The Bednall Archive

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New Year Resolutions 2001

In the last “News” I resolved to

1.       set up the Bednall website

2.       publish documents, etc on family history.

3.       make videos of Bednall-Badnall places

The first of these has been done and is discussed below. Some progress has been made on the second with the passing of draft booklet about Mary Elizabeth Cruso’s visit to Buxton in 1836 to a potential publisher. Other items have been published in various forms of the Leek Chronicles but much still remains to be done.  Videos have been made but now need editing.

Bednall Web Site

The “Bednall Archive” website ( is not only up and running but has been revised and extended. It contains not only a large amount of Bednall - Badnall information, indexes of births, marriages, deaths and wills, full will texts, references to Bednalls/ Badnalls, etc, from 1200 to 1700 and over 1500 references to items in the "Bednall Collection”.   A listing of all the Bednall-Badnall individuals recorded in the 1901 Census has been added plus parish record data. The website also contains a photo gallery of Bednall places and faces, an obituaries section and a family history section covering the origin and evolution of the name and much else.  For the Queen’s Jubilee Year, a special photographic presentation covering the celebration of the Queen’s Silver Jubilee in Gotham, Nottinghamshire was added. This includes background information including all the “tales of Gotham”.

The “Bednall Archive” is not only a one-name study but also a family and local history resource and I hope it will be used (with appropriate caution) by others.  If there is anything you would like to put on the website, please let me know.

Male Ancestors -Y Chromosome DNA

To try to confirm our common ancestry, an Australian cousin and I decided to compare our DNA.  We chose Oxford Ancestors, (founded by Prof. Bryan Sykes in 2000 following press coverage of his genetic research, which used DNA to trace important events in human evolution) as the organisation to carry out this analysis. The service they offer with regard to Y-chromosome DNA is a described by them as follows " Our Y-Line™ service analyses your Y-chromosome DNA (yDNA) and gives you the opportunity to establish the personal link between you and your ancestral clan father. Not only will we establish to which ancestral clan father, on the balance of probability, you are related, but we will also provide you with information about how and when members of your clan lived. There are currently 18 identified clans that cover the whole of humanity and these represent the human Y-chromosome haplogroups. Please note that Y-Line™ signatures correlate (with a probability of up to 97%) with these haplogroups, they do not define them.  As our analysis is performed using ten genetic markers, your results come in the form of a ten-digit Y-Line™ signature. Scientific research has shown that these Y-Line™ signatures are inherited, in the majority of cases, with surname over time. This means that your  Y-Line™ signature can be compared with those of others, adding previously inaccessible genetic information to a genealogical research project.

In response to a completed application form, Oxford Ancestors send a sampling pack via normal letter mail. The sampling process is very simple. A small sterile brush in the pack is wiped 5 times on each side of the mouth without touching the teeth. It is then placed in the sterile sleeve supplied and posted to the firm in their pre-addressed envelope.  A signed form consenting to the analysis accompanies the sample together with the fee.  When the analysis is complete, the result of the analysis is returned together with a printed DNA chart, details of the procedures used to determine the Y-chromosome DNA and instructions on how to compare the results with those of others.  For an extra fee, Oxford Ancestors will check to see if you have Viking ancestors.  The maternal line DNA (based on the X-chromosome) can also be analysed and this provides (in addition to the above) a certificate showing which of the ultimate female source of DNA.
When I received the results from Oxford Ancestors, I first compared my DNA (Y-chromosome) with a European database (unfortunately still rather small) and found only 12 matches out of 12000 entries. The location of those matches was interesting - one each in Bulgaria, Bydgoscz, Central Portugal, Freiberg, Munich, Westphalia, Sweden and Sicily, and 2 each in Leipzig (2 out of 573) and Latium (2 out of 222).  Subsequently I asked Oxford Ancestors to check my DNA against the Viking Database. 

Viking Ancestors?

Oxford Ancestors' Viking Ancestry test compared my (and all those with whom I share a common male line ancestor) Bednall Y-Line™ result against their database of Y-chromosome signatures from Britain, Ireland and Scandinavia. From an analysis of the Y-chromosomes in these locations, especially in areas known from historical records to have been settled by Norse Vikings, like Orkney, Shetland, the Outer Hebrides and Iceland, they can recognise particular Y-chromosomes that are very likely to have arrived in Britain with the Norse Viking settlers. For a Y-chromosome to qualify as Norse Viking, it must be found commonly in Norway and be rare in the parts of Britain that were not settled by the Vikings*.
The comparison indicated that my Bednall Y-chromosome was not likely to be of Norse origin but was much more likely to have been inherited from an Anglo-Saxon ancestor. However, because it is not possible to discriminate between the Y-chromosomes of most of the ancient tribes and peoples of Europe, we may still be the descendants of a Viking, a Danish Viking. NB The Normans were the descendants of Danish Vikings. 

The picture of our ancient paternal roots is further complicated by the fact that my Y-Line signature matches a variant that is also found in people known to be of Middle Eastern origin. Thus, it is possible that our Y-chromosome actually originated in the Middle East and travelled north and west into Europe some time in the past. Unfortunately, it is not possible using genetics to determine whether our paternal ancestor travelled to Europe as a merchant within, say, the last 1,000 years or whether he migrated with other people from the Middle East into the lands revealed by the retreating glaciers of the last Ice Age, over 10,000 years ago.

On the balance of probability, my Y-Line result indicates that my  paternal ancestor was most likely to have been a member of one of the tribes of conquering peoples that invaded Britain shortly after the Romans withdrew. As we trace our ancestry to central England, my (and that of all those with whom I share a common male line ancestor) ancestry is most probably Anglo-Saxon. 

Future DNA Tests

When our Australian cousin has had his DNA tested, we will be able to compare out DNA-y and confirm (or otherwise) that we have a common ancestor and determine as accurately as we can when he lived.  DNA analyses are good at defining a common ancestor but dating the precise generation is much less precise.   I am in also contact with a male Bednall of the Walsall group who is willing to be involved and hope eventually to determine whether they are another branch of our Badnall-Bednall line or a separate one.  

Other comparisons would be valuable particularly with Badnalls and Badnells who can trace their ancestry to Shropshire, London, Berkshire and Staffordshire. I will try to draft a sort of round robin to send to one or two family history magazines and perhaps to one or two family groups on the web -e.g. the Bagnalls. Incidentally, if you know of any other male Bednalls who would like to become involved, please let me know.  The cost may put some off but it is one of the few scientific tests genealogists can use to establish or otherwise a common ancestry. Mind you, since we all live on this earth, we must all share at least one common ancestor!

 Interesting Web Sites

 The Public Record Office website   is not only interesting (you can turn the pages of the Lindesfarne Gospels, etc.) but also very useful. Searches of their of over 9.5 million documents can be carried out, wills and pages from the 1901 Census of England & Wales can be bought and downloaded and access can be gained to a growing index covering documents in all county archives. This and other sites such as or (which enable the indexes of births, marriages and deaths registered since 1837 to be searched) save time and money when researching. They are very easy to use. The cost is not excessive.

The London Gazette website    is also very useful. Some of the things that can be found are illustrated by Bednall examples i.e

 London Gazette 16 October 1917

Lt.Cecil Norbury Bednall RFA awarded the Military Cross.


London Gazette  Issue 30460 4th January 1918 Supplement 7th January 1918

To Be Officers Of The Most Excellent Order Of The British Empire:

Alfred Bednall, Esq., Secretary of the Coventry Munitions Board of Management.


London Gazette Supplement. 7 March 1918 

Lt. Cecil Norbury Bednall, R.F.A.

For conspicuous gallantiry and devotion to duty at a forward telephone exchange. Communications

being frequently cut, he went out himself to see his lines, and though an S.O.S. call went up and the hostile fire became of the utmost intensity, he went thoroughly over them all, testing them and mending several breaks.


London Gazette Issue 31999 30 July 1920

Re-publication of List CCCCCXXV of the names of deceased officers, soldiers and airmen whose personal estate is held for distribution amongst next of kin or others entitled, 1918-1919. Private J. J. Bednall of the Manchester Regiment  £3-19s-8d.

 London Gazette, Issue 35755, 20 October 1942 Supplement 23 Oct 1942

Royal Airforce Volunteer Reserve: Pilot Officers confirmed and to be Flying Officers (War substantive): R. D. Bednell (70054) 30 September 1942

 London Gazette, Issue 36314,  31st December 1943 Supplement 4th January 1944 . Commissions Resigned: L. G. Bednell (69310)

 London Gazette  Issue 36430 17 March 1944

NOTICE is hereby given that the Partnership hereto Subsisting between us the undersigned Harold John Bednall Edwin Downward and Charles Edward Lakin carrying on business as Accountants, Secretaries and Estate Agents at 31 and 33 Albion Street Hanley in the city of Stoke^on-Trent under the style or firm name of WAYTE BEDNALL & COMPANY has been dissolved by mutual consent as from the 3ist day of December 1943. All debts due to and Owing by the said late firm will be received and paid respectively by Harold John Bednall- Dated this 14th day of March 1944.H. J. Bednall. Chas. E. Laktn.E. Downward.


London Gazette Issue 39803 26 May 1953 St. James's Palace, S.W.I.1st June, 1953.

The QUEEN has been graciously pleased, on the occasion of Her Majesty's Coronation, to give orders for the following promotions in, and appointments to, the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire: To be Additional Knights Commanders of the Military Division of the said Most Excellent Order:-

Major-General Cecil Norbury Bednall, C.B., O.B.E., M.C. (18038), Royal Army Pay Corps.


London Gazette Issue 43010 31 May 1963

To be an Ordinary Commander of the Civil Division of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire: Brian Herbert Bednall Esq., Conservator of Forestry, State of South Australia.

 Bednall “One-Name” Study? 

Paul Bednall of Ilkeston is now developing a Bednall One Name Study website he intends to be “your one stop resource for information about the BEDNALL family name.”   This could be a very useful addition to and cross check on the information in the “Bednall Archive”

Other Comments

Boarder History Local and Family History Fair was to be held in Leek, Staffordshire on the 18th of October.  Many Family History societies had stalls there and over 300 people visited the event.  There was plenty on offer for family and local historians not least from  the Leek & Moorlands Local History Society .

If anyone has any "news" for circulation, photos or items for inclusion in the web site, etc. or queries, please let me know.

 Alan Bednall  October 2003