Select North Surname Genealogy

Here are some North stories and accounts over the years:

North, South, East and West

Of the four points of the compass, North has been the second most popular as a surname.  The numbers in England today are:

in England
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Norths in Almondbury

The village of Almondbury lies close to Huddersfield bridge in Yorkshire and there are intermittent North family name records there going back to the 13th century. 

John North was willed lands in Huddersfield, Almondbury and Dalton by his mother Joanna in 1520.  His descendants, the Norths of Fenay, resided at Almondbury until 1800.  With the death of Wiiliam North at that time the Fenay branch of the family then became extinct and their Fenay property passed by marriage to the Battys. 

It was the 18th century Benjamin North of this family, a lawyer by profession, who had an antiquarian interest and developed the genealogy of the family.  He and his immediate relatives were buried at Almondbury.  The inscription on their gravestone is no longer legible, but the following legend has survived: 

“The body of Mary Anne, daughter of Benjamin North the younger by Sarah his wife, which child died 4th June 1777 aged one year and seven months; and the body of Sarah his wife which died 4th February 1790 aged 55 years; also interred the body of Mr. Benjamin North junr. who died 13th May 1796 aged 75 years."

The North Family and Kirtling Tower

Much of the history of Kirtling Tower is closely associated with the North family.  It was Edward North who constructed Kirtling Hall in 1537.  By 1660 it was the largest country house in Cambridgeshire, with 60 hearths.  The only surviving part today is the free-standing three storey gatehouse. 

Between 1677 and the time it was demolished in 1801, Kirtling Hall was hardly lived in by its owners. However, in 1827 Maria North inherited the estate from her eccentric uncle who had joined the Greek Orthodox Church and was chancellor of his own university on Corfu.  Maria and her husband set about restoring the dilapidated Tudor gatehouse that was all that was left of the original Hall. 

The 11th Lord North and his wife converted to Catholicism before he inherited the estate.  They introduced a number of Catholic tenants and domestic staff and briefly a Catholic orphanage.  His objection in 1905 to the new vicar using the family chapel for services caused a furious row between the two which led to the vicar’s resignation. 

The 11th Lord North visited mainly for shooting while living mainly at Wroxton.  But his son moved permanently to Kirtling Towers after retiring from the army about 1929.

Norths in America by Country of Origin


Eight North Brothers in the Revolutionary War

Eight North brothers - Samuel, John, William, Roger, Caleb, George, Joshua and Thomas, all grandsons of Caleb the immigrant  – enlisted in the Continental Army and were present at the Battle of Monmouth in New Jersey in 1778.  After the war George North settled in Jefferson county, Virginia and served as its sheriff in 1809.  He later owned the Laurel Hill plantation.  Caleb moved to Philadelphia and was appointed its sheriff in 1819.

Norths from Lincolnshire to Indiana and Illinois

It started with two young North brothers James and William, raised on a farm near Tydd St. Mary in Lincolnshire, who pooled their savings and purchased passage to America in 1845. 

They landed in Quebec in Canada and then made their way to
the vicinity of Lawrenceburg in Indiana.  Both then enlisted in the US army when the Mexican war broke out and it was not until 1848 that James and William (the latter newly married) returned to Lawrenceburg.  Two brothers from Lincolnshire, John and Henry, soon joined them. 

But John and Henry and their families were not to tarry long in Lawrenceburg.  They departed by way of the Ohio, Mississippi, and Illinois rivers for Peoria, Illinois and thence by land to Washington,
one of the first prairie towns in Illinois.  There were few families in the Washington area in 1850.  Cabins were widely scattered.  Everyone traveled by horseback; and it was said that a good horse was worth $50, quite a sum in those days.  The North families settled to the north of town, in what was Tazewell county. 

These prairie towns must have had their attractions because their two brothers, James and William, left Lawrenceburg in 1855 to be nearer them in another prairie town twenty miles away called Kappa.  Perhaps the attraction here was that the land was cheap – no more than $4-6 per acre. 

In total, during the early years, eleven adult Norths made their way from Lincolnshire to America.  Family ties were strong in those days. Although separated during their first years in America, they all eventually all made their way to Kappa.  It was said of them: 

“These Norths who came to America were truly pioneers.  They were poor; but their courage more than made up for their poverty.  At Lawrenceburg and Washington each was saving so that some day he could purchase a farm.  The sites they eventually purchased near Kappa were of virgin soil and their hardships continued.  Homes had to be built, wells dug, land cleared, and crops planted.  A few acres under cultivation at the end of the first year were the result of a major effort."

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