Bryan Gidley began the DNA testing some years ago and it has been slow to get off the ground. However, at a family funeral last year I managed to persuade a male Gidley cousin to take a yDNA test. I wanted to compare it with a test from the Gidleys of Winkleigh, to see if my theory that my Gidleys (descended from William and Wilmot Gidley of Spreyton) linked on to that tree. Pete Gidley of the Winkleigh branch kindly volunteered to be the Winkleigh branch's guinea pig.
It takes months for the findings to come through. And what a disaster - for me anyway. We are in no way linked to the Gidleys of Winkleigh in the male line, but form a completely separate line. Nor are either branch linked to Bryan's, the Gidleys of Cornwall, although Bryan's results are closer to mine.
So what does it all mean? I am absolutely no scientist and struggle with this. I have linked the two tests with Bryan's Gidley DNA project, and with the Devon DNA project. Both are run by Family Tree DNA. Debbie Kennett is the Group Administrator for the Devon Project and sent the following helpful e-mail:
"R1b [i.e.my own and Bryan's haplogroup] is the most common haplogroup in Europe, and indeed in the British Isles. About 70% of British men belong to haplogroup R1b. You can read more about the various European haplogroups on the Eupedia website:
You can also read the relevant article on Wikipedia:
Pete Gidley and all the others who can be traced back to Winkleigh are haplogroup I1.
I still find it difficult to believe that two families with the same name in the same small village (for one offshoot of the Winkleigh branch moved to Spreyton) are not connected in some way. If it's not in the male line, then I feel illegitimacy (for my lot) is likely to come into the picture. This might explain why there is no apparent baptismal record for William Gidley, my 3X great grandfather. I had begun to think that he must be William, son of John and Mary Gidley, who was baptised in South Tawton in 1776. The vicar kindly adds his date of birth three years earlier and adds "his father transported". This is very close to the date of a removal order for this family from South Tawton in 1772. William's date of birth, however, is a few years out from my William's age in 1841, 1851 and at his death in 1853, so I must reluctantly abandon William of South Tawton as my ancestor, I think. And start again!
Please volunteer to be tested if you are a male Gidley and can trace back to any of the branches not yet tested. And there are plenty of those - Buckfastleigh, Brixham, Kenton, Dean Prior, Chudleigh, Woodbury, Massachusetts, West Virginia, and so on. The results may not be what you expect, but there's no arguing with science and it's totally fascinating.
My next posts will be, in this 1914 centenary year, to commemorate all the Gidleys who fell in the First World War. If anyone has any photos of these men, I should be very pleased to post them here. There were 17 Gidley men killed, and they died between 1915 in the Gallipoli campaign, and October 1918 on the Western Front.