Matilda Read’s family – how wonderful is DNA testing?

My great great grandmother Matilda Sarah Ann Read was baptized on February 29, 1828 in Woodbridge, Suffolk two weeks after her birth.  Her mother was Matilda Read with no father given in the baptism register. Apparently no bastardy records survive for the church.  I’ve searched for Matilda Read (her mother) in Woodbridge without any luck.  There was one Read family but no proof that there was any connection to her.

St Mary's church Woodbridge web
St Mary’s church, Woodbridge ©Lynda Collier

Now a DNA match has led me to her family.  The match was on the Servante / Read line but without any matches to the Servante family.  I’m so excited that I have finally found her mother.  Her mother had at least seven children with Daniel Battley, most of them born in Ipswich, Suffolk.  Matilda named one of her daughters Athelinda, quite an unusual name.  Her daughter Matilda, my great great grandmother named her second daughter Athelinda. It then turns out there are a number of Athelinda’s spread through Matilda’s mother’s family.  Also through the family of Matilda Read and Charles Servante in Australia.

Woodbridge St Mary's church baptismal font web
Baptismal font & parish chest, St Mary’s church, Woodbridge ©Lynda Collier

On Ancestry a few of the family trees for Matilda and Daniel Battley had her maiden name as Goldsmith which I wondered about.  Had she married a Goldsmith before Daniel Battley?  Probably no; her sister Eliza had married Benjamin Goldsmith, a builder and they had lived in Beccles, Suffolk.  Benjamin died in 1851 and Eliza then married Robert Leavold, a tailor. Is this where the Goldsmith name came from? Further research may find a different answer.

Matilda and Eliza were the daughters of William Read and Hannah Rous.  They were born in Wrentham, Suffolk. There were at least eight children born to William and Hannah.  Aside from Matilda and Eliza there were William, Marianne, Edward John, James, Georgina (Georgeanna) and Robert. Edward was with his sister Matilda at the time of the 1841 census. Their mother Hannah was with her daughter Marianne (who had married John Smith) at the time of the 1841 census. I think in 1851 Hannah was a nurse living with Hannah Woolnough in Boyton, Woodbridge and that she died there in 1857.

Woodbridge street scene web
Woodbridge street scene ©Lynda Collier

There was no sign of William by the time of the 1841 census. I have been able to take Hannah Rous’ family back a few generations but still don’t know much about William Read. There is a possible baptism for him but it needs more investigating.

I am still no closer to finding who Matilda Read’s father was.  On her Victorian death certificate only her mother’s name was entered. However perhaps DNA matches will eventually lead me to him and his family. I now have a new area to explore the next time I visit England.

For all my cousins out there this is Nanna Boyd’s (nee McKnight) family through her mother Matilda Elizabeth Servante and her mother Matilda (Sarah Anne) Read.


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