My great-great-grandmother Hannah with her three sisters.  Girl power rules.


As already explained, my research is huge and extensive, and I don't publish it here in full. This is partly to protect the privacy of those who are still alive, and partly because I am increasingly concerned about the "Chinese whispers" nature of internet genealogy! If you want to find out more, please don't hesitate to contact me.

However, here is a very brief outline of the largest trees I have on my records. The names below are those of the "heads" - the individuals who are the furthest back in research that I've managed to go on that branch.

James Skingley (d. 1732) & Ann Nash (1671-1728)

The "James tree" is the largest in my research, and the one to which I myself belong. James & Ann were married in Good Easter (Ann's home parish) in 1694; their nine children were all baptised in Margaret Roothing. Three of the nine children certainly died in infancy, three more are the ancestors of all the descendants of this tree, and the fate of the final three is unknown. The next two generations down either remained in Margaret Roothing, or moved across to Roxwell.

If printed, the tree showing their descendants would extend to around seventy feet in length.

Richard Skingley (d. 1789) & Martha Lowe (1755-1834)

Richard Skingley is the most infuriating individual on the whole of my database. The known facts about him are:

  • he married Martha Lowe on 19 October 1772 in Willingale Spain (which is a village in Essex, not a place on the continent!)
  • Martha & Richard had eight children, all baptised in Roxwell between 1772 and 1790
  • Richard was buried 11 November 1789 in Roxwell
  • Martha remarried in 1796

I also found a delightful set of references in the Poor Law records including the payments made to his wife after his death, to the men who carried him to the grave, and so on; but nowhere has a mention of his age, and hence approximate year of birth. He dies far too early for census returns. If he was of an age with his wife, he may have been born in the mid 1750s. Likewise, while his marriage record states that he was "of Roxwell", this doesn't necessarily mean he was born there - only that he was living there at the time.

If "Roxwell, 1750s" is correct, there is a very plausible Roxwell family with a gap in the line of children in the right place (which would, in turn, link the whole tree into the descendants of James, above). However, if either or both of those conclusions is incorrect, there are dozens of families very close to this part of Essex to whom he could potentially attach. It's very likely that his baptism record was one of those missed off by a careless cleric or parish clerk, as the Roxwell records are fairly poor at that time, and seem to have substantial gaps. This being the case, it's highly unlikely that we will every be able to prove anything else.

The name Richard doesn't appear anywhere earlier that I've found in the Skingley records, so doesn't follow a pattern of any of the families I know. He could have been born to a Skingley girl out of wedlock, or to somebody who subsequently married a Skingley and he then took his (step-) father's name - there are all sorts of possibilities. But proof - no.

So, to the dozens of families that I know of descending from Richard and Martha, in places as diverse as Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the USA - and, of course, the UK - I can only apologise and say that I don't think we'll ever know for sure!

Jonathan Skingley & Martha Cook (married 1762)

The first we know about this couple is at their marriage in Wickford in 1762. Their son Jonathan is born in Wickford the following year; there is then a suspicious gap of several years before the rest of the children arrive, baptised in Hockley between 1770 and 1780. It may be that we have the wrong couple at the marriage; but at least we know that Jonathan & Martha Skingley are the parents of a fairly large clan.

I've been able to discover almost nothing about the rest of the family; but Jonathan and Martha's son James (1774-1841) married in 1799, and his family remains around the Rawreth area for another two generations. James' grandson John (1839-1913) is the head of a large family, many of whom I'm in touch with, and it's been a delight to provide these people with photographs and cousins of the whole team.

Jeremiah Skingley (1702-1763)

This is the family who have, at least in the past, had a bit of money!

Unlike most of the rest of the family, they were based in the north of the county, nearer to Colchester than to Chelmsford - in and around Coggeshall, and later Earls Colne and Wakes Colne. There are memorials to many of the nineteenth-century Skingley family in St Peter ad Vincula church, Coggeshall; during this period, the family were noted for owning breweries, and were clearly prominent members of local society. Jeremiah's great-grandson, Henry Skingley (1800-1858) lived in Wakes Hall, Wakes Colne (which is now a residential care home).

I am very grateful to Sally Heathcote, who is based in Yorkshire and who descends from Jeremiah, for all her work on this part of the tree. She has been in touch with several members of this side of the family, and has provided a great deal of valuable information.