An introduction to Family History & Genealogy

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.


  • Christine Hobson says:

    I have a 4x grandfather named William Cocker from Stoney Middleton born approx 1775 buried in Baslow churchyard 1855 with his wife Mary, and cannot find his parents or siblings.
    do you have any information that would help me please.

    • Claire Harrison says:

      We purchased our property last year just before the first lockdown.
      We wondered if you may have any information about the past owners or tenants, going back to Victoria Times? Or any history on our apartment?
      It used to be called Diana Cottage, and wondered if this may have being named after a previous owner.
      Its Flat 3/Diana Cottage, The Bank, Stoney Middleton.
      Many thanks , Claire & Ants x

      • Glenn Trezza says:

        Hi, Ms. Harrison, I didn’t grow up in Stoney and in the past UK censuses not all the houses were named or their location noted, so it’s hard to trace property ownership, unless you’re of an old Stoney family and know where and what your ancestors did for work and housing. My ancestors, for instance, owned the Stag’s Head pub. so that’s easier to trace. Have you tried a deed search online? That can be done for most American properties, for instance. Colin Hall, who’s the lead on this website and for the SM Heritage Centre Community Group, may have more info, and so might someone who grew up in Stoney, especially one of the seniors in town. Best wishes, Glenn T in the USA

  • Glenn Trezza says:

    Hi, Ms. Hobson,
    I had a look through my old Cocker files. Yes, I see the Wm Cocker buried at Baslow, but I can’t find a corresponding baptism for him at Baslow or Stoney Middleton or Eyam and so can’t place him for you, unfortunately. Maybe someone else who reads this forum might be descended from him and have some information? Sorry that I can’t be any more definitive for you.
    Best wishes, Glenn T

  • Christine Hobson says:

    Sorry for misleading you, he was born at Baslow and then moved to Great Hucklow.

  • Linda Wales says:

    Glenn – I have only just come across the Wishful Thinking website, and the interesting article on the Stag’s Head Inn. John Hallam of Stoney Middleton (1775-1809) is also MY gt*4 grandfather, so it would be interesting to find out where our paths diverge! I could find no way of contacting you through that website, so good old Google came up trumps with this site. My mum was a Hallam before her marriage, but I have traced her line back to John. After that it becomes rather more tricky….. If you e-mail me direct I will happily fill in any information, but I would be fascinated to hear what you have found on the Stoney Middleton Hallams. Is it published at all? Kindest regards, Linda Wales

  • Glenn Trezza says:

    Hi, Christine, I’ve looked for your Wm Cocker again, but no luck. He clearly existed but there’s no birth/baptismal record for him so I’ve not been able to locate him.

    Linda, I’ve emailed you privately about your question.

    Best, Glenn T

  • Christine Hobson says:

    Hi Glen, I have been told by a David D. Smith that William is a son of Thomas Cocker b.1750 at Jack Flatt but that William has a birth date 1782.
    Maybe there is a mix up somewhere but his gravestone in Baslow says died 1855 aged 80 years the same as his death certificate so who knows.
    Thanks anyway.

  • Ina Thompson says:

    My grandfather was a Hallam, Vivian,from Stoney Middleton so you may be a distant relation. I believe you visited George Hallam and Muriel, nee Hallam, some years ago.
    Has your book been published yet please. If so I would love to purchase a copy?
    We are currently researching our family tree and would be interested in any information you may have.

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