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My Great Grandparents John Handcock and Martha Boardman married 3 April 1860 at 2nd Presbyterian, Glendermot, Londonderry, Ireland. They married by licence, both were minor's (under age). John's Townland was Ardmore, his father is given as Henry Hancock a weaver. Martha's townland  was Ardkill, her father was John Boardman a labourer. the witnesses were James Handcock and David Handcock.

I cannot find anything further about the Handcock family other than Mary Ann Handcock's baptism at 2nd Presbyterian, Glendermot, Londonderry, Ireland 17 May 1863.

They had  left ireland for England by 1863 and I know baouth the family from then onwards.

Why can I not find Henry Hancock a weaver in Londonderry? I cannot find any information on Handcock going bckwards in time.

Family story says Martha married "beneath her" - I think she may have been Church of ireland while John was Presbyterian.  Does anyone have any suggestions... please.





Sunday 17th November 2013, 09:29PM

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  • I had a look in Griffiths Valuation (1858) and in the subsequent revaluation records, for both Ardmore and Ardkill. No sign of either a Hancock or Boardman family in either.  I note that they were weavers and labourers. Weavers and labourers often only rented for a year at a time, and moved about a lot to follow the work,  and so didn?t always make it into Griffiths. Also sometimes their cabins were of too poor a value to be recorded.

    So to put it simply, at that period, their lives often went largely unrecorded by officialdom.

    I looked in the 1831 census for Henry Hancock but none is listed for Co Derry. (There were only 4 Hancocks ? Robert, Hugh, Thomas & Major). There was one John Boardman listed. He resided in Lismacarol townland (Clondermot), alongside a Charity Boardman. He might be Martha?s father.

    Statutory recording of deaths only started in 1864. No sign of a Henry Hancock death 1864 ? 1901. So possibly he died before 1864. There is one John Boardman death registered in Londonderry that fits. 1876 Volume 2, page 194, est year of birth 1805.

    Tradition was to marry in the bride?s church. Obviously that was not followed in every case, but in general the assumption you would make if they married in a Presbyterian church was that the bride was of that denomination. (If the husband attended a different church, then tradition was for the bride to switch to his denomination after marriage). In this case, if Mary Ann was also baptised in the same church as they married, then you would infer that bride and groom had both attended the same church.

    If you think Martha was originally Church of Ireland then you could look for her baptism in Clondermot Church of Ireland parish records. Their baptisms start in 1810. I don?t think they are on-line anywhere. A copy is held in PRONI, Belfast but you may need to make a personal visit to look at them.

    Ahoghill Antrim

    Sunday 17th November 2013, 10:27PM
  • Does your Hancock line go through Liverpool? There is a marker there in Toxteth Park Cemetery, according to an online site, to the memory of Mary Hancock, wife of Henry Hancock, who died in 1871. Also on the marker is the information that Henry died in April 1853 at age 48 and was interred in the Old C. Yard Glendermott, Londonderry. There are other Hancock burials in that Liverpool cemetery.

    Would love to know what you could share concerning your branch of the Handcock family. My wife is a 3rd-great granddaughter of Robert Handcock, listed at Ballyshasky in 1858 in Griffith's Valuation. You mention Ardmore, which is the adjacent townland. Robert also appeared in the 1831 census at Ballyshasky with seven males in the household. There is one prior Handcock reference in Ballyshasky, the name of Henry Handcock on the 1796 list of flaxgrowers.

    John Handcock, a son of Robert, married Margaret King at 2nd Glendermott Presbyterian Church in August 1850. They lived in Londonderry and Clooney. Margaret died in January 1870 and John remarried later that year. In 1873, he moved the family, including six of Margaret's daughters, to Toronto, following the path taken by the oldest son. I have the family history from there.

    It appears from Irish records that Mary Handcock, who married John Millar in 1850, and David Handcock, who married in 1862, were also children of Robert and his wife, Jane May. My personal opinion is that your Henry was probably Robert's oldest son and James Handcock, who lived in Lower Tullyally townland, was another son. That leaves several unaccounted.

    We visited the Londonderry area in August and September and stayed at Beech Hill in Ballyshasky. We also visited the old 2nd Presbyterian Church (now a carpet store) and walked the old cemetery. We found no legible stones with the Handcock (or Hancock) name - not too surprising after all these years. There are supposedly surviving burial records from 2nd Presbyterian in the possession of the 1st Presbyterian church, but we did not have time to pursue them. John Handcock received a letter of administration of Robert's estate in 1868, the same day he lodged Jane's will with the court for safekeeping, but apparently did not return to prove the will. That document may still exist and may name heirs and I intend to pursue that soon.

    Sort of a memory dump here, but would like to compare notes with you and see where it might lead for further Handcock research. If you want to reach me directly, I am at

    Bill Goss

    Handcock Searcher

    Wednesday 1st October 2014, 05:02PM