Monday, 29 October 2012

Family History Through The Alphabet Challenge : Y is for...

In this, the second last week of the Alphabet Blog Challenge I'm currently recovering from a bad back so please bear with me if I type any nonsensical sentences. And we're off and racing. This week's topic: Y is for Yorkshire.

In the early days of my family tree research I narrow mindedly assumed that my ancestry was distinctly East Anglian (aside from my maternal grandmother who I knew, from childhood, hailed from London). As my research deepened however, I discovered that my father's side boasted ancestors from county Hampshire, Dorset & Somerset, and Cheshire. When I first found out my maternal grandfather's ancestors were from Yorkshire I was so delighted, I did a merry dance in front of everyone at the Genealogical Society!

To learn more about my ancestors' Yorkshire roots, I read Lettice Cooper's 1950 County Book: Yorkshire West Riding. There I found the following description of the village of Horbury, where my ancestors lived for well over a century, painting an idyllic picture of their lives: "Horbury was a characteristic village. Its narrow streets, climbing the hill between stone houses, were linked by narrower ginnels and snickets, paths just big enough for two people to walk almost enclosed by stone walls...Horbury is situated up the hill-side above the River Calder, about half way between Dewsbury and Wakefield."

The county of Yorkshire was so named as it is the Shire of the city of York. North Yorkshire is the biggest county in England, formed in part by the old North Riding of Yorkshire. The term 'riding' is of Viking origin and derives from Threthingr meaning a third part. Historically, there were three ridings in Yorkshire - the East Riding, West Riding and North Riding. Today Yorkshire is made up of South Yorkshire, North Yorkshire, West Yorkshire and East Riding of Yorkshire (after the introduction of the 1974 Local Government Act).

South Yorkshire has a population of around *1.34 million and consists of four metropolitan boroughs: Barnsley, Doncaster, Rotherham and Sheffield.
North Yorkshire covers over 8,000 square kilometres of non-metropolitan Dales and Moors, making up over 40% of Yorkshire's National Parks area. Local government districts consist of: Craven, Hambleton, Harrogate, Richmondshire, Ryedale, Scarborough and Selby.
West Yorkshire (where my ancestors hail from) has a population of around *2.2 million and has five metropolitan boroughs: City of Bradford, Calderdale, Kirklees, City of Leeds and City of Wakefield.
East Riding is a ceremonial county of England which includes the city of Kingston upon Hull and the non-metropolitan county of Humberside.
*N.B. Population statistics as from 2011

North York Moors
Yorkshire Moors
Old Cote Cottages, Oxenhope
Horbury Town Hall and Library
Cusworth Hall, Doncaster

Things I personally associate with Yorkshire:
My Preston ancestors who lived in: Horbury : Thornton : Hull : Huddersfield : Wakefield : Dewsbury : Thornhill : Ossett
Yorkshire Terriers : Yorkshire pudding : Moors & Dales : The Bronte sisters (especially Wuthering Heights) : All Creatures Great and Small : Heartbeat : Emmerdale : Pulp

Yorkshire is definitely on my Bucket List



  1. As usual I loved your monogram and I enjoyed your profile of Yorkshire in particular the beautiful photographs and your listing of associations with the county.

    1. Thank you very much Sue, I'm really touched by your comments. xx

  2. Yorkshire is beautiful - you can walk the moors and see grouse, wander through picturesque villages and then have fish and chips in Whitby by the harbour. Fab :-)

    1. Stop! You're making me wish I was there right now. hahaha *prays for lottery win* xx

  3. It does look very picturesque. And all the best with the lottery win, it'd sure be a good thing to do with the winnings.

    1. It is an amazing county, and one which I truly look forward to visiting in the future. A lottery win would definitely be advantageous! xx

  4. This was a really great post, Debs. I have Yorkshire ancestors, too, but have not done much research on the area where they lived. This was a great introduction. I appreciated your explanation of the country and loved the photos. It's beautiful these days and it must have been beautiful 150 years ago, too. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Many thanks for your lovely comments Nancy, I really appreciate hearing from people who get something meaningful out of my blog posts. Good luck with your Yorkshire research. xx

  5. Well, well, well. 1st time I have seen this little? lot. Brought back
    old times. St.Peters Church School, (ex pupil)St.Peters Church, (Ex Choir boy) Quarry Hill, (Ex resident), Horbury & Ossett Station (Ex passenger) Horbury Station Signal Box (Ex employment)
    Some of the photo's were a bit saddening. All that dereliction of property. The underpass under the railway near Horbury & Ossett Station. Never imagined it had suffered such a fate.