Tuesday 30 November 2010

A drive through my Derbyshire family history

As I headed off on my weekend away on Friday I suddenly noticed that I was about to start driving through lots of places that feature on my family tree! It was as the traffic ground to a halt at the pinch point where the M57 is squeezed to the A57 at Mottram in Longdendale that this really clicked.

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This is where my 8x great grandparents John Bradley and Ann Hollingworth were born in the 1680s. I couldn't see the parish church of St Michael and All Angels in the dark but for about 100 years this was the place which witnessed the baptisms, marriages and burials of my Bradley, Hollingworth and Band ancestors:

© Copyright Stephen Burton and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

It was the start of the Industrial Revolution that had drawn John Band here to work in the cotton mills in the mid 18th century. His grandson Charles Band (b 1789) followed in the same industry and moved his family to the larger mill town of Glossop which I also drove through. The Band family would remain in and around Glossop until the 20th century when my granny can remember visiting cousins on holidays to the town. Our journey skirted the outskirts of the town and passed south along the A624 to Hayfield. In this village my Turner ancestors were living from at least the 1730s and the Redferns from slightly later. It was my 2x great grandparents Sarah Turner (1844-1926) and Charles Band (1841-1896) who connected these two different strands of the family together.

The next leg of my drive went passed the village of Chinley birthplace of my 4x great grandfather Humphrey Downs in 1780. His mother Mary (nee Kirk) died at the neighbouring Chapel en le Frith in 1805. As you can imagine I was getting quite excited by seeing all these places that previously I had only seen on church records and census returns! My 7 year old was briefly persuaded to ignore her in car DVD to agree to come and visit these places properly to see if we could find more at a future date.

One thing that struck me as we whizzed through Derbyshire with ease in my car was how amazing it must have been to relocate a family in the 18th and 19th centuries. The distances aren't great but with a limited income they must have had to make do with a local carter to move them and their worldly goods to their new home. This was the start of the transition from individual craftsmen to the large mills and factories, the promise of a good job must have made it worth the effort.

I can't wait to go back and spend more time visiting these places that are so important in my family history. Hopefully I can get my daughter as hooked on genealogy as I was from the age of 12.

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