By Glenn R. Trezza, Ph.D. Boston, Massachusetts, USA, 2014
The following essay has been prepared both as a short chapter in the book on which I am working: The Hallams of Stoney Middleton and Related Families, and also to serve on the Stoney Middleton Village Heritage Centre Community Group website as an introduction to family history research regarding the Derbyshire Peak District village of Stoney Middleton:
Stoney Middleton: One Giant Family in One Beautiful Place
The local history and heritage of Stoney Middleton is intricately bound up in the histories of the families who have lived in the village. Many of these families have resided in Stoney Middleton for centuries, and when one is doing Stoney Middleton genealogy, one is really doing a history of one giant, inter-related family. Most families whose roots in the village pre-date the mid-1800s are related, by birth or by marriage (and often both) to each other. In the 1600s and 1700s, most citizens of Stoney married locally, choosing spouses from other village families or from families (often ultimately related through some earlier generations) from the immediately surrounding villages and hamlets, such as: Bretton, Calver, Curbar, Eyam, Foolow, Froggatt, Grindleford Bridge (comprising the former villages and hamlets of Goatscliffe, Grindleford, and Upper and Nether Padley), Grindlow, Stoke, and Wardlow. Only more occasionally will you find spouses coming from slightly further up the road in Bakewell, Baslow, Beeley, Edensor, Great and Little Hucklow, Great and Little Longstone, Hathersage, Litton, Pilsley, Rowland, Rowsley, or Tideswell. What is now a quick car trip was a long haul three hundred years ago. A spouse coming from now-nearby communities such as Barlow, Bradwell, Brampton, Buxton, Castleton, Chapel en le Frith, Chesterfield, Chinley, Cromford, Dronfield, Eckington, Edale, Hope, Matlock, Norton, Peak Forest, Winster, Youlgreave, the city of Sheffield in Yorkshire, or the towns of Macclesfield or Taxal in Cheshire, was practically a foreigner in the 1700s, and usually only more affluent Stoney Middleton locals took a spouse, most often a bride, from so far away.
The advantage of this locally-focused worldview is that one can do “one-place” genealogy about Stoney Middleton and its surrounding villages and hamlets, and quickly uncover the vast majority of one’s ancestors and cousins all in one small area. Even when one adds “new” families from Stoney Middleton, who arrived from the mid-1800s on, and who included everyone from Irish immigrant workers to, in the twentieth century, Latvian war refugees, genealogy in the village remains an interconnected jigsaw puzzle, as one puts together the many connections between and among individuals and across generations. Someone with an interest in Stoney Middleton can assume she or he is related to just about everyone else–the fun is in figuring out in how many different ways one is connected to any given person or families.