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 on the Leeds and Liverpool Canal, all connected by marriage, in one tree, Canal Family 1.

Since then this tree has grown to more than 39,600 people, and it has spread from Lancashire and Yorkshire into Cheshire, Staffordshire and beyond. 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 (273 people), was created on 3rd October 2013, but was soon merged into Canal Family 1 and deleted.

A new tree, Canal Family 5 (120 people), was created on 8th February 2014, and another, Canal Family 6 (124 people), on 8th July 2017. This was merged into Canal Family 1 on 26th Oct 2017 and deleted. Canal Family 7 (initially containing 523 names) was added on Nov 10 2017.

We do not knowingly include living people without family permission. The information has been compiled from the private research of ODFHS members and other contributors, from the websites of Lancashire On-line Parish Clerks, Lancashire BMDs, the Censuses - and increasingly from parish records on Ancestry and FamilySearch (IGI). 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.

We welcome contributions to help fill gaps and expand the existing trees. Any additional data or suggested amendments can be emailed to boatfamilies[at] or by using the contact us link - 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 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 GEDCOM tree, which can be sent as an email attachment.)


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 and Cheshire. Lower down this column there is more information about the canals & how to submit questions and family trees for inclusion.


Use the Surnames link (top right) to see a list of main names, with an option to select a specific name from the alpabetic panel above. Or 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, which will show the family tree of your chosen individual. 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. Click on Info and Contact Us.


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.


We are grateful to have so many free sources of information: Lancashire Archives, Preston; the London FamilySearch Centre, whose microfilms are now at the Society of Genealogists HQ in London; UKBMD; Lancashire OnLine Parish Clerks, and others.

Ainscough Flour Mill


Canal Family 1:
6 November 2018 . . . V92
New Total: 39,660 individuals
No New Names:
Main increases: Deakin +97; Rogerson +25; Sharrock +13;
Spencer +12; Tomkinson +11

Our thanks go to Judith Hankey for helping us connect and develop the Deakin families of Cheshire watermen, and the related Rogersons and Tomkinsons. This is still work in progress and further additions can expected in coming months.

It has been concluded that Edward Spencer, b1840 Lathom, son of James and Ann nee Prescott, is the one who married Mary Carr in 1861 in Leigh and moved to Runcorn - so their family has been added to, with help from Paul Rawlins.

We are also grateful to Susan Williams in New Zealand for information on the descendants of John Cheetham (b1877 Downholland) and Hannah Howard. And Glenn MacLeod has clarified details of descendants of Burscough boatman Jeffrey Sharrock, who married Hannah Cookson in 1875.

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

Canal Family 6:
26 October 2017 - merged with Canal Family 1

Canal Family 7:
10 Nov 2017 - updated 29 Nov
Total: 1,063 individuals
Main names: Hinchliffe 89; Hastings 68; Sutton 65; Moxon 64; Bisby, Mellor 42; Pilkington 41