Genetic Tie To Celtic Dobunni Tribe

A view of Battlesbury Hillfort in Wiltshire, England

credit: Photo © Martin Addison (cc-by-sa/2.0)

I used to say that although I’m technically half English / Half Irish, I’m 99% Celtic. I based this on fact that a chunk of my English was Cornish and Welsh. I can now add more Celtic blood through my Wiltshire families.

Celtic Connection

I have my raw DNA uploaded to MyTrueAncestry and have been fascinated with all results I’ve received. Recently they had a new archealogical site to link DNA to. It’s a Celtic Hillfort near Warminster, Wiltshire. It’s called Battlesbury Camp. Archealogists have recovered a few different remains and I have a fairly high match with two of them.

The closer of the two matches is with remains from the Iron Age (180 BC). My match was a Genetic Distance of 6.4219. (the lower the number, the closer the match). My other match of 9.3450 is with remains from the Roman Era (300 AD).

The Battlesbury Hillfort is believed to have been built in the Iron Age by the Dobunni Celtic tribe. The Dobunni were one of the Iron Age tribes living in the British Isles prior to the Roman conquest of Britain. (wikipedia)

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Splitting Up Was Easier In The Early 1900’s

Postcard of Birmingham England Street Scene in about 1900

Postcard credit:

In my years of research, I have found multiple couples who show up in census reports as widowed when they are actually just split up. Most of these couples never divorced and I will often find a marriage for one of the spouses once the other has died. In my family there is a husband who shows up with a second family in a different town. His wife was living with their children and listed as widowed. In that case, I’ve never been able to find a marriage for the second partner or baptisms for their daughters.


This week I had a feeling in my gut that I was dealing with one of these split couples posing as being widowed. There are a few clues to look for. A big one is when one of the couples changes their marital status in different census years. Since the wife in this instance was the one related to me, she was who I found first in Birmingham, Warwickshire, where the family had lived in 1901. In this case, she was listed as “married” in one census where she was a live in servant, and then in 10 years she was listed as widowed, while still working as a servant. Because of the order, it was possible, but something didn’t feel right.

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Assumptions In Research Are Tricky

While working on one of my Richardson family in Lincolnshire, England, I came across an Ancestry Tree that had a newspaper clipping that was associated with one of the wives of my relative. It didn’t make sense to me. I decided to do a bit more digging and it resulted in multiple “surprises” and wrong assumptions. It’s turned out to be a great lesson in always double checking all of your information, no matter how cut and dried it seemed. More importantly, I learned not to quickly make assumptions.

The questions raised by the newspaper article, revolved around the second wife of Robert Richardson of Waltham, Lincolnshire. Robert had 9 children with his first wife, Jane Surfleet. Jane died in 1843 and Robert married his second wife, Mary Dawson Parker.

In 1851, Robert, Mary, along with five of Robert’s children from his first marriage and two of Mary’s children from her first marriage, lived in Waltham, Lincolnshire.

In 1861, Robert was living on his own in Waltham and listed as a “widower”. His daughter, Rebecca, age 21, and two younger children, Moses, age 2, and Fanny F, age 2 weeks, were living with him. Moses and Fanny were listed as being the son and daughter of Robert. The information in this census led me to believe that Mary was the mother of Moses and Fanny, and that she probably died giving birth to Fanny.

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