Monday, September 2, 2019

A Challenge to our Circumstantial Origins

We have been researching to break through the brick wall of a 1789 illegitimate birth in  Hay, Breconshire. That is our direct surname origin (although the numerous Vaughans in the Middle Wye and Usk Valleys all claim descent from Sir Roger Vaughan of Bredwardine, legitimately or not - and we connect with a few other of those lines).

This weekend, I had some correspondence on with another user who took some umbrage with us naming her direct ancestor as the putative father of John Vaughan (1789-1851). She gave me permission to share it with her Ancestry user name. Here is the correspondence:

Aug 31, 2019

I am a direct descendant of Rees PRICE the tailor of Velindre, and must protest against this continued assumption that was the father of your illegitmate Vaughan offspring. I think you have only circumstantial information based on the name Price and I dispute this. I have seen the case you make on Family Search and you do recognise that you make assumptions. If you can prove your descent from Rees PRICE using DNA (as I have myself), I should of course drop this challenge. But there were other PRICES, other Rees PRICES, other PRICES who were tailors etc etc. 

'My' Rees PRICE (5th great-grandfather was, by the way, literate and therefore likely to be consistent in the way he spelt Rees. 

Also I believe you are wrong in saying, in a blog about a visit to the area, that the PRICE family kept The Three Horseshoes from the late 18th century - it was my great-grandfather George PRICE b 1862 who took on the pub sometime between his marriage to Elizabeth Jones of Velindre and the 1891 census. Certainly my own grandfather was born there in 1889. George PRICE kept The Three Horseshoes until sometime after 1939, when it is still his address in the National Registration of that September. Afterwards it passed to descendants, with a granddaughter Nancy taking it on.

I have corresponded with you previously on this matter. I note that Ancestry says you have either not taken a DNA test or or not a match with me. It would be very interesting to know if you have taken a test.

Aug 31, 2019
Dear Liz-
Thank you for your message. You raise valid concerns. Thank for additional information. And you are correct that we only have a circumstantial case. I have removed the relationship on my GLVaughn tree.

The main link to a Rees Price of Glasbury Parish is that he had an assessment debt owed to the Parish Vestry Council at the same time of John Vaughan's illegitimate birth. That could have been grounds for being in the gaol in Hay which local historians inform me was the only gaol location in the area, far from the County gaol in Brecon (or Radnor, depending on the County with the Wye in the middle of the Parish). As Rees Price, Tailor of Felindre, was already married, he could not have married the mother of an illegitimate child and would have been fined for maintenance of the child if the parentage was known to the vestrymen.

Here is what I found in the Vestry Minutes:

1789 [from Glasbury Parish Records] "Return Rees Price eight assessments [This is abbreviated and should read Return Rees Price in arrears for eight assessments]" It does not say what the assessments are for. And, in 1790, "In return Rece Price in arrears 3s 6d." Failure to pay maintenance for an illegitimate child would be one reason for such assessments. But it could have been something else too.

I have taken and DNA test and you are correct that we do not appear as a match. I do have matches with people named Price but I have not analyzed them all and I have not confirmed any Price link in Glasbury through DNA.

I have also taken a Y-DNA test and while the evidence is pretty shaky from very few samplings of other tests, I do see a possible Y-DNA link to Davies in the area of Glasbury. There are Davieses and Davises who were tailors. This has given me a new field to research and my research continues.

With your permission, and with your name redacted, I would like to post your comment on my family history blog to make it available to others in the family. I am unlikely to remove past postings as they show the development of research (and I have always said the case for Rees Price is circumstantial). I have posted about the possible Davis/Davies DNA link.

I have recently retired and hope to spend more time of family history research. Maybe I can get this mystery cleared up.

Thank you again for your message and your attention.

Grant Vaughn

Sep 01, 2019
Dear Grant
Thank you very much for your prompt and full reply, and most of all for your decision to remove 'my' Rees PRICE from your tree. I appreciate that you put a huge amount of work into building up your circumstantial case and fully see why you were feeling convinced. So many individuals of same and similar names were around - for instance, there was another Rees PRICE who died in Glasbury aged 93 in 1827. 

You can by all means post my comment . I'd be very pleased for you to do that. And you can use my Ancestry name if you wish - I don't mind receiving comments.

I have a DNA connection with another Ancestry member who is a descedant of this Rees PRICE. In fact, it was that which proved my connection, built on strong circumstantial evidence! We are descended respectively from a son and a daughter of Rees and Anne.

I hope you manage to solve your mystery parentage case through DNA - it seems to have broken down many people's brick walls. Unfortunately, such a lot of fellow Ancestry members don't reply to messages! So again, I am hugely appreciative of you doing so.

We also think The Three Horseshoes is a great little pub!!

Best regards

It is best not to argue about Genealogy, especially in instances where claims can't be proven with solid evidence. Besides, I need all the friends I can get in Britain.

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