Shadrach, Meshach & Abednego

Conscious of the fact I let too many years slip before starting to research my family tree, I decided to collect details of my wife’s family whilst there were still elderly relatives around from whom I could gather information. One such branch was called YOXALL, not a name I had heard before.  Kate Eleanor YOXALL was my wife’s paternal grandmother.  Apart from a photo of Kate Eleanor about 6 months old (born 1897), taken with her mother, g.mother & g.g.mother, there was not a lot to go on.  Having discovered Kate’s parents on the 1901 census, I soon found her grandfather was Shadrach YOXALL, born in Feckenham, Worcestershire. Searching the Internet I discovered Shadrach had a brother, Abednego YOXALL.  Now, with a brother called Abednego there had to be a Meshach somewhere!  Thanks to another piece of good fortune, I came across a local history society that had recorded, and double checked, all births, marriages and deaths in Feckenham and purchased one of the few remaining copies of the print run. Whilst the Internet is a boon for armchair research, only the armchair researcher believes everything they find on the Internet. Multiple sources are really essential for those who wish to prove lines of descent. However, after compiling a list of all YOXALL baptised in Feckenham to try and locate Meshach, I had all but given up when my wife, Christine, was looking at the lists and casually remarked, ‘Oh, I see you found him then’.  And there he was, Henry Meshach YOXALL, the missing brother!

Feckenham was, I soon discovered, the centre of Needle Manufacture in Britain in the 19th century and had a very large concentration of YOXALL.  But at this time I was unable to prove only a couple of links to Shadrach’s line.  However, most of the other YOXALL were linked to each other and a swift check of the 1881 census showed they were concentrated in 4 Counties, Cheshire, Worcestershire, Lancashire and Warwickshire. There were also little more than 550 YOXALL in total. Perhaps, I thought, Shadrach and family were part of just one or two core families.  After learning to use some mapping software I could then see how heavily concentrated the YOXALL were, even in the same County.  At this time I was learning to use computers and various software packages so I decided to set up a project to see if it was possible to find a living relative for every YOXALL on the 1881 census (including variations), using the exact information on the 1881 CD set, extracted and converted to suit Excel. This was no mean feat, as the 1881 census was on 24 CDs. Without Archer Software, whose software and support allowed me extract all the YOXALL and convert it into an Excel spreadsheet, the YOXALL website may not have seem the light of day.

My YOXALL One-Name Study evolved rather than started at a particular time. More by good luck I came across four people, Joan Gallagher, Peter Byford, David Perkins and Graham Caddick, all with extensive knowledge of the YOXALL surname. It soon became clear how localised the surname was. With the 1881 census spreadsheet I had created I soon proved there were barely a dozen core YOXALL families. And so the One-Name study began, my role being the facilitator, one which I have continued after completion of my 1881 project thanks to these four people. Much of their original research was at County Offices and Local Libraries, not sat in front of a computer as we lucky people are today, looking at hundreds of years of original sources.

As a result, our little group of YOXALL researchers has continually expanded and more than 97% of the 1881 YOXALL have already been linked.  As a Lancashire lad I took on the task of linking Lancashire YOXALL, in particular the Burnley and Brierfield district.  I can now show that every one of these families and individuals came from just one couple, Peter YOXALL and Martha Brereton and have written up the history of this family line.  Peter, as is the norm for Lancashire YOXALL, came from Cheshire.  His family had several children and relatives who were Grocers, a common Occupation for YOXALL both in the Burnley and Manchester areas.

What makes my YOXALL website different from other family history websites is that I have been fortunate to be tracing a surname arising from a village of that name, and with a relatively small number of descendants. As a result, I believe I have now identified every YOXALL family line from 1837 to 1915, whether they be an individual, a single family or a whole group of families, and therefore to date. So the task for you lucky people visiting my website is to fill in the few gaps in all 8 UK Census (1841-1911), and to link the individuals whose parents are not yet known, but whose birth should be registered on the GRO Birth Index and who will most certainly link to an existing YOXALL family line.

Whilst there are more gaps on my UK Births, Marriages and Deaths Indexes, these are largely due to infant births and deaths between census but, as with census, their parents will most certainly belong to an existing YOXALL family line.

My YOXALL Genealogy links the heart of my study, the people, who they were, where they lived, what they did, etc, with thousands of images and facts about YOXALL ancestors. Simply enter a name or click on any of the links to find out more of your YOXALL ancestors.

All the other Menus listed will link you to articles about the scope of my study, the origin of the surname, the history of the village, all UK Census, 1841 to 1911, and UK GRO BMDs, 1837 to 2004, but with YOXALL links currently only up to 1915 to respect the 100 year privacy rule, USA YOXALL records, Biographies/ Snapshots, hopefully articles and items of interest to YOXALL descendants.

One table you may find helpful is a list of all the Surname Variations of YOXALL and many transcription errors I have proven to be YOXALL and where I came across them.  At this time I haven’t tried every variation on every website and source I have visited over the years. So if anyone can add to these variations, or come across further YOXALL with any of these variations I would love to hear from you.

In order to achieve the objective of identifying all YOXALL lines, which I now believe I have for the period from 1841 to date, I have concentrated on the male line. So while my research is indeed extensive, the female lines are far from complete. Indeed it will probably be those descendants from female YOXALL lines that are best placed to complete the family lines from 1841 to date.

But the most important factor of this website is you, the YOXALL descendant. Without the help of some 180 people already, I would not have been able to build such an extensive history of the YOXALL surname. It is now up to others to build on the history of their YOXALL ancestors with photos, documents, newspaper cuttings, education, awards, achievements, etc. These are what bring our ancestors to life, not just a birth, marriage and death. So please, contribute whatever you can to preserve the history of the YOXALL surname, to help push the YOXALL lines further back in time, and to make this One Name Study even better.

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