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© 2008  - 2017 Tony Kirkman

Key Locations



Lancashire, UK
Lancashire has much the largest concentration of Kirkmans in England with over 60% of all the Kirkmans in England living there in 1881. Here are some of the lines we have researched:

Ainsworth
Evidence of Kirkmans in this area goes back to 1515 when a George Kirkman was a witness in a court case. Later, another George Kirkman (b abt 1565) of Ainsworth (between Bolton and Bury), husbandman, signed a 60 year lease with Sir Ralph Assheton for land, which then passed down his family eventually to his great grandson Thomas Kirkman b abt 1675 of Barwick Fold, and later to Thomas’s grandson Peter (1742-1793). Peter’s cousin Zachariah (1722-1790)’s estate was dealt with by an Administration by his son John (b 1754), which was disputed by John’s sister Sally. As a result, we have a very detailed inventory nearly 2 pages long detailing all Zachariah’s goods, chattels & credits total value £588.

Legal documents from 1620 relate to a yeoman farmer, John Kirkman, b abt 1590, the son
of George above, to whom three people were bound over to keep the peace. John  died  in 1657 and  the Inventory with his will was valued at £50.This Ainsworth line is one of the earliest known in the County, and now covers 8 generations. A summary of these wills & deeds can be found on the Kirkman archive here.

The Kirkmans in this area contributed to the rebuilding of St Paul's Cathedral, with John, William, James and Alice giving a total of 10 pence, which was considerable sum in 1706, especially when you consider that the whole of Ainsworth gave a total of 2 shillings and 6 pence.

A present day visit to Ainsworth would soon convince the reader of the manifold Kirkman connections in this village. The graveyards of both the Parish Church Christ Church, and the Presbyterian Chapel (also known as “Cockey Moor” Chapel), bear witness to lots of Kirkmans long dead. The Christchurch Parish Register goes back to 1727 but it was founded in 1515. The “Cocky” Presbyterian Chapel started regular registers in 1769.

Bolton
St Peter’s Bolton Parish Registers go back to 1573, so this branch is easier to reconstruct, although later the large number of similarly named individuals makes tree construction tricky. The earliest records are for William Kirkman son of Lemuel in 1594, followed by Thomas Kirkman son of George christened in 1595. Both of these Kirkmans are in the Ainsworth Tree above, so indicating perhaps that this tree may derive from the Ainsworth one. At the top of the Bolton Tree is James b abt 1687, who had 7 children by 2 marriages. He and his children are identified from his will dated 1741. We have no information about his parents. But his eldest known male child is Thomas b 1703 which might indicate by patrimony that he is descended from a Thomas.

This tree is the one from which Trevor Kirkman is descended, and you can see all the members of it on his web site here. It contains over 1500 individuals over 15 generations. Trevor is a member of the Kirkman DNA Project and has matched to 6 other Kirkmans also from Lancashire. See these DNA results here.

Horwich & New Zealand
Horwich is about 8 miles North West of Bolton. Thomas b abt 1710 is at the top of this line. He married Elizabeth Bramole in 1736 at St. Wilfred Parish Church in the village of Standish about 5 miles west of Horwich.. The Church is rather a handsome structure, of the Tuscan order, erected about 1584, by the Rev. Richard Moodie, a converted Franciscan monk. William b abt 1738 is the only son of theirs we know of. In 1765 he married Esther Pendlebury from the the village of Blackrod close by. Esther outlived William by 10 years in Horwich, and her will of 1805 records their 5 children, of whom the eldest was John b abt 1767. This Line grew rapidly, and by 1900 there were branches from Horwich in Prestwich, Halliwell, Bolton, Farnworth and Wilmslow Cheshire. Perhaps that was what caused Thomas b 1840 in Horwich, one of 9 children of Thomas b 1799, to emigrate.

Family legend has it that Thomas Kirkman came to New Zealand as a sailor on the Matoaka. It left England on 12 November 1868 and arrived in Lyttelton in February 1869. Thomas jumped ship. The Matoaka sailed for England, via Cape Horn, on 13 May 1869. It disappeared somewhere between New Zealand and England! Blessed with a charmed life, Thomas moved to Waimate, Canterbury and married the 17 year old Mary Jane Derrick in 1875.  On the Marriage Certificate he claimed to be 29 when in reality he was 34! They had 11 children who over 7 generations live widely throughout New Zealand, including Ashburton, Pukekohe, Geraldine, Invercargill, Kurow, Dunedin, Waiuku, Gore, Christchurch, and Nelson.

Manchester
Nathaniel b 1717, a son of James b abt 1687 Bolton above, moved to Manchester around 1745. His eldest son Nathaniel (1745-1803) lived in Salford, and died a rich man at the age of 58. His will runs into several pages, and his only surviving child was a daughter, Hannah b 1790, who inherited everything. She married George Priestley, (1786-1849)  in 1819 at Manchester Cathedral. They lived at White Windows, Sowerby, Yorkshire. Today it is a Grade 2 listed building described here and a Nursing Home. Later they moved to The Grange, Chalfont, Buckinghamshire.

Nathaniel’s brother Thomas b 1750 in Manchester made a will dated 2 Nov 1804 with probate was granted 19 Feb 1805, stating value of personal effects under £12,500. His business is in "Fringe Lace Manufacturing" under the name of "Thomas Kirkman & Son", with Capital of £10,000. His son John Kirkman b 1788 was commissioned as a cornet in the Manchester and Salford Light Horse Volunteers on 28 Aug 1804, despite his father’s objections. In turn, John’s son John Moss Kirkman b 1811, and grandson Thomas Harrison Kirkman b 1840 joined the army as Surgeons. There is more on this family at the Archives in Manchester Library.

Liverpool
This line does not originate from Lancashire. It starts with John Kirkman b 1767 in London, and his brother Robert Brooke Kirkman b 1775. They come from the Twyford Kirkman Branch. John set up a cotton thread manufacturing plant in 1795 at the Union Cotton Mill, Vauxhall Road, Liverpool in 1795. Robert later joined his brother at the Steam Engine driven plant, but the business floundered. The brothers went bankrupt in 1799/1800 with debts of £37,000 (over £2 million in today’s money). John sired 3 illegitimate children with Margaret Parry, but christened them Kirkman in 1804 prior to marrying Mary Unsworth in the same year. Robert also had an illegitimate child who he christened Maria Kirkman prior to marrying Mary’s sister Esther Unsworth. Together they had 6 sons with the names Robert (2), Edward, Samuel, William & John. This line grew to number over 200 people with many branches in the Everton & West Derby areas of Liverpool, several lines in Coventry Warwickshire, and a branch in Chicago USA where Harold T Kirkman b 1900 and Alexander Kirkman b 1904 both born in Lancashire both grew up.

A possible new line of Liverpool Kirkmans has recently emerged. It emanates from Thomas Kirkman b 1786 in Liverpool. He was variously a Warehousman & Shoemaker who married Elizabeth Smith at St Anne’s on 25the June 1809. We are hoping that a male Kirkmans from this line will join the DNA Project to find Thomas’s ancestors.

Overseas
Many Lancashire families emigrated around the world. Those that we have trees for include John Kirkman b 1785 Manchester who went to farm at Albany South Africa around 1820. Thomas William Kirkman b 1815 Bolton Le Moors emigrated to Bathurst, New South Wales Australia in 1841, when tragically their first child Margaret Hope died on the voyage. The Walla Walla Washington USA line of Kirkmans was started by William Henry Kirkman b 1831 probably in Ramsbottom. He joined the Yukon Gold rush in 1867, and then made most of his money by selling food to the miners. The Kirkman House Museum in Walla Walla was his home. The Soap Company Kirkman & Son Co. was established in New York City in 1837 by John Kirkman b 1800. Along with another New Yorker, Andrew Kirkman b 1792 from Bury, they were descended from Ralph Kirkman b abt 1755 in Middleton, Lancashire.

Other Lancashire Data Sources
There is a Lancashire Wills & Deeds Index at this link. Over 240,000 records have been indexed to date.
Trevor Kirkman has a huge index of Lancashire Kirkmans and can be contacted here:  trevor kirkman
Brian Kirkman has a large Kirkman Marriage database. Contact Brian for more up to date information here.

If you have a Kirkman Lancashire branch not mentioned here, or another Overseas connection, please let me know and I will enter it on this page