Cricket ground at Iwerne Courtney (photo David Squire).
My interest in such questions is inspired by two more subtle reasons.
— First, other individuals named Skyvington, living today, are interested in their origins. These people are likely to appreciate my Dorset research into recent Skyvington branches beyond my own direct ancestral line.
— Second, there's the question of our Y chromosomes. Up until now, this subject remains purely theoretical, because I seem to be the only person with a name like Skeffington who has put his Y-chromosome results in the database [access].
Well, a few days ago (on the same day, amazingly, that I heard about the family de Verdun), I was happy to discover that present-day Skyvington individuals in the vicinity of Worcester (named Stephen, Richard, Gary, Robert and Shaun) and Durham (named Robert, John and Graeme) would appear to be authentic genetic cousins, with exactly the same Y chromosome data as me. (For the moment, I don't have the addresses or phone numbers of any of these individuals.) It would be nice if some of these people were to obtain their Y chromosome specifications through, say, the Family Tree DNA company [access]. Incidentally, I believe that the best approach, costwise, is to order a test through the Skeffington group, whose page exists on the Family Tree DNA website.
For readers interested in the precise links between the English Skyvingtons in Worcester/Durham and myself, let me display a couple of genealogical charts. Their ancestor John Skyvington [1857-1901] worked as an agricultural laborer, at the age of 14, in Iwerne Courtney, before becoming a stonemason. But his principal vocation was the army, and he entered the ranks of a distinguished corps: the Royal Horse Artillery. It was no doubt in his role as a dashing mounted trooper that John met up with a young Scottish lady, Jessie Coulie (also spelt as Collie), who became his wife. Later, John was on active service in the Boer War.
Ambush at Sannas Post (Blomenfontein, 1900) by Terence Cuneo.
Getting back to the man who served in the Boer War, there's a family legend concerning the identity of his wife Jessie Coulie. It was said that she was the daughter of a noble family associated with Guthrie Castle near Dundee, and that she was normally destined to wed an equally noble chap from India. To escape this fate, she eloped with John Skivington!
If John's wife never made it to India, his nephew Edwin Skivington (son of the Edwin mentioned in the first chart) ended up there in 1916, as a soldier with the 7th Hampshire Regiment.
They call her a young country, but they lie:
She is the last of lands, the emptiest,
A woman beyond her change of life, a breast
Still tender but within the womb is dry.Without songs, architecture, history:Floods her monotonous tribes from Cairns to Perth.
The emotions and superstitions of younger lands,
Her rivers of water drown among inland sands,
The river of her immense stupidity
In them at last the ultimate men arrive
Whose boast is not: ‘we live’ but ‘we survive’,
A type who will inhabit the dying earth.
— A D Hope, Australia