Powys Family History Society – Helping you to Research your Family History in Breconshire, Montgomeryshire and Radnorshire



Articles, photographs and fillers are sent in by members of the Society for inclusion in “Cronicl.” We are always looking for articles of genealogical interest . 

Editor: “Powys Cronicl”: Jenny Caines:   jennyscarr73@hotmail.com                                            

Address: The Old Manse, Scarr, Lydeard-St-Lawrence, Taunton, Somerset TA4 3RH

A lot of interesting articles have recently been submitted, so thank you to everyone who has sent in. There can never be too many, so please keep them coming in, especially if they relate to your own family history and research. Winter days are now upon us, time for me to sort all the information I’ve discovered through the summer and scribbled down on odd bits of paper.

Your December 2018 Cronicl will shortly be on its way, and it contains some great articles ranging from mystery and intrigue in the fifteenth century to some moving tributes to soldiers who lost their lives in the Great War. Have a look too at the new Powys FHS publications, more are being added all the time. Volunteer members spend a lot of time documenting and checking records, so you can be sure of their accuracy.

Cronicl number 103 (April 103) raised an interesting question: death certificates – just how accurate is the date?  One member writes of her own experiences as follows:

“A close relative lived alone and after neighbours had not seen him around for a day or two, they went to investigate. He was sat at the breakfast table, with the morning paper on his lap – dead. The police were called and a post mortem followed. The date of death was given as 1st December – the day when he was discovered. The date surprised us all, in that surely his death would have been before this, given he had not been seen for a few days… a look at the newspaper would no doubt have confirmed this suspicion.” Further investigations eventually confirmed that the date of finding the body was always the date used as the date of death.

There are deeper implications of this. It is sometimes mentioned in wills that “money is left to every grandchild alive on the date of my death” (or similar wording) meaning that a newborn could benefit if the date on the death certificate is a few days late. The same would apply where the phrase is included “any child who has attained the age of twenty one years on the date of my death.” Although we don’t know of any circumstances where this has happened, it is obviously a possibility!

Cronicl number 102 (December 2017) included an article on DNA testing, the pitfalls and the benefits. Here is the author’s summary of the different types of testing available:

Mitochondrial DNA testing – from the X chromosome which both males and females get from their mother. Note that males do not pass on the mitochondrial DNA to their offspring. We inherit our mitochondrial DNA from our mothers. Change in this DNA happens VERY slowly. This means you can share mitochondrial DNA with a modern person but your shared ancestor may be many hundreds or even thousands of years back. It is useful for looking at your deep ancestral history and the paths your ancestors took out of Africa. Reputedly DNA can take twenty thousand years to show a mutation. For genealogical purposes it may not be the most useful test to take.

Y DNA is gender specific to males only. Should a woman wish to test her paternal line she would have to test her father, brother, or even father’s brother – in fact the closest paternal line male relative she can find. The Y chromosomes are passed from father to son. Over time there may be slight mutations that occur during replication of cell DNA. When a mutation does occur, all male descendants of the man carrying the mutated DNA will show that mutation. When a second mutation happens, all of that man’s sons will carry the second mutation as well as the first, and so on. There will be distinct sub-groups of the group with the first mutation.

Although Y DNA and mitochondrial DNA can be used to determine  the relation of individuals it cannot directly determine the degree of relationship. Genetic genealogy is an addition to traditional genealogical research not a replacement. The relationship predictions can get close, but the further back in time you go the less accurate it will be.

Autosomal DNA is the DNA we inherit from both parents and is not gender specific. This blended and combined DNA full of the genes of your ancestors is blended in you. Your siblings will have a blend of the same ancestors but not necessarily in the same mix. The further back in time you go the less useful this DNA is for genealogy as the proportions of ancestor DNA becomes more and more dilute. The most effective use of autosomal testing is to have several family members tested over a range of generations. This helps narrow down any matches as the range of genetic markers within the family has been more widely tested. It can indicate genetic cousins, and may have a relationship predictor as part of your matches in your test results. However you will still need to contact your matches to establish the possible origins of the relationship as DNA alone cannot do this. (As the author points out, not all those contacted will want to participate and may not have your enthusiasm for family history!)

As more and more people are tested, so the databases grow and the potentially better your results should be.

Below, cover of the 100th edition of Cronicl, which came out in April 2017.

This was a landmark in the history of Powys FHS. There have been so many changes since that first issue in 1981. We no longer have to make long trips to Records Offices far and wide, almost everything is at our fingertips online. But there is no substitute for meeting, and being able to work with others who have shared interests, many friendships have been made this way. So if those around you get that faraway glazed look in their eyes when you talk about family history (yes, we’ve all been there!) try sharing your thoughts and ideas with Powys FH folk and see them light up!


Archive of Cronicl’s 1-30