Boat Families

of the Leeds and Liverpool Canal and connected waterways

Burscough Canal

WELCOME to our updated website - launched 6th April 2015.


At the launch of the site, in March 2010, there were more than 3,000 names, mostly families of canal workers, all connected by marriage in one huge tree, Canal Family 1. Since then the number of individuals in this tree has grown to 23,428 (as at 2nd April 2015). Two more trees, Canal Family 2 with 95 people (merged with Canal Family 1 on 6th June 2014 and deleted) and Canal Family 3 with 24 people, were started in June 2012. A fourth tree, Canal Family 4 (containing 273 names), was created on 3rd October 2013, but was soon merged into Canal Family 1 and was deleted on 18th October 2013. A new tree, Canal Family 5 (containing 120 names), was created on 8th February 2014.

We do not knowingly include living people unless they have given permission. The information has been compiled from the private research of ODFHS members and from the websites of Lancashire On-line Parish Clerks, Lancashire BMDs, the Censuses and increasingly parish records on Ancesty. Some details are inevitably more complete than others, but where copies of birth, marriage or death certificates are held, this is indicated in an individual's Life History by the letters BC, MC or DC.

Society members and others are invited to contribute information of their own to help fill in the gaps and expand the existing tree. Any additional data or suggested amendments can be emailed to boatfamilies[at] or by using the contact us link - and do please indicate sources, especially if you have verification by certificates etc.

We can accept data in any form convenient to you, but if you have researched a tree of three or more generations we would appreciate receiving it as an attachment in GEDCOM format to the same address. (Your family history program will have an option to export a tree in the GEDCOM format. This is what we would like you to send as an email attachment.) If you have any questions or comments about the information on this site, please contact us. We look forward to hearing from you.


This website is compiled using The Next Generation of Genealogy Sitebuilding, v.10.1 (written by Darrin Lythgoe 2001-2015 )
Please note that clicking the link at the bottom of each page (to the TNG website) will take you away from this site!

Ormskirk & District
Family History Society

Boat Families Website

The Society is indebted to the small group of dedicated enthusiasts who have developed this site. Using this site and the other ODFHS products; such as the CD of Burscough Boat Families, should enable you to discover many of your ancestors.
Bill Huyton, Chairman ODFHS, March 2011.

The purpose of this site is to assist researchers whose ancestors worked on the Leeds-Liverpool Canal & associated waterways, especially in South-West Lancashire. In later pages of the introduction, you will find more information about the canals & how to submit questions and family trees for inclusion on the site.


Use the link above to see the surname list or select one of the surnames from the panel below. The main family members are those who have a significant number of relatives recorded as boaters. Alternatively, you can search for a particular person by using the search box. At various places on the site you will see a small tree icon - this will show you the family tree of this particular person. Or, you can click on any name shown to reveal their details. Once you have chosen the first name it is possible to navigate that entire tree. Returning to the Group Names page will allow you to visit another tree.

PLEASE NOTE: The search box on the right is a simple search on Canal Family 1. For many more options and to search all trees together please go to the Advanced Search page choose from the various drop-down boxes.


More information relating to the updates shown on the right can be found in the Update History files which can be viewed by going to the MEDIA link above and selecting DOCUMENTS.


If you have any questions or comments about the information on this site, please contact us. We look forward to hearing from you.


We have spent a great deal of time in building & populating this site. We have made every effort to produce a site that is accurate & easy to use. However No warranty is given, or implied.

Ainscough Flour Mill


Canal Family 1:
8 September 2015 ... V60

New total:
25,551 individuals

New name:
Gates 88;

Main increases:
Goodier +50; Allen, Curzon +41; Brooke, Minshall +31; Oakes +28; Barker +20

This update takes us past 25,000 individuals in our main tree, and we have our first boatman outside the UK.
John Wareing of Scarisbrick, b 1855 son of boatman John and Ann nee Blundell, emigrated to the United States in 1884 and in the 1900 US Census is a barge captain in New York. Thanks for this information go to Don Kalish of Chicago, whose wife descends from these Wareings.
We have concluded that the marriage of James Cheetham (b 1838 Halsall, son of James and Elizabeth nee Alty), previously unfound, was at St Peter, Liverpool, on Dec 10 1860. The record gives his bride's name as Alice Taylor (father John, coachman), but this is believed to have been a mishearing for Annie/Hannah Stainer, who can be identified as James's wife through the baptism records of their children, and whose father was a coachman called John. (Annie Stainer and Alice Taylor are near homophones).
The inquest report following the fatal fight at Shevington, reported in our July update, is now in the Documents section of our site. This can be found under Media, top right of our Home page.
The new name and main increases are again among Cheshire watermen, but another link between Leeds & Liverpool and Cheshire boatfamilies has emerged with the 1919 marriage of Isabella, daughter of Thomas Deakin of Lathom, at St Nicholas, Liverpool, to John William Allen, son of waterman John Allen of Barnton, nr Northwich. These Allens and the related Minshall, Goodier and Beech families have been expanded.

Canal Family 2:
6 June 2014 - merged with Canal Family 1

Canal Family 3:
29 June 2012 ... V02

New total:
24 individuals

Main names:
Denson, Rimmer ...

Canal Family 4:
18 October 2013 - merged with Canal Family 1

Canal Family 5:
22 May 2015 ... V02

New total:
122 individuals

Main names:
Ainscough 28, Mason 26, Fairclough 23