Hedgecoe-McKenna History

The Lancasters of Pateley Bridge

The snow is piling high in our little city off the bay.  I’d begun to write this post up before Christmas, and then the whole holiday season happened and I suddenly was looking at the date and wondering how it is that I haven’t managed the time.

About 5 years ago we completed a large section of genealogy for the Bentley family.  We focused on cemetery transcriptions of Lakeview Cemetery in Dudswell, Quebec and began to slowly put together the family line of my Great Great Grandmother, Alice Bentley Walker.  With the ever supportive help of cousin Marilyn, we’d learned from Alice’s birth record that she’d been born in a very – very VERY small town named Pateley Bridge, in West Yorkshire, England.  Naturally, today there are a lot more online resources about the area where our Bentley, Calvert, Young and ultimately Lancaster family originated from.

Once we established that Alice was the daughter of Selina (Young) and Stephen Bentley, and that the couple and their family had immigrated with Stephen’s parents, Mary Ann (Calvert) and Matthew Bentley it was easy to get involved in the ancestry of these Bentley ancestors.  Wandering around the street views of Google Maps, you could actually see some of the places they’d lived and through FindAGrave, the places they were buried.

We struggled to get the birth order of Chambers and Francis Bentley right when multiple sons were named for each other.  We struggled with finding wife’s maiden names and finally – We struggled with the ‘Longster’ surname of Nathan Bentley’s wife.  Was it actually Longster?  Or was it more likely Lancaster…  The family that dominated the area, married with the King family that touched with the Young family, and had a more likely family structure through census?

And much like the Keffer tree…  Once you get off Canadian and American soil, is there any real point in recording it all?  As more than one genealogist has suggested – Once you get so far back, the likelihood of it really being correct is slim.  But then, if you don’t write those possible maiden names, if you don’t record those possible tree outlines, if you don’t record every one of your Grandfather’s far fetched stories…
Then they’re lost to the sands of time whether they’re right or wrong.  We have an entire family tree running around here somewhere that’s absolutely wrong, having been published wrong in the original book it was recorded in.  It’s caused issues for ages, as it’s widely available and easily accessible.  Despite having disproved it when I was younger, do I wish it wasn’t printed?  Absolutely not.  Someone cared enough to do all this research without the marvel of the internet, sitting in some musty library or archive…  And I’m grateful.  I’ll keep on correcting our own working trees for as long as I live – I’ll use every available resource.  We make as many notes as possible to share sources and collaborations.

We call it the Uncle Alfred complex around here.  And having learned, that even though some things seem absolutely fabricated, that crazy enough – Sometimes they’re the absolutely truth.  Being ‘family historians’ you can either record it all or only try and record it ‘right’.  Given that I simply don’t know what’s going to be right – sometimes even with documentation – and we’re now in a digital age where I can afford to store all this information, I’m choosing to store as much of it as possible and do the best we can at getting it right.

Shortly after we finished our initial research we came into contact with Christopher Wright.  Chris had an advanced understanding of the genealogies of Nidderdale families, and from day one was friendly and informative.  Last year when he again reached out to us with the wonderful news that he was publishing some of his vast knowledge, we were all eager to see what he came out with.  Today we’d like to share with you all of his efforts and encourage anyone with an interest in these lines to pick up a copy today.  (Canadian buyers can’t seem to get copies via Amazon yet)

Chris Wright’s book – The Lancasters of Pateley Bridge

Chris Wright’s new Blog and Website
Our Tree – Mary (Longster – Lancaster) and Nathan Bentley
Additional Sites:

Pateley Bridge Website


Family Tree DNA Nidderdale Roots DNA project

Always one for making things pretty, Jenn is our resident artist. Métis, British Home Child Descendant, family historian and genealogist, she is always looking into some new branch of research and encourages historical preservation and education.

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