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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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(Meanwhile, I suggest you switch to a PC!)

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





ApplebyElizabeth Ann1859-







ApplebyJohn G1855-

ApplebyJohn James1923-1973






ApplebyMargaret J1854-

ApplebyMartha Bella1896-

ApplebyMary Ann1856-

ApplebyMary Sneddon1895- 1954





MilburnIsabella Martha1841-1881


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

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