Everything you wanted to know about Doodson family history

Doodson family trees

As mentioned elsewhere, I've not yet tied all the Doodson branches together - probably impossible - and I've only researched a few in detail sufficient to put them into digital format. All are in Adobe PDF file format - to read it you will need to have Adobe Reader, Adobe Acrobat or if you're a Mac user the standard Preview application. Most PCs have one or more of these programs on them. If you want to know about the software I've used to create these, and the type of tree I've decided to use, see the separate page on these topics.

The family trees presented here are as follows - the links in each description take you to the trees or to separate explanatory pages. If you're interested in someone not on the main set of trees check out the separate page of miscellaneous Doodsons from the 1911 census right at the bottom of the list.

Although the majority of the trees can be traced back to the Bolton/Bury area of Lancashire, I’ve grouped the list by the main location of the ancestors of the tree, or a specific individual (usually the person who triggered the tree being researched), or an overseas location.  For a few trees I’ve grouped them by the England and Wales census that I used to start my research.

Even now I've got quite a long way with these trees there are be loads of Doodsons that don't appear on any of them, and many 20th and 21st Century Doodsons are missing, as I've yet to trace that many back.

To open the PDF document click on the tree icon at the left of each description or, where there is no tree icon, on the underlined link in the description.

Section 1 - UK locations

Pilkington:  This was the tree that started this whole site, and on which the principal author of the site appears.  Doodsons in Pilkington, (descendents of William and Sarah of Prestwich), Oldham, Leigh and Sussex - 1700 to present UPDATED NOVEMBER 2020 to update the heads of the tree (which were incorrect before!) and to link to the Glossop trees - turns out the Doodsons in Glossop are part of the same family.

Glossop: Doodsons in Glossop from early 19th to early 21st centuries. UPDATED NOVEMBER 2020 - three of the trees are now connected together and to the Pilkington tree above

Kearsley, Radcliffe and Australia: Doodsons in Kearsley (descendents of James, John and Robert of Kearsley), Radcliffe and Brisbane, Australia - 1800 to present. Note that the main family tree showing Doodsons in Austraila is separate - see below

Clifton and Swinton:  A family of Doodsons who lived in Clifton and Swinton in the late 1800s/early 1900s. UPDATED JANUARY 2014

Handforth: Doodsons in Handforth in the 19th century UPDATED NOVEMBER 2011

Heywood: Focuses on a branch of the Doodsons from Bury who moved to Heywood and Walmersley by the late 1980s, and linking to one of the USA trees. NEW JULY 2018

Liverpool and Coalbrookdale:  Doodsons in Liverpool ([click here for tree 1] [click here for tree 2] and Coalbrookdale, Shropshire [click here for Coalbrookdale tree]. The head of all three of these trees was William Doodson, born in 1747. He (and some of his descendants) married twice and had large families, so this would be a pretty much unmanageably large single tree, so I've split it into three separate documents. Hopefully the "signposts" I've added to each show how they link together. Liverpool 1 and 2 and Coalbrookdale UPDATED SEPT 2017 NEW: Experimental PDF file containing all three trees, with hyperlinks between the sheets [click here for this combined tree]

Grappenhall and Thelwall:  Doodsons from Grappenhall [click here for this tree] and Thelwall [click here for this tree] in Cheshire, who later ended up in Barrow, Ardwick, Lydiate, Denton and Ardwick in the 19th century. Research on these trees was so interesting I've also written a short essay about it. Thelwall tree was UPDATED January 2014.

Devon and Cornwall:  Doodsons who were born or married in Devon or Cornwall. The main tree centres around Ernest Doodson (b1882) who married a Cornish woman when he was stationed in Cornwall in the Royal Navy. His family tree originated in Little Bolton, a suburb of what is now Bolton. UPDATED May 2017 with updates to the Ernest Doodson tree including connection to the Rosannah and George Australia tree - see below

Norfolk:  Doodsons in Norfolk in the 18th century.  A strange little tree, as there are no records of how these Doodsons got to Norfolk, nor what happened to them afterwards.  An odd historical blip.

Various “orphan” trees from 1911 census are listed below in Section 4.  These Doodsons lived in Bolton, Bury, Leigh, Liverpool and West Derby, Oldham, Ormskirk, Conway (Wales) Yorkshire

Section 2 - Overseas locations

Australia: Doodsons who made it to Australia, including a substantial tree of the descendants of Robert and Anne Doodson [click here for this tree] who arrived in New South Wales in 1840, plus a bunch of other Doodsons [click here for this tree] (updated May 2017) who appeared in Australia that couldn't initially be traced to any other trees, but now only a tiny handful are un-linked. There's a separate page describing the spread of Doodsons into Australia.

United States of America: A PDF showing multiple sub-trees of existing UK trees where Doodsons have wound up in the USA. Plus a separate page about US Doodsons NEW MAY 2018

Section 3 - named key people

James of Kearsley: Doodsons in Kearsley descended from James of Kearsley born in 1568. This family tree comes to an end in the very early 1800s as no Doodsons could be traced any later.

Egerton: Doodsons in Kersley descended from John Doodson born 1781; this family has the unusual first name Egerton repeating. Not linked (yet!) to the other Kersley/Kearsley trees. 


Reuben Doodson (central Manchester):  A family of Doodsons related to Reuben Doodson (b.1877) - nearly all lived in central Manchester UPDATED JANUARY 2014

'Owd Bummy': Focuses on John 'Owd Bummy" Doodson and his descendants. UPDATED to show link to Doodsons in the USA (see above for fuller USA trees)

Harry Werneth Doodson: Previously a few people on the 1911 "unlinked" page for Oldham, Harry Werneth Doodson and his descendants are now on a separate tree UPDATED to show links to Doodsons in the USA (see above for fuller USA trees)

Section 4 - “orphan” and unlinked trees

1841 census "unlinked" trees: A tiny set of small trees that were intended to do what I did for the 1911 census, i.e. ensure all Doodsons listed in the 1841 census were in trees on this site. Not quite so easy - there were quite a few "fragment" families who couldn't be linked to other trees - either because the records pre-1841 were absent or not conclusive, or there were no obvious connections. However, there were a few small trees to add. One more substantive family grouping deserved its own page - people related to one Isaiah Doodson - even though after 1861 all of them were recorded as Dootson. ADDED NOVEMBER 2011

1911 census "unlinked" trees:  A set of smaller trees intended to capture every other person recorded as being a Doodson on the 1911 England and Wales census i.e. those not on the trees above! In some of these documents there are multiple trees, grouped by the town/village where they lived in 1911. You'll see that they are nearly all in the traditional areas for Doodsons, i.e. Bolton, Bury and various townships between those towns and Manchester. Here are the rest of these "unlinked" trees.  NB In this section click on the underlined name to open the PDF file

There were just two people listed in the 1911 census returns that I couldn't trace prior to 1911 at all, so rather than put them on separate documents here they are:

  • Margaret Doodson, born in 1886 in Leigh. Recorded as living with the Morgan family at 7 Taylor Street, Leigh - her occupation listed as "servant". She was single. No trace of her prior to 1911. The census form is a bit unclear so she might just have been "Dootson" rather than "Doodson"!
  • Robert Doodson, born in 1872 in Bradford, Yorkshire. This poor fellow was recorded as being a "lunatic", an inmate at the Prestwich County Lunatic Asylum. His occupation (presumably before he entered the asylum) was recorded as "tinplate worker". No trace before 1911.