Years ago when I first started researching my Strickland family I assumed that we were a northern family, in fact my uncle Fred would proudly say “Yorkshire born and Yorkshire bred” and the Strickland name did seem to originate from Westmoreland with the Stricklands of Sizergh castle, I was certain that eventually I would be able to trace our ancestors back to this family.
After finding the birth certificate of my great-grandfather John Robert Strickland who was born in 1861 in Mexborough near Doncaster in Yorkshire, I decided to search the 1861 census returns for Mexborough in the hope of finding his family. At the time this entailed taking a trip down to Doncaster and searching through endless rolls of microfilms, but eventually I was rewarded with finding the entry for John Robert’s family. On the film it was clearly legible that his mother Anne was born in Norwell, Nottinghamshire and his two elder sisters Grace and Sarah where born in Lincoln and Newark. The problem was with the entry for his father Robert Strickland, obviously the person who recorded the census details had never heard of the place where Robert was born and was unsure of the spelling and had no idea which county it belonged to as here he had put a question mark. I remember at the time asking someone what they thought the place name was, he thought that it could be Hayle
which is in Cornwall. I dismissed that straight away as being impossible, Cornwall was much too far away from Yorkshire and I was sure that we were a northern family.
I tried all the possibilities, maybe it was a misspelling of Hull as that is were the family eventually ended up, or maybe it was Hawes in North Yorkshire. I even looked through the parish registers of a little place called Hale near Barrow-in-Furness and found a family of Stricklands living there, but they weren’t the right ones.
Eventually the 1881 census was indexed and I was able to search alphabetically for Robert Strickland whom I knew was living in Newark Nottinghamshire at this time, and surprise, surprise where was he born? Hayle in Cornwall! We weren’t a northern family after all, in fact you couldn’t get more southern than Hayle which is close by Lands End, and to make matters worse I discovered that we weren’t even Stricklands but that Robert was originally a Stickland without an R, talk about an Identity crisis!