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Introduction

This web site now also hosts the TownsleyFamily,org.uk information - which is in the process of being added to the Townsley.info pages. This merger has been carried out to avoid duplication and reduce administration.

When researching family history it would always be nice to find someone rich and famous. Sadly the odds against it are pretty high - even though some genealogists seem to do better than average! In the case of the Townsley families the highest point on the social ladder normally seems to have been a farmer - with many Townsleys being recorded as hawkers, tinkers or travellers as well as the ever-present labourer.

None of these social levels could be expected to be property-owners with assets to dispose of in wills or with titles to pass on to their descendants. Without the extra documentation that wills and pedigrees provide then the trail back through generations of ancestors soon runs out of written evidence. The situation only improves during the late 19th century.

However continued digging has recently found some links from Townsley families to the British Peerage with some well documented families. This is good and bad news. It is good in that there are, therefore, published pedigrees to support the basic BMD and census entries. But it is bad in that there are, potentially, large quantities of additional information that I will now be tempted to include - since many of the British noble families are linked through marriages at some point in their history; perhaps as far back as King Edward III or earlier.

Instead I will try to stick to possible families that have been found in the archives with a good chance of having a direct Townsley surname connection. These include - Tounley, Tounsella, Tounsley, Tounesley, Towndeley, Towndely, Towndley, Townedley, Townelay, Towneley, Townelley, Townesley, Townlay, Townley, Townnsellee, Townslay and Townsly. But note that I have NOT researched the various Tansley, Tinsley or Tonsley families - even though some coat-of-arms sellers do make unsupported claims that Tinsley is the origin of the name Townsley. The Tonsley familes are mainly linked to the Northampton area and there are some parish register entries recorded as Townley or Townsley around there in the 18th century. So possibly linked .. or simply mis-recorded?

Towncrest2So far the only well-documented family that could, possibly, provide the origin for the Townsley name is the Towneley family of Lancashire. However there is zero evidence to support this proposal - despite being sent this “Townsley” coat of arms by a company claiming to know my origins. It is one of the Towneley family designs. But linking to a medieval family will remain a fanciful daydream until some evidence appears - even though that does not stop me from looking!

And some partial family trees have got close to establishing a link ...

While digging into archives I have gone through many sources, collecting up information from all around the British Isles and publishing the results on the web. There are over 5,600 entries for the Townsley surname alone in the current database.

So this is not a full, worldwide, one-name study since it makes no attempt to cover all the American families - some of which go back to the 17th century. But it does provide a very large percentage of the known British references to the Townsley surname.

This web site aims to contain, or link to, almost all of the information collected since 1997. But there is still plenty to do ...

Status Updates

17-Nov-2016 Updated family history database loaded on the Webtrees software at Townsley Extended. This update includes new family info made available by the launch of the General Register Office for England and Wales online ordering service.
23-Sep-2016 New release of the family history database on both the Webtrees software at Townsley Extended home page and a closure notice for the Townsley Family History Database that contains the basic HTML version.
12-Jul-2016 New release of the family history database on both the Webtrees software at Townsley Extended home page and as basic html at the Townsley Family History Database
15-Jun-2016 New release of the family history database on both the Webtrees software at Townsley Extended home page and as basic html at the Townsley Family History Database
16-May-2016 New release of the family history database on both the Webtrees software at Townsley Extended home page and as basic html at the Townsley Family History Database
24-Mar-2016 New release of the family history database on both the Webtrees software at Townsley Extended home page and as basic html at the Townsley Family History Database
29-Feb-2016 New release of the family history database on both the Webtrees software at Townsley Extended home page and as basic html at the Townsley Family History Database
22-Jan-2016 New release of the family history database on both the Webtrees software at Townsley Extended home page and as basic html at the Townsley Family History Database
1-Jan-2016 New release of the family history database on both the Webtrees software at Townsley Extended home page and as basic html at the Townsley Family History Database
19-Dec-2015 New release of the family history database on both the Webtrees software at Townsley Extended home page and as basic html at the Townsley Family History Database
3-Nov-2015 New release of the family history database on both the Webtrees software at Townsley Extended home page and as basic html at the Townsley Family History Database
9-Oct-2015 Pilot version of the Webtrees app available for trials. It is hoped to be a modern replacement for our GED2WWW software. Webtrees is claimed to be the web's leading on-line collaborative genealogy application. It is open source software based upon PHP, MySQL and standard GEDCOM files and can be tried at our Townsley Extended home page.
7-Oct-2015
New release of Townsley Family History Database
26-Sep-2015 New release of Townsley Family History Database
1-Sep-2015 New release of Townsley Family History Database
25-Aug-2015 New release of Townsley Family History Database
27-Jul-2015 New release of Townsley Family History Database
18-Jul-2015 New release of Townsley Family History Database
18-Sep-2014 Updated page for Ireland
12-Feb-2014 Updated tree for Castleford, Yorkshire
16-Jul-2013 Updated tree for Burnley, Lancashire
24-Apr-2013 New page for Hull, Yorkshire and updates to Resources - References page
24-Mar-2013 Updated tree for Castleford - Tree 2, Yorkshire
14-Mar-2013 Updated tree for Skipwith families
3-Mar-2013 Updated trees for Castleford, Leeds and Skipwith families
28-Sep-2012 Updated tree for Castleford, Yorkshire
10-Aug-2012 Updates started to incorporate information from the TownsleyFamily.org.uk website (which is now redirected to here)
31-Jul-2012 New information added for Warmsworth, Yorkshire
31-Jul-2012 Updated information for Midlands
8-Apr-2012 Updated tree for Wales
27-Mar-2012 Updated tree for Castleford, Yorkshire
16-Mar-2012 New information added for Medieval Families and Coat of Arms
20-Feb-2012 New information added for Castleford, Yorkshire
8-Feb-2012 New information added for Burnley, Lancashire; Skipwith, Yorkshire and the References section.
28-Jan-2012 With just a few days to go before the closure of our “old” web hosting service it’s now time a big effort to build a better site here. The old web pages have been removed - but there is a still a lot of rewriting to be done before the new pages are up to scratch.
11-Dec-2011 The recent announcement by Tesco that it will be closing its free webspace in January 2012 means that all remaining web pages must now be transferred to one of my newer web sites as a priority.
07-Mar-2011 After many delays the web pages generated from the main Townsley Family database are now available here...
The previous pages are still online at the old location but will be removed once the Internet search engines have located the new home for them.

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