Thursday, January 26, 2017

Putting the Tidballs Away

It's time to put the Tidballs away for awhile. Over the past six months, I have published 18 posts hitting just the highlights of the Minnesota Tidball family history. To quickly review...
  •  Thomas and John Tidball emigrated from Bristol, England, to Minnesota in the early 1880s. They spent a few years in southern Minnesota before sinking roots in northeastern Minnesota.
  • Thomas and John were sons of William Tidball, a brewery laborer in Bristol. They had a sister, Elizabeth, and a brother, Michael, but they have no known descendants in England.
  • William was born in 1822 just outside the southwest England farming village of Brushford, Somerset. His parents were Michael Tidball and Ellen Dascombe.
  • Born in 1801, Michael was the grandson of a Thomas Tidball who settled in North Molton parish, just below Exmoor, in about 1769.
  • Thomas was more than likely the Thomas Tidball baptized by Walter and Elizabeth Tidball in 1739 in Exford, situated in a river valley high in the Exmoor hills of western Somerset.
 The evidence tracking the family back from Minnesota to North Molton is straight-forward. Assuming no misattributed paternity (formerly oddly called a non-paternal event), there is no doubt that Thomas of North Molton was the great-great-grandfather of the Minnesota immigrants. However, no evidence directly identifies Thomas of North Molton as the Thomas baptized at Exford in 1739. Yet, several points of evidence make that a likely conclusion.

  • The December 1814 North Molton burial record stated that Thomas was 76 years old -- suggesting a birth about 1738 -- close enough for him to plausibly to be the child baptized at Exford.
  • Exford parish registers record no marriage or burial for Thomas, suggesting he moved away.
  • North Molton is only 10 miles from Exford, and Thomas lived in the northern part of North Molton parish, placing him only about eight miles from Exford.
  • Tax records associate the North Molton Thomas with the Exford family. A Thomas Tidball (or Tudball) was an occupier of land north of North Molton village from 1782 to 1792. The same man appears to have been proprietor of Thorne Sheaf in Cutcombe parish, less than five miles east of Exford, from 1793 to 1804, before moving back to Lyddicombe farm in North Molton from 1804 to 1811.
  • Two other sons of Walter and Elizabeth of Exford occupied land within a mile of Thorne Sheaf while Thomas was there.
  • Around 1890, descendants of the North Molton family settled in Bosanquet Township, Ontario -- the very same township where descendants of one of the Cutcombe Tidballs settled in the 1850s. Likely, they were related.
There you have it -- minus the complete source citations that will appear in a 100-page family history book that will hopefully be published by fall 2017. There is always more evidence out there, but sometimes research has to stop, or at least pause. This is that time for the Tidballs. The forthcoming book will bring the storylines from these blog posts together, and follow the Tidballs down numerous other rabbit holes. Yes, the research is in pause. I or some other researcher may reopen the case down the road. One possible direction is DNA research, which might further solidify the conclusion that the family originated in Exford in the 1700s. There are two possible lines of inquiry.
  • There likely are living straight-line male descendants of the Ontario Tidballs. Unless there has been a misattributed paternal event in either of the lines leading down to living males descendants of either the Ontario or Minnesota families, they should have closely matching Y-DNA.
  • Male or female descendants may have enough matching autosomal DNA to support the idea that the Ontario and Minnesota families have a common ancestor.
This kind of DNA analysis is not a slam-dunk. The hypothesized common ancestor is back about eight generations, allowing plenty of time for Y-DNA mutations that might cast doubt on a match, and allowing more than enough time for matching autosomal DNA to completely washout as chromosomes recombine in each generation.

So, let the pause start. There are other families to blog about.

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