05 December 2017

Copyright Brooking Society 2016

Genetic Project April 2002 - by Ian Logan

SUMMARY
The Brooking Society is a small Family History Society. The family comes from the South Hams area of South Devon, England. The Society holds over 1000 charts showing the family trees. The Society has undertaken a small Genetic Project - testing 7 members from different branches of the family. The results suggest that, with one exception, all the test subjects are closely related. The project has given some interesting information into how the branches of the family are linked together.

THE BROOKING SOCIETY
The Society was formed in 1983 by a group of people who came together because of their common interest in family history. The majority of the founders carried the surname 'Brooking', whilst the others knew they had a female 'Brooking' ancestor. Since 1983 the Society has flourished and now has over 200 members worldwide. Over the years the Society has collected information from a great variety of sources and holds over 1000 charts showing the family trees.

The Surname 'BROOKING'
As with many english surnames, the surname 'Brooking' appears to have a very localised area of origin; and is only commonly found in the 'South Hams area of Devon'. For those who do not have a good understanding of english geography, this is the area in the southwest of England which lies south and east of Dartmoor. It is a coastal strip about 10 kms. wide and 50 kms. long, stretching from the city of Plymouth in the west, almost to the city of Exeter in the east. The area between this two cities is very rural with a couple of hundred small villages and several small towns such as Totnes, Kingsbridge, and Newton Abbot. In the past the area had an economy that was based entirely on agriculture, but now is predominantly a tourist and retirement area.

'BROOKING' variants
In the South Hams area only the name 'Brooking' is to be found, but in other parts of the country there are a small number of families with the names 'Brookin' and 'Brookings'. And, in America, in particular, the use of 'Brookings' and 'Brookins' are probably more common than the original 'Brooking'. These variants are thought to have arisen before the spelling of names was more standard than it is nowadays. Indeed, until recently some families seemed to use 'Brooking', 'Brookin' and 'Brookings' almost at random - but fortunately this confusing practice appears to have stopped. The variants 'Brooklyn' and 'Brookling' do appear also to come from Devon, but more research needs to be done to confirm this how they might fit into the main 'Brooking' family.

The Size of the Family
Despite the familiarity of the names 'Brooking and Brookings', the 'family' is very small. For example, in the 1881 census for England and Wales there were only about 900 men, women and children with the surname 'Brooking' and its variants, with 350 of them being in Devon.
Since then, because of emigration and the tendency to smaller family size, the number of persons with the surname 'Brooking' has fallen. It is likely the figure for 1881 represents the greatest size reached by the family in England and Wales. However, there are now many 'Brooking' families in Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the USA.

The Project
The Brooking Society has detailed records that go back over the last 400 years and is able to consider 'genetic testing' as a method of collecting evidence of family connections for which there is no documentary proof.
Many family history groups have recently turned to genetic testing to see if presumed near-relatives are indeed related. And, as just one example, the 'Stidham family tree study' has shown quite well how the separated descendants of 'Timen Stiddem' are, or are not, biologically linked to each other. In this study none of the test subjects could be any greater apart than about 9th. cousins. (Click here for T. Stiddem pages)
However, the Brooking Society's Genetic Project tries to show the value of genetic testing of more distant-relatives, as none of the test subjects in the project are as close as 9th. cousins, and quite possibly are as distant as 20th. cousins.

The Foundation of the Family
In order to understand what the Brooking Society's Genetic Project tries to achieve it is necessary to consider the history of southwest England. The following paragraphs attempt to give an outline of the history and the population changes that have affected the area and suggest how the name 'Brooking' may have arisen.

Early History - (before the Norman Conquest)
The people in the South Hams area would originally have been 'Neolithic' and occupied the area between 5000 to 1000 B.C. Unfortunately, there are almost no early remains in the immediate area, but there are many remains to be found on Dartmoor and it is not far from the South Hams area to the very famous site of Cheddar Gorge. From about 1000 B.C. the people are termed 'Ancient Britons'. Again there are no important remains in the area, but their monuments of Maiden Castle and Stonehenge are not far away. The time of the Ancient Britons is considered to be reasonably peaceful, but the peace was ended by the invasion of the 'Romans' in the first century. The Roman occupation lasted in England until about 400 A.D. The Romans built some roads and towns in Devon, but overall their influence on the South Hams area was minimal.
After, the fall of the Roman Empire, there was the period known as the 'Dark Ages', from 400 - 1000 A.D. It was at this time that the Angles and the Saxons 'invaded' England. It is thought that these germanic tribes were not particularly violent and they were largely farming peoples. It is likely that they found the South Hams largely unpopulated; and they slowly cultivated all the available arable land. Anglosaxon England was for most of the time very settled as can be shown by the development of 1000's of settlements in this period. Eventually most of southern England became known as 'Wessex' - with Alfred the Great probably being the most famous king. Alfred's successors fought wars against the Vikings - but there is no suggestion that the Vikings themselves reached the South Hams. It is thought that 'Brooking' derives from the anglosaxon word 'broc' which means a stream - hence 'Brooking' the place with, or by, a stream.

The Norman Conquest & the Domesday Book
The Normans, originally themselves of Viking/Scandinavian origin, invaded England in 1066. And, it took just a few years for them to impose a strong feudal system over the whole of the country. This meant that the land was largely owned by french-speaking nobles whilst the indigenous anglosaxon population worked the land. 'The Domesday Book' book of 1086, written just 20 years after the invasion, describes the whole of England in very great detail - and includes an account of the South Hams area. The facts given in The Domesday Book show that the only real settlement of any size in the area was the very small town of 'Totnes' - it had about 95 houses. 'Plymouth' did not exist at all. However, most of the small villages in the South Hams area are mentioned, all of which have anglosaxon names.

And, onwards from 1086 to 1491
For the most part the South Hams area remained very rural throughout this period. The town of Totnes did grow a little to became an important small trading town. However, a new town developed around a safe harbour at the mouth of the Tamar river to the west of the South Hams. This town slowly developed to be the city of Plymouth. As regards the 'Brooking' family there are no records from this period, but it is likely that the surname 'Brooking' started to be used at this time. It would only be speculation indeed to suggest that the family might originate from just one man taking the name 'Brooking'. But there is a small hamlet in the centre of the South Hams that is called 'Brooking'. Nowadays, it is a very picturesque place with about 5 small cottages by the side of a stream. Unfortunately, the name 'Brooking' does not occur on any early maps or parish registers - and may well be of very recent origin, but on the other hand it could just possibly be the place of origin of the 'Brooking Family'. The name is definitely to be found on a map produced in 1827 - but we have not seen any earlier maps that are sufficiently detailed to show such a small hamlet.

King Henry VIII & Queen Elizabeth (1491-1603 A.D.)
The reigns of these two monarchs were marked by considerable prosperity throughout the whole of England. In Devon the city of Plymouth grew rapidly and is famous as the port from which Sir Francis Drake sailed to fight the fleet of the Spanish Armada. It is also the time at which written records start to mention people using the surname 'Brooking', or older variants such as 'Broking', 'Brookinge' or 'Brokyne'. Men using the surname are recorded as being mayors of both Totnes and Plymouth and there are tax returns from 'Brooking' families in a large number of places such as Ermington, Plympton, Plymouth, Totnes, Ugborough and Yealmpton.
It is a measure of the importance of some members of the family in this period that a certain 'Christopher Broking' was Mayor of Plymouth just 3 years after Sir Francis Drake. They surely knew each other.

Stuart England, the Civil War, and on to the pre Victorian period. (1603 - 1837 A.D.)
It might seem strange to consider over two hundred years together, but for the 'Brooking' family in the South Hams time 'down on the farm' passed very slowly. The Society holds extensive records of various branches of the family living in a number of the small villages. Some families appears to have lots of members who were farm labourers, whilst other families were for example mainly shopkeepers, tailors and masons. Some parts of the family clearly did have some modest wealth with Rear Admiral Samuel Brooking doing quite well - but there are no 'Brooking' descendants from his particular branch !
But not everyone stayed at home. Clearly there was a migration to the towns, cities and overseas. For example, Charles Brooking, the artist, lived in London, and various people went to the colonies in America.

Victorian England and up to the present (1837 - )
Over the last 160 years the great majority of births, marriages and deaths have been registered, and 10 yearly censuses have been taken. So in consequence, the Society has very good records for most of the English and Welsh families from 1837 onwards. Even today there are quite a few 'Brooking' families in Devon, but 'Brooking' families are to be found over most of southern England. 'Brookin' families are largely to be found in the midlands, and 'Brookings' in the Oxford area. However, there has been a large number of families who have emigrated, with many families going to Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the United States. The ancestors of the 'victorian' and later emigrants are, for the most part, well known.

The Pedigrees of the Test Subjects
The above paragraphs have tried to give a base on which to understand the ancestry of the test subjects in the Brooking Society's Genetic Project. But, despite a great deal being known there does remain quite a number of unanswered questions. The seven test subjects were chosen to represent the majority of the major branches of the family. In each case the records were consulted to check that there was no recognised non-paternity events (this does prevent us from using several branches !), and because of his suitability one of the test subjects was selected even though he is not a member of the Society.

So considering each test subject in turn, and in alphabetic order of their branch ......

  • Subject B-1
    It was thought especially important that there should be a representative of Branch B, as there is good documentary evidence of its origin in 16th century Totnes.
    The test subject's great-great-grandfather comes from Devon, and 6 generations further back reaches William Brooking who was born in Totnes about 1544.

  • Subject G-1
    Branch G is an important and well documented branch - so it was thought to be a very sensible to include a member of this branch.
    The test subject's great-grandfather was born in Devon, and the ancestry goes back firmly a further 5 generations to John Brooking born in Newton Ferrers about 1650, and possibly to Yealmpton in about 1550.

  • Subject I-1
    Branch I is a very interesting branch as it contains families that lived in Cornwall to the west of Plymouth. It is likely the families are descended from major Branches, such a B and G - but it is not known how.
    The test subject's great-grandfather was born in Devon, and our charts go back 6 generations further to Joseph Brooking born about 1700 in Cornwall.

  • Subject J-1
    Branch J is another major branch of the family, and has always been thought to have come from Branch B.
    The test subject was born in Cornwall, and his ancestry goes back 8 generations in that county. However, one more generation back is Richard Brooking, born in Totnes about 1650.

  • Subject L-1
    Although the test subject does not any longer live in Devon, he was born in the county. His ancestry goes back firmly 8 generations in the Ugborough area, and quite possibly beyond that to Ugborough in the mid 16th. century.

  • Subject N-1
    One of the hopes of the project is to show if Branch N can be linked to Branch L, and possibly even Branch B.
    The test subject was born in Devon, and despite many years away now lives there once again. His ancestry goes back 7 generations to John Brooking, probably, born in Modbury in 1723, and possibly to Branch L in the mid 17th. century.

  • Subject S-1
    Branch S has always been a most enigmatic branch. Members of the branch say they have Devon ancestry - but there is no documentation to show this. In general, the members of this Branch have lived in the midlands and have used both the name 'Brooking' and 'Brookin'.
    The test subject was born in Cardiff, but his ancestry can be traced back in the Gloucestershire area to the 18th. century.
    It is not known when the original member of Branch S moved from Devon, and it is a major hope of the project to find an answer to this question.

  • The Tests
    For this project it was decided to use a firm called OXFORD ANCESTORS which specialises in DNA testing for genealogical purposes. Each subject was sent a small sterile plastic brush and asked to collect a cell sample from inside the mouth. The brushes were then posted to the laboratory in Oxford. At the laboratory the DNA was isolated for each subject and tested for 10 genetic markers on the Y-chromosome. The actual testing procedure is complicated; but for each sample short lengths of genetic code that show repeating patterns are identified, and the number of the 'repeats' found for each marker. The results obtained from each sample are given as a list of ten numbers; such as for subject B-1:

14 - 12 - 24 - 11 - 13 - 13 - 10 - 16 - 12 - 12

The set of numbers from a person is known as their 'haplotype'. These 'haplotypes' can then be compared; and only close relatives can be expected to have exactly matching 'haplotypes'.

Mutations
The particular markers selected by OXFORD ANCESTORS for their Y-chromosome testing have been chosen as they vary slowly over many generations. These variations occur because of mutations in the genetic material between a father and son, and are essentially 'random'. It is considered that a change from one number to another, such as a change from '24 to 23', might occur within a period of, say, 500 years - which roughly is 20 generations. This means that distant relatives can be expected to have similar 'haplotypes' to each other. Please note that it is difficult to say when people are definitely related to each other, either closely or more distantly; and all that can be said it that a relationship is possible.

Haplogroups
The 'haplotype' from a subject can also be compared to samples taken from people in other areas of the world. There are clear differences between Western European patterns, Asian, Native North and South American, and in particular, African. These regional patterns are called 'haplogroups'.

The Results
The following table gives the actual results obtained from the seven test subjects.

Branch
of
Subject

DYS
19

DYS
388

DYS
390

DYS
391

DYS
392

DYS
393

DYS
389
i

DYS
389
ii-i

DYS
425

DYS
426

........
........

Recalc
389
i

ulated
389
ii

B-1

14

12

24

11

13

13

10

16

12

12

..

13

29

G-1

14

12

23

11

13

13

10

17

12

12

..

13

30

I-1

14

12

24

11

13

14

10

16

12

12

..

13

29

J-1

14

12

23

11

13

13

10

16

*M

12

..

13

29

L-1

14

12

23

11

13

13

10

17

12

12

..

13

30

N-1

14

12

23

11

13

13

10

16

12

12

..

13

29

S-1

14

12

24

10

13

13

10

17

12

12

..

13

30

Notes:
The value *M from Subject J-1 should just be taken as 'no result obtainable'.
The recalculated scores are given to enable comparison with other laboratories.

Discussion
The Overall picture
The most striking thing about the results obtained in this project is the fact that they appear remarkable similar. Indeed, there are identical values obtained from all the subjects for 5 markers, or even 6 - allowing for the lack of one result for DYS425. For the remaining 4 markers the difference in 'repeat numbers' is never greater than 1. I.e. For DYS 390 - 23 & 24, DYS391 - 10 & 11, DYS393 - 13 & 14, DYS 389ii-1 16 & 17.

From the similarity of all the results it is possible to infer that the subjects are reasonable closely related, but not necessarily closely enough to be useful for genealogical purposes.

The overall picture also shows that the haplogroup of all the subjects is typically 'European'; and the European Database shows that most of the 'repeat numbers' are common throughout Central Europe.

Branch Level
The main purpose of the project was to see if genetic testing could help in showing how the various branches of the Brooking family arose. It is therefore pleasing to see that several useful conclusions can be made from the results

No Mutations involved
1. The results for Branch G and Branch L are identical - which suggests strongly that there was a common ancestor. This is quite acceptable from the family trees.
2. The results for Branch J and Branch N are also identical (discounting DYS425) - which suggests there is a common ancestor to these branches. This is also quite acceptable.

One Mutation involved
1. The results for Branch B differ only by one repeat, in DYS393, from Branch I - which is very suggestive of a common ancestor. This hypothesis does fit in well with the belief that Branch I split from Branch B at least 400 years ago. (Perhaps money earned in Plymouth was spent buying land in Landrake, Cornwall.)
2. The results from Branch J and Branch N differ only by one repeat, in DYS390, from Branch B - which is suggestive of a common ancestor that would link these three branches. This is quite acceptable.
3. The results from Branch G and Branch L differ only by one repeat, in DYS389ii-1, from Branch J and Branch N - which is suggestive of a common ancestor that would link these 4 branches, and on to Branch B as detailed above.

More than one mutation involved
1. Branch S has always been geographically isolated and the genetic testing of a subject shows a two mutation difference with branch B. This difference is fairly substantial and the project has not managed to provide any convincing evidence that would link Branch S to the other Branches. It is possible that further testing of subjects in Branch S may show closer links; and this may be done in the future.


CONCLUSIONS
The Genetic Project has been very successful in showing that most of the subjects tested are very similar genetically, and are quite possibly descended from a common ancestor. The exception, is the subject from Branch S who was shown to be genetically separated. The project has shown this it is possible to test subjects who are not closely related, except by surname, and yet still show that they are related. The project has strengthened the links between the various branches of the family which before the study were largely hypothetical and based on the geographical locations of the branches.