Willingale Genealogy

The Willingale Family Society

It’s been almost a year since the website was converted to use WordPress, so I thought I’d take the opportunity to add a few new pages:

Willingale Billhook: The billhook should soon be on display in the new museum due to open next to the Queen Elizabeth Hunting Lodge in Chingford.

The History of the Willingales: A summary of the early Willingales from our own research.

The Lopping Times: A summary of the articles written up in our twice yearly journal which is sent out to WFS members.

The Two Churches of Willingale Village: A short history of the churches in Willingale Village.

I’ve also added some additional photos to the Willingale Village Gallery

We occasionally get asked about  the Willingale Coat of Arms/Family Crest.

Historically, armorial bearings were first used by feudal lords and knights in the mid-12th century on battlefields as a way to identify allied from enemy soldiers, later arms were adopted by other social classes such as the clergy and later still by peasants and commoners.

It’s a common misbelief that families have the right to such a crest or Coat of Arms, however Coats of Arms are actually awarded to individuals and not families, although they can pass through the male line, usually with small amendments to differentiate each owner.

In the UK the College of Arms regulates Coats of Arms and proof of direct descendancy is required for the legal right to bear an ancestor’s coat of arms.

Some years ago I photographed a Willingale Coat of Arms and the most recent enquiry, prompted me to do some digging in an attempt to prove or disprove its authenticity.

We have traced our family tree back to the 1500s but have found no record of anyone using a Coat of Arms. Initially I looked at some German Coats of Arms for names like Winterthur and Villinger as some sources state Willingale is an anglicised version of these. These arms look nothing like the Arms I photographed at Lopping Hall.

I then turned to some of the early spellings of Willingale and found that a commercial ‘History’ of the Willingale name gave a description of the Willingale Coat of Arms but stated ‘The arms depicted here have been quartered with Willing and Gale’ These arms matched the photograph, but the description seems to indicate there has never been a ‘Willingale’ Coat of Arms, and to get round this problem someone decided to merge the Arms of two completely different names to create the ‘Willingale Coat of Arms’. A quick Google confirmed these Arms contained elements of both a Willing and Gale Arms.

I think from this we can conclude the Willingale Crest I photographed has no link to anyone with the Willingale family name.

During our researching we have found some very interesting things, including this snippet, which appeared in The Miami News, along with quite a few other news publications in July 1955

London, July 19 – Ronnie Hill, a 31-yearold clerk jilted by his fiancee, paced endlessly to and fro outside her home today. “I’ll keep walking until she changes her mind,” he declared.
He started his marathon at 10:15 am yesterday – 16 paces one way and16 the other, smoking all the time.
Ronnie said he and Sally, 21, were to marry July 20 but she broke it off last week.
I’ve loved her since she was 14 and I’ll go on walking until 1 drop,” said Ronnie.
Some of the neighbours brought him tea and buns, but Sally wasn’t forthcoming. Her father said she was sick.
“I think he’s being silly,” Mr. Willingale commented. “He ought to learn to take it on the chin.”

Unfortunately we have not been able to identify SallyWillingale in our family tree!

The Long View

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The current proposals to sell off parts of the Nations Forest’s is covered in Radio 4’s The Long View, where they compare events with Epping Forest in the 1860’s. Obviously Thomas Willingale gets a mention. The programme is 30 minutes long and you can listen to it via this link.

We are pleased to announce that another Willingale has agreed to join the DNA Surname Project. Martin is from the ‘Thomas’ branch of the Family and we should have his results back within the next couple of months.

We would still like other Willingales to join the project, especially from the ‘Charles’ branch of the family, where despite testing three individuals, have yet to find a match that links this branch into the main family tree.  Our conventional genealogical research seems to indicates ALL Willingales are related, so its disconcerting that we have yet to find a link from this branch.

We have recently completed a review of the ‘early Willingales’ in our main tree and have made several changes to our data. The main Willingale tree now starts with Richard Willingale and Thomasine who were living in Rawreth, Essex in the early 1600s.
We had previously supposed Richard to be the son of Thomas Willingale & Ellan Milborne who married in Great Dunmow in 1563. Thomas & Ellan’s children were all christened at St Mary the Virgin, and since studying the images of the church register, which is available on SEAX, we are now certain that Richard was not one of their children.
As Thomas & Ellen are no longer connected to Richard who is now the starting point for the main tree we have moved them and their known children over to the unconnected tree. This has also made it necessary to move several other early Willingales to the unconnected tree as they too are no longer linked to anyone in the main tree.
We are constantly working to link all Willingales together and hope to eventually have everyone in the main Willingale tree.

I thought I’d do a quick blog on our research over the past year.

We made major progress on proving all Willingales are related with the moving of the Samuel & Charles branches over to the main family tree, although the DNA Surname project results for the Charles branch are still somewhat confusing.

Back in June the society was contacted by a Stephen Cook who came across a photo album at a car boot sale, which contained a number of photos and postcards formerly belong to a Lizzie Willingale. Although he sold on the postcards, Stephen was good enough to pass to the society the photographs and provide scans of the postcards, which date from the early 1900s. All these items can be found on the website under the ‘car boot sale’ album.

We have also received a number of other interesting items from society members, Peter Willingale has provided some additional photos from the same family group as Lizzie and managed to identify a number of individuals in the car boot sale photos, those that we can’t identify are listed in the Most Wanted area of the members area on the website. Richard Smith and Ann Sutcliffe have also provided some photos, all of which are now on the website, along with Mark Willingale who sent in the photo of the Singapore War Memorial listing George W C Willingale.

The total media now displayed on the society’s website is 1,100 items; this includes numerous photos along with press cuttings, passenger lists and military records. Our family trees have also grown to a total of 6,700 people.

We have also updated the public area of the website, which is now in a ‘blog’ format. This allows us to provide brief updates to members in between the twice yearly journals and show to potential members we are actively researching. Our old website also gets a mention in Researching Your Family History Online for Dummies.

We also provided some corrections to Epping Forest District Council, who repeated a number of classic mistakes about Thomas Willingale the Lopper in their draft conservation area documentation.

Our research is continuing, with the main focus this year being on double checking the early Willingales in the family tree, now the parish registers are online on SEAX, together with attempting to move more people over into the main tree. We are also continuing our research on Thomas Willingale in an attempt to provide a definitive history of the Lopping rights saga.

For some time Kim & I had been trying to prove that Alfred Willingale born 1812 and Mary Ann Willingale born 1818 were the siblings of James William Willingale (I0353) who was christened at St Mary’s Church Maldon on 28 May 1809, the son of James Willingale (I0342) and his wife Mary Ann.

James William (I0353) was in the main tree but Alfred and Mary Ann were still in the tree containing what we refer to as the ’Unconnected Willingales’

Mary Ann Willingale had married Thomas Millett in 1835 and a Mary Ann Millett had registered the death of James Willingale, a shoemaker in 1850 and we knew from Alfred’s marriage certificate that his father’s name was James and that James was a shoemaker. We believed that Alfred and Mary Ann were siblings but was James (I0353) also a sibling? We needed to find some piece of information that connected these people.

James William (I0353) had married Sarah Lees in 1834 and fathered several children, one of whom was Ann Lettice Willingale. Mary Ann Willingale & Thomas Millett had several children from their marriage, including Mary Ann Elizabeth Millett who married Thomas Welford in 1853.

Ancestry has the image of the register entry for the Millett/Welford marriage and guess who the two witnesses were…. James Willingale and Ann Lettice Willingale !!!! Now would they have been witnesses if they weren’t closely related ? I don’t think so, do you?

So we have now moved Alfred Willingale (I6432), Mary Ann Willingale (I6450) [and their descendants] over to the main tree as siblings of James William Willingale (I0353).

DNA Results after 7 tests

DNA Results

Our latest DNA Tester is John who is from the problematic Charles branch. We have now tested 3 people from this branch and none have DNA which matches the DNA profile of Steven, Peter & Owen, who we have now confirmed are related via conventional genealogical methods.

John’s test does however match Williams. Our other tester from the Charles branch, Tom, has a completely different DNA profile again.

We seem to have 3 possible scenarios for the Charles branch:

1 Tom’s test is somehow spurious,

2 we have two non paternity events somewhere (or only one if Tom’s test is spurious), which we can now narrow down to two of 7 transmission events. What this would mean is that Tom, William and John although named Willingale, do not descend from the male Willingale line, i.e. we have another scenario similar to Keith.

3 The final scenario is that the Charles branch is distinct from the other Willingale line and our conventional genealogical research is wrong, i.e. that there are two separate distinct lines of Willingale’s, who are not related to each other, but sharing the same surname.

Members can see a full analysis of the DNA project here.

The December issue of The Lopping Times, our society journal, was posted out to all members today.