Day 3 Our Final Athletic Adventures

At last, a chance not to be out and about at very silly o’clock and we spend time generally relaxing and catching up with ourselves before leaving mid-afternoon for the Olympic Stadium. We seem to have worked out an even cheaper method of travelling. Ticket to Woolwich Arsenal (dearer than yesterday perhaps because it is a weekday) and then using our contactless cards, rather than the ticket machine, on the DLR. It is a learning curve all this and now we have got the hang of it we won’t be doing this again. Today our seats are high above the back straight and inevitably, we are in good time to see all the pre-event preparations. My partner in crime falls asleep whilst waiting for the event to start. Yes, he can even fall asleep sitting on very uncomfortable plastic seats, which, depending on what you are wearing, can very quickly make you feel like you have had an unfortunate accident. Take a coat to sit on folks, or maybe a cushion, if you can fit it in the smallish bag allowed. I am just wondering how to respond if someone from security comes to check to see if my companion is still alive. I have opted for explaining that he is at his devotions, when I am rescued by a visit from a friend from North Devon who is working on the electrics for the event. I therefore feel a sharp elbow to the ribs of said companion is fully justified.

Three medal ceremonies to start the evening. The one for the women’s pole vault has been won by Greece, so is an excuse for plenty of Greek dancing. Incidentally I must pay tribute to the antics of Hero the Hedgehog, the games mascot, who is very athletic and highly entertaining. I also think Iwan Thomas has done an excellent job of compering. The downside and something that has really spoiled our enjoyment, is the inability of our fellow spectators to stay in their seats. I am going to recommend that future events have a special area for members of the audience who guarantee to leave their seats no more than once during the session. Today our row have been fairly restrained, nobody got out more than once an hour but this has been made up for by those in front of us. These include a man standing up, using his phone, waving his hat, presumably to try and attract the attention of someone elsewhere in the crowd, for a full two minutes during an event. Sadly, he was just too far in front for me to remonstrate. I did feel that Karma had struck when the chips of what turned out to be the worst offenders got cold during the national anthems and the minute’s silence for a former Australian sprinter, Betty Cuthbert. Even the jumping pit rakers stand to attention for the anthems with their rakes at an angle that can only be describes as, well, rakish. In the absence of anyone British on the podium, the crowd acts like some of the winners are almost British. This seems to include anyone from Jamaica, The Netherlands or New Zealand. I must say that the medal ceremony flags are, to put it politely, a bit understated, merely a standard sized flag on a flag pole. In the absence of much wind in the stadium you can’t even see which flag is which. Surely we could have done a bit better than this?

DSCF3862.JPGField finals are heralded by random trumpet fanfares but we are spared this for the track finals. We get three GB athletes into the men’s 200 metres finals: Danny Talbot, Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake and Zharnel Hughes as a fastest loser. Sophie Hitchon can only manage 7th place in the hammer but we have two women through to the semi-finals of the 400 metres hurdles, Elidih Doyle and Meghan Beasely. We are amazed that a noticeable number of spectators can spend a not inconsiderable sum on tickets only to arrive half way through the proceedings. Even if you are just there to support a particular person, why would you not arrive until after 8.00pm? Two in our row arrived at 9.00pm! The women’s triple jump final, just below us, is an exciting tussle between the Columbian Olympic champion and the Venezualan, who triumphs in the end. My new favourite volunteer job is plasticine smoother on the jumping strips. It seems that Chris is unlikely to get his own remote controlled javelin retrieving car as they cost £4500 each. We are told that they travel at 40mph, faster than Usain Bolt. Laura Muir fought hard in the 1500 metres final but was just driven in to 4th place on the back straight by Caster Semenya.

The day ends with us weaving and diving through the homeward wending crowds with the skill of distance runners attempting not to get boxed in. A relatively smooth journey home, despite leaving with the majority of spectators and having to descend from the gods first. I wonder if I will have the stamina to attend another event such as this, should Britain be fortunate enough to host one whilst I am still vaguely upright.

Day 2 More Athletics Adventure

The helpful man at the ticket office at Abbey Wood assured us yesterday that he would be open ‘first thing’ this morning. Now, to my mind, ‘first thing’ is in time for the first train. We arrive an hour after the first train to find the ticket office closed. We accept the challenge of the self-service ticket machine. It turns out that a ticket that cost £10 yesterday from the ticket office is £17.90 by this method. This is made worse by having engaged fellow campers/athletics goers in conversation and discovering that their Oyster card tickets were only £1.90! I even have an Oyster card at home – odd I know but I really do – somewhere. For those who don’t know me very well, I should perhaps explain all these issues with public transport. Despite growing up in what is now outer London, I currently live somewhere with two buses a week and I am 16 miles from the nearest station. I would scarcely recognise public transport if it came up and bit me, so it always engenders a certain degree of panic when I encounter it. I refuse on principle to pay nearly twice what I paid yesterday, so we get tickets to Woolwich Arsenal and then DLR ticket from there onwards – total cost £7.60 – result!

Once on the DLR, there is an unusual fellow train passenger who is singing loudly. I am not the only person who is surreptitiously looking for what used to be called the communication cord. Having treated us to a loud rendition of ‘Penny Lane’ in honour of us reaching Abbey Road station (no one dares point out that he has the wrong road) the gentleman alights and our fellow travellers heave a collective sigh of relief.

Today, we have timed our arrival better and join the short queue just as the gates are opening. We are a little further round the course today on the back straight again and slightly nearer the front. First up is the heptathlon long jump in which Katarina Johnson-Thompson acquits herself much better. We are sat in an ideal position for this, right by the run up. This is followed by the men’s steeplechase heats and pole vault qualifying. We also see heats of the men’s 400 metre and 110 metre hurdles and women’s 400 metres. Although we aren’t told this at the time, GB’s Jack Green qualifies for the semis as a fastest loser in the 400 metres hurdles. The heptathlon javelin is also completed, with a season’s best by Katarina. The men’s marathon is being shown on the big screen at intervals. Exciting to see Britain’s Callum Hawkins in the lead on a couple of occasions. Bizarrely the crowd in the stadium clap and cheer at this, even though they can’t hear us! Slightly less getting up and down to free people to purchase beer this morning but we do suffer from someone behind us knocking coffee over, which trickles down under seats for several rows soaking the bags of the unwary.

We spend the afternoon in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. I have passed on the opportunity of bringing a pasty with me, in the hope of acquiring something at the stadium. After all I have seen the full range of what is on offer as people squeezed past me yesterday with their various purchases. After the event finishes however, all the food outlets in the stadium are closed. I can’t help feeling that they are missing a trick here. Clearly it is the done thing to stuff yourself silly during the performances, annoying your neighbours by forcing them to continually bob up and down. I leave my companion with the heavy bag and venture in to the town in search of sustenance. I am so out of touch with crowds and city life. Most food outlets have forty strong queues. In desperation I settle for a slightly weird ham and cheese ciabatta, which is heated for me. I am a good ten minute walk back to where I have secreted my possessions and partner in crime. I do manage not to get lost but by the time we are reunited, the roll has cooled considerably and I have worked up an appetite for additional food.

We attempt to time our walk back to the stadium but it seems spectators are more on the ball for evening sessions and the queues are already forming in strength. Although this is our cheapest band ticket, this is probably our best view yet. Oxygen is required to reach our seats but we are high up above the big screen in clear sight of the finishing line. Next to us are seats reserved for the athletes but as so few events have finished there are not many taken. Only the Japanese and Australians are out in force. We don’t recognise any of them and it seems rude to stare too hard at their chests to read their security passes. We enjoy watching the pre-event preparations and picking our favourite volunteer job. This morning there was long jump pit digging over and watering. Tonight there is shot put ball polishing. Chris fancies driving the remote controlled cars that retrieve the javelins. An officious looking volunteer ‘Runner’ is supervising synchronised hurdle laying and lane marker/block siting. We could hear her un-amplified voice from the top of the stadium. I know the acoustics are good but….. I wouldn’t like to be the person responsible for lane 7, who was late on parade.

In this seat we are relatively free from having to get up and down for fellow spectators as the row behind us is empty and most people are climbing over and exiting via this. Instead, there is the need to rise for numerous medal ceremony anthems. This is more noticeable than usual as ceremonies are also being held for several medals from previous championships that have been reallocated following the discovery of drugs cheats. Host Iwan Thomas is giving a speech about how important it is for the clean athletes to be rewarded. Tonight’s re-awards include one for Jessica Ennis-Hill who is now the 2011 World Championship gold medallist. The irony of immediately following this with the medal ceremony for yesterday’s men’s 100 metres, won by the twice banned Justin Gatlin, is not lost on the audience and there are audible boos. In contrast, there is an uproarious reception and standing ovation for Usain Bolt, who is receiving his bronze medal.

Me at World Athletics 2017 5 August 2017Finally some athletics but a disappointing evening for Team GB. Our women’s pole vault hopeful Holly Bleasdale, comes sixth. We have no representative in the women’s javelin or men’s shot put. There are three women in the 100 metres semi-finals but it is a very strong field and none make the final. The men’s 400 metres heats follow. For GB, Dwayne Cowen qualifies as of right and Matt Hudson-Smith as a fastest loser. Not so much luck in the 110 metres hurdles semi-finals, where Andrew Pozzi, who performed very well in the heats, loses out. Katerina Johnson-Thompson ran a great 800 metres in the heptathlon but had sadly left herself too much to do and finished in fifth overall. The men’s 800 metres semis were more successful, with Kyle Langford making it to the final. The evening finished with a very close women’s 100 metres final, with surprisingly no Jamaican medallists and we were poised for a quickish get-away. Us and the majority of the remainder of the stadium. We leave from bridge 5 as instructed and find ourselves herded to Stratford station, as opposed to Stratford International. We have a perfectly rehearsed route from Stratford International. We are directed to the required platform and only miss one train in the effort to be in the right place. My concerns that the train will be full by the time it reaches us are unfounded and it takes just over an hour to get back to the site. I fear it may be somewhat longer tomorrow for our final session.

Athletic Adventures

It is time for another major athletics event, this time the IAAF World Championships. We leave the campsite for the station in good time aka ridiculously early. Just at the point where we might have got lost we encounter a games runner clad in fetching pink, which is, for some unknown reason, the colour that has been chosen for the volunteers’ uniform. The hapless chap is now saddled with us he until gets to the stadium; we are working on the assumption that he knows where he is going. I have researched possible trains. In fact I have researched them twice as the results of the first attempt were recorded in a document that got lost in the bowels of the computer, only to be rediscovered after I had redone the list. We are to change trains at Lewisham or Greenwich. Or, as it turns out, not. We change at Woolwich Arsenal and the journey is a good 20 minutes shorter than my itinerary anticipated. Then there were the tickets. Fresh from my recent visit to London and anxious not to look like a yokel, I have instructed my companion in the use of his contactless cards in order to travel round London. I attempt this. It appears not to work. We pay for tickets at the ticket office instead. I then spend the day worrying that it may have worked after all and I will be racking up a massive bill as TFL will think I am permanently lost in the depths of London underground.

I would like to place on record that arriving at the stadium at 7.15am did not make us the first spectators on the premises. There were at least two others. The day officially starts at 10am, we can take our seats at 8.30am, so, no, not early at all. The grounds of the Queen Elizabeth Stadium are looking impressive with the planting that was done for the Olympics now mature.


Arriving in Good Time

Not being able to afford premium tickets, we are sat on the far side of the stadium from the home straight but none the less we have a reasonable view and are sat on the end of row 16. This turns out to be a BAD THING. It seems that all of the eighteen people who are sat on our right, between us on the aisle and a wall, have weak bladders, incessant desires for beer and sustenance, or both. We set a record for not having to get up to let someone past. Can we beat five minutes tomorrow? Obviously there are people who might require regular visits to the faciities but surely seeming healthy adults should be able to sit still for three hours and ensure that they equip themselves with necessary refreshments before hand. One guy even apologised for his weak bladder on his second trip past then return with his second pint of beer and a large coffee (both of which were for him), Needless to say, twenty minutes later……… and kebabs at 1045am? Really? In between the incessant getting up and down, we see qualifications for several field events including men’s shot put, women’s triple jump and women’s hammer, in which GB’s Sophie Hitchon qualified in third. On the track was the women’s 100metres, with all three GB girls qualifying, and 400metres and 800metres heats for the men. Sadly Martin Rooney lost out in the 400metres. The first two events of the heptathlon, hurdles and high jump, spread across most of the morning. Katarina Johnson-Thompson under performed in the high jump but Cuba’s Rodriguez got three personal bests and the Olympic champion Thiam also did well.

Much to my companion’s ’delight’ we get to do it all again tomorrow.

Travel Dilemmas

The downside of my three exciting overseas trips next year is that I need to acquire travel insurance and book flights. This is not going well so far.

Today my conversation with the insurance agent, who must have been all of twelve, went something like this:
Him: ‘Is that Miss, Mrs or Ms?’
Me: ‘It’s Dr’
Him: (incredulous intake of breathe)
Having established that, no, my christian name does not have double T, nor indeed a double N (to be fair he didn’t ask if it has two Js), I spell my surname with little hope that this will end up correct. I know it is only three letters but people have tremendous trouble with it.
Him: ‘Where are you travelling to?
Me: ‘Alaska, Peru and New Zealand’ (I don’t do things by halves)
Him: ‘So that would be Worldwide excluding USA, Canada & Mexico’
Me: (thinks) ‘ermm, not unless they’ve moved Alaska’
Then the lengthy health questions because what I have fits none of the boxes and is actually is a lot less serious than any of the scary things on their list but does need to be declared and it seems is going to cost me an additional £350.
Him: ‘When were you first diagnosed with this condition?’
Me: ‘February 2016’
Him: ‘Is this in the last 1-3 years?’
Me: (despairing) ‘Yes’.
Him: (question eleventy million) ‘Do you suffer from anxiety or depression?’
Me: (thinks) ‘Well I didn’t before this conversation.’

Then the travel agent for one of our trips who sent us ‘the only’ flights. Outward at 6.20am (meaning 3.20am check in) – much as I love early mornings – just No. It so isn’t the only flight – I can use an internet search engine near me. Dashes off reply email politely declining these options and providing flight numbers of more civilised (and similarly priced) flights. I also quietly pointed out that her suggested return flight was 14 days before the holiday ended – sigh.
I hardly dare try to book our New Zealand camper van.

Sea Shanties and the Exciting News

On Saturday we travelled to see the amazing Fisherman’s Friends at the unusual venue Carnglaze Caverns. We are great fans of the sea shanty group that is Fisherman’s Friends and booked for this concert when the one nearer to home was cancelled in the spring, due to the liquidation of the local theatre. I was giving a talk to our local family history society in the afternoon so, afterwards, we set off for Cornwall, planning to grab some fish and chips to sustain us before the concert started. Carnglaze Carverns is not near anywhere much, or certainly not near any take-away outlets, so, having established where the venue was, we went into the centre of Liskeard to look for a Fish and Chip shop. We went round Liskeard, up and down Liskeard and through Liskeard. We approached Liskeard town centre from every conceivable direction but not a Fish ad Chip shop in sight. Actually that isn’t true, there was one that clearly had not been open for some considerable time. We passed up the options of kebabs and pizza and finally managed to purchase sustenance in a Chinese take-away.

I should explain that there are no numbered seats at Carnglaze Caverns. The doors were to open at 7pm for an 8pm start and seat allocation was to be first come first served. This obviously means that my plan was to be near the head of the queue well before 7pm. If it had been up to me I’d have been there about 3pm. This was all going well before the extended tour of Liskeard. We hot tyre it back to Carnglaze Caverns with our take-away steaming in the car footwell. As we approach the caverns, there is someone directing traffic. We are deemed not to be of ‘low mobility’. This is a moot point as my back is still not behaving itself. I should have done a better job of looking feeble, as, being allegedly of high mobility, we are to park in the overflow car park which is, we are told, 200 yards up the road and ‘a quick walk through the woods’ to the caverns. After identifying the overflow car park, a very long 200 yards away, we consume our hard won take-away. I am trying not to be concerned by the fact that many people are heading towards the front of the queue before us. More worryingly, they are all carrying cushions. We have no cushions. We have nothing with which to improvise. Ah well, you live and learn. Replete from the largest portion of chips we have ever seen, we head towards the cavern. We are parked in a squelchy field and water is seeping into my trainers. The walk may be quick but it is also very muddy and I speculate on how the return journey is going to go, as the path appears to be unlit and on our right is an un-fenced babbling brook. I am glad that, although we do not have cushions, we do have a torch.

Soggy socked we enter the cavern. Caves are not exactly my companion’s favourite thing but he appears not to be having a panic attack and we are ushered past many seated concert goers to the fourth row from the front. To be honest we are just glad that we are not seated under one of the persistent drips from the roof of the cave. There are yellow plastic wedges inserted in various fissures in the wall. We assume that, if one of these falls out, it is time to beat a hasty retreat. Always the girl guide I have availed myself of the facilities that I spotted on my way from the car. This was clearly A GOOD THING. Those less substantially shod than I are having to retrace their steps for some considerable way. The concert, as ever, was brilliant and the venue was certainly atmospheric. It turned out that the path back to the car was lit after all and we are soon driving home through the mists of Bodmin Moor.

You’ve persisted thus far, so you deserve to be in on the great reveal. The exciting news is that we will be going to the 2018 New Zealand Society of Genealogists’ conference next June. I have been sitting on this secret for a year and am really pleased to finally be able to say that I will be in attendance, along with Master Christopher and Mistress Agnes. Full details and fanfares have to wait until later in the year.

Ailments of various kinds: your ancestors in sickness and death

In the three weeks since my last post (three weeks! – you’ll guess I have been busy) I have spent four wonderful days in schools, swording and spindling away, extolling the virtues of the seventeenth century. Summer hit the west country last week. Temperatures rose to 85 degrees – that’s 30 to some of you and yes, in the UK, that’s hot. Four hours ensconced in crowded classrooms with a bunch of 13 year olds and no air-con – great. Followed by a chance to get outside – hurrah. Or rather not hurrah, as now I am on a scorching sports field for an hour, without a smidgen of shade, banging a drum – as you do. Well as I do. I should perhaps add that I was attired in multiple layers of thick wool at the time. I then went straight on to an evening presentation. Let’s just say that we brought the smells of the seventeenth century with us. I have also been finishing off the job I must not mention and presenting on various topics to adults. Today’s will be the fifth talk in four days – why do I do this?

dscf3202#Daisy is making some progress. Some lovely friends have read a chapter and didn’t hate it, which was encouraging. I am currently immersing myself in suffragette activities, purely in the historical sense, though I am not adverse to a bit of banner waving. Next on the list is research into the wartime experiences of a new character who has forced his way into the narrative. This did lead to that exciting moment when your ‘based on fact’ historical novel requires you to research someone new and you find that he attended a school that has an archivist. Better still, said archivist responds to your email (written after office hours) within minutes with information and a photograph. Ok, so he wasn’t the heart throb I was hoping for but I can get round that with a minor re-write!

I am looking forward to the start of my online course “In sickness and in death: the ill-health and deaths of your ancestors”, next month. I keep finding more and more gems and am resisting the temptation to add them all to the course text or it will become another novel. Did you know that bookbinders are adversely affected “by the smell of the putrid serum of sheep’s blood, which they used as cement.” (C Turner Thackeray 1831)? On the subject of ill health, I manage to move awkwardly and pull a muscle in my back so have been hobbling around all week. Great excuse for not doing any housework; now I just need an excuse for the preceding five weeks. May not try the C18th remedy, which is cow dung and vinegar.

Added to this a new research client has presented me with some fascinating family members to pursue. Despite explaining that I would not be able to start this for some time, it was just too tempting.

I am excited that a webinar I gave earlier in the year on surname studies around the world is now available online. That wasn’t the exciting news I hinted at in my last post; that‘s even more exciting but still under wraps – patience is a virtue ad all that.

Heredity, Hammocks and Heat: DNA and other adventures

I really wanted this post to be about some very exciting news but I am not allowed to tell anyone yet (no, no one in the family is, as far as I know, pregnant), so that will have to wait for another time. I could talk about the weather. Here in the UK we have been experiencing a mini heat wave. I was stuck in a northern city in a motel whose room did not go below 29 degrees for three days. What a joy to come back to my beautifully cool home (they knew what they were doing when they built houses in the 1600s) with the sounds of the local sheep baaing, I could even forgive the aroma of silage making. No problem, UK heatwaves never last long and we are back to normal today.

My partly revamped garden is still mid-makeover. Given the heat and my absence I am quite glad that I delayed laying new turf. I was pleased that the plants survived my healthy neglect during the record-breaking temperatures. The hot weather made it seem like a good idea to erect a hammock that I have had for about twenty years but never used (I think it was free with something). All it required was two trees sturdy enough to support my burgeoning weight (it’s all that eating on expenses that does it). My tiny garden isn’t over burdened with trees but two were identified and with assistance from the fisherman of my acquaintance we began to adjust the ropes to what seemed to be a sensible height. This kind of occasion is when it is useful to know someone who can tie a decent knot or two. After one or two false starts (I ended up sitting on the ground) the hammock was in place and I was enjoying a meditate. The observant amongst you will have noted the word ‘trees’ above. Hammocks tied to trees mean, inevitably, that you are, to some extent, under a tree. Trees mean birds. Birds have digestive processes, need I say more? No sooner had I laid back and closed my eyes than I was required to move. Somewhere there is photographic evidence of this. Fortunately the photographer finds getting pictures from his phone to anywhere else a little challenging – phew!

Actually there is some really exciting news that I can convey and that is that my DNA results from Living DNA have arrived. This company calculate your ethnic origin on a regional level. Having ancestry that is, at least on paper, 100% English, I was particularly interested to see what this would reveal. As a teenager I longed to be Spanish, pretended to have Spanish ancestry and despite my total inability at languages, even tried to teach myself Spanish. Was this due to some ancestral memory?

After more than forty years of researching my family history, I know the names and geographical origins of 31 of my 32 3x great grand-parents and 75% of the generation before that. This means that I have a pretty good idea where the families came from before they all began to converge on London in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

Whilst I was patiently (well, ok actually not that patiently) awaiting the results. I analysed my documentary evidence to work out what I might expect. I am aware that the DNA that I have inherited does not come equally from all my 3 x great-grandparents and that some of them may have left no trace in my profile but I had no way of taking account of this. I had a slight issue in that Living DNA don’t seem to acknowledge the existence of Buckinghamshire, which accounts for an eighth of my ancestry but I used my initiative and counted it as South Central England.

So did the test support the proportions that I estimated and what surprises were in store? Living in Devon and having a direct paternal line that for 37 years I believed was Cornish but has now been traced back to Devon, I am particularly attached to the 25% of my ancestry that comes from south-west England. Based on my knowledge, my expectation was that my genetic make-up should show that I was 20% Cornish, with 5% from Devon. Living DNA’s percentages were 7.4% from Cornwall and 11.7% from Devon. As my lot spent their lives on both sides of the Tamar, very close to the Devon-Cornwall border, I can live with this.

Turning to the other end of the country, my estimated 12.5% for Northumberland became 5.8% according to Living DNA. I did wonder if some Scottish blood might creep in, as they lived in border parishes but it seems that I must leave Scottish descent to my children and grandchildren. Living DNA also suggested that 7.2% of my origins were from Cumbria, which, when added to the Northumbrian percentage, comes close to my estimate.

My DNA estimates June 2017

My estimates of my ethnic origins

The marriage of cousins in two successive generations (I know, accounts for a lot) means that I have what is known as a collapsed pedigree, with the same 4 x great grandparents appearing on my tree three times. They came, as far as I know, from the south-east and the bulk of my ancestry (37.5%) is from that region, why do I find this boring? Living DNA agreed, with 35.3% from south-eastern England. I calculated that 19% of my ancestry was from the south central region, not much more exciting. Living DNA put this at 3.9% but also identified 5.8% from Southern England and 2.7% from Central England, which redressed the balance a bit.

What appeared to be missing was the 6% that I believe came from East Anglia but this could be accounted for by the 5.6% that Living DNA attributed to Scandinavia. One of the East Anglian family names was Daines! I do however have another possibility for the Scandinavian connection. Interestingly my test results with Family Tree DNA make my origins 100% British Isles, with not a long ship or horned helmet in sight.

I am still mulling over Living DNA’s 11.1% from North Yorkshire. I somehow don’t see myself as a Yorkshire lass. No disrespect to my friends from Yorkshire, it just doesn’t feel like me. I don’t begin to understand cricket for a start. Could this be the missing 3 x great grandparent or the 4 x great grandmother, who appears three times in my ancestry but whose full name and birthplace I don’t know? Or does the North Yorkshire element represent something earlier in the Northumbrian line?

Interestingly, I also have 1.2% of my DNA from Lincolnshire. Although my maiden name, Braund, is firmly rooted in Devon and is found there back to the mid 1400s. Prior to that (11th-14th centuries) there are instances of the name in Lincolnshire but no connection has been found between the Braunds of Lincolnshire and those of Devon; could this minute trace in my DNA be attributable to this? The theory and it is just a theory, is that as both countries were key wool producing areas in Medieval times and are linked by drovers’ roads, this may have been how the name moved to Devon. The Lincolnshire Braunds are believed to have had Viking origins, so we are back to Scandinavia.


Living DNA June 2017

Living DNA’s analysis of my ethnic origins

Finally there is a random 2.1% from Chechnya. To save you looking that up, it is in the bottom right hand corner of Europe, not far from the Caspian Sea and given the political situation there, it probably isn’t the sort of place to be making an ancestral visit any time soon. I have heard of a few others whose profile contains this element and I feel this may be an anomaly that will be ironed out when more data becomes available. In the meantime Салам (hope Google translate has got that right). So much for being Spanish!