Royden Family History Pages

About the Site

About the Site and Author

I have been researching and writing about various aspects of History and Local History for the past 30 years. I teach History and I also Lecture part time in Local History at the University of Liverpool Centre for Continuing Education.

My father's family had lived in the Dingle area of Liverpool for generations - and there was a Royden Street across the road from our former home. No one in the family, who all lived in the vicinity, knew why it was so called, but all said it was named after our family. I remember a History homework when I was aged around 13 - 'bring in your family tree'. The idea was just to bring in what you could find over a week - immediate family, possibly going back four or even five generations. I could not believe that no one could tell me anything of my great great grandfather, not even his name. My great grandfather had died in 1918 during the Great War and seemed to take his family history with him. His children were all very young when he died and had probably not begun to ask about their own ancestry. Everything, it seemed, had died with him.

So it was these two mysteries which kick-started my interest into delving deeper. This was 1976, I was travelling to work in Liverpool each day, passing Royden Street in each direction and becoming more and more intrigued every time I looked at the street name. Of my great grandfather Charles Royden, I had been given a large bronze disc bearing his name, and a broken crucifix, said to have been put into his hands as he lay dying on the battlefield. Enquiries had to be made!

Of course, this was well before the World Wide Web, before classes on how to research family history, and well before the thousands of data discs now holding transcribed archive records that are available today. In fact, even family history societies were rare, and Liverpool & South West Lancashire Family History Society was yet to be formed. However I did meet the Cullings, Harold and Joyce, (who helped form the society) on a very early trip to Liverpool Record Office. They spent most of the evening giving me advice and we were still discussing avenues of research standing next to their old VW camper van outside, long after throwing out time. They continued to help me each time we met and it was a pleasure and an honour to be invited to give a lecture at the 20th Annual Conference at Liverpool Anglican Cathedral in 2008.

Research soon bore fruit, I discovered more about my great grandfather and his experience of war (I am still researching this today), his own line going back at least to the 1600s, and that Royden Street was indeed named after a relation - Sir Thomas Bland Royden, owner of the local shipbuilding yard and politician for the area.

Inevitably, as I began to trace my own family, I began to amass a lot of detail on other local Roydens. I was convinced we were all related and I found it difficult to concentrate on my own line. It became a one-name study and I began to link in Roydens wherever I could. By the 1980s I had linked most of the families recorded on the 1881 census. Logic indicates that if you are a Royden and you cannot find your name on the tree, the odds are that I do have your grand, or great-grandparents.


The internet changed research forever. The disciplines and records are the same, but they have become more widely available at the touch of a few buttons. But it also has its drawbacks. When you consider the work carried out on this research before the arrival of the net, you can understand my feelings when a very distant cousin, not even a Royden, lifted the whole tree and uploaded it, without my permission, to one of those sites that then charges you to access it. And his name was put down as researcher and contact. Not impressed!

Everything here is free, just give me a credit in your work as a source or request permission to use photographs or larger pieces of work.

In 2009 I was commissioned by publishers Pen & Sword to write a book on Liverpool for their new series on Family and Local History. Tracing Liverpool Ancestors was published in 2010. I wrote it as a history of Liverpool, with themed chapters on Migration, Education, Public Heath, the Labouring Poor, and several more. There is an extensive appendix, containing a wealth of information about archives - local and national, record offices and holdings, societies, museums, websites etc. My purpose was to crate a volume that could also be used as a local handbook, an essential reference. There is no other publication that has covered this for the local area, so if you are a local researcher I have written this with you in mind!

This website is intended to give you an insight into Royden history generally, not my own immediate family. There are Shipbuilders, barons, mayors of Liverpool, baronets (who when they move house do it literally and take the house with them), suffragettes, musicians, war heroes, criminals and of course, ordinary life.

Hope you enjoy the site.

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