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About Woodley/Woodcock tree
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This is my Woodcock (male line) and Woodley (female line) family tree, which I have spent the last decade and a half compiling, on and off full time (as an amateur). The historical contrast in fortune of the two families is marked, but I am equally proud of industrial revolutionary origins, and their more fortunate relations.

Currently there are well over 37000 (deceased) ancestor and relative names from above 14000 related families, with 400+ Woodcocks and 360+ Woodleys.

My interest in genealogy stemmed from my grandmother, with whom I would visit record offices, in our frequent trips to London, as a child. I spent the first decade of my life without any cousins and since my mother is an only child, of an only child, went to primary school with my second-cousins, who were my nearest relations of similar age, at that time. It instilled a sense of familial proximity to even distant relations and an inquisitiveness about my ancestors, about whom we knew very little, my mother's father having died when she was six years old, and her grand-father having absconded. Nowadays I have met and befriended many "cousins" and am happy to have an extended family all over the world. It's a great thing to have encountered such diversity and reminds me, we are ALL immigrants. Vive la difference!

Having been very lucky and found 1066 as no barrier relatively quickly, I maintain interest by fostering new targets such as trying to find links to nobility or historical figures of personal interest. I just wish we had an Albert Einstein in the family, but naturalist Dr. Martin Lister as ancestor (8*great-grandfather), and regicide Colonel James Temple as close relation (great*10-uncle), amuses and astonishes/impresses me greatly.

Privacy being of primary concern, I have upgraded ratings for the way that people's details are displayed, making all born within the last hundred years private or invisible by default, with only those believed (with near certainty) deceased available to view - please do let me know any omissions /errors - there are doubtless still a few - apologies! This is why considerably less people appear here compared to my offline tree (>55100 people from 19200+ families)! Also amended are sources as for some reason there are a few small problems - please let me know any errors please ASAP.

I have bought and retain copies of most BMD certificates from the GRO pertaining to all branches of direct ancestors post-1837, excepting where copies of parish records... suffice as indisputable evidence. Pre-1837, anything available and know there are more than a few question marks. Copies of some purchased original material is retained as regards more distant relatives, and I have tried my utmost to verify the integrity of all sources, but please don't take anything as gospel. My notebooks however, are pretty comprehensive, even if they are not at all well collated!

The Woodcock family stem from near Shrewsbury, Shropshire at the turn of the 18th century. Originally an agricultural labourer, Samuel Woodcock b~1720 was granted land at Cardington, thanks to the efforts of his elder brother Daniel, through poor law settlement from Prees. A more junior branch of Samuel's descendants remaining farming those same lands for at least two and a half centuries, the last known being Samuel Thomas William Woodcock b1922 d1987, son of Samuel Wall Woodcock b1879.

Within fifty years my ancestors moved gradually through nearby Harley and Sheinton, then with William Woodcock on to Madeley, spearheading  the industrial revolution at nearby Ironbridge. Their newly acquired mining skills with coal, stone and iron, being highly valued. His sons John, Samuel, George and Enoch - great biblical names stemming from their flirtation with non-conformism - moving together, as resources were depleted in the 1820/30s, taking their trades to the Dudley area of Worcestershire/Staffordshire.

Subsequently even the Dudley seams and iron works faltered, so they spread all over the country (Barrow-in-Furness, Liverpool, County Durham, London...), with my great-grandfather William  Woodcock moving to Wigan/Warrington, where my grandfather, George, was born. He was to become head boy of the local grammar school and a local priest, having served in both World Wars, only fighting in the First in France/Belgium and Salonika, where he contracted, as so many did, the malaria that was to recur occasionally all his life. My grandmother told me he was slightly wounded when the Turks fought their way down the hill, and his life saved by an Australian? However, I can find no proof of this, other than the fact he used a stick to walk in later life. In World War II he was stationed at Dover at the Duke of York's Military School, acting as padre, whilst serving as chaplain to the 42nd Division at the onset of hostilities. Gran said he used to help out there at the Naval Headquarters as well during times of crisis (Dunkirk)? The fact he had become an intelligence officer during the latter stages of WWI, and had attended St Catherine's, Cambridge would make this logical? His war record lists him at that time as part of 55th. Division H.Q. Western and subsequently Eastern Command. He certainly visited the Naval Command Centre at Liverpool and we have many photographs of unnamed military high rankers in his personal album, mainly from at cricket matches, for which he was renowned as an early form of pinch hitter.

References were gleaned to follow this geographical transition, during numerous visits to Shropshire and Coseley (Dudley as was) Record Offices.

The Woodley coat of arms, an owl over wreath and helmet and a chevron between three owls, may have been granted, or bought, in the 1800s by my great*3 grandfather John Woodley Esq., and is displayed in the North Isle Window of St. Olave Hart Street, City of London, shown here to the left and in the album. His son Matthew Fuller Woodley was churchwarden there from 1871-3. Oddly it is the identical coat of arms and crest as quoted in the Visitations of Devon for the Woodley of Halsanger family, which would explain why there is much confusion as to which is the older branch and from whom the arms originate!

It seems both branches claimed the owl motif as theirs, but since the armorial Devon Woodley line is now extinct, the Essex branch has (bought) the rights to it? The arms were originally granted to William Woodley of Nevis, West Indies, whose family fought for the Royalist cause in the Civil War. They came from Little Parndon in Essex, just a few miles from Manuden and Widdington where my own family originate. After an awful lot of effort I have still been unable to link the West Indian family to my direct line precisely, but they are FAR too closely located for it just to be mere co-incidence. This West Indian line continues through to this day (with male Woodley surnamed descendants of Theodore George Yzabel Woodley b.1899 South Africa).

The Woodleys of Halsanger were known to originate from John Woodley of Tedburn St. Mary, Devon d.1438. At some point they may have bought the rights to the owl motif? My Essex line, I have traced so far to ~1530, but there are so many from around Essex/Berkshire that the two lines are very probably distinct. Woodley/Woodleigh, Devon and Woodley, Berkshire would seem to be their two places of origin. This runs contrary to the Woodley family tree available to view at the Devon Record Office, Exeter, which I have proven as incorrect, in that instance. It seems two Woodley chaps, one from each line, together at college, believed themselves to be related and I suspect they may have been more than a little creative in order to prove it! He who is perfect, cast the first stone.

My Woodley family were Constables of Uttlesford hundred, Essex and their origins from Henham/Widdington, Essex ~1530, mainly traced through wills and parish records held at the Essex Records Office (ERO) in Chelmsford, Walthamstow Forest Archive above the Vestry House Museum, Surrey History Centre Woking, the Guildhall and National Archives, Kew, London etc.

My great*3-grandmother, Lucy Ann Welch Collyns b1811, was born in Kenton, Devon, the wife of  Richard Bedford Allen b1807, a "notorious swindler" on the stock market, according to "The Times"  of London.

Declared bankrupt in March 1859, he ran to Calais but was apprehended in Altona, Germany in April, supposedly by the tracing of cheques written out to cash by their daughter, my great*2-grandmother Eleanora Maria Allen b1837. Tried on the 9th May 1859 at the Central Criminal Court of the Old Bailey, he pleaded guilty and was sentenced to ten years penal servitude. "The Jurist" mentions in "The English Reports" published 1930 as scheduled for further bankrupt meeting on 2nd June 1860 where it suggests he was transported for forgery, but of this I can find no evidence. Deservedly he was stripped of his inherited and ill-begotten wealth including their family house in Walthamstow, Essex and several Rubens paintings.

Richard Bedford Allen's great-grandparents were the Rev. William Bedford b~1701 of Bekesbourne,  Kent and Susan(na) Knowler b31/8/1708 Herne, Kent, herself granddaughter of the eminent naturalist  and physician Dr. Martin Lister b~1639 Radclive, Buckinghamshire - who my 3rd. cousin once removed has immortalised in the online Bodlean Library. Martin was son of Susan(na) Temple, who had been previously married, and was grandmother to Sarah Jennings who married John Churchill, the 1st. Duke of Marlborough. This makes both Prince William and Winston Churchill my 10th. cousin once removed. The Listers (or Lysters) were an eminent family originating with Sir Thomas Lyster of Derby who was born in 1260 - they are purportedly distantly related to Ann Lister of Shibden Hall of the current BBC mini-series "Gentleman Jack".

Lucy Collyn's immediate forebears were noted doctors, surgeons and apothecaries. Although her ancestry is difficult to piece together exactly, due to the bombing of records at Exeter in WWII, which unfortunately destroyed many Devon parish registers and county/local wills..., we are very fortunate in that they were wealthy enough (lucky them!) to have surviving records on the PCC, with many named in other wills as beneficiaries, witnesses...

Lucy's great-grandmother was Dorothy Martyn b~1721, a descendant of the land owning and banking family who in their time boast several Mayors of Devon, as does her own. She in turn is great*2-grandaughter of Sir Shilston Calmady of Wembury and Langdon Hall (Basildon), great*2-grandson of my great*14 grandfather Sir William Courtenay "the Great" of Powderham, Devon d24/11/1535.

The descent of the Collins (of Awtrie St Mary and Offwell), Martyn (of Oxton) and Calmady (of Calmady) families are well known being recorded in "The Visitations of The County of Devon" by Lieut-Col. J.L. Vivian, a copy of which I have frequently referred to at the Devon Records Office (DRO) in Exeter. A fantastic creation at the time - but sometimes with glaring errors, quite similar to Burke's Peerage! What wonderful things hindsight and the computer/internet are!

The above mentioned Sir William Courtenay was a descendant of the early Earls of Devon who were purportedly descended from the Chatelain of Chateau Reynard's son Athon de Courtenay ~1000AD who fortified Courtenay in the Isle de France. Thus making the current 18th Earl Hugh Rupert Courtenay of Powderham my 13*cousin once removed. The Courtenay line is well recorded in Burke's Peerage (I used the 1848 and 1963 editions), from which I have quoted most of my ancestors back to William the Conqueror and on to King Ethelwulf. Thereafter all other royals and nobles mentioned in the Royal Lines of England and Scotland were referenced by Alison Weir's excellent and much more up to date book "Britain's Royal Families: The Complete Genealogy". I'm now working with W.G. Searle's "Anglo-Saxon Bishops, Kings and Nobles" to give even more detail on the ancient Britons, and the dreaded Anglo-Saxon Chronicles, of which I have a modern copy, thankfully with translation.

Sir William Courtenay had as great*4 grandparents, the 10th Earl Hugh II Courtenay, Chief Warden of Devon b12/7/1303, and 2nd Countess Margaret de Bohun b3/4/1311. Her mother was Princess Elizabeth Plantagenet of Rhuddlan b7/8/1282, daughter of King Edward I (b1239) who is my 22*great- grandfather, making the Queen my 22nd cousin twice removed.

The de Bohun line may be found in "Burke's Extinct and Dormant Peerage", whose 1866 volume I used, leading to my descent from King David I of Scotland, b~1080.

Therefore amongst my noteworthy ancestors were:
William the Conqueror my 28*great-grandfather;
King Alfred the Great my 35*great-grandfather;
Wodin, supposed ancestor of Anglo-Saxon Kings;
Sceaf, supposed son of Noah and descendant of God (if you believe the Anglo-Saxon Chronicles...!);
King David I of Scotland my great*28-grandfather;
King Kenneth I "MacAlpin" of Scotland my 37*great-grandfather;
Emporer Charlemagne my ~great*40 grandfather.
Gaius Julius Caesar (father of Julius Caesar), I had listed as my ~great*70-grandfather, but I recently found SEVERAL mistakes, this obviously needs further investigation! Teach me to rely on others "research"!

I certainly don't feel special in the fact that my mother's family is of regal descent. Most of Britain, if not Europe, is as well, if one could put in the time/effort to prove it. Really, it is just a matter of luck, persistence and statistics. When aged 18 and studying Markhov chains in my Further Maths A-level, we, for fun(?), tried to calculate an average figure for the entire population of Britain to achieve royal descent. Assuming each generation had say 8 surviving children, we calculated that only 13 generations were required. Obviously a little more than that would probably be needed in reality, otherwise all of Britain would be descended from King James I! It just goes to show that ANYTHING can be "proven" by statistics ("or damned lies"), and that any equation is only as good as its initial conditions - something I came to understand very well in my degree in electronics with applied physics, concerning the stability of systems.

Other record offices and libraries visited on my extensive travels, concerning various  branches of my now very extended family include:
Chester; Worcester; Wigan; Carlisle; Smethwick Library; Bury St Edmunds; Norwich; London Met at Farringdon (as was); Greenwich; Bromley; Lewisham Library; Canterbury Cathedral; Maidstone; Folkestone library; West Sussex Archive Chichester; East Sussex Archive Lewes; Hertfordshire Archive Hertford; Bury Library; Lancashire Record Office Preston....

Many thanks to Darryl Lundy and his excellent website www.thepeerage.com

Also to:

and all the UK BMD sites, especially

and to Dudley Genealogy Research Service 
whose council run website documents a lot of graveyards and crematoriums in the Dudley area

and Manchester City Council's Burial Records Service:

also the separate Australian state and New Zealand birth indices and any other I may have been remiss in referencing. Thank you all so much.

Ancestry and Findmypast - ALL of which I conceived of MANY years ago (together with the National Archives and re-inforced the pre-existing British Library through the National Lottery of which I was the founder)! Gladly we have stemmed the closure of all UK libraries by the government of John Major and his successors. Libraries may no longer be just a location for books, but is that such a bad thing? If we can keep generations reading and communicating, perhaps we can avoid wars, and their unimaginable consequences?

Also MANY thanks to the Commonwealth War Grave Commission for their tireless remembrance of those brave men and women who served:

And the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints, whose website is a great start point and always worth looking at, especially for relations outside the UK:

and their companion site:

Amongst the hundreds/thousands of books and documents read, the most noteworthy on my bookshelf for my genealogical interests of eminent "cousins" were:

Britain's Royal Families The Complete Genealogy by Alison Weir
Marlborough Britain's Greatest General by Richard Holmes
Mad Dogs and Englishman An Expedition Round my Family by Sir Ranulph Fiennes
The Anglo-Saxon Chronicles Collected and Translated by Anne Savage

I cannot thank ALL those whose subsequent time and effort has been to my, and others, aid enough. Especially transcribers who have dedicated their (free) time to the benefit of grateful users such as myself. Lastly, thanks to all Record and Library staff for being patient with me. Well, most of the time!

Many thanks also to all the other people who have been kind enough to share their research with me, to a lesser or greater degree. Any findings unable to be verified by myself, I have tried to credit, amongst all other references. And thank you to anyone else who I may have omitted.

Please be aware that as a human being I do make (more than) the odd mistake, or omission, for which I apologise, yet accept no liability. If you find anything amiss, or to your dislike, please do let me know and I promise to try to amend it, if appropriate, ASAP.

Some branches are left disconnected that I suspect may need to be to be linked in at a later date, and also several typed out at length that have since been found to be incorrect. These shall remain for posterity, and for others to access if they like (which some people have found useful in their research). Please DO contact me if you should feel anything needs amending...

Crown Copyright is respected on this site and in all my (amateur) research. I am not, and never have been, a professional researcher, despite what some would say.

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Getting Around
There are several ways to browse the family tree. The Tree View graphically shows the relationship of selected person to their kin. The Family View shows the person you have selected in the center, with his/her photo on the left and notes on the right. Above are the father and mother and below are the children. The Ancestor Chart shows the person you have selected in the left, with the photograph above and children below. On the right are the parents, grandparents and great-grandparents. The Descendant Chart shows the person you have selected in the left, with the photograph and parents below. On the right are the children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Do you know who your second cousins are? Try the Kinship Relationships Tool. Your site can generate various Reports for each name in your family tree. You can select a name from the list on the top-right menu bar.

In addition to the charts and reports you have Photo Albums, the Events list and the Relationships tool. Family photographs are organized in the Photo Index. Each Album's photographs are accompanied by a caption. To enlarge a photograph just click on it. Keep up with the family birthdays and anniversaries in the Events list. Birthdays and Anniversaries of living persons are listed by month. Want to know how you are related to anybody ? Check out the Relationships tool.

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