My Female Line.

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One of the things I have attempted in my family history research is to follow the female line as far back as I can. This is slower and more difficult than researching any one surname because the surname keeps changing with marriage. So far the earliest I have managed is 1729 in Church Pulverbatch.

On 28th October 1729, Phoebe the illegitimate daughter of Sarah Benitt was baptised in Church Pulverbatch.

Phoebe may have had a younger sister, because on 8th June 1737 (when Phoebe was eight years old) Sara, base child of Sara Bennet, was baptised in Worthen. Their later history is uncertain (Sarah is a more common name than Phoebe) but on 25th December 1764 a Sarah Bennett was buried at Worthen. So far I have not been able to identify a baptism for the older Sarah (Phoebe's mother) so I cannot say where she came from.

On 21st November 1763, when she was 34, Phoebe Bennet married Richard Bowdler in Harley and they returned to live in Ditton Priors, where their two daughters were born. On 30th September 1764, Margaret was baptised in Ditton Priors and on 21st June 1767 their daughter Mary was also baptised there.

Some time after this, they moved to Hope Bowdler and both daughters were married there. On 10th July 1789, Margaret Bowdler married Joseph Browne and on 15th May 1798, Mary Bowdler married Willam Wall. Their parents and their elder half-brother Moses Bowdler were buried at Hope Bowdler.

I haven't traced the family of Joseph Browne and Margaret, but William Wall and Mary remained in the area. Their first child, Ann, was baptised in Cardington on 15th December 1799. Then they returned to Hope Bowdler and five children were baptised there between 1800 and 1812. These were Mary, baptised on 1st January 1805, Elizabeth, baptised on 1st January 1810 and three brothers.

After this, the family moved to Eaton-under-Heywood, where the daughters were married. On 25th April 1825, when she was 26, Ann Wall married John Wilding from Hope Bowdler. On 21st January 1828, a Mary Wall married William Evans, this may have been the daughter of William and Mary, who would have been 23 but it there was also another Mary Wall baptised in Eaton in 1800. On 2nd July 1828, Elizabeth (who was only 18) married Thomas Everall "with consent of parents" and the marriage was witnessed by Mary Wall - probably her mother.

Thomas Everall and Elizabeth had three children - two sons who died unmarried and childless and a daughter Elizabeth who was married three times and had eight children, four of whom were daughters. Her first husband was Richard Everall and their eldest daughter, Mary, born in 1851, married William Painter and lived in All Stretton but I don't think they had any children. The next daughter, Lucy, was born in 1854 and married Thomas Morris on 4th May 1886 in Lapworth church in Warwickshire. The next daughter, Elizabeth, only lived six months and was buried in Longnor in 1856.

Elizabeth's second husband was George Holland and they had three children William, Alfred and Alice. However by 1881, she was living in Buckley near Chester with her third husband John Everall with the two youngest children who had taken the surname Everall. Alice, born in 1869, was my grandmother and she married Alfred George Preen in Chester on 7th November 1895. They had three children, two sons and a daughter, Doris Rosalie who was born in 1909.

Doris Rosalie Preen married Thomas Laflin in July 1939 and they also had three children - myself Susan (born November 1940), and my brother and sister.

Thomas Morris and Lucy lived on a farm at Charlton Hill near Wroxeter and their large family included Lucy Cordelia (born 5th December 1891), Mary Elizabeth Ada (born 6th April 1901) and Ethel Mary (born 9th July 1910). Lucy Cordelia married Harry J. Keane and they lived in Cannock. Their children included Barbara Keane, who married W. Hassell and had three children including one daughter. Ada married Walter Pass and they lived at Westbury, but I don't think they had any children. I don't know what became of Ethel.

Recently I read the book "The Seven Daughters of Eve" by Brian Sykes which describes the use of mitochondrial DNA to trace descent through the female line and comes to the conclusion that everyone in the modern world (that they have examined so far) is descended from one of seven "clan mothers" through the female line. Mitochondrial DNA is passed from mother to daughter in the egg not the sperm and so has to pass in the female line. I took advantage of their offer to have my DNA tested and in due course received the news that I was descended from the "clan mother" they called "TARA". She was assumed to have lived in Tuscany some seventeen thousand years ago. Just over 9% of native Europeans are said to be descendants of TARA and they are usually found around the Mediterranean and the west of Europe and are particularly numerous in the west of Britain and Ireland. Sarah Bennet in Shropshire in 1729 fits well into this distribution.

However this identification does not only refer to me. Anyone descended from Sara Bennet though the female line will have the same mitochondrial DNA and so all the daughters mentioned above will belong to the same "clan". I would be very interested to hear from any other descendants of Sarah Bennet and would be happy to show you the information I received from Oxford Ancestors along with my results. You can contact me by email at

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Page maintained by Susan Laflin. Last updated 12th August 2002.