I started collecting information about my Abbott family many years ago. It started with a visit to my cousin Les Hayes in Reading. We got to talking about our Nan and realised we knew very little about her and her family background. Our grandfather was unknown to us, not to speak of our great grandparents.
During the intervening years I have had many contacts with people who have very generously helped with information, family trees, photographs and material but in particular shown interest and provided inspiration.
Without their help the story of my Abbotts of Farnworth would still largely be unknown. This web site is to say “Thank you!” to all who have contributed and made it happen.
Initially cousins Les and Frank Hayes and Evelyn Trevett were important in getting started on the Annie Abbott line of the Abbott tree, and are my points of reference. Les and Frank are sons of Dorothy Taylor, Annie’s youngest daughter. Evelyn is the daughter of eldest son Bill Taylor.
Norma McNab in the US is my main source of information and photographs on James Abbott and descendants. Without her efforts James would be almost unknown. Norma and I got in touch via internet. Norma is the granddaughter of Jim Abbott.
I had heard about Stan Howarth from my mother Minnie Taylor, but had no contact until I found his address in my late mother’s address book. Stan has been invaluable in helping me get a picture of the Henderson family, providing both stories, information about the movements of the family and many stories which I have been able to use. Stan is the son of Mary Ellen and Bentley Henderson’s youngest daughter Ida.
A simple query to the secretary of the Widnes branch of the L&SWLFHS gave an immediate response from Margery Lewis. For more than ten years Margery and I have corresponded about Farnworth and the Abbotts. She lives in Coroner’s Lane next to St Luke’s Churchyard and has a wealth of knowledge about the village and its inhabitants, which she has very generously shared with me. Margery is, together with her sister Enid, a great granddaughter of Henry and Kate Abbott – Henry was Mary Ellen’s only brother.
Through Val Reid in Canada I became aware that the family trees of Abbotts of Farnworth and the Gandys of Widnes were interlocked at least twice through marriage. Val, born Gandy, is a descendant of Henry Abbott and appears in both family trees. If I have got my lines right, Margery Lewis is Val’s aunt, several times removed. Val has helped me enormously with both family trees.
Other collaborators who I would like to mention are the late Margaret Wiese for the Ratcliffes, Dennis Moore of the Prescot Watch Museum for his research into Abbott watchmakers and Val Holland through her Abbott research. They have all been very generous.
Andrew Taylor and Dorothy Follis have done a great deal of work on sorting out the early Abbotts and it is due to them that I can go back to Nathan Abbott in 1679. Early Abbott contacts were Wendy Georgeson and her husband David of St Helens. Wendy found literally hundreds of Abbotts, Almonds and related names in the area, and found the time to expertly document all her findings. Wendy and David also helped me get to grips with the Bold family of Bold Hall, who played a vital role in the establishment of St Wilfrid’s Church.
Frank Pye, Ken Almond, John Humphreys and Primrose Agbamu have provided invaluable help in understanding the connections between the Abbotts and the Almonds of Farnworth Parish. Dorothy Follis has generously provided invaluable information about the Almond family and also allowed me to use some photographs of the family. Andrew Humphries has helped keep me up to date via his research into the Almond family.
My old school friend Barry Appleton grew up in Derby Road just across the road from my home, and still lives in Farnworth. He is active in St Luke’s Parish and St Luke’s Church and has provided many insights into today’s church and village life.
Margaret Lomax, colleague of Margery Lewis in the Widnes branch of the L&SWLFHS, has been very helpful with digging out information about the Abbotts and in particular the Gandy family. Margaret finds the information which is not online, for example by documenting MI’s from gravestones. This is time consuming but invaluable.
Members of the Facebook group Widnes Past & Present have been very helpful, particularly in my searches for 9 Esther Street and 47 Moor Lane. Mary Hines in the group actually sent me two photographs of Esther Street!
Local historian Alan Foster has written two very initiated and well-illustrated books about the village of Farnworth and Farnworth Church, which have proved invaluable:
“A History of Farnworth Church Its Village and Parish”, 1981
“A Walk Around the Old Village of Farnworth Past and Present”
A large portion of my early work trawling through microfilms of Parish records was done at the Family History Centre at Västerhaninge, Sweden. The staff proved very patient with my many seemingly strange requests.
John Leyland of the Ramsbottom Heritage Society has been very helpful with information and photographs of old and new Ramsbottom. A link to the society web site can be found on the page entitled “Ramsbottom”.
Family Trees and other Downloads
There are many interesting close connections between the Abbott family and other families in Farnworth, Widnes and with links to the rest of the world. Below are some family trees which have generously been made available and which have been central to my understanding of the history of the Abbott family.
The Cooper family tree compiled by Norma McNab: Cooper family tree
The Almond family tree compiled by John Humphreys: ALMOND family tree
The Young family tree compiled by Margery Lewis: YOUNG family tree
The Abbott Family tree compiled by Eric Gandy: Abbott Family Tree 2016
The Gandy family tree compiled by Eric Gandy: Gandy Tree 2018
A few years ago I wrote an article for the Journal of the L&SWLFHS entitled Blacksmiths and whitesmiths. It has some relevance for the Abbotts and in particular the Almonds.
Dennis Moore of the Prescot Watch and Clock Museum contributed a comprehensive survey of Abbotts in the horological industry, which can be downloaded here: Abbott family watchmakers.
Despite repeated efforts I have not been able to find out who owns the copyright for some of the photographs on the website. Please do contact me if you are the owner of these photographs. I do apologise in advance for any inconvenience incurred and will of course add the appropriate credit or remove the photographs concerned if requested.
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