New DNA project for Cavers one-name study

In recent years DNA has become increasingly useful for genealogy purposes, allowing family lines to be pieced together that don’t have the required documentation. In surname studies this is particularly true for Y-DNA, which is passed down from father to son. If there is an unbroken male line of descent the descendant should have the same Y-DNA as his distant male ancestor with the same surname, and that is true for Cavers as well.

Bearing this in mind, and also bearing in mind the large number of Cavers lines that we can’t trace back past the late 18th century, but are probably in many cases connected, I have started a Y-DNA project for Cavers. This has been set up with FamilyTreeDNA which is one of the largest genealogical DNA testing companies, based in America. For surname/one-name study purposes it’s generally necessary to do a Y-DNA test accurate to 37 markers, and this company offers a good deal on this level of testing.

Now DNA testing isn’t cheap, although prices have dropped considerably in the last few years. I can’t afford to pay for other people’s tests. I would need descendants to volunteer to pay for their own tests, or perhaps for family branches to group together to cover costs. To give an example of costs, I can provide a single Y-DNA 37 marker test kit to people in the UK for 80 pounds. If ordering the same item directly from FamilyTreeDNA (if you’re outside the UK) the same kit bought via the project currently costs $149 US dollars.

What I’d hope is that male descendants from a number of different Cavers lines would sign up to be tested. You would get the results from your own test, and by combining them and comparing them with other Cavers Y-DNA tests, which I would be able to do as the project administrator, it should be possible to see if different lines are related, and how closely. This is potentially very useful for the Cavers one-name study, and genealogical purposes, and has already proved very useful for other one-name studies.

To read more about the project see the project’s public page on the FamilyTreeDNA website. This is very much a long-term project, but I hope that it will be very useful.

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More on James Cavers “Old Dunneram”

I’ve blogged previously about this James Cavers (1765-1863) in Hawick, including him celebrating his 97th birthday, and a link to a painting of him.

I’ve just found another newspaper report about him, which makes entertaining reading. It was published in a Belfast paper, reproduced from a Border one.

Belfast News-Letter, 1861 December 16

AN OLD ALMANAC SELLER – James Cavers (alias “Dundrum”) is still able, in his 97th year, to go about and sell the “Royal Belfast Almanac.” He has now sold publications for somewhere between sixty and seventy years. He tells with great gusto of an old woman, about forty years since, buying three copies of the same year’s almanac. It appears that for a long time the price of the almanac was 2d; but some free-trading vendor coming round was content to take a small profit and sell it at 1d. The old woman, anxious, like many yet, to save a penny, thought she would lay in a supply for three years. It is needless, however, to say she was rather mistaken. – Border Advertiser

More about John Cavers who died on the tramcar in New Zealand

I’ve just got details of the death certificate of John Cavers whose death I blogged about the other day. Unfortunately the parents’ details are blank on the certificate, not known. But he was thought to be born in England. I suspect that his age recorded at death was inaccurate, and that he was possibly John Cavers born at Tynemouth in 1869. If so he was the boy who was convicted of theft aged 12 in 1881, and sent onto a local training ship. This would have trained him for working in the merchant navy or similar service at sea, and the man who died in the New Zealand tramcar had occupation “Marine Fireman”. So that fits quite well with someone with that occupation who had ended up in New Zealand. I can’t prove it yet, but I’m pretty confident it’s likely to be correct now.

Death on a tramcar

Another death report, this time from a New Zealand newspaper, many of which have been digitised. This looks like the oldest son of Walter Cavers and Jane Blair who were discussed, including in the comments, in the previous post. There’s a Scottish birth for this John in Stobhill district, Midlothian, in 1875, registered as “John Cavers Irvine”. And there’s a matching New Zealand death certificate for him.

Wanganui Chronicle, 1917 January 31

SUDDEN DEATH ON A TRAMCAR

A man naimed[sic] John Cavers, who resided at 116 Bell Street, boarded a tramcar at King’s Avenue, Gonville, yesterday about 5 o’clock, and was observed to collapse before the car had gone twenty chains. Dr Wilkin was hastily summoned, but could do not[sic] more than pronounce life extinct.

Deceased, who was 42 years of age, had been, until the 20th inst., employed as fireman on the N.Z. Refrigerating Company’s lighter Dorset, but had recently been working on day wages.

A second report, this time in the Evening Post of 1917 January 31, notes that he was a “married man”, and that the death occurred on 30th January.

Was he John Cavers who married Sarah A. Samways at Canterbury, NSW in 1910, with several children born over the next few years?

Death of a Cavers emigrant to Australia

I’ve just started searching through the online collection of digitised Australian newspapers. Here’s one of the first interesting entries I found. At the moment I don’t know where he fits into Scottish family trees. There’s no obviously matching Scottish birth for him. But checking his marriage certificate (1899, Granville, New South Wales, wife Ada E. Vines) would reveal his parentage. There are quite a few references in the Australian papers to marriages of his children Albert G. and Ada.

The Cumberland Argus and Fruitgrowers Advocate, 1946 October 16

DEATH OF G. CAVERS

Mr George Blair Cavers (69), who died recently at his residence, Eleanor Street, Granville, had lived in Granville ever since his arrival in Australia from Scotland at the age of six.

In his early days he was employed by the Clyde Engineering Co., and was a keen member of the Clyde Cricket Club. For many years he was manager and coach of the Granville Rechabite football teams, winners of several competitions.

He was one of the foundation members of the Granville Presbyterian Church. Always interested in any movement to help the young people of the district, for many years he was superintendent of the Granville Junior Rechabites.

Mr Cavers is survived by his widow, a son and a daughter.

Cavers apprentices in Scotland, 1762-1800

I’ve recently been studying the new database of apprentice indenture duties available on Ancestry.co.uk. This is based on records held in The National Archives at Kew in Surrey, and includes the names of many masters, apprentices and details of the trades they were pursuing, across the UK, between 1710 and 1811. By studying the original document images I’ve already extracted the details of apprentices in Melrose parish in Roxburghshire, 201 pairs of master-apprentice names between 1734 and 1804, and I will be doing a similar extraction for Coldingham parish in Berwickshire, my other one-place study.

However it’s also possible to search for apprentices or masters with the surname Cavers. There are very few, just three.

The earliest recorded is Robert Cavers at Lauder in Berwickshire in 1762, who was apprenticed to shoemaker Robert Romanus. This may be Robert Cavers who married Mary Tweedup at Lauder in 1784 and had descendants. There was certainly a Cavers cluster at Lauder around then, though I don’t know where they came from originally.

Then in 1793 there was a payment for James Cavers who was apprenticed to John Lydon junior taylor at Denholm, in Cavers parish. It’s difficult to be sure about this, but from the date, and the likely age at which he would have been apprenticed it’s possible that this was the son christened in 1780 at Cavers parish to father Robert Cavers. If so that would match up with James Cavers (1780-1866) husband of Margaret Blackburn who emigrated to Ormstown in Quebec, was a farmer there, and had many descendants.

I’m most confident about the third Cavers apprentice. This was Charles Cavers whose apprenticeship dues to Adam Hart weaver in Lockieshedge in Wilton parish were paid in 1800. This has to be Charles Cavers (ca1784-1864) son of Thomas Cavers and Janet Scott who had other children christened in the Wilton/Hawick area. Charles was known to be a weaver, and also a soldier, married at Wilton in 1805, and later settled in Lilliesleaf.

I had hoped to find a reference in the records to William Cavers the gunsmith in London, which might have helped me identify his origins more. It’s possible he was apprenticed, but his name could have been misrecorded or mistranscribed. As it is there are only these three Cavers apprentices that I can confidently identify as part of the one-name study.