Some months ago I received the results of a Y-DNA test and at the top of the list my one-and-only surname match leads to a descendant of an emigrant from Cornwall to New Zealand named Richard DUNN (1837?-1923). I have corresponded with his family descendants and done my own research amongst the usual on-line sources such as the Cornwall OPC site and FreeCEN but I am completely unable to identify any likely candidate. There are several on-line genealogical sites which reference this Richard DUNN and this one www.geni.com/people/Richard-Dunn/6000000013494603991 seems to provide a useful summary of all that is known. I am told that family lore has it that he came from Redruth although the website mentions St. Ives as a possibility. I have a complete Y-DNA25 match with his male descendant and a genetic distance of 3 at the Y-DNA67 level so I believe there is a strong likelihood that our DUNN/DONNE surnames are linked, and I would really like to track him down. Any help and insight from members of the board would be greatly appreciated.
Post by Cornish Terrier on Oct 20, 2020 0:12:29 GMT -5
Hi Roger - I've just spent some time on this and, like you, have drawn a total blank. Richard died in 1923 and his age was recorded as 85 from which it is deduced he was born about 1837 but hit may simply be an educated guess and, possibly, not even close to accurate. (I was looking at a Cornwall burial last night that recorded the deceased's age as 75 when in fact this person was about 93!!!)
Wife Rebecca Looker appears to have been born in London in 1849 and from the information I have seen the name 'Martha' does not appear in her family. Martha was the name of Richard Dunn's first child so I considered it a possible 'valuable' clue but once again the search proved fruitless.
Certainly nothing showing up in FreeBMD or in the GRO Index for Richard Dunn/Donne which would indicate 1. he was born prior to Civil Registration 2. his birth was not registered (or was not indexed) or 3. he was illegitimate and registered under another name.
Many New Zealand Passenger records did not survive but if Richard Dunn can be found in such a record it may prove the best clue to his origins and, possibly, his identity.
Thanks, CT, for taking the time to research my query. I hadn't thought of checking the naming patterns of his children. I find it strange that the census doesn't show up any candidates even if his birth was not registered. As you say, possibly recorded under another name or even a transcription error.
After further thought, I now have a plausible theory! This is that the Richard DUNN in question could possibly be the Richard born to Martin and Dorcas DUNN, bap. 23 Aug 1833 at St. Ives. I noticed from the 1851 census, when he was aged 17, that Richard's eldest unmarried sister was named Martha and probably running the household following the recent death of Dorcas- maybe a source for Richard's choice of name for his own daughter? Anyway I have linked his father Martin to the Martin DUNN born 15 Nov 1790 to William DUNN and Catherine KELWAY. It is this William DUNN whom I think is my 3rd cousin 5 times removed, linking back to a common ancestor John DUNN of St. Erth via the marriage with Mary NOYE.
Still needs further work of course, and I may still be shot down in flames by CT, but at least I've got something to work on.
Last Edit: Oct 21, 2020 5:49:22 GMT -5 by donne: Further thoughts
Hope more DNA matches show up for you in the near future. Your Y match looks good re: Richard being legitimate rather than born under another name. I am wondering if these Dunn's might have wandered down from Devon? There is a possible relative Robert in Michigan who arrived in the US in 1852-- an iron moulder in Detroit-- whose death record does not name parents. One record I found states him to be from Tiverton in Devon.
Thanks for your thoughts, Zib. I can't fit into my theory the sibling Robert DUNN who is supposed to have gone to America - there don't seem to have been any Robert DUNNs recorded as being born in Cornwall during the first half of the 19th century and I don't think any of my lot moved east of the Tamar before my great-grandfather joined the Royal Navy at Devonport circa 1850. Likewise friend Harry RODDA said to be from a neigbouring family doesn't work - no Harry RODDAs though plenty of Henrys but in the wrong place. I was hoping for a Y-DNA match which would confirm my own ancestral paper trail. I seem to be in danger of proposing a family link which only confirms my own preconceptions!
DNA matches take awhile. I am reaping the rewards of cousins' autosomal tests after 4 years as more and more get curious. My progress on mtDNA is slow, and I would think it would be even more so for Y-DNA testers given the price point. But when the results come in, they are pretty solid!
Here's hoping the confirmation you seek comes soon, Roger.