Saturday, 20 October 2007

The Daglish DNA Project

An item in the morning news today prompted me to write about the Daglish DNA Study, which began about a year ago.

Fathers pass to their sons, via the Y-chromosome, DNA markers which remain virtually unchanged generation after generation.

These markers can be compared with the markers for other individuals to establish relationships that may have been impossible to find by documentation alone.

The objectives of the Daglish DNA Study are:
  • to determine which of the many Daglish families can can be linked back to a common ancestor. For example many Daglish families in County Durham can be traced back to Whickham parish - but even from the extensive parish registers we do not know if they all shared a common ancestor. Other Daglish families can be traced back to Northumberland. Are these separate from the County Durham Daglishes - or are these linked by a common ancestor? This will help the usual question 'are we related' and will also give a greater insight into the history of the Daglish name.

  • to test whether there is a link between DAGLISH and other similar names: in particular DALGLISH and DALGLIESH. The standard reference works on surnames show that Daglish is derived from these names - but this is not clear so far from currently available data.
So far we have 11 members of the Daglish DNA study - and some interesting results.

There are five matches for a group of distinct Daglish families which trace their origins back to the parish of Whickham in County Durham. This suggests that these families share a common ancestor, probably around 500 years ago. At this stage there is no known link between these families through the paper records, so this provides an interesting challenge for further research.

It is worth noting that the chances of getting a random match is several times less likely than the chances of winning the UK lottery - so I believe that these results are significant.

The results for Daglishes whose histories go back to ther parts of North East England are less conclusive at this stage.

The news story that prompted me to write about our study is that it has been announced that the web site is offering DNA testing for family historians; the story is can be seen here.

This is likely to be a significant step forward in the use of DNA as a tool for genealogy. Ancestry is by far the largest commercial family history web: it already offers online access to the England & Wales census 1841-1901, birth, marriage and death indexes and much more. Although home access to Ancestry is by subscription, the site can be accessed free from most major libraries.

One common concern with DNA for genealogy is that the test is medically informative and can identify someone as an individual. In fact, the test is made on a part of the DNA structure which has no medical value and is completely different from the tests used as a ‘forensic’ profile by the police. Put simply, we are interested in what people share in common with their ancestors, not what makes them unique.

The value of testing is to find matches with others. If you would be interested in joining the DNA Study, please let me know. Your surname will be Daglish or Dalglish or other close variant - and you must be male! The biggest barrier to DNA research is the cost of the tests - but it is worth noting that tests ordered within the Daglish DNA Study receive a discount.

For more information about DNA and how it can be used in genealogy, please see the following sites:
Genetics & Genealogy - An Introduction
International Society of Genetic Genealogy

Saturday, 13 October 2007

Armed Forces Memorial

Yesterday the Queen, The Duke of Edinburgh and the Prince of Wales attended the dedication of the new Armed Forces Memorial.

The £6m stone circle is located at the National Memorial Arboretum in Alrewas, Staffordshire, and bears the names of 16,000 service personnel who have died since World War II. There is room for 15,000 more names to be carved on the Portland stone walls.

The memorial will open to the public on October 29. It was designed by architect Liam O’Connor.

Photo: Press Association (PA)

The names of those commemorated on the new memorial can be searched on the Armed Forces Memorial web site under The Roll of Honour. There is one result for Daglish.

Richard Daglish was born in Catterick in October 1944 and was killed in April 1964 in Brunei, whilst serving with the Royal Signals. He was 19 years old. The site shows that he is buried in Singapore. Richard was the son of John Henry Daglish and Ann Birkett.

Friday, 12 October 2007

At last - a Daglish clock!

For some time I have been looking for a photo of a Daglish clock - and this week I was delighted to receive an e-mail from Simon and Jane, who kindly sent some of their clock.

Simon and Jane bought the clock in the late 1980s. They think it may originally have had a pediment at the top but that perhaps it was too tall for some past owner's cottage. They report:

It is keeping excellent time (has an eight day movement) and chimes the number of hours, it has a lovely mellow chime which we can hear throughout the house.

As shown in an earlier post, there were three generations of clockmakers working in Alnwick, Northumberland, between the 1740s and 1840s - all called Joseph Daglish. Simon and Jane's clock was probably made by the younger Joseph (1775-1843).

The premises were in Peakes Lane in Alnwick, close to the centre of the town and near the Town Hall. It is now known as Paikes Lane - and, although there is no surviving clues as to the location of the business, I took the photos below on a recent visit.

My grateful thanks to Simon and Jane for providing the photos of their clock.

If you have any photos of objects with a Daglish connection, I would be very pleased to hear from you.

Update - June 2008:

Peter Fenwick kindly sent me a photo of a clock by Joseph Daglish that he saw for sale. This one has a rare and magnificent dial by the dialmaker Richard Hipkiss, who was making dials in the period 1805 to 1811.

Peter writes that in the dial centre, to the right of the number 9, are the words "Nile, Copenhagen, Trafalgar" on the drape held by the cherub.

The arch shows a country house with a boating lake. The clock is housed in a typical Northumbrian oak case.

My thanks to Peter for the photo and details.

Friday, 5 October 2007

Nonconformist church records online

In recent weeks, some records of baptisms have been made available online. These are from nonconformist churches (that is, those not belonging to the Church of England) - in particular Methodists, Baptists and Presbyterians.

The records are from the National Archives in association with a commercial company under the name BMD Registers. There is a free search, but it costs £2.50 to download a scanned image.

The documents are useful as they are mostly before 1837 – the date of the introduction of civil registration in England and Wales. Although these have previously been available to researchers, this is the first time they have been fully indexed and searchable by name. The first release (the RG4 and RG5 series from the National Archives) apparently covers up to six million individuals – of which there are 36 records for Daglish.

At first, I found the indexing on the web site to be inaccurate. I knew that the files included three baptisms for my own family which, at the time, was living in Spaxton, Somerset. Shown below is the baptism certificate for James Daglish from the Wesleyan Methodist Registry 1818-1838.

I was therefore interested that the index listed a fourth Daglish baptised in Somerset – could this be a long lost ancestor! Unfortunately when I downloaded the image, I found it had been wrongly indexed - and the baptism was in fact for a family in Newcastle upon Tyne. I also found another record with the wrong location - so reported these errors to the web site and these have now been fixed.

The details provided vary from location to location. Some are certificates - such as the example above - while others are pages from registers.

One interesting record shows a James Daglish being born in the Tower of London:

James, Son of James Daglish, Royal Artillery, in the parish of Woolwich & County of Kent and of Elizabeth his wife, was born in the Tower of London Augt 15th 1807 and Baptized Sept 14th 1807 by me. John Blythe

This is a mystery to me. I have no other record of this family, and wonder whether this is really Dalglish (although the entry on the document is clearly written as Daglish), as the baptism took place in the Scots Church, Woolwich. I contacted the Tower of London - but they have no record of either a Daglish or Dalglish in the records.