So Who Is He? Part III

A 3rd cousin Nugent match.

Surnames of matches can’t always be taken as a “hint” as to how you connect to them. The only way to work this out is to contact that person, if a tree isn’t connected to the DNA profile in question. There was no tree, so I contacted the Nugent match. It was too much of a coincidence, seeing that name, knowing that W descended from Nugents…but the denial was strong on my end, at least at the start. Something wasn’t right with one of our pedigrees, either W’s or the one that had been made for Mum.

Between December and March this year, that is where it remained. Nugent, our new mutual match didn’t respond and still hasn’t. And that’s okay. I’m aware that not everyone lives on Ancestry, everyone has different reasons for taking a DNA test. There are ways around not hearing back from a match too. So I continued researching the family lines, the Purcills, Wells, Saxbys, Reeves, Williams and Burleys. I also continued working on the Muddles and Boorers. Yet another HUGE family of the NSW North Coast.

We are going to come back to the Nugent match towards the end of this post. I had to wait MONTHS to work out the connection, so you guys can wait a few more paragraphs to find out! Because in March this year, a new match came through for Mum, a high one that shared C, K, G and a number of more distant (fourth cousin) matches.

We will call her D. 

To date, she is my Mum’s highest paternal match, sharing 342cM over 15 DNA segments with Mum.



Contact was made with D, and I met up with D’s daughter, who provided me with a full breakdown of the family tree. Wouldn’t you know it, they match the Purcill/Cowell families directly.

D descends from Alice Selina Cowell and William James Purcill, known paternal ancestors of Mum’s. C & D are first cousins once removed.

And technically, the amount of DNA that D and Mum share would make sense with the pedigree that had been worked out for Mum based off C & K’s results:

In going off the pedigree that had been made for Mum, that would make the relationship between D and Mum 1st cousins twice removed.

This worked, made sense with the above cM ranges given in Blaine Bettinger’s chart.

But what about W? And the Nugent match? 

I was absolutely baffled as to how Mum, my sister and I could connect to the Purcills, Burleys, Saxbys, Williams and Reeves families when we also matched W. To make things more confusing, I was getting information from other matches who we shared with W, that indicated where they fit:

  • Match 1: shares 64cM over 7 DNA segments with Mum, and is a grandchild of Amanda Elvira Mulvinia Saxby and William Boorer. 
  • Match 2: shares 64cM over 3 DNA segments with Mum, and is a great grandchild of Amanda Elvira Mulvinia Saxby and William Boorer. 
  • Match 3: shares 97cM over 8 DNA segments with Mum, and is a great grandchild of Amanda Elvira Mulvinia Saxby and William Boorer. 
  • Match 4: Shares 62cM over 7 DNA segments with Mum, and is a great great grandchild of Ann Muddle and Thomas Boorer (the William Boorer you see above is another son of this couple). 

There are many more smaller matches that also descend from Muddles and Boorers. From first glance, the Matches above that are shown to have a connection to Amanda Saxby could be easily explained, right? We know from C & K’s pedigree that Saxbys are ancestors. Amanda, as we know is the daughter of Edward Saxby and Rebecca Burley. And, in looking at the DNA matches we have, including C & K, we are descended from Edward’s brother Thomas, who married Rebecca’s sister Sophia.

You see what I’m dealing with here? 

So our mutual ancestors with Matches 1-3 would be these two couples’ parents, who were Robert Saxby and Mary Ann Reeves,  and Charles Burley and Harriett Williams, who we saw in previous instalments.

This would make Match 1 a third cousin twice removed to Mum.  

Match 2 & 3 both second cousins three times removed to Mum. 

But what about Match 4? Not being descendants of Amanda and William, they are lumped in with W, in that at the time in which I was puzzling over this, I had no clue where they could fit.

Are you all getting the sense that genetic genealogy is just one big puzzle?

Our pieces certainly weren’t all fitting.

I eventually took to searching the surnames Boorer and Muddle in Mum’s match list, out of curiosity. Matches showed up, at that point the highest one was Match 4 above. That’s when I got thinking that perhaps, we were connected to the Boorers and Muddles somehow ourselves. Match 4 was adamant that there were none of the other surnames I listed off for them in their family at all. And the smaller matches in our lists agreed.

These names, all originating out of the North Coast of NSW seem to be connected to us. But the orange column doesn’t seem to have any connection to the green column.

No matter how hard I looked, I could find no connection between the above columns. No marriages, births, nothing. Except of course for Amanda Saxby and William Boorer, however it’s very clear that the connection is distant, the reason the shared DNA between these descendants and Mum is because we share two ancestral couples with them.

I literally had a eureka moment whilst trying to go to sleep one night in June. Laying in bed, running through all the names and dates I had been looking through over the past six months when it came to me.

There was another Purcill/Saxby marriage in the family. 


At this point, it occurred to me that there were only distant Wells DNA matches in our lists too–C’s grandmother was a Wells, and if my original theory had been correct, Mum’s father would have also had this Wells lady as his grandmother. Our matches were telling us that this wasn’t the case at all, I just hadn’t seen it.

So who is Child 7?

Meet Andrew Francis Purcill. 

Born in 1906, he married Linda Mary Saxby in 1925 in Dungog.

Linda’s mother is Alice Florence Saxby, her grandparents were Robert Charles Saxby and Sarah Ann Box.


A tangled web we have here. C’s grandmother is a first cousin once removed to Linda Saxby, and C’s grandfather’s brother (so her great uncle) married Linda. YAY FOR MORE DOUBLE RELATIONSHIPS.

…did I mention Linda Mary Saxby was illegitimate?

Linda was born in 1906 also, in Dungog. This got me thinking further. I knew the Muddle & Boorer family all lived in and around Dungog at that time too…

I began searching the public Muddle and Boorer family trees in Ancestry, and came across one owned by someone with the surname Nugent. I contacted them and asked them for further info, and asked if they’d taken a DNA test. They responded very quickly, saying that they had. I couldn’t find a match to them in our list however…on a whim I mentioned the Nugent match that I had in Mum’s list, our 3rd cousin one. This user responded with: “That’s my Uncle”.

The puzzle pieces were starting to fit together. 

What if…Linda Saxby was fathered by a son of Martha Boorer and Robert Nugent?


The couple had had eight children and four of them were sons. Three of them would have been old enough to have fathered Linda in 1906. Having received our Nugent match’s pedigree from his niece, I can eliminate the youngest of those three suspects, based on the shared DNA.

What does that mean for Mum, and how does that tie in to who her father is?

Andrew Francis Purcill and Linda Mary Saxby are in fact her paternal grandparents. 

Mum’s biological paternal tree.

The minute this occurred to me, things began to click into place. W is the descendant of Martha Boorer and Robert Nugent also, which makes her a 3rd cousin once removed to Mum (fits the shared DNA between them).

Match 4 is ALSO a 3rd cousin once removed, sharing Ann Muddle and Thomas Boorer as our mutual ancestors. Since working this out, we have had matches at the 4th cousin level who have the surnames Boorer and Muddle, not to mention some new Nugent matches at the 3rd cousin level (very high matches, which I’ve spoken about here)

What does that mean for C and K? Well, it just means a slight tweaking in our relationship category. Mum and C share William James Purcill and Alice Selina Cowell as mutual ancestors, both being their great grandparents, which makes them 2nd cousins. BUT, they also share Thomas William Saxby and Sophia Maria Williams Burley as mutual ancestors on C’s grandmother’s side of the family…which also makes them 3rd cousins once removed. Confusing right?

And our other match, D? She is a 1st cousin once removed. She is Bio Granddad’s first cousin!

Interesting relationships are also apparent with Matches 1-3, sharing both Saxby, Burley, Boorer and Muddle families. Mum shares two sets of fourth great grandparents, (Robert Saxby/Mary Ann Reeves & Charles Burley/Harriett Williams) and ALSO shares her third great grandparents, Thomas Boorer and Ann Muddle with those three, making Match 1 both a fourth cousin once removed on the Saxby/Reeves/Burley/Williams side and a 2nd cousin twice removed. Matches 2 & 3 are both fourth cousins (Saxby/Burley/Reeves/Williams side) and 3rd cousins once removed to Mum.

How’s about THAT for confusing? Bet our ancestors are rubbing their hands together up there, relishing in the nice little mess they’ve made down here.

So who is Mum’s Dad?

2 Comments Add yours

  1. flissie says:

    My mind is boggling at how you worked all this out you and it are amazing


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s