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John Dyer (abt. 1820)

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John Dyer
Born about in Englandmap
Son of [father unknown] and [mother unknown]
[sibling(s) unknown]
Husband of — married [date unknown] [location unknown]
Descendants descendants
Died [date unknown] [location unknown]
Profile last modified | Created 28 Mar 2017
This page has been accessed 63 times.


This Dyer family arrived in Durban aboard the sailing barque Priscilla on the 16th September 1860 [1] and they were to have quite an impact on life in their new home. But from which Dyer family were they derived? Analysis of the possible places of the marriage between John and Jane and of the birth of the three youngest of their children suggests that they were from Cornwall. They spent some time in London though (Bethnal Green) at the start of their marriage. The Dyers as such are a very heterogeneous family [2] and it is very unlikely that they are all related to one another, “Dyer” was a name given in the early middle ages to those with a particular occupation and there were several of these scattered mainly in the southern part of England and with a concentration in Devon and Cornwall [2]. These Dyers, it would seem, were derived from the latter and are thus in no way related (other than by national origin) to our branch (TAD) of the Dyers of whom members were to arrive in Natal in the late 1800s.

John was 40 when he arrived in Natal in 1860 [1] thus making his birth date about 1820. John Dyer, baptised Landrake 10 Jan 1824, son of Nicholas a cordwainer and Ann (?).[2]

John Dyer married Jane Henwood in Constantine parish Cornwall on 5 November 1849 [4] Jane gives her birth place as St Germans on the 1851 census, and age as 30, so this must be her - born in 1820 [5]

Census 1851: John and Jane were living together in London, Bethnal Green and the record confirms their place of origin [6].

Children: (from GRO website, all show mothers maiden name as Henwood) William Henry Dyer born Bethnal Green Dec qtr 1853 ref 1c 234 Mary Jane Dyer born Bethnal Green Mar qtr 1855 ref 1c 250 Rebecca Ann Dyer born St Germans June qtr 1856 ref 5c 50 Samuel Nicholas Dyer born Liskeard Dec qtr 1858 ref 5c 69 John Dyer born Liskeard Jun qtr 1860 ref 5c 59

John appears to have been widowered in Natal and he was remarried to Harriet(t) Tr(e/i)nowth in Durban in 1877 [7]. The ceremony is recorded twice with slight differences in spellings.

His profession is given on his (second) marriage certificate as a tailor [7]

An important aspect of the John Dyer family seems to have been their religion. They were non-conformists (Wesleyan-Methodists) and thus would have been drawn to others of the same religion in Natal (e.g. the Starrs).


[1] NAB Land and Immigration Board, Natal Vol. 65, p 18.





[6] 1851 "England and Wales Census, 1851," database with images, FamilySearch ( : 24 July 2016), John Dyer, Saint Mary Whitechapel, Middlesex, England; citing Saint Mary Whitechapel, Middlesex, England, p. 5, from "1851 England, Scotland and Wales census," database and images, findmypast ( : n.d.); citing PRO HO 107, The National Archives of the UK, Kew, Surrey.

[7] South Africa, Natal Province, Civil Marriages, 1845-1955," database with images, FamilySearch ( : 27 December 2014), John Dyer and Harriett Trinowth, 20 Feb 1877; citing Durban, Natal, South Africa; 00568; National Archives and Records Service of South Africa, Pretoria; 1,259,329. There are a images of the marriage certificates.

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No known carriers of John's Y-chromosome or his mother's mitochondrial DNA have taken yDNA or mtDNA tests and no close relatives have taken a 23andMe, AncestryDNA, or Family Tree DNA "Family Finder" test.

Have you taken a DNA test for genealogy? If so, login to add it. If not, see our friends at Ancestry DNA.


On 3 Jun 2017 at 00:11 GMT Valerie Willis wrote:

Dyer-10702 and Dyer-10701 appear to represent the same person because: same name, birth date & bio - probably accidental duplication by same profiler

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