As a result of having my DNA tested earlier this year, two stumps have been cleared and seven more ancestors warmly welcomed into the family tree.
One of these stumps was a known convict, and the other was…also a convict as it turns out! My little family of ‘criminal’ ancestors has now grown to 16, and I love it. DNA testing has certainly kept things interesting, along with some great connections with distant cousins made along the way.
It may seem like a large number of convicts to some people, and I’m often asked if they are direct ancestors or whether they just ‘married into the family’ or were perhaps siblings.
Nope – definitely direct.
And when you think about it, we have in excess of 200 possible ancestors once we reach the 8th generation (fifth great-grandparents). So it’s actually only around 6% of the total.
See? Quite possible indeed! Especially if you live in Tasmania, where 13 of my convicts were transported to. The other three were sent to New South Wales – the earliest arriving in 1797 on the ship Ganges.
Being a very visual person, I’ve put together a bit of a snapshot to illustrate how these 16 relate to me. The visual shows seven generations in full, and at generations eight and nine, only my NSW convicts have been squeezed in.
My mother’s DNA result are due back any day now, and I’m excited to think of what other discoveries we may find. Having her results will help narrow down which line of the family tree a match belongs to; if someone matches with both of us, I can rule out ancestors on my father’s side in looking for a connection.
Look out, stumps – we’re coming for you.