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the Appleby one-name study and DNA project

the Appleby one-name study and DNA project

Surnames covered in our DNA project:



plus any other variants


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The current banner shows Alnwick Castle, in Northumberland - a county in the far north east of England, bordering Scotland.  This region is home to a number of Appleby lines - and our DNA project has confirmed genetic connections between several of these, which also match lines in Canada, USA and Ireland.

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Joseph Appleby of Cumberland and Durham

The photos on the right show James Appleby and his wife Ruth who married in Penshaw, County Durham in 1918.


James died in 1924 as a result of injures sustained in WW1, and soon after his death his widow Ruth emigrated to Australia - taking their three young children.  Recently, their daughter Grace (now in her nineties) decided that she would like to discover more about the father she never knew, so her son-in-law contacted us to help him find out about Grace's ancestry.

Ruth &  James Appleby Grace  Roy

James Appleby (1892-1924) and his wife Ruth, nee Kay (b.~1894)

We found that in fact James had spent his early years living in West Lothian in Scotland, the birthplace of his mother Agnes.  However, his father (also James) was born In Sunderland where he was a coalminer.  But tracing the line back a few more generations - we discovered that James' great grandfather Joseph Appleby actually came from Whitehaven in Cumberland.  Joseph married in Hetton-le Hole, county Durham in 1836 and judging by all the different places that their eight children were born, it seems that he and his wife Catherine moved around Durham and Northumberland quite a bit!

Grace wih her husband Roy some years ago


Appleby Catherine 1870-

Appleby Eleanor 1847-1851

Appleby Elizabeth 1880-

Appleby Elizabeth Ann 1859-

Appleby Grace 1921-

Appleby Isabella 1874-

Appleby James 1864-1901

Appleby James 1892-1924

Appleby Jane 1873-

Appleby John 1844-

Appleby John G 1855-

Appleby John James 1923-1973

Appleby Joseph 1812-1883

Appleby Joseph 1849-

Appleby Joyce 1919-2008

Appleby Margaret 1841-1851

Appleby Margaret 1868-

Appleby Margaret J 1854-

Appleby Martha Bella 1896-

Appleby Mary Ann 1856-

Appleby Mary Sneddon 1895- 1954

Appleby Thomas 1837-1891

Hutchinson Catharine 1814-1881

Kay Ruth 1894-

Lee Joseph 1855-

Milburn Isabella Martha 1841-1881

Smith Agnes 1872-1903

Spurway  Maurice Edwin

I have recently been told of the connection between Maria Ann Smith (1799-1870) who was the grandmother of Maurice Spurway, who married Mary Sneddon Appleby in Sydney in 1915... Maurice's granny was the original "Granny Smith" who developed Granny Smith apples in Sydney back in 1868!


There are other APPLEBY families in the Cumberland censuses (who do not seem to be connected to this line), and I am currently researching a line with living descendants in Queensland whose ancestors also originate in Cumberland - which may or may not turn out to be connected!


The only living descendants of Joseph and Catherine I have traced live in Australia, but there is a good chance that some branches remained in England, so if anyone can add any details, please do get in touch with me.


Grace Appleby, pictured left, who made a special request to have this photo included on the page, sadly passed away in Newcastle, New South Wales, on 20 November 2019, aged 98 years – she was always interested to learn more about her family history, so if any reader can provide any further information please do let me know so that I can pass it on to Grace’s descendants.

Maria Ann (Granny) Smith

Maria Ann "Granny" Smith (1799-1879) - source Wikipedia