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In Memory of my Darling wife Christine 11 Feb 1946 - 1 Feb 2006
This site is dedicated to my late wife Christine's Appleton ancestors, whose roots can be traced back to the early Parish Registers of the St. Luke's Chapelry of Farnworth, in the Parish of Prescot, Lancashire and whose surname derived from the hamlet of Appleton, later known as Appleton Village, which was at the virtual centre of the modern day town of Widnes.
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How it all began
My wife Christine had an old copy of her Grandfather's birth certificate which had been repaired with sticky tape. The certificate showed that William Appleton had been born on 4th June 1872 at Harding's Row, Rainford, Lancashire to parents Joseph Appleton and Martha nee Longworth. On the day our son Jon took up residence at Lancaster University, as we drove back, Christine asked if we could go and find Rainford. We did just that. We pulled up outside All Saint's church and the Churchwarden allowed us to look at the church registers. We found William's baptism on 8th October 1873 and the marriage entry for his parents Joseph and Martha on 8th August 1870. We were hooked and the rest as they say is history.
Our research continued, working backwards, generation by generation, initially through birth and marriage certificates, census records and then parish registers. We made extensive use of the IGI, before it was on-line, but confirmed all findings from original sources. We traced the direct line back to a Hughe Appulton, and his wife Katherine Appulton who had their six children baptised at Farnworth Chapel between 1572 and 1583. Hughe is the first son of William and Issabell Appulton and Katherine is the fourth child of Thomas and Margerie Appulton. These old Registers are in latin and are very difficult to read. In December 1553 their is a note in the Register "Here begins a period of confusion and defectiveness, which lasts until 1562". Tracing the line back through this period of "confusion" requires careful judgment and reliance on naming conventions, but William's line leads eventually to a John Appulton and his wife Katherin whose burials are recorded only four days apart in September 1546. Obviously the marriage of this couple and indeed the births of their children pre-date the Register, which commenced in 1538. Their four children are believed to have been born between 1490 and 1505 and therefore it is assumed that John and Katherin themselves were born around 1465. Thomas's line leads back to an Xpofor (Christopher) Appulton who is believed to have been born around 1495. No record of his wife's name has been found.
Christine's mother, Elsie Appleton was born in Ashton-in-Makerfield in 1908, but her oldest brother was born in Skelmersdale and the next four older brother's were born in St Helens. Tracing the family back generation by generation shows that they moved around very little before this time. In reverse order Skelmersdale - Rainford - Haydock - Sutton - Windle - Liverpool - Burtonwood - Bold - Curdley - Appleton. This covers a period of over 400 years when the family was never more than 13 miles from it's roots in Appleton Village. More recently however the family has travelled much further afield.
Christine's Aunt Sarah Ellen, told us that one of her father's brothers went to Canada. What she did not know was that 5 of the family, 3 brothers and 2 sisters went to Canada. William's younger brother Albert is believed to have been the first to emigrate in September 1910 followed by Martha, James, John Thomas and Elizabeth by 1915. We have now traced descendants of each of these family branches in Canada and they had an Appleton Reunion in Taber, Alberta in March 2001.
Appleton Reunion 2001
For a considerable time we believed that William's only other surviving brother Joseph baptised 30th September 1886 had also gone to Canada, but records of children's burials in Christine's Great Grandparents' grave in St. Thomas' Churchyard in Ashton-in-Makerfield, led us to discover living second cousins in Ashton, Wigan and Haydock, as recently as July 2001. They had believed that the rest of the family had gone to Canada and were as surprised and pleased as we were to find they had 'rellies' in Nottinghamshire.
By 1924, William Appleton, his wife Sarah Ellen and their children had moved to Thurnscoe, South Yorkshire, searching for work in the coal mines and shortly afterwards moved to Harworth on the Notts / Yorks border. This is where Christine's parents were married in 1931 and where her sister Joyce was born the following year. The family moved again during the '30's to Bulwell, Nottingham, where Christine was born. These movements over a short period of time left Christine's Uncles and Aunts spread from South Yorkshire to Warwickshire, except for her Uncle John Appleton who took his wife Ethel and their five children, John, Ronald, Gerald, Margaret and Geoffrey to Australia in 1960, however, the family remained very close.
Strangely enough, Albert Picton, a grandson of the Joseph Appleton that stayed in Ashton-in-Makerfield, has lived in Melbourne, Australia for the past 34 years only 20 minutes away from second cousins he didn't know existed until July 2001.
The recent 'finds' of family in Alberta, Canada and Ashton-in-Makerfield, Wigan, and Haydock have been enthusiastically welcomed and Family Reunions have now been held in Nottingham, England and Taber, Alberta, Canada.
The Reunion in Nottingham was arranged to allow the new found cousins from Lancashire to meet their cousins from Nottinghamshire. It was held at the Hucknall Community Centre, Hucknall, Nottinghamshire, England on 22nd June 2002 and was attended by 80 Family members. The Reunion was arranged to coincide with the visit of Pamela (Appleton) Ames who was born in Canada, but currently lives in Argentina and her daughter Jennifer and also Ronald Appleton who was born in Nottinghamshire, England but now lives in Melbourne, Australia. Photos of this Reunion can be seen on the Reunion Photos Page.
Another Reunion took place in the Municipal Park in Taber, Alberta, Canada on 27th & 28th July 2002. Taber was the place Family members first settled when they travelled to Canada. This Reunion was organised by Pamela (Appleton) Ames and LaVerne Appleton, to whom we shall always be grateful for giving us the opportunity to meet 90 new Family members. Doreen (Appleton) Derbyshire and her husband John also made the trip out to Taber. Doreen is the granddaughter of Joseph Appleton born 1886 the younger brother of Christine's Grandfather William Appleton who remained in Ashton-in-Makerfield. Descendants of all three brothers John Thomas, Albert and James and two sisters Martha and Elizabeth Ann, who emigrated to Canada around 1912 attended this Reunion so representatives of all branches of Joseph & Martha's Family were together for the first time in 90 years. This was a fabulous Reunion held in a parkland setting by the side of the river and apart from those of us who flew from England, and Pamela & Brian Ames and family who flew from Argentina, their were many family members who drove for over 12 hours to be there. We really do appreciate everyone's hard work, particularly LaVerne Appleton and Pam for all their arrangements and Linda & Jesse McCollister and Kelly & Scott Young and their families for their superb efforts in preparing supper and breakfast for everyone. Thanks also to everyone who brought food and drinks for the "Pot Luck Lunch" on Saturday 27th July. Photographs of this Reunion can also be seen on the Reunion Photos Page.
Later on, during our Canadian trip we also met up with Jack (John McQueen) and his wife Eileen Appleton in Toronto. Jack used to be a member of the RCMP and Eileen was a member of the police department in Toronto. They are both retired now and live very close to Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada. Photos of this Family Reunion can also be seen on the Reunion Photos Page.
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