BOAT FAMILIES

of the Leeds and Liverpool Canal and connected waterways

Burscough Canal


WELCOME to our updated website - launched 6th April 2015.

SITE INFORMATION

At the launch of the site, in March 2010, there were more than 3,000 names, mostly families of canal workers on the Leeds and Liverpool Canal, all connected by marriage, in one tree, Canal Family 1.

This tree has now grown to more than 47,500 people, and it has spread from Lancashire and Yorkshire into Cheshire, Staffordshire and beyond. Our next three trees have now all been merged into Canal Family 1 and deleted: Canal Family 2 with 95 people on 6th June 2014, Canal Family 3 with 24 people on 24th July 2019, and Canal Family 4 with 273 people in October 2013.

A new tree, Canal Family 5 (120 people), was created on 8th February 2014, and still survives. Another, Canal Family 6 (124 people), was merged into Canal Family 1 on 26th Oct 2017 and deleted.

Canal Family 7 (initially containing 523 names) was added on Nov 10 2017 and soon updated to 1,063 people. Another tree, intended to become Canal Family 8 with 952 people, was found to be linked so both these trees were merged into Canal Family 1 on 25th January 2019.

Except for those openly listed in the 1939 census, we do not knowingly include living people without family permission. Information has been compiled from private research by ODFHS members and other contributors, from the websites of Lancashire On-line Parish Clerks, Lancashire BMDs, Censuses - and increasingly from parish records on Ancestry, Findmypast and FamilySearch (IGI). Some details are inevitably more complete than others, but where copies of birth, marriage or death certificates are held, this is shown in individuals' Life Histories by the letters BC, MC or DC.

We welcome contributions to help expand existing trees. Additional data or amendments can be emailed to boatfamilies[at]odfhs.email or by using the contact us link - please indicate sources, especially if you have verification by certificates etc. We can accept data in any form convenient to you, but if you have a tree of three or more generations we would appreciate receiving it as an attachment in GEDCOM format to the same address. (Your family history program will have an option to export a GEDCOM tree, which can be sent as an email attachment.)

SOFTWARE: This website is compiled using The Next Generation of Genealogy Sitebuilding, v.12.0 (written by Darrin Lythgoe 2001-2019 ©). Note that clicking the link at the bottom of each page (to the TNG website) will take you away from this site.

Ormskirk & District
Family History Society


Boat Families Website


The Society is indebted to the small group of dedicated enthusiasts who have developed this site. Using this site and the other ODFHS products; such as the CD of Burscough Boat Families, should enable you to discover many of your ancestors.
Bill Huyton, Chairman ODFHS, March 2011.


The purpose of this site is to assist researchers whose ancestors worked on the Leeds-Liverpool Canal & associated waterways, especially in South-West Lancashire and Cheshire, and more recently in Yorkshire east of Leeds. Lower down this column there is more information on how to submit questions and family trees for inclusion.

HOW TO USE THIS SITE

Use the Surnames link (top right) to see a list of main names in all trees, with an option to select a specific name from the alphabetic panel above. You can search for a particular person by using the search box, or you can see names in specific trees by changing 'all trees' to, eg, 'canal family 3' etc. At various places on the site you will see a small tree icon, which will show the family tree of your chosen individual. You can click on any name shown to reveal their details. Once you have chosen the first name it is possible to navigate that entire tree. Returning to the Group Names page will allow you to visit another tree.

NOTE: The search box on the right is a simple search on Canal Family 1. For more options and to search all trees together go to the Advanced Search page and choose from the various drop-down boxes.

UPDATE HISTORY

More information relating to the updates shown on the right can be found in the Update History files which can be viewed by going to the MEDIA link above and selecting DOCUMENTS.

COMMENTING ON & ADDING TO THE SITE

If you have any questions or comments about the information on this site, please contact us. We look forward to hearing from you. Click on Info and Contact Us.

DISCLAIMER

We have spent a great deal of time in building & populating this site. We have made every effort to produce a site that is accurate & easy to use. However No warranty is given, or implied.

SOURCES

We are grateful to have so many free sources of information: Lancashire Archives, Preston; the London FamilySearch Centre, whose microfilms are now at the Society of Genealogists HQ in London; UKBMD; Lancashire OnLine Parish Clerks, and others. Our researchers also subscribe to the Ancestry and Findmypast websites.

Ainscough Flour Mill


LATEST UPDATES

A summary of our newest tree Canal Family 9, developed in conjunction with the Leeds and Liverpool Canal Society, is in Media/Documents/Benjamin Curry Walls. A booklet based on interviews with L&L boatmen by Norman Walls is being prepared, and excerpts appear in the current issue of the Society's magazine Clogs & Gansey.

Canal Family 1:
25 March 2020 . . . V111
New Total: 47,742 individuals
New Name: Wagstaff 16
Main increases: Thornhill +29; Nicholls +11; Gaskell, Lawton +12; Nicholas +11

Our new family is descended from a Midlands boatman, Thomas Wagstaff, whose four sons plied the Cheshire canals and whose daughter Elizabeth married in 1897 Frederick Salt, who was already on our site, and moved to Salford. In the 1901 census, Elizabeth's eldest brother William Wagstaff was moored at Ring O'Bells, Lathom, alongside Burscough boatman James Dutton, son of James Dutton and Winifred nee Watkinson.

Our main increase is provided by two apparently unconnected watermen's families headed by George and John Thornhill. George's son William married in 1839 Elizabeth Hignett of Runcorn, and John's son George was a Canal Company bargeman, b1861 Manchester. Elizabeth's mother, Ann nee Hughes, was widowed in 1842 and then had several apparently illegitimate children by a Mr Gaskell (Gaskill or Gaskin), providing another of our main increases.

The Nicholls and Nicholas increases are in the same family, descended fron Northwich waterman Isaac Nicholas, b1776, and Mary nee Garnet, also from Isaac's brother Thomas. The surname gradually changed to Nicholls or Nichols, and it has been possible to amalgamate previously separate branches. We have also developed the Lawton family of Runcorn boatmen.

Canal Families 2, 3, 4, 6, 7 & 8 have all now been merged into our main tree, Canal Family 1 (details, see left hand column).

Canal Family 5:
15 September 2019 . . . V03
New total: 125 individuals
Main names: Ainscough 29, Mason 26, Fairclough 23

Canal Family 9:
2 March 2019 - 45 individuals
Main name: Walls 29



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