Our theory is that all those with the name Emptage are descended from the same ancestor who originated in Thanet and we would like to prove it.
To do so, we need to connect all the dots or, at least, as many dots as we can. There are paper trails but the further back we go, the less reliable the records are or we go back to times when there weren’t such paper records, pre the advent of parish registers in the mid 1500s. Hence the use of DNA to find genetic matches.
Current genealogical knowledge
Apart from two individuals, a sister and brother born in 1768 and 1774 (the children of Humphrey and Alice Horton who married in 1766), we have been able to trace all Emptages on the 1841 census to one of four trees, and have been able to work the trees backwards to the mid 1700s:
William and Ann Fisher of Sheppey’s tree begins with their marriage in 1746.
Humphrey and Catherine Pearce were married in Thanet in 1753.
Henry and Ann Peal of Thanet’s tree begins with their marriage in 1763.
John and Elizabeth Stafford married in Barbados in 1764.
We also have two earlier trees:
Richard and Joan Alleyne married in Thanet in 1565.
We have both factual and hypothetical evidence of Richard and Joan’s descendants, down to their great grandchildren and for one of Richard and Joan’s grandchildren, Edward the vicar of Postling, we have his grandchildren, born between 1651 and 1671.
Humphrey and Mary Fell married in London in 1675.
Humphrey was a malster from Sholden, near Dover, Kent. He and Mary raised their family in London. We have identified their children, grandchildren and ten great grandchildren.
Only three of the male great grandchildren appear to have survived beyond childhood: John, baptised in 1725, Humphrey in 1732 and Thomas in 1735.
Unfortunately, all three names were highly popular in the wide Emptage family and we have yet to identify Humphrey and Thomas’ descendants. However, our theory is that it was John who arrived in Barbados and married Elizabeth Stafford in 1764. As always, the documentary proof is proving elusive.
In addition, there were a number of other Emptages in London. The earliest record so far available is that of the marriage of Robert, a mariner, to Ann Storey in 1655. They had several children, including a Thomas in 1667 and Gabriel in 1671.
There were clearly other Emptage families, or members of a wider family group, in London as there were other marriages and baptisms.
Of the boys who appear to have survived childhood in London, besides Thomas and Gabriel, there was Edward, born to a John Emptage in 1714, Peter, also born to a John, in 1729, and a John born in 1738.
We have yet to connect the fathers, either to each other or to their ancestors or to identify their marriages or descendants.
So we have the descendants of Humphrey and Mary Fell, Richard and Joan Alleyne and the London Emptages to account for as well as many other Emptages.
How many Emptages are we talking about?
To give an idea of the scale of our problem in identifying genetic relationships which originated during or before the beginnings of the four identified trees, from the parish registers between 1564 and 1835, there were 193 marriages of Emptages which have not yet been identified to a tree. Of these, 79 were males: 65 in Kent and 12 in London or elsewhere.
And between 1561 and 1815 there were 246 baptisms of children not yet identified to a tree, of which 113 were males though, sad to say, not all would have survived infancy or childhood.
We also know that there were 14 wills of Emptages or mentioning Emptages between 1489 and 1545. I’ve not analysed them all yet but from just one will I ‘collected’ five children who were still minors at the date of the will, 1573. So, even if the eldest was close to reaching the age of majority, they would have been born before the baptism register began.
So we have at least 79 male Emptage marriages and 113 male births, plus the 14 wills with evidence of other marriages and children. All not yet attached to a tree.
Who were they? To whom were they connected? And if they were of a different tree to those identified above, how can we reconcile them?
Apart from the John who married Elizabeth Stafford in 1764 and started the Barbados branch of the Emptage family, we are not yet aware of any Emptage who emigrated before the 1800s.
All four trees identified in 1841 are represented by the twelve Team Emptage members:
William and Ann Fisher: Roger and Evelyn.
Humphrey and Catherine: Pat, David and Susan.
Henry and Ann Peal: Joan, Mary, Tessa, Tim, Andrew and Mark.
John and Elizabeth: Michele.
In order to establish genetic relationships between the Emptages, through direct paternal lineage, we need to test the Y-chromosome which is passed through the male line.
Tests are carried out using a number of different markers. To have a full picture of the direct paternal lineage, 111 markers need to be tested.
These tests have been taken by Roger, Andrew, David, Mark and Michele’s uncle Bertram and so we have results from team members from all four trees. We are currently awaiting the results of Tim’s test.
Plus we have the results of another contact from the Barbados tree, Andrew Laurence Emtage.
The situation in Barbados is complex.
There are Emptages and Emtages with European ancestry and some with African ancestry.
Those with African ancestry appear to fall into two possibilities:
1. Descended from slaves who took (or were given) their names by the estate owner and who do not have any Emptage DNA.
2. Descendants of the original Emptage estate owner’s relationship with a woman of African ancestry and therefore have Emptage DNA.
Note: The removal of the p from Emptage appears to have little relevance and is similar to the way the name spelling changed in England in the early years.