This website contains genealogies and biographical information on our Fletcher, Blackburn and Chandler families. The interactive database for the genealogy itself is driven by Darrin Lythgoe’s powerful and innovative The Next Generation of Genealogy Sitebuilding. You can search for Surnames, Dates, Anniversaries, Cemeteries, Places, etc.. Photographs of individuals, groups and headstones are all linked to each individual’s record. However, in order to view records of living family members, you must register.
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This site is a work in progress, representing my research and that of others who have generously shared. Family lines have been compiled as a guide only and discrepancies are inevitable. Please verify all information when and where applicable.
FLETCHERS and MERCERS
My mother’s family seem to have lived in Lancashire since medieval times, mainly in and around the town of Lytham, close to where the river Ribble joins the Irish Sea. This is the town where I grew up, and even now, when I’ve lived away from the North West since I was 21, there is a thrill to going back – in part because this is where half of my ancestors lived their lives. Sevaral of them were mariners.
My father’s family came to Lancashire and Cheshire to seek work during the Industrial Revolution, but I can trace them back through Ashton-under-Lyne and Lincoln to East Retford in Nottinghamshire, and particularly to the village of Moorgate, Clarborough, where many of them made a living in the Tannery once sited there. My great-great-grandfather, John Fletcher, born in 1821, was a Fellmonger – someone who dealt in hides and skins – which seems a rather exotic name for his (definitely very smelly) trade, though we are still familiar with fishmongers and ironmongers.
BLACKBURNS and JOHNSONS
Jackie’s ancestors have lived for many years in south Lancashire, more recently in the St. Helens area. She was born in the quaintly-named village of Clock Face. St Helens, situated in the south west of the county of Lancashire, is six miles north of the River Mersey. The town historically lay within the ancient Lancashire division of West Derby known as a “hundred”.
The local area developed rapidly during the Industrial Revolution into a significant centre for coal mining and glassmaking. Today, St Helens is very much a commercial town. The main industries have since left, become outdated, or have been outsourced leaving the float and patterned rolled glass producer Pilkington’s as the town’s one remaining large industrial employer. Previously the town had been home to Beechams (now part of GlaxoSmithKline) among others. Jackie’s ancestors have been involved variously in farming, watch-making, grocery, butchery, engineering and coal-mining.
CHANDLERS and LUCASES
Mark grew up in Morden in south-west London, and his ancestors can be traced back nearly four hundred years living in and around central London. If he feels tied to anywhere, however, it would be to Wimbledon. Most obviously famous for its tennis connections, the village of Wimbledon is also a vibrant blend of chic shops, cafes and bars set amongst handsome period buildings and open spaces. The name Wimbledon means “Wynnman’s hill”, with the final element of the name being the Old English dun (hill). The current spelling appears to have been settled on relatively recently in the early 19th century.
Because the public records of Londoners are so well preserved, it is possible to trace the Chandlers quite accurately, even to the streets where they lived, and the churches where they worshipped, back into the sixteenth century. So we have St. George in the East; Grey Eagle Street, Spitalfields; St. Giles in the Fields; St. George, Hanover Square; and Bishopsgate Street. The earliest Chandler we can trace was a weaver; several of his descendants were coach builders.
Rather than simply giving a dry account of our three family trees and their statistics, we hope to enliven these pages with some of the interesting, amusing and often moving stories that we have come across in our research. Also there will be quotations and historical photographs on top of those pages devoted to research into our family trees.
“…. But the iniquity of oblivion blindly scattereth her poppy,and deals with the memory of men without distinction to merit of perpetuity……”
Sir Thomas Browne (1605-1682)