A few years ago I wrote about the DNA evidence that seems to confirm our descent from a couple who lived in Yorkshire in the second half of the eighteenth century. In the almost two years since then, I’ve found even more evidence.
That’s what I’d like to tell you about.
In that 2020 post, I shared the chart below. It shows, in red, the cousins in Canada, the US, England, and Australia who have bits of DNA that match ours.
For each of those cousins, I was able to find a paper trail leading back to William Warner and Elizabeth White, who were married in Howden, Yorkshire on October 20, 1776. With DNA evidence supporting documentary evidence, my judgment is that our descent from William and Elizabeth has been proven.
Since then, more cousins around the world have decided to have their DNA tested, resulting in even more proof for the hypothesis. With the additions, the chart gets too big to fit on one page, so I’ve had to break it down for you.
To begin, baptismal documents show that William and Elizabeth had at least ten children, but it’s only for four of them — Elizabeth, Martha, William, and Mary — that we’ve found DNA evidence of living descendants.
The discussion and charts below show only the descendants who have been verified based on DNA tests. There are many, many more.
Descendants of William Warner (b. 1789) and Hannah Benson
Let’s look at the younger William’s descendants first. He’s the one who emigrated to Canada in the 1820s and, together with his wife Hannah Benson, founded my branch of the Warners.
Research for the 2020 post had turned up four cousins, descendants of William and Sarah, who shared DNA with me, my father, or both: Edith in Oregon, Jeanne in Massachusetts, Melanie in Ohio, and Robert in Texas. Since then, I’ve identified two more (highlighted in yellow): Richard in Oregon and Cheryl in Colorado.
Descendants of Elizabeth Warner (1777–1872) and Thomas Rook
William’s older sister Elizabeth married Thomas Rook in Howden on August 2, 1801, and my earlier research into their descendants had found DNA links to two cousins (fifth cousins once removed, to be precise): Carol in Goole, Yorkshire (about six kilometres from the place where her great great great great great great grandparents lived 250 years ago) and Bernard, in Melbourne, Australia.
I was recently saddened to learn that Bernard passed away in April of last year. I wish I had reached out to him when I first discovered the connection. You can learn more about him — a remarkable person — here.
More recently, I’ve learned that I also have two sixth cousins in Elizabeth’s branch of the family (highlighted in yellow on the chart). Once again, one of them is from a family that stayed in Yorkshire while the other’s family emigrated to the other side of the world. Cousin Angela lives in Selby, about 15 kilometres from our ancestral home in Howden. Cousin Eddie lives in Hobart, Tasmania.
Descendants of Martha Warner (1780—1833) and Miles Norton
Martha Warner, younger sister to Elizabeth and older sister to William, married Miles Norton in Stillingfleet, Yorkshire on November 25, 1806. Among their descendants, I had found five cousins with a DNA link to me or my father: Nettie, a fourth cousin twice removed, her daughter Melinda, a fourth cousin once removed, and three sixth cousins, William, Tanya, and Brandon.
Cousins Nettie, Melinda, and William live in upstate New York. Tanya is in Idaho and Brandon is in Alaska.
When Brandon’s sister Alicia decided to have her DNA tested, that added one more sixth cousin to the mix. She lives in Utah.
Descendants of Mary Warner (1799–1860) and John Lofthouse
Mary, the youngest daughter, married John Lofthouse in Wheldrake, Yorkshire on December 12, 1825. I had identified two DNA-related cousins among her descendants. Frederick, a fourth cousin once removed, is the grandson of Mary’s granddaughter Emma Fairburn. Frederick’s daughter Ruth is a fifth cousin.
More recent DNA testing has revealed two more fifth cousins: Shirley, a great granddaughter of Emma Fairburn, and Stephen, a great grandson of Emma’s brother, Seth Fairburn. Shirley lives in Toronto and Stephen lives in Yorkshire, in the city of York.
At the time I first wrote about the descendants of William and Elizabeth, I knew that my father or I shared DNA with nine distant cousins who were descended from my great great great great grand-aunts, Elizabeth Warner Rook, Martha Warner Norton, and Mary Warner Lofthouse.
I knew of four less distant, DNA linked cousins descended from their brother, my great great great great grandfather, William Warner.
Since then, I’ve learned of the seven additional DNA-linked cousins I’ve just told you about, making a total of twenty. Together with my father and me, that makes twenty-two DNA-verified descendants of William Warner and Elizabeth White. That DNA evidence supports paper trails that are pretty bulletproof for all but one of those descendants.*
Four DNA-Verified Descendants of Elizabeth Warner Rook
Angela, Bernard, Carol, Edward.
Six DNA-Verified Descendants of Martha Warner Norton
William, Nettie, Melinda, Tanya, Brandon, Alicia.
Eight DNA-Verified Descendants of William Warner
Edith, Jeanne, Joseph (that’s my dad), Paul (that’s me), Richard, Melanie, Cheryl, Robert.
Four DNA-Verified Descendants of Mary Warner Lofthouse
Shirley, Frederick, Ruth, Stephen.
* The “less-than-bulletproof” paper trail is that of my cousin Edith in Oregon. She is the great granddaughter of a man named James Warner who was born in Montreal on January 11, 1832 (according to his 1897 obituaries in the Capital Journal and the Statesman Journal of Salem, Oregon). His entry in the US census for 1880 confirms that he was born in Canada, and says that his mother and father were both born in England. No evidence has surfaced to tell us the first name of James’s father but, without going into detail, there is circumstantial evidence that a son of William Warner and Hannah Benson (and therefore a grandson of William Warner and Elizabeth White) was the right age, had the right birthplace, and was probably in the right place at the right time, to have fathered James in Montreal. Without DNA evidence, James’s parentage would be conjecture, but with DNA evidence — the DNA that Edith shares with my father and me (as well as with our cousin Frederick) — the conjecture approaches certainty.
Where I have avoided using my cousins’ surnames, it is in an effort to respect their privacy.
I’m in the process of creating a family tree on this website that will also show the descent of all of William and Elizabeth’s DNA-verified descendants. It’s a work in progress, so please be patient. As usual, private information about living cousins will not be open to the public. Only family and friends who have registered at the site will be able to view it. If you would like to register, you can do so here.