Introducing my paternal line

I have traced most of my Dad’s line starting from North West Leicestershire and continued it to the neighbouring counties of Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire. Most of them have either been Agricultural labourers or Coal miners. None of them have strayed that far, apart from the odd ancestor migrating to Australia, New Zealand and the USA. The following surnames are my great grandparent’s lines.


My surname is Challoner, which is not too common but has had different variations of the surname from Challiner to Chaloner. Whilst my Dad was working in London in the sixties, he spent many of his lunchtimes at Somerset House, which was very close to work. He had done a tremendous job of research and gone as far back as my 3x great grandfather John Challoner (1805 – 1890) but in particular did a fair bit on my 2x great grandfather Thomas Challoner (1833 – 1881). This was definitely a good starting point for my research. Thomas has become rather fascinating to research as I learnt about his exploits as a police officer between the years 1855 to 1876 in various local papers. Some of the stories about Thomas had been passed around the family as well, in particular 2 incidents at St Bernard’s Abbey Reform school in 1863 and 1864 respectively. Watch this space about him in blog items.

So far I have managed to go further than Dad to my 5xgreat grandfather on the Challoner line, but have hit a brick wall. My discoveries lead me to finding out most of the Challoner’s come from Sutton in Ashfield, Nottinghamshire with a few over the border around Alfreton, Derbyshire. My 3x great grandfather John Challoner after marrying Mary Hill in Sutton in Ashfield in 1832, moved to Oadby, Leicestershire. I wondered why they had moved there but discovered that Mary’s sister Barbara Hill had also moved there. This will be a subject of blog item on how I found out.


My discoveries lead me to find the Billings were mainly coal miners from Desford, Thringstone, Coleorton, Swannington and Coalville in North West Leicestershire. Many of the wives however ran the local pubs. At one point virtually all the pubs down one street in Coalville was run by a Billings relative.


These ancestors I have discovered come from Appleby Magna, Leicestershire. When I had searched through the parish records of Appleby Magna found there were a number of Godfrey’s dating from 1700s to 1890s. They were mainly agricultural labourers but some had moved to the surrounding areas of Ashby de la Zouch, when coal mining became the number one occupation in the area. I have a bit of brick wall on this line too as have no baptism for 4x great grandfather Jonathan Godfrey (1779 – 1815) but I have an idea I can go further – cue another blog subject.


Initially thought this was going to be tricky, as my great grandmother was illegitimate. Luckily from family stories the census confirmed that she was raised by her grandparents and further confirmation with a DNA match on Ancestry helped rather a lot. The majority of the Broadhurst family are from Ashby de la Zouch and their main occupation was brick making. Although some stayed in the area like nearby Ravenstone, I discovered some had moved over to the Royston area in Yorkshire to become coal miners.

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