March 31, 2012

Hankey or Hankinson?

Researching the 1841 birth of John Hankinson Appleton/Stockton Heath, Cheshire England stumped me when it came to identifying his parents and finding their census records. In 1864 he married Rosina Craghill and listed his father's name as William with his occupation as tailor. Generally this information, always collected on UK marriage certificates, is very helpful.  But I could not find anyone named William Hankinson in Cheshire nor Lancashire or any other likely spot.  I ordered several possible birth certificates for John based on free bmd listings, but the father's information never matched.

Then a year or so ago another Hankinson researcher contacted me to suggest that John's father might be William Hankey. I checked the 1841 census and found William Hankey, a tailor, in Great Budworth/Stockton Heath .. but no son John. Then checked 1851 and the same family now had listed John age 10 and 3 younger siblings. By 1861 John was found living alone in Widnes but the family was still in Budworth with another 3 children added. 

So going back to the bmd records, I found a John Hankey's birth registered in Appleton/Stockton Heath in 1842.  We ordered it and found a birth date of Dec 27, 1841 and a father William, a tailor and mother Elizabeth Hamblett. Elizabeth matched the census records. Just to be sure this was the same family, I ordered birth records for some of John's siblings, both older and younger -- all matched.

I was in SLC earlier this year and decided to check some UK christening records. There I found all of the Hankey children with matching parents, christened at St Elphin's in Warrington. I also found a marriage record for William and Elizabeth at that same church in 1833.

So, was it them? Did they change their name? I still wasn't sure. I found every record I could on each of the family members and the one that proved most fascinating was the 1859 marriage record for Thomas, born 1840. On the certificate his father is listed as William, a tailor. But he was indexed under both Hankey and Hankinson. The certificate name was HANKEY but he signed it HANKINSON !! Perhaps the church required his listed name to match their records or his christening name?  All his subsequent census records plus death record and probate list his name as Hankey.  So, why sign Hankinson? Were they feeling scandinavian (where Carl's son is referred to as Carlson) at times?

So, it still remains that John seems to be the only family member who permanently used the surname Hankinson from the time he left home until his death. I feel quite certain that William Hankey and Elizabeth Hamblett were his parents, but the name change remains a mystery.

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