About the Brockbank blog

This blog looks at branches of the Brockbank family that came from Hawkshead in what is now Cumbria. Our branch of the family were joiners living in the hamlet of Hannakin, half a mile south, but the blog also looks at other Brockbank families from Coniston and Ulverston. Up until 1974, these south Lakes towns were part of Lancashire. The county’s Online Parish Clerk website has indexed transcripts of Parish Registers recording:

Baptisms 1568–1967
Marriages 1568–1974
Burials 1568–1930

All these are searchable free of charge and record exact dates for the event, as well as other information such as the family’s address and occupation.

When I was a teenager in the 1980s, my Dad and I traced the Brockbank family tree back to around 1760. In those days before digitzation, we would go to the County Archives at Preston and were allowed to handle the original records, on fragile brown parchments! We copied each Brockbank baptism, marriage and burial into a notebook, and then when we got home onto a blank card. The cards were laid out on the floor of our lounge until patterns emerged – baptisms of children in the same family, etc. Then we’d make family cards and gradually link these across the generations, sometimes needing to buy a certificate to verify a link. I wrote the project up for my Gold Duke of Edinburgh’s Award.

Forty years later, I have a Genealogist and British Newspaper Archive subscription, it’s time to look again at our tree, check the facts, and share the stories in this blog.

My great great grandfather John Brockbank married Margaret Coward in 1855 at St Mary’s Church, Ambleside. The couple celebrated their Golden Wedding in 1905, and an article in The Lakes Chronicle and Reporter has kept me up many a night trying to trace the 35 grandchildren ascribed to them: Great, great grandparents: John & Margaret Brockbank.

The same John Brockbank achieved notoriety when in 1875 he challenged the local landowner Colonel Myles Sandys with a lawsuit over fishing rights on Esthwaite Water. Details here: John Brockbank’s 1875 Lawsuit against Colonel Sandys.

John’s parents were Robert Brockbank (1788–1874) and his wife Agnes Taylor.

His grandparents were Robert Brockbank (1746–1822) and Sarah Williamson. 

Grandparents were Matthew Brockbank and Dorothy (died 1759).

Jumping forward two centuries, a mystery in our Family Bible is Margaret Elizabeth Clark, who would have been Margaret Elizabeth Brockbank had her parents (my great-grandparents) married sooner. She emigrated to Canada and married a Mr Carvell. In March 2018 I hired a researcher in Saskatchewan to see if I could find out more. Here are some of the findings: Margaret Elizabeth Clark and her emigration to Canada

Margaret emigrated 3 or 4 years after two of her male cousins, all of them settling in Saskatchewan, though some distance apart. Details of Stephen and Fred’s emigration are given in this post: Matthew Brockbank (1863–1932) and his wife Mary Alice Oldcorn.

Dad and I had our DNA analysed with testing company 23&me recently. We got a 0.22% DNA match with a lady in Florida who had listed Brockbank as one of her ancestor surnames. This post explains how we worked out the details of our relationship with our most recent common ancestor Robert Brockbank, born in Hawkshead in 1746: Brockbank 5th cousin found through DNA testing!

Another post is about my Dad’s mother’s family, the Judds from Scarborough, who moved to Bowness-on-Windermere in the 1890s. I found a connected line of Judds on the collaborative genealogy site Wikitree that took the line all the way back to my 7 x great grandfather Anthony Judd, born around 1660.

In 2020 lockdown, I’ve been adding posts about other Brockbank families, not related to ours (as far as I can tell), but interesting: Robert Atkinson Brockbank, parfumier; George Brockbank, yacht builder, and John Brockbank who built many houses and public buildings in Kirkby Stephen.