My great grandmother is Agnes Glover Wells born 22 April 1884. She is listed as Wells on the 1891 census; however, Agnes used the last name Parr from her step-father for most of her life. She has no known father listed on her birth certificate. Her marriage certificate uses the name of Charles Glover as the father. As her step-father’s name is Charles, it is likely she chose that first name “out of the air” rather than any real idea of her father’s name. This is somewhat confirmed by a letter she received from her Aunt Pollie written in 1947 or 1948 where is appears that Pollie is answering “Aggie’s” question on her birth. Pollie says she was there at the birth at Mildenhall, but does not know if Agnes’s mother registered the birth anywhere else. On Agnes’s death certificate her father is listed as “unknown” Glover.
This quest started with a DNA match to someone on the MyHeritage site. This person was also a DNA match on the 23andme site, with an X-chromosome match noted on that site. For our purposes we will call her XM1 (for X-match one).
At first, I did not pay too much attention to this match as XM1 is from Norway and I know my Norwegian line fairly well and I am not searching for ancestors within the genealogical time period where autosomal DNA would be helpful. However, I noticed on myHeritage that XM1 had the Glover name in her family tree, so I had a closer look just out of curiosity.
Looking closer at her tree, and the date of birth for Agnes Glover Wells, the name John Henry Glover popped out. He would have been the right age to be Agnes’s father. In 1883, he would have been 19 when Eliza Wells’ was 20 and became pregnant with Agnes. So, this made it interesting. Could I possibly have found Agnes’ biological father? This might have been too easy. I had been expecting to find many cousin matches and create many Glover trees before finding him.
Downloading the shared segments to DNA painter, I checked the DNA match against a first cousin on my mother’s side. All four sections of XM1’s DNA matches with sections of that cousin. The X chromosome match to me is in a different location than DT, but as you can see, the other matches are definitely lining up. The total match for XM1 according to the DNAPainter tool is 143.6 cM.
On 23andme, I note that XM1 also matches with a “Selin”, at 23andme who is Agnes’s grandchild or great-grandchild through my grandmother’s sister. Further confirmation that the X match is from my mother’s side, not my fathers.
Checking the DNA match for reasonableness with this possibility in the shared cM tool I found the following percentages:
54% H2C 2C1R H1C2R 1C3R
21% HGG Aunt 2C H1C1R 1C2R
18% 3C H2C1R 2C2R
Viewing XM1’s tree and combining with mine, if John Henry is, in fact, the father of Agnes, we should be H2C1R. This is not the highest percentage at 18%, but is still a possibility. I will need to ensure I am not jumping to the solution that best fits what I want it to fit, but must look at all the possibilities for XM1 relationship.
According to the DNA it is certainly plausible and possible the John Henry is the father of Agnes. DNA can only tell us that we are related, not how we are related, so further research of genealogy records is required.
My next step is then to fill out the tree for XM1 and see (1) are there other Glover surname possibilities for Agnes’s father, (2) are there other possibilities for the DNA match in XM1s tree andAg (3) is it possible the match is from my side of the tree.
Other possibilities for Agnes’s father – Glover surname.
Agnes was born in April 1884, therefore the father must have been alive and capable of children in 1883.
John Henry has a father and a brother. Charles, his brother would have been 13 years old at the time, making it extremely unlikely that he was the father. John Henry’s father is not an X match candidate to XM1. Therefore, using the Glover surname, the only reasonable possibility is John Henry Glover.
Other possibilities for DNA match, not a Glover surname in XM1 tree.
XM1’s maternal grandfather, George Henry Leech was born in 1891 and therefore too young to be her father. His grandfather on his maternal side, Joseph Atwood, could be a potential father to Agnes Wells. He certainly moved around in England a great deal as a labourer. However, as well as Caroline pictured in the tree, his daughter Ann was born in 1876 and daughter Elizabeth in 1884. They were both born in Crewe, Cheshire, it is therefore unlikely that he is the father of Agnes.
The higher probabilities on the DNA match, as noted above, are that there is a closer match to XM1 rather than a more distance match. Therefore, it is unlikely to be a match further back in XM1s tree. In addition, John Crawford died in 1874, therefore cannot be the father of Agnes; and John Padmore, the father of Harriett, lived his whole life in Clawson, Leicestershire and it is unlikely that as a 68 year old agricultural labourer he would travelled to an area in England where he and Eliza could have gotten together.
While I did some work on the Norwegian side and determined that it was extremely unlikely that Ole Kristoffersen Winger (b 1853) could be a DNA contributor; however, that turned out to be not needed. XM1 informed me that her bio-father is not Norwegian, but Italian. As there is no admixture in my ancestral DNA that indicates even a possibility of Italian, and he could only have received his X from his mother, I am comfortable with saying the X chromosome match did not come from that side.
Is the match from my side of the tree
As the X match is from my mother’s side, there are only a few we need to look at.
My grandfather John Johnson was born in 1910 and the only possibility to match with on XM1’s tree would be XM1 herself, this is not likely given her admixture as discussed above. It is also my understanding that he never left Canada after he moved here in 1926.
The next option would be Thomas Richard Tomlinson who was born and raised in Canada.
The third option is Agnes’s unknown father, so we have come a full circle back to the possibility of John Henry Glover.
Determining if John Henry Glover could be the father of Agnes Glover Wells:
In the 1871 census, John Henry was in Scalford, Leicestershire and Eliza was in Burwell, Cambridge. In 1881 he was in Dalby in the Wolds, Leistershire. That would appear to make it unlikely that they crossed paths a couple of years later. However, he was working as a railway labourer in 1871, so he could have been travelling over the next few years with various jobs for the railway. By 1891 he was settled at Horwich, Lancashire with his new wife Annie (nee Crawford). I have been unable to find a marriage of John Henry and Annie at this point, so I do not know if they married in Leistershire or in Lancashire or somewhere in between.
Directory searches do not show a John Henry Glover who was working for the railway for the years 1882-1884. Not unusual as he was a labourer at that time, but it does not provide any confirmation any specific residence.
In speaking with a further contact on that line, John Henry left Scalford/Long Clawson (1881 census) and went north with intention of joining the workforce that was building the Forth Bridge in Scotland where construction started 1882 and was completed in 1890. At the time, it had the longest single cantilever bridge span.
The family is not sure if he made it all the way to Scotland, or whether he got waylaid on the way.
The construction of the Fordham, where Eliza lived, to Mildenhall, where Agnes was born, section of the railway started in January of 1883. To me, this confirms the possibility that he could have traveled to where Eliza was during the 1883 period.
It is therefore looking more and more probable that John Henry Glover is the father of Agnes Glover Wells. While I am 90% convinced that we have a match, it is always prudent to receive further confirmation.
So now, I am (im)patiently awaiting the results of a DNA test of a cousin to XM1 along the Glover line to completely confirm if my hypothesis is correct.
Less than a week after I first wrote this, I was corresponding with KH, the potential new cousin. She pointed out that because she and XM1 were cousins, I may also want to look at other connections to John Henry. What a smart idea, why didn’t I think of that. Probably because I was too focused on waiting for her DNA results.
That good idea was gold!
I decided to focus on Harriet Padmore, John Henry’s mother as that is where he would have received his X DNA.
I searched in Ancestry DNA for links to Padmore in the family tree and found a match that would be a H3C2R with the correct amount of DNA segment matching to be from Emily Dinah (married a Carlton Tinkler), the sister of Harriet, both children of John Padmore and Mary Ann Walker. One confirmation.
Then I went on to MyHeritage and found another with a link back to the same Emily from another person. Second confirmation.
And, a further match on both 23andme and MyHeritage where her online tree links back to Robert Padmore and Mary Hill, the grandparents of Harriet Padmore through one of her uncles. Third confirmation.
So, we have now confirmed that John Henry Glover was the biological father to Agnes Glover Wells.
Interestingly, John Henry had only daughters and also raised three of his nieces. I’ve ordered his birth and death certificates from the GRO, and I am looking forward to writing up his page for my histories.