I have spent a lot of time with researching in the last few weeks, trying to analyze the data of the 1841 Census as good as possible. Even if I am not quite finished yet, I’d like to present the first results here to you.
I have been able to trace back a large part of the 136 Whitters who lived in Lancashire in 1841. So far 78 of them (about 57%) share a common ancestor, Thomas Witter.
This Thomas Witter was probably born around 1720. The first document in which he is mentioned and which I can assign to him with complete certainty is his marriage certificate from 1743. He was a mason living in Wrightington (near Standish) and married a girl named Mary Halliwell from the same area.
In the small, agricultural village of Halsall all of the 16 Whitters descend from Thomas Witter. In nearby Ormskirk I was able to trace 19 of the 29 Whitters back to him, while I still have to figure out about the ancestry of the other 10.
In Liverpool there were 17 Whitters who descended from Thomas Witter. Of the remaining ones, the ancestry of two Whitters can be traced back to Cheshire and four were, unexpectedly, from Ireland.
To my suprise, only one of the Whitters from Walton-on-the-Hill descends from Thomas Witter. The other 16 Whitters were all from Cheshire.
All 15 Whitters from Standish can be traced back to Thomas Witter. The area around Standish, Shevington and Wrightington is the area where the family lived as early as 1740, so this is not suprising at all. And if we go further to the east, there are 6 Whitters from Bolton and 4 from Manchester with the same ancestry.
It’s very interesting to see that the majority of the Whitters either had the same ancestor (57 %) or were originally from Cheshire (13 %).
With regard to the origin of Thomas Witter (who is my 8th Great-Grandfather, by the way), I will carry out further research in the future.
Maybe he’s not from Lancashire at all, but also from Cheshire? We will see!