Adding 300 Years of Upshalls by DNA and Genealogy

In my last sprawling Blog, I wrote an Upshall update and had a breakthrough as to the English origins of the Upshalls. In this Blog, I’d like to summarize some areas and expand on some areas of that Blog.

The Key to the Breakthrough: Peter, Sarah, and John Upshall

Martha is an Upshall relative by DNA and genealogy. I have been in touch with her by various avenues. She has suggested a father for Henry Upshall. His name is Peter. She also suggested a mother of Peter named Sarah and a father of Sarah named John.

In the Hazelbury Bryan, Dorset Parish Registers Peter was ‘base-born’ to Sarah in 1800:

Base-born is such a heavy term. It seems like it could be used in some 1800’s English novel. The story seemed to go that Peter, being base-born, likely had no inheritance or much of a future in Hazelbury Bryan, so sought his fortune in Newfoundland. When life gives you lemons, make lemonade. But how could this theory be verified?

Confirming Henry Upshall’s (born about 1841) Ancestry by DNA

First I looked at my wife’s Aunt Elaine’s DNA matches at Ancestry. I used her matches because she has fewer Newfoundland matches than my wife’s great Aunt Esther. That narrows down the matches to Esther’s Upshall and Dicks ancestry. I checked for Elaine’s Upshall DNA matches.

Things got interesting when I started looking at Elaine’s more distant Upshall DNA matches at Ancestry. One was with Allen. Allen descended from Bethia Upshall who was the grandson of John Upshall born in 1739. Assuming that was the same John that Martha had as Sarah Upshall’s dad, I drew this tree:

From what I can tell, Allen lives in England and has no Dicks relatives. Next, I found Barry from New Zealand. Barry also has the same John Upshall in his tree and is also a DNA match to Elaine.

However, another important thing about Barry from New Zealand’s tree: it shows Sarah Upshall and Allen’s George Upshall as siblings.

 

Here I have circled Ann, Sarah and George Upshall. I also circled their father John. I note that Aunt Esther also matches Allen and Barry by DNA. That means that the person in common by DNA and genealogy with Allen, Barry, Elaine and Esther is John Upshall born 1739. Descendants of these three children apparently ended up in England, New Zealand and Newfoundland. However, the DNA and genealogy ties them back together to Hazelbury Bryan, Dorset, England.

A Ninth Upshall Great-Grandfather for Esther

Previously, Esther had her grandfather Henry Upshall documented and no Upshall before that. Now, thanks to work done by Allen and Barry, she has Upshalls going back to the 1500’s:

The first Upshall in the line is William Upshall born in 1543 – about 300 years before Henry Upshall of Newfoundland. William also lived in Hazelbury Bryan (spelled Haslebury at the time).

300 Years of Upshalls in Hazelbury Bryan

What do we know about Hazelbury Bryan, Dorset? Here is the Church:

I imagine that this is where the Upshalls were born, got married and were buried. Here is some more information from the internet:

Hazelbury Bryan is situated in the Blackmore Vale five miles south west of Sturminster Newton. The Parish was formerly in the hundred of Pimperne and has an area of 2359 acres. Today the village has a population of 800 (2001) slightly more than the 761 recorded in the 1861 census. The village consists of seven hamlets, namely DroopKingstonParkgatePidneyPleckWonston and Woodrow.

In 1201 the village name was spelled Hasebere. The name is derived from the Old English hæsel bearu, meaning a hazel grove or wood, plus the manorial name of the Bryene or de Bryan family; Sir Guy de Bryan, of Woodsford Castle, gave his surname to the village in the 14th century when he married the daughter of the First Earl of Salisbury.

The original settlement in the village is the hamlet of Droop, which is the location of the parish church. The 14th century church dedicated to St Mary and St James is a handsome edifice with a fine square tower. The north aisle is considered a good specimen of the Perpendicular style. Beside the church are dwellings some 400 years old. Miss Violet Cross from the Manor House, a benefactor of the church, gave these dwellings to provide homes for widows and daughters of the clergy.

The parish was also home to a Primitive Methodist Chapel built in 1863 which remains in use to this day, part of the North Dorset Circuit.

That gives some general information. Hazelbury Bryan is old and small is the message I am getting. I suppose that makes it a good place for tracking Upshalls. Here is the 1841 Census with what appears to be Sarah’s brother Benjamin Upshall:

He is living in the Hamlet of Droop. He appears to be an agricultural laborer. The person above Benjamin was listed as a Farmer. I suppose that meant that Benjamin worked on someone elses’ farm. Living with Benjamin was Elizabeth Upshall. She could have been Benjamin’s wife or George’s widow Elizabeth Whiller Upshall or some other relative.

Here is a Droop Farm Cottage for rent. Perfect for Upshall descendants looking to visit their roots:

Summary and Conclusions

  • DNA matches compared with associated trees has pushed the knowledge of my wife’s Upshall line back about 300 years.
  • Base-born Peter Upshall appears to be the first in my wife’s line of Upshalls to travel to Newfoundland.
  • Before relocating to Newfoundland, Peter’s ancestors lived in Hazebury Bryan as long as the Parish records have existed.
  • Tracing ancestors from Newfoundland back to England can be nearly impossible due to the lack of records in Newfoundland. However, the use of DNA matching paired with good on-line Upshall records from Hazelbury Bryan has resulted in a breakthrough in Upshall genealogy.

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