A Family History

Welcome to this, the story of my families and their history. You will find details of my genealogy with documentary evidence to back up the research. You will also find some of the family stories and myths which inevitably get handed down from one generation to the next. There are some personal histories which help us to understand past lives and personalities.

I’ve tracked my families to many countries around the world. That said, my earliest proven ancestors mostly come from a relatively small area of the English Midlands. Many family members remain there to this day. Others travelled surprising distances for a variety of reasons, to places which might seem surprising to us today. The evidence for these locations, near and far is documented here, and where possible I show how, when and why individuals or families moved from one place to another. This evidence shows that travel is not only a modern phenomenon.

Working lives have changed beyond recognition even in my own lifetime. This site covers more than 500 years of family history, and we can see how work occupations have evolved over those centuries. For many generations, only very slowly. Then, with the Industrial Revolution we see new occupations and professions which changed the course of so many lives. The changes can be seen clearly in the documents still available today.

The final resting places of most ordinary folk have been lost through the mists of time, however, in many cases we are able to track down burial records, or if we’re lucky, memorials. These often tell us much about the families concerned and are an important part of our heritage which I try to record on this site where possible. Even modest individuals often left a ‘Last Will and Testament’ some of which survive from even many hundreds of years ago. They can be among the most personal insights into an individual character and his or her living conditions. Where possible I aim to provide transcripts or even images of these precious documents.

I encourage you to browse my ever growing content, and if you are linked to anyone, or to any of the events recorded here, then I’d love to hear from you.


My name is Martin Mosley, I am a historian and genealogist. I have assembled various bits of information about my family, and the areas our ancestors lived, into 3 sister websites.

This particular site is about my dad’s family – The Mosley’s. The other two cover the Hill family, my maternal ancestors, and the third is a community study of the ancient parish of Brampton in Derbyshire, an area my family lived for many centuries.

I hope you enjoy browsing the sites. Please do contact me if you have any queries or suggestions.

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This is the story of an extended family from the English midlands.

A study of the ancient parish of Old Brampton and it’s neighbouring communities.

Here you will find history, genealogy, a photographic record and much more.

The Hill family originating in Derbyshire and now extending around the World.

An extended family tree including many other families associated with the Hill name.

A Couple of Interesting Facts...

The Family Name

I remember my dad, when I asked about our family as a young boy, explaining that our family name meant ‘village idiot’ in the old English languages. I probably raised my eyebrows, but was content to accept this explanation.

The origins of the name are probably much more complex, and there are as many theories as there are branches of the family.

The generally accepted view is that the origins of the name are ancient and probably derived from old English place names. Many believe that Mos (peaty bog) and Leah (woodland clearing) are the most likely source. There are, however, many possibilities, including ‘Mus Leah’ meaning mouse wood; or another meaning Mul’s Island. There were also variations of the name derived from collaborators of William the Conquerer. The earliest known written record of the name is that of Suen de Moseleia. The record dates from 1195 and appears in the Pipe Rolls of Worcestershire. There is little consistency in spelling until very recently which makes researching the name a complex exercise.

The name was most frequently found in the Yorkshire and Lancashire areas of Northern England, and while it is now found widely throughout the world, it is likely that most families have their origins somewhere in these localities.

A Caveman Ancestor

When I began researching my family history some years ago, I wondered whether I’d ever find anyone ‘notable’ in our long list of ancestors.. Maybe a famous scientist, a knight, or even a king or two. I’ve been digging long enough now to know that whatever the statistics say, my family are from more humble stock..

For centuries they were agricultural labourers. With the Industrial Revolution many turned to mining and the steel industries, while some ran small commercial premises, or were the carpenters and builders who helped to build the housing or the carts used by the others.

I’m proud of this heritage and feel that in their own small way, each of these working class families has contributed to the advancement of the communities where they lived. That doesn’t mean there isn’t still a secret hope that one day someone notable may turn up..

Today I found something I really wasn’t expecting: A distant aunt who was a cave man (woman)! Her place of birth is shown in various records to be ‘North Cave’ Yorkshire, England. I’m not quite sure what to make of this. Was she really born in a cave? Did her family live in said cave? And if so who were their neighbours in ‘South Cave’? All this a little under two hundred years ago, so it goes to show that however difficult life may be in these times of recession and declining spending power, we have made considerable progress and do have much to be thankful for.

“We are who we are because they were who they were…”


Meet Some of the Family

Herbert Mosley
Herbert Mosley 1900 -1962
Lily Maude Pugh
Lily Pugh 1884 – 1973
George Robert Mayhew
George Mayhew 1862 – 1940
Elsie Mosley
Elsie Mosley 1897 – 1975

What You Can Expect to Find

It is sometimes surprising how much documentary evidence can be found, even for our humblest ancestors.

Wills, legal records, school attendance records, even maps…

Where I’ve found them, copies or transcripts are included on these sites.

For those of us researching from a distance, parish records can sometimes be difficult to verify. They are, however, vital to learning more about our families before civil registration began in 1837.

You will find either images or transcription references to these records for many individuals on my sites.

The memorials placed by family or friends on the death of a loved one can give an insight into the lives of those who lived before us.

Memorials in stone are also frequently more durable than other family documents. As such the inscriptions on headstones or memorial plaques are both a valuable and sometimes touching source of information.

Here I record the headstones, tombs and memorials with their inscriptions as they survive today. As time permits I plan to add further memorials.

The information on this site relates to my extended paternal family tree. Since you are here, it is probable that you share at least some relations with me.

You are free to browse and to learn from all I have published here. All I ask is that if you do find links, you let me know, so that we can add to what we already learned.

Please use the contact link below.

Do You Have Information About These Families?

I am always on the the lookout for more details relating to these families, including jobs, friends and interesting information about the places they’ve lived.

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