of lands immediately became available for settlement and many new areas were incorporated, including Lawrence in 1854 and Eudora in 1857. German settlers purchased land for the latter town from Paschal Fish, who, along with John Blue Jacket, had been assistant gun and blacksmiths for the Leavenworth Agency in 1837. Quick to take advantage of this new situation, the Blue Jacket brothers, Henry, George and Charles, went into the hotel and ferry business. George and storekeeper William “Dutch Bill or Billy” Greiffenstein incorporated the town of Sebastian, six miles SE of Lawrence in the SE1/4 of the SW1/4 of Section 12 – Township 13 South – Range 20 East. The town did not survive and is not shown on modern maps. Henry died at Blue Jacket’s Crossing of the Wakarusa River on May 3, 1855, leaving his wife, Eliza, with six children and expecting a seventh. The latter was born in early 1856.

On the afternoon of May 19, 1855, the first steamboat to ply the Kansas River, the EMMA HARMON, left Kansas City en-route to Topeka and other way landings. Stopping to re-supply wood around noon the next day, they slipped into the stream again and almost immediately were hailed by an Indian wanting a tow up river for his flatboat. They stopped, made the small boat fast and proceeded west up river. The flatboat had just been made by Tooly, a Shawnee who had operated a ferry where the Delaware River, coming from the north, joined the Kaw between Lawrence and Topeka. Upon reaching the confluence of the Kaw and Wakarusa, they cast the Indian loose in his craft. Amidst cheering and waving from the passengers, the red man poled his way up the smaller stream. That Indian boat captain had to be one of two cousins, both strapping 21 year olds, Stephen S. Blue Jacket, eldest son of Henry, or William George Blue Jacket, eldest son of George! Thus began operations of Blue Jacket’s Ferry. (Kansas Historical Quarterly, V. 6, p. 17-19)

bluejacket ferry

Civil War

The Free State – Slave State concept became an overriding one at this time, as anti-slavery Kansas Jayhawkers actively worked with the underground railroad bringing freedom to many and pro-slavery Missouri Bushwhackers fought to bring the freedmen back into slavery. With Lawrence as the “free state” capitol, local traffic added to the depth of Oregon California Road ruts. Kansas in fact became a free State in 1861 as the Civil War broke out.

On the night of August 21, 1863, Confederate Captain William Clarke Quantrill led 400 raiders from successes at Independence, Missouri against Union troops, toward Lawrence to punish the anti-slavery zealots of many years standing. The inhabitants of Blue Jacket’s Crossing got wind of Quantrill’s sweep across northeastern Kansas and took precautions. Eliza Silverheels, wife of David Likens Blue Jacket, had a one year old boy at the time but took it upon herself to round up the children and some older protectors, loaded them with provisions and the very youngest and sent them into the hills south of the Wakarusa.

Defending Hearth and Home

Eliza was determined to guard her home, stayed there and lay in wait for the band of guerillas prancing toward Lawrence. This great-great grandmother of Robert Harry Withrow, Jr., was armed with a Pipe Tomahawk, most assuredly obtained from her father-in-law, the Rev. Charles Blue Jacket, by now an ordained Methodist Minister.

As the raiders crossed the Wakarusa at this Shawnee enclave, one, bent on looting Eliza’s home and perhaps intent on doing bodily harm to any inhabitants, tried to enter by a window. A young, enraged Shawnee Indian woman brandishing a wicked looking Tomahawk confronted him! With great effort, Eliza gave a mighty swing of her weapon, so mighty in fact, that when the axe met the raider, her arm broke. The haft of the Tomahawk broke at the same time. The Quantrillian was not so fortunate, as the blow to his head did him in for good!

The Confederates hit Lawrence at 5 AM, killing upwards of 200 men, looting, raping and setting fire to the entire town in an atrocity of the worst kind. Quantrill later was abandoned by most of his men and killed by Union troops in Kentucky. Lawrence began recovery immediately, regardless of the heartbreak foisted upon them by those monsters.

Pipe Tomahawks

The successful defender passed the family Pipe Tomahawk on to daughter Cindarella Blue Jacket who passed it to her daughter Cindarella Florence (Mills) Brown. Mrs. Brown’s daughter, Betty June, married Robert Harry Withrow and they parented Robert, Jr., who is the current keeper of the family heirloom. The Withrow family and 90 year old grand mom, Cindarella Florence, all attended the picnic and all contributed to this story.

European and Americans developed pipe Tomahawks for the Indian trade. Made with a smoking handle and a tobacco bowl insert at the head, they served, among other things, as “badges of prestige” given to Indian leaders at treaty signings and other occasions. Giver and receiver ornately decorated most. Modern artisans reproduce them and can be acquired at less than $50.00 to $500.00. Documented historical antiquities sell for upwards of $35,000!

Robert Withrow pipe tomahawk

Robert Withrow’s Pipe Tomahawk does not have the original smoking haft, thanks to Eliza’s mighty blow, however, its origin is documented by makers marks.

The maker was a Vickers metal smith in London, England in 1833. The head was cast in the Naylor, Vickers and Company’s Sheffield foundry.

Pipe tomahawk

Both sides of the head have the “Bleeding Heart” symbol, which is a common decoration on the antique ones.

Pipe tomahawk bleeding heart

The Masonic emblem was probably etched by gun and black smithy, John Blue Jacket, brother of the Rev. Charles Blue Jacket, who, along with many other Shawnees, was active in that organization.

Pipe tomahawk man in moom

The other side is scribed with a man in the moon, which is a bit unusual. The French Moon or crescent moon was, however, a common inscription, sometimes included when the head was cast.

Robert Withrow, Jr. is a teacher of survival skills across the country, both to private and military groups. It is fitting that he continues to preserve Shawnee history and heritages.

Withrow family

Top L-R: Robert Withrow, Robert Withrow, Jr ., Robert John Brown
Bottom, L-R: Betty Withrow, Cindarella Brown, Saundra Davis.

The elder Withrows live in Chetopa KS, Robert and Saundra in Centralia IL and Cindarella in Centralia.

Cindarella had the good fortune to remember her grandparents. She was born in 1911 and David Likens Blue Jacket passed away on April 4, 1919 and Eliza (Silverheels) Blue Jacket on June 12, 1929. Great historical events were told directly to their daughter Cindarella (Blue Jacket) Mills and to their grand daughter Cindarella Mills. Now, at 90 years of age, the latter is still able to give us insight to our Shawnee heritage. Thank you Cindarella Florence (Mills) Brown.

Gaylord Carlyle Hinshaw
1713 Baron Dr
Norman OK 73071



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Houston Chronicle Article Features Gene by Gene Founders

On Sunday, March 16th, 2014, the Houston Chronicle features an article about Houston’s own entrepreneurs, Max Blankfeld and Bennett Greenspan who founded Gene by Gene, parent company of Family Tree DNA.  Below, in a photo from the Chronicle, they hold samples of DNA trayed and ready to run in their Gene by Gene lab.

Max and Bennett

How many of you know that the pair began as a photographic film salesman and a watchmaker?  This just proves what passion and innovation can and will do.  Impossible is not a word either man knows.

Begun in 2000 as a retirement business, today Family Tree DNA has tested over 600,000 people directly and another half a million people through National Geographic through the Genographic and Geno 2.0 projects.

Their business model: Buy what you can afford. Don’t hire anyone you might have to lay off. Invest in automation and technology.

This seems to be working, as they are profitable and have provided a total of over 5 million discrete tests, between Family Tree DNA and the other Gene by Gene testing companies which provide medical and paternity testing.

The story of how the company began is legendary in DNA circles.  Bennett Greenspan, a frustrated genealogist who had hit a dead end approached Dr. Michael Hammer at the University of Arizona.  One might suggest that approached isn’t really the correct word.  Hounded might be better.  Bennett understood that his Y chromosome would match that of someone else who shared a paternal ancestor, and he wanted to find a lab to do that test.  Michael Hammer finally simply acquiesced to get rid of Bennett, with the now infamous throw away line, “You know, someone should start a business doing this.”  Never, never say that to an entrepreneur.

As reported in the Chronicle, reflectively, Dr. Hammer, an adviser to Gene by Gene and a regular speaker at the Family Tree DNA annual genetics conference, says today, “It was just the right time, right place. No one thought this was going to turn into anything.”  Michael had obviously never met a man like Bennett.

I’ve known Bennett for 13 or 14 years now.  It’s easy to see him as a successful businessman.  But to know Bennett is to remember that he is truly a genealogist at heart, and everything he does with Family Tree DNA has genealogy as its heart and soul.  If you walk into his office, you will be immediately reminded of this fact, and it’s hard to see Bennett as anything else other than one of us – just a kind-hearted genealogist seeking answers.  In the photo below from the Chronicle, Bennett stands in front of his ancestor timeline which resides on his office wall.  I wonder how many of these ancestors he has represented by DNA haplogroups today.

Bennett in office

Thank you so much Bennett, for pushing that envelope, hounding Dr. Hammer and birthing genetic genealogy.  Today, Max and Bennett are truly shepherding consumer genetics to the next step.

“We took science that was performed in a stuffy lab and brought it into the general public,” Greenspan said.

Thank Heavens they did.  We are all the beneficiaries.

To read the rest of the article and for more photos, click here.



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23 Ways To Be a PITA

PITANo, not PETA, the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, but PITA – Pain In The Arm….yes….arm…what are you thinking???

For most people, being a PITA doesn’t come naturally….so you might need some help knowing how to be one, or perhaps perfecting your PITA skills.  Yes, in case you’re wondering….my tongue is firmly implanted in my cheek.

For genetic genealogists, there are special ways to be a PITA.  Let me share some of these with you, just so you can fine tune and add to your PITA skills.

First and maybe the best ways to be a PITA, right off the bat.

1. Send e-mails with no subject or punctuation and an indecipherable topic, especially to someone you’ve never communicated with before.  Here’s an example.  You can just copy and paste this and send it to anyone you want to irritate or confuse.

“i would love to have any information you could give me…..thanks…..”

I so want to send this person something about penile implants.  Is this wrong?

2. Send e-mails with no capitals or punctuations.  This is always a wonderful way to impress people.

i just wanted to let you know that i have no idea how to type or how to use the period or comma keys or how to use the shift button i’m also using the fact that i’m using my phone as an excuse not to use punctuation however I can manage to type half of my life story for you to try to decipher so get out your special decoder ring


4. When a match asks you for genealogy information, just send them a link to your tree.  You can then sit back and laugh, knowing that they have no idea where to search in your 35,723 people for a common ancestor without looking for every surname they have.  Plus, you have the added benefit that Ancestry will help you be a PITA by attaching your tree to their account like a giant kudzu vine that they can’t disentangle without knowing the secret handshake.

5. When a match asks you for genealogy information, never, ever send them something actually useful, like a pedigree chart with an index.  Instead send them rambling e-mails with disconnected tidbits from both sides of your family, or that link to your Ancestry tree.  Go to sleep then, knowing they will be up all night trying to figure this out.

6. Ask for, or better yet, demand free consulting.  Select someone at random (not me please, I already receive more than my share – 17 yesterday alone) and send them a rambling stream-of-consciousness e-mail several pages long.  At the end, tell them that you can’t afford to pay anything, but ask if they would tell you “what they think.”  Before sending these to anyone in the genetic genealogy community, send several to other professionals, physicians or lawyers in your community and see how that works out?

Now, if someone is a project volunteer, that’s a bit different.  They still don’t “owe” you free consulting, but they have set themselves forth as a volunteer resource.  Still, try to be respectful of their time and be brief and concise in your requests.

In other words, the 21 page e-mail I received this week from Person Unknown demanding that I, as a project administrator, figure out how the “requester” was related to three people in the large Cumberland Gap project (also persons unknown) was, well, ahem, a bit over the top, to put it mildly.  No, I confess, I did not read all 21 pages and the only reason I know it WAS 21 pages long is because I wanted to use it as a bad example.  If that was your e-mail and I’ve just offended you, well, I’m sorry you’re offended, but that is not the way to win friends and influence people, nor to get your questions answers or your problems solved.  It is, however, a great way to be a PITA.  In fact, you win this week’s PITA award!

Here’s an example of a reasonable, concise question from my blog:

“Thanks for that explanation, I needed that information. Still would like to know what a “back mutation” is.”

And the answer:

“A back mutation is when a mutations happens, like from A to C, and then the reverse happens, a mutation from C to A. It initially looks like no mutation happened, unless you are aware of the intermediate step and that two mutations actually happened.”

There’s a big difference between a simple one or two line general DNA question and a multi-page personal epistle that the receiver has to read three times and make charts to even begin to unravel or understand, so, to be a PITA – always make yourself annoying and then you can wonder why you never receive replies from people.  Then complain about not receiving replies.

Oh, and if you do write to a project administrator, never, ever tell them how or why you are writing specifically to them – it’s much more fun to leave them guessing.  The sender of the 21 page epistle did not SAY it was the Cumberland Gap project – they left that for me to decipher.

7. Skim articles, don’t click on the links, and then ask questions of the author that would have been answered if you had clicked on the links they provided in the first place.  They love receiving several of these e-mails every day!

Now, if you have DNA tested at any of the three major testing companies, there special ways for you to be a PITA with each one.  Let me give you some fresh ideas.

At Family Tree DNA

8. Join a DNA project, any project.  Then, when the administrator sends you a welcome message, introducing themselves and asking for genealogy information, send them a nasty note.  Here’s one I received recently.  You can just use it.

“Who the hell are you and why are you contacting me.  Don’t ever contact me again.”

9. Family Tree DNA does you the very large favor of providing you with the e-mail addresses of your contacts instead of forcing you to go through a message system like at 23andMe and Ancestry.

When sending an e-mail to someone you match, be sure to never include the name of the person you match, or what kind of a test you took that matches.  This will confuse them and make them really want to answer your inquiry.  Many people manage test kits for several people and if you don’t put the name of the person you match in your e-mail, they will probably think it’s their kit, and then they will either spend a lot of time looking for matches and/or putting together genealogy info to send to you that is not useful.  Then, after you receive the info, tell them you’re sorry, but the match was to a different person.  That will truly endear you to them.

10. Don’t ever update your e-mail address…then complain online and loudly about how you never receive contacts from either your project administrator or your contacts/matches.

11. Don’t upload your GEDCOM file either, because someone might accidentally discover a common surname match or a common ancestor, and that would be just awful.  It would also provide Family Tree DNA with the information to bold matching surnames on your autosomal match list for you, AND you’d get a $10 coupon…all of which would be just terrible.

12. Volunteer to be a project administrator, then do nothing at all.  Leave your project entirely ungrouped, and refuse any assistance.  In this case, you really don’t have to DO anything to be a PITA.

Better yet, create an off-site (non-FTDNA) website instead of using the one at Family Tree DNA and remove any information that could be useful to someone searching for their ancestral line.  Here’s an example.

Private project no useful info

Don’t want to create your own website?  Well, you can be almost as large a PITA by using the Family Tree DNA page and simply disabling anything useful, like, you know, most distant ancestor.  That way people can see that there is a project and their line MIGHT be hidden in there, but they have no way to find out other than contacting you.  Then, don’t answer, of course.

ftdna project no names

At 23andMe

13. Give yourself a really innovative “screen name,” like, say “Your cousin” or “3rd cousin” or better yet, “My Mother.”  That way when you send contact requests or sharing requests to people, it looks like it is coming from their mother…and if their mother has already passed over…well…let’s just say your contact request could be really startling.  Worse yet, if that person matches two people who are equally as creative and both named themselves “My Mother,” how will they ever tell you apart???  And can you really have two mothers?  OMG, I feel an identity crisis coming on…

14. Tell your contact that you are really interested in genealogy, provide a little bit of genealogy info, just a couple tidbits, maybe a juicy morsel, but then refuse to share your DNA.

15.  Don’t provide any surname or location information.  That might give someone a clue as to how you connect – so don’t ever do that.

16.  I’d tell you to never upload your GEDCOM file, or create one, but you can actually be a larger PITA by uploading your file at 23andMe, because their file reader interface works so poorly that your match will be more frustrated trying to read the file than by not finding one at all.  So you can be a PITA whether you upload your file or not.  How’s that for good luck!

17.  Don’t ever reply to contact or sharing requests.  I know this one is already quite popular.  About 90% of the people there already do this, so you’ll be in good company.  If people at 23andMe aren’t interested in genealogy, there is an opt-out, but don’t opt out because you can be much more of a PITA by leaving yourself in the genealogy pool but never replying to anyone, especially close matches.  Drives them crazy!

At Ancestry

18. First and foremost, never, ever reply to messages.  I know that this one is very popular, because many of my DNA matches, including my closest match at Ancestry has implemented this scheme.  She, I assume, due to the name (unless I’m related to the boy named Sue) and I share a common great-grandfather.  In this case, I have photos she might really like to have.  Too bad she is being a PITA.

19. Make your tree private, AND never reply to requests.  This is the ultimate tease, because your match KNOWS the information is there, right there, hiding just out of reach, and can’t get to it.

20. Copy and paste several trees together because, after all, the names match and, hello, it wouldn’t BE on Ancestry if it wasn’t RIGHT.  Right?  You can then scare the bejesus out of someone when they discover that their non-Mormon grandfather had 7 wives and 35 kids….all while married to their grandmother.  That’s always fun.  Then, when they frantically contact you to ask about it, don’t even think about replying to that message.

21. Insist that because you and your Ancestry DNA match have a shakey leaf and a common ancestor in your tree, that you KNOW that’s your DNA match because Ancestry SAYS SO.  When your match tries to explain that connection might be incorrect, may not be your DNA match and that there is no way to prove it, at least not without utilizing tools from either GedMatch or Family Tree DNA, don’t reply to them anymore.  That will certainly solve the problem!

22.  Send random people invitations to your Ancestry tree – and be positive your tree name has absolutely no identifying words in it.  Like the one I received recently, for example, named “A Global Tree of Life.”  Yep, I can tell you right away who sent that to me and why!!!

23. Oh yes, and in true PITA-esque fashion, never, ever say “Thank you,” to anyone, ever, for anything.  Thank you is such an easy thing to say and it makes the person on the receiving end feel good about whatever it was they did for you – even if was “just” answering your question.  So don’t slip up and do this!  Otherwise, you’ll certainly be thrown out of the PITA Club!

Thank you collage

Added PITAs

24. Instead of being grateful for free things, like blogs and webpages, and simply unsubscribing or ignoring them if you don’t like them, make nasty comments.  That will certainly confirm your PITA membership and make the person providing the free content feel warm and fuzzy about the time they invest.

“How about I unsubscribe to your boring emails about your family I have been getting the last year. Ms PITA.”



I receive a small contribution when you click on some of the links to vendors in my articles. This does NOT increase the price you pay but helps me to keep the lights on and this informational blog free for everyone. Please click on the links in the articles or to the vendors below if you are purchasing products or DNA testing.

Thank you so much.

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Thomas Speak (c1634-1681) – The Catholic Immigrant – 52 Ancestors #11

Thomas Speak(e) is 10 generations upstream from me, or my 8 times great-grandfather.  He is also the original immigrant in the Speak family, the one who braved the icy waters of the Atlantic to reach out for a better land, and apparently, religious tolerance, if not opportunity, in colonial Maryland.

My connection to Thomas works like this.

  • Thomas Speak born circa 1630 in Lancashire, England and died August 6, 1681 St. Mary’s County, Maryland, married Elizabeth Bowling before November 3, 1663 when she was subpoenaed to court to testify.
  • Bowling Speak born 1665 St. Mary’s Co., MD died between July 23, 1755 and September 13, 1755 when his will was probated in St. Charles Co., MD, married Mary Benson
  • Thomas Speak born 1698 St. Mary’s Co., MD, died between August 2, 1755 and September 13, 1755 when his will was probated, the same day as his father’s, in St. Charles Co., MD, married Jane, last name uncertain
  • Charles Beckworth (or Beckwith) Speak born 1741 in St. Charles Co., MD, died 1793/94 Iredell Co., NC, married Anne, last name unknown
  • Nicholas Speak born 1782 in Charles Co., MD, died 1852 in Lee Co. VA, married Sarah Faires 1804 in Washington Co., VA
  • Charles Speak born 1804 Washington Co., VA, died 1840-1850 Lee Co., VA, married Ann McKee in 1823 in Washington Co., VA
  • Elizabeth “Bettie” Speak born 1832 Indiana or Virginia, died 1907 Hancock Co., TN, married Samuel Claxton/Clarkson
  • Margaret Claxton born 1851 Hancock Co., TN, died 1920 Hancock Co., TN, married Joseph Bolton
  • Ollie Bolton born 1874 Hoop Creek, Hancock County, TN, died 1955 Chicago, Illinois, married William George Estes

Ollie Bolton and William George Estes were my grandparents.

Thomas was the first Speak ancestor to set foot on American soil.  That was while we were still a British colony.  I was lucky enough to visit St. Mary’s County, Maryland in 2011 where the original Speak family settled and lived for several generations.  The annual Speak(e)(s) Family convention was held in St. Mary’s County, and through the generous research of several family members, original Speakes land was identified and much of our early history was pieced together.  I wrote an article about the visit for the SFA newsletter, which I’ve adapted for this article.

St Ignatius

This research was only possible due to the collaboration of several people.  The early Maryland research was completed by John Morris and published in the SFA Newsletters at various times, the land records, research and maps of Bowling Speak(e)(s) land by Jerry Draney, the history of St. Ignatius church from their website, and most of the photography by me during my visit in October of 2011 with the Speaks Family Association.  The photo above is from the St. Ignatius church website at

Our first ancestor to come to the land that would one day become America, Thomas Speak was already in Maryland and had married Elizabeth Bowling before 1664.  The first record in Maryland that can be directly attributed to our Thomas referred to as Thomas of St. Mary’s, not to be confused with Colonel Thomas Speak who started out in Maryland and wound up, a wealthy man, in Virginia, was his land grant of 50 acres in 1670 “for service”.

John Morris in his 1998 article about the life and times of both Thomas Speak states that there is ample evidence of Thomas of St. Mary’s in Maryland before 1661.  In January of 1661 a summons was issued to the sheriff in Charles County Maryland for a Thomas Speake to testify on behalf of the government about a crime.  Col. Thomas Speake had been dead for 18 months and his son Thomas, who died without issue, was not yet 21, so the Thomas being summoned had to be, by process of elimination, our Thomas of St. Mary’s.  On November 3, 1663, Elizabeth Bowling Speak was also mentioned in a court record, having been subpoenaed to testify.

In 1662/63 Thomas Speake filed a lawsuit against Arthur Turner in Charles County to collect debt and he described himself as a tailor and signed with his mark “TS”.  Our Thomas did not know how to write.  John Morris, a lawyer by trade, states that this record shows that Thomas Speake was not indentured at the time this was filed, because if he had been, the claim would have belonged to his master.  However, we know he had been indentured, because he received 50 acres in 1670 for his “service.”  If his indenture was the traditional 5 or 7 years, this pushes his arrival date back to between 1655 and 1657.  John suggests that he was probably a young man, between the ages of 15 and 20 when he arrived, pushing his birth back to about 1630 or so.

The oldest son of Thomas Speake and Elizabeth Bowling was their son John (whom we call John the innkeeper) who testified at a later date that he had been born “about 1665” in St. Mary’s County.  Charles County was originally part of St. Mary’s County and is adjacent today.

In 1668, Thomas filed with the court requesting that his cattle be recorded as marked in the following manner: “Cropt of both eares, overkeel’d of both eares and a nick underneath both eares.”

In 1670, Thomas received his land grant after having served his time as an indentured servant to pay for his passage to Maryland.  Indentured servants were not allowed to marry.  Typically, but not always, indentures were for 7 years.  If this is the case, and he married Elizabeth Bowling in 1663, he would have been indentured by 1656 or perhaps, if only indentured for 5 years, as late as 1658.  If he married earlier, then he would have been indentured earlier as well.  He would have entered the country at the time of his indenture.  He would probably have been between 18 and 30, so probably born between 1626 and 1638.

Although things would have changed between 1634 and 1655 or so when Thomas arrived, this drawing of St. Mary’s City in 1634 from the Maryland State archives map collection gives us some idea of what Thomas might have seen upon arrival.  Note the Piscataway Indian village located just outside the fort on the left.  As we now know, the Speak family had some sort of relationship with the Indian tribe as they lived on the land owned by Bowling and subsequently, his son Thomas (of Zachia) and his son, Charles Beckworth Speak.  Today, archaeological excavations continue at the site of the Indian village on historical Speak family land.

St Marys city 1634

Thomas is believed to have been born about 1634.  He died in 1681 with a will that tells us a great deal about him, in particular that Thomas of St. Mary’s was a Catholic.

Thoms Speaks will1

Thomas Speaks will

… I give unto my Loving Son John Speake all my Lands after the Decease of my Loving wife Eliz. but in Case she my said wife shall marry then she two Enjoy only her third according to law my will is also that my Loving brother in Law James Bowling [Bouring, Bowing] hath the Disposall of my children to be brought up in the Roman Catholick faith And … that my body may be decent lead. At the discretion of my loving brother James Bowling [Bouring, Bowing] my above said Exec.. And I do hereby revoke disannul and make void all former wills and Testaments by me heretofore made in witness whereof fire the said Thomas Speake to this my last Will and Testaments have set to my hand and seal this 6th of May 1681.

My meaning is to give…… Speake my loving Son all my lands to him and his heirs for Ever and to my personall Estate to be Equally Divided my wife first having… third… Rest amongst mind Children.

Not only was Thomas a Catholic, but he was a practicing Catholic and his religion was obviously very important to him.

This will also tells us that Thomas’s land, although never located, was probably in Port Tobacco, because that is where we find John Speake, known as John the Innkeeper, living, later.  Bowling Speake, however, not being the eldest son, was on his own in terms of finding and acquiring land after he reached adulthood.

St. Ignatius Catholic Church of St. Thomas Manor at Chapel Point, Maryland

In England, Catholics were forbidden to practice their faith. They couldn’t hold office, and many unbearable restrictions were put upon them. In the late 1620’s, the Calvert family provided a plan for the colonization of Maryland; a new colony in the new world with freedom of religion possible for all. In November of 1633, the expedition set sail for America in two ships, the Ark and the Dove, with Fr. White among the colonists along with two other Jesuits, Fr. John Altham and Brother Thomas Gervase. The two ships arrived at St. Clement’s Island in March 1634. Fr. White celebrated the first Mass in Maryland and set about establishing the Church in this new land.

Catholic settlers began to move westward along the Potomac River. Fr. White established a claim for St. Thomas Manor lands and took up his residence. A chapel had been erected at the point of land now known as Chapel Point. Fr. White labored among the Indians, broke the language barrier, and wrote a catechism in their language.

St Ignatius window cropped

The window above the entrance (and shown above) of the Church commemorates the baptism of the Indian King and Queen of the Piscataways. Fr. White also blessed their marriage, and baptized their child.

St Ignatius cornerstone

St. Ignatius Church at Chapel Point was founded in 1641 by Father Andrew White, a prominent English Jesuit, who was born in London in 1579 and who was one of the first Jesuits to arrive in Maryland.

Father John G. Shea, S.J., an authority on U.S. Catholic history, tells of a remarkable miracle wrought through the large relic of the True Cross (shown below) which Father White carried in a specially designed receptacle hung around his neck.

Fr. White was called to attend an Indian who had been impaled by the limb of a tree. The branch had gone through the upper part of his body and he was in great agony and near death. Fr. White was able to impart the necessary articles of faith, which the Indian accepted, and then baptized him and administered the last Sacraments. Leaving instructions that, upon death, the body was to be kept for burial with the Church’s ritual, he blessed the Indian with the relic of the True Cross, and departed.

The next day, Fr. White returned to bury the Indian and was astonished to find the Indian recovered and out fishing. Two small marks were all that was left of the wounds. The same relic of the True Cross which Fr. White brought to America remains at the Church.

St Ignatius relic

The present Church was built in 1798 by Fr. Charles Sewall, S.J., and is dedicated to God and to St. Ignatius Loyola.

St Ignatius interior

St Ignatius interior 2

The bricks of the Church, house, and chapel are laid in an attractive Flemish Bond, with a header in between each of the two stretches which was a style most popular in colonial days.

St Ignatius front

On December 27, 1866, a disastrous fire occurred, destroying the interior of the Church, chapel, and Manor.  Irreplaceable losses at this time were the Church records and other historic documents.  The baptism book begun in 1862 was saved. The walls stood firmly and the interiors were restored in 1867-68. Some Church furnishings saved during the fire include the Church doors, a carved wooden crucifix, and the tabernacle. Former slaves are said to have carried the tabernacle from the burning Church. The old wooden tabernacle is of mahogany from Santo Domingo and the sewing within it was done by the Carmelites before 1830.

The photo below is the church and behind the church, the priest’s quarters in 1933, from a photo hanging in the priest’s home today.

St Ignatius 1933

Below, the church today across the cemetery.

St Ignatius cemetery

Aside from the historical and religious significance of this church, it is also provides one of the most beautiful vistas of the Port Tobacco River to be found.  From in front of the church looking across the cemetery, you look down over the river.  A simply stunning and inspiring vista on a warm and windy fall day in October of 2011.

Port Tobacco River

St Ignatius cemetery 2

St Ignatius cemetery and me

Back to Thomas

Given that Thomas Speak had to have been here before 1660, and the first and only Catholic church at that time was St. Ignatius, that had to be the church that Thomas attended.  His children were Catholic was well, Bowling, his son, at one time being fined as such, and they were surely baptized there.  Thomas is most likely buried on his farm, which has not been located, but there is also a possibility that he is buried in the churchyard at St. Ignatius.  Whether he was buried here or not, he most assuredly attended here and stood on this land and of a more personal nature, touched and saw the “relic of the true cross” and took communion from this very chalice, complete with its bumps, bruises and dings from its life being carried in a saddle bag by the priests in their travels.  Thomas may have been one of the settlers who hosted Mass in his home.

St Ignatius chalice

The “relic of the true cross” was brought from England by Fr. Andrew White, S.J. in 1634. He wore it around his neck in a silver and glass case, which was specially made for the relic.

St Ignatius relic label

This piece of wood was brought back from the Holy Land during the crusades and is supposed to be a piece of the cross upon which Jesus was crucified.  Miracles are associated with people praying and touching the vial that today holds the cross.  The relic can be “proven” to the silver makers mark of 1633 in London.

St Ignatius chalice bell

The silver “saddle chalice”, which can be taken apart and disguised as a bell, was used by the early Jesuit missionaries as they traveled the mission circuit.

St Ignatius chalice 2

Sometimes Mass was said at the manor houses, not just at church.  In fact the houses had everything they needed, except a priest and the chalice.  This chalice was the one carried by the priest when he visited manor houses and from which he gave communion in the church as well.

Thomas’s Eldest Son, John

Thomas’s eldest son, John was an innkeeper at Port Tobacco.  The inn was located beside and slightly behind Chimney House.  John’s Inn was a neighbor to this home which still stands today.  John would have visited Chimney House as well as been in the court house regularly.  The court house stands adjacent to Chimney House today, but at that time, these buildings would have been part of a much larger “square” which historical records tell us included several inns, merchants, the court house of course, and homes of course of the “movers and shakers” of the day, who wanted to live close to the port and the court.  Port Tobacco was designated as the county seat as early as 1686 and by then, John was already living there.  A courthouse was built in 1730, telling us that prior to that, court was held in private residences, or perhaps, inns.  The courthouse today is at least the third courthouse following replacements and fires.  Chimney House, however, is original, and our ancestors surely gazed upon this house and trod its floors as we did today.  Note the “Pent closets”, windows in the chimney, a feature exclusive to southern Maryland homes in this time period.  The purpose is unclear.

Chimney House

Thomas’s Second Son, Bowling

Thomas’s second son, Bowling, owned land in two locations, 6 or 7 miles apart, in Charles County, Maryland.

You can see on the map below that these various locations were not far distant from each other.  Because of the topography, there is no such thing as “as the crow flies”.  Today’s major roads, 5 and 6, were both Indian trails.  The Indians had identified the paths of least resistance, and fewest swamps, etc., and the English followed suit.

A = St. Peter’s Church adjacent Bowling Speak’s land called “The Mistake”  and “Speaks Enlargement.”

B = Bowling’s land at Boarman’s Manor which included “Speaks Meadow.”  This land is located 6.7 miles from point A.

C = Port Tobacco which is where John Speak, brother of Bowling, was an Innkeeper and lived near the courthouse.  This land is 12.1 miles from point B.

D = St. Ignatious Church, the first Catholic Church where Thomas, the father of both Bowling and John would have been a member.  This land is 3.6 miles from point C.

St Mary Co Map

One group of tracts was in Boarman’s Manor at Bryantown and the second was adjacent Zachia Manor.  Part of Bowling’s Zachia(h) Manor land is now occupied by St. Peter’s Church.  In that timeframe, everyone named their land.  Bowling’s land where the church is located was called “The Mistake,” a name which lends itself to sure and certain speculation.

Bowling’s 220 acre Boarman’s Manor tract of land purchased in 1718 from Mary Gardiner is shown in the drawing below as parcels A (orange), B (green) and C (yellow).

The deed of sale from Mary Gardiner to Bowling Speak described it as “being part of a greater tract of land commonly called or known by ye name of Bormans Reserve beginning at a bounded poplar of Williams Hardys Land.” Boarmans Reserve was later incorporated into Boarmans Manor, a tract that occupied approximately 4,000 acres.

The 1797 patent of Cedar Grove, 537 acres, by Alexander McPherson is also shown on the drawing and includes a part of Bowling Speaks land identified below as parcel A and the uncolored parcels to the left and right.

Speaks parcels B, C and D (blue) are not included in Cedar Grove.

Cousin Jerry Draney found and mapped this land in anticipation of our 2011 visit.  Today this land is located near Hunter Hill Place off of Bryantown Road.

Updated Bowling land plots

Speaks Meadow (17 acres), shown on the above drawing identified as parcel D (blue) was patented by Bowling Speak in 1739. It was described as adjoining to the upper end of Boarmans Manor beginning at a bounded white oak standing in the northwest line of said Manor.

Jerry plotted this on a topo map, above, but here’s the same land using Bing, today.  You can see the triangle shaped land characteristics and Leonardtown Road.

Bryantown Bowling cropped

Here, these tracts are overlayed on the map.

In 1754 Bowling sold 60 acres, tract C, to Philip Edelen, who passed it to his son Richard Edelen. This parcel has not been found in the land records subsequent to this sale.

The tracts in the drawing above colored orange, green and blue, were willed to Edward Speak by Bowling Speak in 1755. The will states “my dwelling plantation and a small tract of land called the Meadow.” Edward Speaks sold all the land and by 1779 it was all owned by the Edelen family.

It’s believed that Bowling’s earliest land, that purchase in 1709 from the Mudd family was in fact a few miles up the road, located on what would become Boarman’s Manor, near Bryantown.

In an attempt to better understand these locations and their proximity to each other, and to sort out confusion between the different tracts, I found the current location of St. Peter’s church and the location on Hunter Hill Place where we visited Bowling’s Bryantown lands.  The church is the red arrow a the top and the Bryantown location is at the bottom.

St Peters and Bryantown

The map below shows the location of Bowling’s land, The Mistake, at St. Peter’s Church at the top, the location where the family group visited shown by the large arrow at the bottom and the triangle shape that encloses all of Bowling’s Boarman’s Manor land with small red arrows near the bottom.

Boarman map

During the 2011 visit to Maryland, the family group visited the Boarman’s Manor lands owned by Bowling.

Mistake satellite cropped

Hunter Hill place, shown above, is a private road and the location of the large red arrow at the bottom of the maps shown above. It’s believed that Bowling’s Boarman Manor land is located here.  Below are photographs of the area, left to right, forming a panorama.

Speaks Meadow 1

Speaks Meadow 2

Speaks Meadow 3

Below, the Speak(e)(s) family group in front of Bowling’s land.

Speak Family Bowling land cropped

Bowling was born about 1674 and would have reached adulthood about 1695.  We know that in 1752, Bowling is still an active Catholic based on the following entry:

Archives of MD 50, p57-58
Assembly Proceedings, June 3-23, 1752  The Lower House.
L.H.J. Liber No.47; June 17 (p237-238)

The Lord Proprietary against Bowlen Speak} The said Bowlen Speak being bound by Recognizance for his Appearance here this Court, to answer of and concerning a Pre-sentment by the Grand Jurors, for the Body of the Province of Maryland, against him found; for that he, on or about the first Day of March last, did, in a public Manner, drink the Pretenders Health, and good Success in his Proceedings; and being demanded whether he is guilty of the Premisses in the Presentment aforesaid mentioned, or not guilty, says he is guilty thereof, and submits to the Court’s Judgment thereon.

The Pretender is of course, James, son of King James and his Catholic wife.  England feared the return of Catholicism.

In 1718, Bowling Speak acquired land called “The Mistake” where the current St. Peter’s Church is located.  He also had land called “Speak’s Enlargement” which abutted “The Mistake.”

Upon Bowling’s death in 1755, he left his “Mistake” and “Speake’s Enlargement” lands to his children.  In his will, he gives the location of this land which Jerry Draney traced through deeds to the current owners, the Catholic Church.   Bowling’s son, Thomas (known as Thomas of Zachiah), born about 1698, lived on this land.  Later the same year, within a month of his father’s death, Thomas died as well, leaving his land to his children, but specifically to Charles Beckworth Speake and his brother, Nicholas Speaks.  Charles Beckworth Speake was born in 1741 and his brother Nicholas, who shared the land with him, in 1734.  To date, a sale of this land has never been found.

The plat in the drawing below created by Jerry Draney shows Bowling Speake’s Mistake land as it was divided after his death. Bowling Speak sold the tract labeled B (250 acres) to John Lancaster in 1744 and tract C (100 acres) to James Montgomery in 1754. The remaining acres were willed to his children as follows:

  1. To Thomas Speaks described as 121 acres of land being part of a tract of land called Mistake beginning at the first bound tree and running thence to Jordan Branch and up the said Branch to a swale next of his dwelling place and thence to the beginning to make out 121 acres tracts F and G in drawing below. Note: The first bound tree is located in the south east corner of the Mistake.
  2. To his son William Speake “202 acres with his dwelling place located on Mistake ( tracts D and E below). (Note: Although the will states 202 acres when all the acreages are summed the total is 672 which is 100 acres more than the resurveyed Mistake.)

Thomas Speak, Bowling’s son, also died in 1755 and willed his land to his children as well.  Speaks Enlargement has not been found in Maryland land records so it is assumed that it was never recorded.

  1. To sons Thomas Bowling and John Speake “120 acres of land to begin at the second course or a line of a tract of land called Mistake and to run with the course of the land as they are laid out for me in the said tract of land called Mistake at the end of the course next to Jordan’s Swamp.
  2. To my loving wife Jane Speake my dwelling plantation whereon I now live during her natural life together with all that tract or parcel of land called Speake’s Enlargement.
  3. To my two sons Charles Beckworth Speake and Nicholas Speake all the remaining part of that tract of land called Speake’s Enlargement and my remaining part of that tract called Mistake containing both together 90 acres after the decease of my wife Jane Speake to be equally divided between them by a line drawn from Jordan’s Swamp to the opposite line.”

According to research by Joyce Candland there is no record that Charles Beckworth or Nicholas ever sold any land in Charles County. In 1779 William Speak sold 6.75 acres (tract E) to John Smith. The deed mentions the inclusion of dwellings, orchards and improvements indicating that William Speak must have lived on this land.

William also sold tract D to Elizabeth Askin.

Bowling heirs tract

Jerry plotted the Bowling land, “The Mistake”, on a map adjacent the land owned by the Catholic church.

Mistake plot

On the map you can see the current church and within the yellow boundary, the old cemetery.  The land outlined in Green that intersects the land in yellow is land that Bowling lost in a resurvey.  Today it is the “point” in the photo below.  You can also see the high power lines that transect the land today.

In the photos below, you can see the “point” in green which overlays the yellow.

Jordan's Run

Jordan’s Run is right beyond the trees below, which are the trees at left, above.

Jordans run 2

There is beauty hidden everyplace.  Here is Bowling’s spider:)

Bowling's spider

St. Peter’s Church

In 1673, Governor Charles Calvert moved his residence to “his Lordship’s Manor of Sachay (Zacchia)” for greater security and brought with him a Franciscan priest who established a mission, Lower Zacchia, which was the beginning of St. Peter’s neighboring parish, St. Mary’s or Bryantown.  A short time later, the Franciscans built a second mission in Upper Zacchia, which is now known as Waldorf, but was then nothing more than a cabin, with the loft used to house passing missionaries.  When the friar arrived, a bell was rung long and loud so that the Catholics for miles around could be notified of his presence.  He would stay but a short time, hearing confessions, saying Mass and otherwise helping the parishioners any way he could.  Marriages were performed, babies baptized and other sacraments administered according to the needs of the day.

For the most part, until 1700, the mission church in Upper Zacchia was served by the Jesuits from St. Thomas Manor in Port Tobacco (St. Ignatius).  In 1700, the log cabin was replaced by a church, probably a looking like an ordinary small frame house without a steeple to avoid  the penalties places on Roman Catholic churches at that time.  This church was located in the old cemetery about a mile east of the present church.

The location of this cemetery is right across the road from the church on Bowling (then Thomas of Zekiah’s) land. It’s not unlikely that the old cemetery contains a few, or perhaps more, burials of our families.  More specifically, it’s very likely that Thomas, son of Bowling, is buried there along with his wife.  Bowling may be buried here as well, especially given that both Bowling and his son Thomas died very near the same time.  Both of their estates were probated at the same term of court in September 1755.  There are many unmarked graves in this old cemetery and the records have been destroyed.

Bowling old cemetery

Bowling old cemetery 2

By the early 1800s a large portion of The Mistake was owned by Thomas C. Reeves. In 1767 Hezekiah Reeves, father of Thomas Reeves, purchased the 250 acre tract Bowling sold to John Lancaster and in 1801 (Tract B above). Hezekiah Reeves executed a gift deed giving to Thomas Reeves “that tract or parcel of land where he now dwells.” (Tract B above) The drawing below was obtained from St. Peters Catholic Church and shows the plat of a portion of the land willed to by Thomas C. Reeves to St. Peters in 1825. Notice that the plat shows 37 acres identified as The Mistake where the St. Peters Church is now located.

Mistake and St Peters

The drawing below shows an overlay of the Bowling Speaks property on a current image from Google Earth. The names are the land owners as of the early 1800’s.

Bowling land today

Zekiah Manor

I was confused as to why Bowling Speak would have had to, or chosen to, have his land resurveyed, especially given that he lost acreage in the deal.  However, looking at this map, and who owned the neighboring land (Lord Baltimore), it now makes sense.  A picture IS worth 1000 words.

Zekiah Manor outlined in red as it existed in 1789, with the boot of Bowling Speake’s land that he lost in the resurvey shown over lapping.

Zechiah tract 1789

Thomas of Zachiah, in 1749, also apparently leased additional land.

An article entitled “The Speake Famiy of Maryland” written by Harold Speake refers to a book entitled Poverty in the Land of Plenty by Dr. Gregory Stiverson. On p. 13 of Harold’s article, he states that “Thomas {Speake} leased Lot 68 from the Lord Proprietory in 1749.”

The entire survey of Zachiah Manor is shown, below.

zachiah 1789 survey

Zachia Manor abutted the Speak property, and we find that lot 68 is on the northern boundary, shown occupied in 1789 by a man named Baggett.

Baggett 1789

In an article about the Alvin family, we discover some interesting information about the lands of Zachia Manor, which would certainly extend to the Speak lands as well, abutting the Zachia Manor lands.

“The lease was relatively cheap—Zachia Manor had the poorest soil of any of Lord Baltimore’s manors. And Lord Baltimore’s leases were on better terms than private landlords could afford to offer.”

Therefore tenants in Zachia Manor tended to be relatively poor.

This article also tells us that Lord Baltimore allowed leases for extended periods. One for a Mr. Key, as follows:

We know that Mr. Key did negotiate a lease on a certain Lott No. 34 of Zachiah Manor in Charles County from the proprietor, Lord Baltimore, and that the lease began on Christmas Day, 1750. The annual rent was set at ₤1 and 10 shillings per year, and the term was to extend over the life of his youngest son, Francis Key, who was Clerk of Cecil County. Lord Baltimore allowed leases on his manor lands to be set for a term extending over the lifetime of up to three persons designated by the lessee, or over a set number of years.

After the Revolutionary War, the land would have been sold as Lord Proproprietors were no longer needed. This survey was for the sale of the tracts that Lord Baltimore had been leasing previously.

Back to Bowling and Thomas

Bowling was assuredly a Catholic, and one could safely presume his children were as well.  All of them probably baptized in St. Ignatius Church in Port Tobacco.  It’s unlikely that all of the children born to Thomas, Bowling or Thomas (of Zekiah) survived.  Those children were probably buried, after being baptized, if possible, either in the family cemetery, now lost, or in the St. Ignatius churchyard, whose early records are also lost.  After 1700, they could have been buried in the old church cemetery on Bowlings and then Thomas’s land.

Charles Beckworth Speake lived with his father, Thomas, on Zekiah Manor from his birth in about 1741, inheriting land in 1755 at his father’s death, until he moved to Rowan/Iredell County, NC.  He was on the Rowan County tax lists by 1787 and had died by 1793, leaving young orphans.  Apparently his wife had died too, as the children were made wards of a Richard Speak.  Nicholas, the son of Charles Beckworth Speake, reported being born in Maryland in 1782, so apparently Charles Beckwith Speak(e)(s) moved to NC between 1782 and 1787.

Charles Beckworth was probably born Catholic in Maryland, but may have switched to the “church of opportunity” after leaving Maryland.  Charles’ son, Nicholas, as we know was a Methodist minister, never wavering from his path, establishing Speaks Methodist Church in Lee County, Virginia in the 1820s, near 1830.

Back in Maryland, we can rest assured that indeed, the two churches, St. Ignatius and St. Peters served the needs of at least the first 3 if not 4 or 5 generations of our Speak(e)(s) ancestors in Charles County, Maryland.

Me with chalice and relic cropped

In the photo above, I am holding both the “relic of the true cross” and the chalice.  Both of these items were assuredly near and dear to the hearts of Thomas, the immigrant, and his wife, Elizabeth Bowling who, along with her brother James, were assuredly Catholic.  Their sons would also have taken communion from this chalice, Bowling and John.  Bowling was a practicing Catholic, so we can presume his wife Mary Benson was as well.  Their sons would also have been baptized Catholic, which included Thomas of Zekiah who died in 1755.  Thomas’s wife, Jane was probably Catholic as well, but it’s about this time that we can no longer tell for sure.  It’s likely that Thomas remained Catholic and that his son Charles Beckworth Speak was as well.  Charles moved to North Carolina and died while his children were yet young, in 1793 or 1794.  By 1820, Charles’ son, Nicholas was a devout Methodist.  If Charles was still a practicing Catholic, then Nicholas would have been initially baptized Catholic, probably in St. Peter’s Church, when he was born in Maryland in 1782.

I am a 10th generation descendant of Thomas, the immigrant, and Elizabeth Bowling Speak.  I’m sure that Thomas and Elizabeth never dreamed that 355 years later, their great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-granddaughter (yes, that’s 8 greats) would come back to Maryland, from someplace that at that time had no name (Michigan) and had not yet even been “discovered,” in one days time, in an incredible metal carriage with no horse, on roads with hard surfaces, at unbelievable speeds, to stand where he worshiped, to hold the chalice he drank from and the relic he prayed with.  Perhaps he prayed for the life of my ancestor or his other children.  Perhaps he prayed not to be forgotten, and perhaps, just perhaps, his prayers were answered.

Indeed, he hasn’t been.  Not only did a group of his descendants come back to visit him, and homelands where he lived, his DNA lives on as well

DNA and the Speak Lines

Several Speaks men have tested who descend, or thought they descended from Thomas Speak.

Speaks chart

You might notice on the chart above, that not all of the “sons” are yellow, the color of John, Bowling and Thomas.  In fact, Capt. Francis and William are blue and red, and John E. is both green and yellow striped.  This means that the descendants who tested in these lines do not match.  Whether that is actually because Francis, for example, really was not the son of Richard, or whether an undocumented adoption has occurred some place in the line or the genealogy is incorrect has yet to be determined.  In order to further define those lines, we need additional men from those lines to test.

Speaks chart 2

John, on the other hand was schizophrenically colored with yellow and green stripes because his two sons lines DNA did not match.  However, we know that the Thomas line is yellow because people from various sons lines all matches the yellow DNA results.

The Charles Beckworth to Nicholas Speaks line is the yellow line to the far right, above.

Based on this information and the combined DNA results of his descendants, we know that Thomas the immigrant was “yellow” because that DNA is found identically in both of his sons lines and from this, we have been able to reconstruct Thomas’s marker values.  It’s really kind of amazing, to be able to reconstruct part of the DNA sequence of a man who died 333 years ago, and all without a shovel!

Speaks triangulation cropped

The chart above shows that these four individuals all descend from Thomas, 2 through son Bowling, and 2 through son John.  All 4 of these men match exactly on all of the markers shown.  Therefore, we know that Thomas, the immigrant carried these exact same marker values.  This process is called triangulation, and it’s how we “reconstruct” the DNA of an ancestor by utilizing the DNA of his descendants, preferably through multiple sons.

It would be the Y DNA of Thomas’s descendants that would match the Lancashire DNA and would, in 2013, guide us home, back across the sea, tracing Thomas’s footsteps, in reverse.  What would he think?

The story isn’t finished.  Check back for articles in the 52 Ancestors series and the 2013 DNA Trip series as well.



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Downham and Whalley, Lancashire – Next Stop on the DNA Journey

We began the day in quaint and beautiful Downham, the next stop on our DNA journey.  In case you hadn’t yet figured it out, the church is always the center of villages, and historically, of village life as well.

Downham road

This is where we think it’s quite likely our Thomas Speake was baptized in 1634 in St. Leonard’s church.

St Leonards Downham

We know that some Thomas was baptized and married here, we just don’t know for sure if it’s our Thomas, but Thomas was not a common name in the Speak family, and there are no other recorded candidates.  Lord Clitheroe showed us the transcribed church record of Thomas’s baptism, along with the “T” that indicated Twiston, and his father’s name, Joannis Speak.  Joannis would show up on the hearth tax for this area in 1766 as John.  Thomas and Johannis were from Twiston, a mile or so down the road, probably the name of a farm of that time.  Twiston Mill still exists today.

St Leonards Baptism

Regardless of whether this particular Thomas is ours, DNA testing has proven that these Speaks family are all descended from a common ancestor, so all related.  Downham is only about 4 miles distant from Gisburn, to provide perspective, and it is literally simply a crossroads.

Lord Clitheroe

After we arrived, the vicar was present to greet us.  Also in attendance to greet us were Lord and Lady Clitheroe.  While he is Lord Clitheroe, his last name was Ashton and he is part of the Ashton family who owned all of the land in Dunham and nearby including Twiston.  Therefore, the Speaks who lived in Twiston had to have worked for the Ashton family.  Lord Clitheroe is at right in the photo above, the vicar at left.

He also told us that he thinks the church was rededicated at some time since all of the Ashton churches are named St. Leonard’s, so it might have been named something else prior.  He brought with him a drawing of the church from 1790, before it was “remodeled.”  The church, below, is what Thomas would have known.

St Leonards 1790

Lord Clitheroe said he believes that the original church was built in about 1138 when the town of Downham was founded by the Lacy family who were the overlords at that time.  The Battle of Clitheroe occurred in 1138 when the “Scots and Picts came down” and slaughtered many English.  Downham was an important crossroads at that time and the Lacy family would have established churches after that battle to keep God on their side and build villages and such to improve life for those who remained.  The result was civilization similar to what we know today.

Lord Clitheroe is a historian and he says he felt that if Thomas’s family was Catholic, he could probably have hidden away easier in Twiston than Downham.  Both are very small areas.  He also said that Twiston had Quakers as well who had a vision on Pendle Hill in 1652.  The Quakers were also a group of dissenters, and I recall that we have a record from that time where a John Speak viewed a Quaker meeting, and testified as to such, so the Speak family had to be from that area.

Lord Clitheroe believes that the Lacy family also built Sawley Abbey, now in ruins, at the same time for the same reasons.  More Holy was always better.

St Leonards door

One of the best views of Pendle Hill from anyplace is from this churchyard.  It’s said that in the 1930s or so the Queen visited the Ashton family and when in the church, said it was the finest view from any church in England.  It was a very gracious thing to say, because most churches, or at least those with any money at all, have stained glass in all of their windows and you can’t see out.

Pendle Hill from St Leonards

Just stunning vistas with gardens of some sort every place you look.  I just couldn’t soak up enough beauty.  I wonder if gardens and flowers were as plentiful when our Thomas Speak left for America, and I wonder if he missed England.

Gardens and Pendle Hill

This church visit was most enjoyable, well, except for the bird poop incident which we’re not discussing.  I will also say that these local women were the nicest, most welcoming group we’ve met anyplace to date, including attempting to help with the bird poop incident in a church with no bathroom facilities.  They just made us feel incredibly welcome and not like we were a bother.

Crissie, the daughter of the retired gardener of Lord Clitheroe, also a Speak descendant, came to visit and took us across the street to see her parents gardens, below.  She showed us Rose Cottage where she was born and was most gracious and lovely.

Crissie in Downham

Here is a fine example of “cottages.”  Nearly every cottage has some kind of beautiful garden in front.

Cottages Downham

I just love these houses, their stonework, the ivy growing up the rock walls and of course, the flowers.

Flowers Downham

Pendle Hill, again.  If I had something red growing up the front of my house, I’d be a little concerned.

Pendle Hill Downham

One of the wonderful things about this village is that tourists never come here, so it’s authentic in every way – up to and including the fact that the door on that house is standing wide open.

We had lunch in Ashton Arms, the local pub, owned of course by Lord Clitheroe, as is most everything else in the village.  Every November, the farmers meet him in the pub to pay the year’s rent on their farms.  He then buys lunch and several pints of course and a fine time is had by all for the day.

Ashton Arms

After lunch, we went on to Whalley (which is pronounced like Wally with a slight wh sound), the location of the oldest church and the oldest Speaks records as well.  Of course, they may have the oldest Speaks records because they have the oldest records of any of the local churches, complete from 1538.  It think it’s evident that the early and later Speaks family lived throughout the Ribble Valley.

I just love the walls here, and their mysterious doors.  I’m not sure what this door leads to, and the sheep wasn’t telling.

Downham sheep

This door is in the wall at St. Leonard’s Church.

St Leonards church wall

This heart had been placed on a grave, but the type of craftmanship is distinctive to this region.  I saw several things “woven” in this manor, but only in this area, so it much be something that is relatively local.

St Leonards woven heart

Downham is literally a block long in each direction and is at the intersection of two roads.

On one side you find the church.  Across the street are the cottages pictured above.  On the other corner, also across from the church is the Ashton Arms Pub, and on the fourth corner, you find the remains of the stocks, directly across from the church.  So whatever business you needed to have done, you could do it all right there in the center of town.

Downham stocks

Crissie, our lovely Speaks cousin who joined us from Downham, was born in the Rose Cottage.

Crissie at Rose Cottage

Chrissie explained about life in Downham.  She told us that she got dressed there in the cottage, the day she was married, and everyone walked across the road to the church, including her in her gown.  There is no place to park at the church and there are no bathroom facilities, so you’re not going to be there long.  Afterwards, everyone went to the Ashton Arms, across the street, of course, where else?

After saying goodbye to Chrissie, we departed Downham and ventured on to Whalley.

St Mary at Whalley

St. Mary and All Saints Church at Whalley, shown above, was first Saxon, then Norman, then rebuilt for the third time about 1200.  The church sits on what was a Roman encampment and evidence of a fragment of an altar with a carving of Mars has been incorporated into the existing church.  The church is referred to in the Domesday Book in1086 as “The church of Saint Mary at Wallei.”

The Church of England required parishes to keep records from 1538 forward.  Local records were to be kept, and copies periodically sent to the Bishop.  Those two sets of records don’t always match, where they both still exist, but it does give us two opportunities to find a record for our ancestors.

The oldest Speak church record found in this area was in 1540 for the baptism of Agneta, at St. Mary’s in Whalley, daughter of Henrici Speake.  The next year, his wife, Johana, was buried.

Speaks genealogists have reconstructed the Whalley families, to the best of their ability.  We find that Henry Speak in 1538 was a tenant of lands in Billington and it was his wife and daughter that were born and died.  It appears that he remarried, because there is also a John and Henry of the correct age to be his children.  These families come forward in time and of particular interest to the Speaks family is the marriage of Johannis Speake who married an Elizabethae Bieseley in 1622.   It has been proposed that this is the same couple who then had son Thomas baptized in Downham in 1634, who is a candidate to be the Thomas Speak who immigrated to America.  Furthermore, it would connect the Whalley and Downham families.  Those connections have not been made today, and may never be, even if they are accurate.  So few records exist.

In this church too, we were met by a volunteer who did an exceptional job giving us a lovely tour.  Somehow it was appropriate to take a group photo in a church and this one is both beautiful and connected to our family.  Plus, we thought of it here:)

It’s amazing when you think of it.  All of these people, from several US states, 3 countries and 3 continents descended from a family who attended this church more than 400 years ago, and probably 800 years ago.  It was our DNA that brought us all together, allowed us to find each other and connect back here.  It was our DNA that was our umbilical bond, guiding us home.

Speak Family at St Mary Whalley

This church held something we haven’t seen before.  The wealthier families could purchase enclosed pews and have a special “box” built.  An early version of box seats. The man giving the tour told us that initially, most people stood for the service.

St Mary Whalley boxes

The earlier church looked a bit different in the painting below.  Perhaps this is more the church that Thomas Speak and his ancestors would have known.

St Mary Whalley older cropped

The choir screens on both sides of the church are indeed, stunning.  They were hand carved about 1430 and rescued from Whalley Abbey when it was destroyed in the 1600s.  Part of the choir screens, behind the rows of bench seats, on the left and right above, are the misericords, which are hand carved pull down seats.  Three have inscriptions, one in French, one in Latin and one in English.  It’s sometimes difficult to remember that French was the official language of England before English, meaning after the Norman invasion of 1066 and until about 1400 when it became the language of the cultured elite.  It seems odd to think of our English ancestors speaking French, but they did.

In the early churches, people with money were buried in the actual floors of the churches.  The more money, the closer to the alter.  So yes, people did walk on your grave, every Sunday, in fact.

St Mary Whalley floor burials

Three ancient sandstone Saxon crosses remain in the churchyard, dating from the 10th and 11th centuries.  Such crosses were often set up as preaching places where no church existed and they may predate the first church in this location.

St Mary Whalley Saxon cross

While the Catholics tried their best to eradicate Pagan practices, often by building their churches on the very grounds where Pagan worship had occurred, not everything Pagan was destroyed.  In fact, from time to time, something slipped into the Catholic church. In this case, one of the misericords, the beautiful hand carved fold down wooden seats for the monks to perch on during long services had a Green Man carved into the front.

St Mary Whalley green man

The Whalley Abbey, destroyed by the King during the Reformation, lies in ruins behind the church.

Whalley Abbey

This drawing was made of the Abbey after it was already in ruins, in the 1700s, but not as ruined as today.

Today the ruined Abbey is located beside a Catholic retreat center and it is stunningly beautiful even in ruins.

Whalley Abbey ruins

Drinking and sewer water from the Abbey came from the River Mersey upstream and was funneled downstream.

Here’s the original spring, now fenced, dating back perhaps to Pagan times when springs were worshipped and believed to be gifts from the Goddess.  Holy wells were often sacred springs in Pagan worship, later Christianized.

Whalley Abbey spring

I love this very ancient road sign.

ancient road sign

After visiting the abbey or what is left of it, we drove by or through Sabden which ironically also had a ‘witches tower’ on the top of the highest hill.  Ok, maybe it wasn’t a witches tower, just a tower built by a man in the 1890s that wanted a good view of the Ribble Valley, so local lore says, but it sure looks like one and it’s in the right place.  The Pendle Witches were from Sabden and this is also where George Fox, founder of the Quaker faith had his vision.  There is a lot of paganism woven into the early Catholic churches and ancient landscape here.  Today, we saw ‘green men’ in carvings in the church at Whalley.  So a tower at the top of the hill doesn’t surprise me one bit.  Oh, and yes, there are Speak people buried in Sabden too.

tower on hill

To reach this area, we had to cross the mountain, Pendle Hill, once again, so we were treated to unbelievable vistas and sheep on the road, crossing very slowly.

Crossing Pendle Hill

We then drove through an area called Blackho which was the area where the last Speaks to be buried in Gisburn lived.  He had no children and his line died out with him.

We knew we were close to “home” when we saw Pendle Hill from a distance, always welcoming.

Pendle Hill near Blackho

Back at Stirk House, I took the nature walk around the grounds while some of the cousins went to visit Twiston itself in a cab.  We couldn’t get there earlier down the small windey roads with the bus.

Twiston, below, looks much like the rest of the area.  Pendle Hill is always ever present.


Twiston 2

Twiston 3

Today, Twiston itself doesn’t really exist.  It was obviously the name of a farm that has gone by the wayside.  However Twiston Mill is still on the map and according to local history, has been in existence as a water-powered corn mill since the 14th century when it was owned by the Cistercian monks from Whalley Abbey.  After the dissolution of the monasteries in 1534, it became a King’s Mill and then later was owned by the Listers of Gisburn and then the Assetons of Downham in the 1900s.

Twiston Mill

Today, this is all that’s left of the mill area.  From 1792-1880, a bustling cotton mill thrived here, although it burned in 1882 and you’d never know that from visiting the area today.

You can view a lovely video of the Downham area including St. Leonard’s Church here.

How I managed to forget about the side trip to Twiston is beyond me, but I did.  So while my cousins called a cab, visited Twiston and took these pictures to share, I was walking nonchalantly through the woods, becoming personally acquainted with the land of my ancestors.

Stirk house hike

I didn’t see many wild creatures, except for a rabbit, but I did find one of my cousins, a black sheep.  There are few of them, most sheep are white, and it’s kind of hard to see them because they don’t stand out like the white ones against the green grass.  He’s hiding in the photo below in front of a bush, but you’ll never see him.

Ribble sheep

Speaking of cousins, remember, in the Gisburn article, I asked you if you thought that our three Speak cousins from this area were paternally related, or not.  49 of you voted.  61%, or 30 people through they would all match, and 39%, or 19 people thought 2 of 3 would match.  No one thought none of the would match.

Would you like to know?

All 3 men do match on the Y chromosome, exactly, at 12 markers.  You may be surprised that we have only utilized 12 markers, but in this case, we are dealing with haplogroup I1.  In total, these Speak men only have 66 matches, and of those, 13 are to other Speak(e)(s) males.  So for us, 12 markers is an inexpensive “yes” or “no” answer to the question of whether someone matches the Speak line or not.  Of course, now I’m looking at upgrading the results in order to see who our line matches most closely.

So far, all the Speak men who have tested from this area do indeed share a common male ancestor.  Now, of course, the question that remains, is who.

We may never have the answer to that question, but earlier records that show this surname in this area do exist.  In 1305, Robert Speke was named as a landowner in Billington, which is inside the Whalley parish.  This is the earliest known Speak or similar surname record.

In the Act Book of the Ecclesiastical Court of Whalley a Father John Speyke was chaplain of the chapel of Pendle in 1529 and Johannis Speyke was chaplain of Goodshaw Booth in 1530.  In 1531, John Speyke was one of four clergy in attendance for the Bishop’s visitation.  It’s obvious that this family was very active in this region in the Catholic church, and these early dates are before the forced English Protestant Reformation in the 1540s.  Given their level of personal investment in the Catholic church, it’s not surprising that they refused the Protestant faith and became instead, recusants.

We’re off tomorrow for Chorley and Charnock Richard where the Bowling family lived.  Elizabeth Bowling, also Catholic, married our Thomas Speake and they were the early immigrants to Maryland about 1660 or so.

I will be sad to say goodbye to the Stirk House, once owned by Harry Speak.  We’ve gotten pretty attached.

Stirk house farewell



I receive a small contribution when you click on some of the links to vendors in my articles. This does NOT increase the price you pay but helps me to keep the lights on and this informational blog free for everyone. Please click on the links in the articles or to the vendors below if you are purchasing products or DNA testing.

Thank you so much.

DNA Purchases and Free Transfers

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Genealogy Research