Woodfall Home Page
The Woodfall Family has a distinguished and honourable history going back as far as we can verify in any manner to the mid 1500's. That is not to say that all members of the family have at all time acted in an honourable manner, or that all members have led a distinguished life, as the majority of us, have led and do lead a normal everyday life according to the times that we lived in, and that includes all the faults and foibles that in some manner inflict us all.
We have over generations, in number left the shores of Great Britain and travelled to all continents of the World, where some of us have left our mark on the lands that we have inhabited, from the Unites States of America, to India, to New Zealand, Australia and the European Continent.
We have every right to feel proud of our heritage, and to make sure that future generations, know and understand more of their background, it is our responsibility to impart as much knowledge of our past that we can. As a part of this responsibility apart from this production, we have also produced a booklet on the Woodfall Family Tree, where a determined attempt has been made to document what we feel we can verify of our past, in this we have been able to include many more details about living individuals, as well as many more photographs of both living and past members of the family. Because of the restrictions of my printing capabilities at home, this is in a limited availability, but if any member of the family has access to Microsoft Publisher they are more than welcome to a copy on CD.
What do we really know about our forebears? Very little, if my branch of the family is any indication. For some peculiar reason the generation born from the early 1900’s up until around the end of the Depression were extremely hesitant to discuss their past, and that of their parents. Whether they were in some way embarrassed that they were not able to live in the style of their ancestors (or more to the point, the style they thought their ancestors lived, as told by their parents, and grandparents) or was it that they were the original “Me Generation”, a generation really only concerned with what was going on today, and who cares about the past. More than likely it was that the English Society was a very “Class Orientated” and that this generation were the travellers of their families, those who left England to try to make their standing in the Societies of the countries to which they settled in. On arrival in those countries to their consternation they found that like most newly settled societies, the “Class Structure” to which they were used to, was not tolerated or accepted in the same manner as it was in England, in fact, in a number of instances it was frowned upon by the majority, so rather than attempt to publicise the fact that they were from an upper class upbringing, they hid this fact from all and sundry.
I know from my experience, that those of us, who wish to know their past and were born after the Second World War, are having terrible trouble gleaning any information from our immediate forebears. Some of us have left it too late, and our parents have died, but even when they were alive, they were really not interested in talking about their families, and one could only gain snippets of information about their lifestyles, when they were growing up, and of course we now have to try to remember the little that we were told, and attempt to establish the facts, and eliminate the glorified details.
When one thinks back as to why, I can honestly say that even without Television, I can not remember actually sitting down, with my Father and discussing this sort of information, as even at our evening meal time, “children were to be seen and not heard” and shortly thereafter we were sent to bed. Even as we get older, as children, and I classify those in there 30’s as children, we very seldom will sit down with our fathers and talk about the family. We will sit and talk to him about work, sport and perhaps even about renovation of the house that we are living in, or he is living in, but, if we want to talk about Aunts, Uncles, Cousins or Grandparents, it is invariably with our Mothers that this sort of discussion takes place, and mothers are a great fount of information on the aforementioned groups, but they usually do not have any idea on Great Grandparents or Great Uncles and Aunts on our father’s side, and if this goes on for more than one generation, then we have lost the tapestry of our past.
So to really try and write about the past is in many ways impossible, we can recant facts that we may be fortunate enough to have had written about of family, or we can recant folklore that has been passed down through the generations, some of which is the actual truth, the remainder of which are sometimes glorified memories or edited precises of what really transpired. With this statement in mind we will attempt to put down what has been offered as all of the above, and ask that you accept this for what it is, an attempt to recreate the past of The Woodfall Family, an attempt in which there will no doubt be errors, that can only be corrected by other distant family members, if they are willing to share their knowledge.
There are skeletons in our closet, but then again there are some in everyone’s closet, but we should not be ashamed to talk about them, which I have no doubt many of our ancestors were. It does not change who we are, or were, it does not change the fact that we are human beings and will all make some mistakes in our life. We all no doubt know of some family member who had, what was classified in the past as an illegitimate child, these children are still members of the family tree as we know it, they did nothing wrong, except to be born at the wrong time or to the wrong partner. And, in hindsight, and with a touch of forgiveness that is more accepted in these times, their parents, while their choices at that time might not have been the wisest in the circumstances, really did nothing that in this day and age would not be accepted as a mistake in life, but still be accepted proudly by their parents as their child.
It was only recently (August, 2004), during a visit to Jacqui, Noel and Peter Hovelroud in Queensland, that I really came to the realization that this is not really anything other than a dissection of the families of two brothers, these being Henry Sampson Woodfall, b. 21st June, 1739 and his brother William Woodfall, b. 7th February, 1745, and the rather singular line back to the William Woodfall mentioned below. It was only when one lays out the “Wall Chart” and looks at it in context, that you come to really appreciate this matter. In fact between William Woodfall, b, circa 1550 and Henry Woodfall, b. 1713, the father of the aforementioned Henry Sampson and William there are seven male Woodfalls who quite obviously could have sired offspring, and in doing so more than likely have replicated what we have produced here, as well, on the side of Henry Sampson, there are six known males, that we have no known knowledge of their progeny, that is aside from the five unknown children of James Woodfall and Elizabeth Rodgers, born in India. Then there are seven males in the lines from William, that were born before 1960, that we once again have no knowledge of their possible progeny.
Assuming that only half of the above have produced male offspring, then this is but a smidgeon of the true family of just William, b. circa 1550, without those who we know of, born before him. The Woodfall Family is much larger than we could possibly hope to document in these few pages.
This fact then makes one wonder how the rest of the “Woodfalls” meld into this tapestry, and what are we missing out on with this lack of knowledge. We know from reading correspondence that there are numerous Woodfalls living in America, that are obviously distant relatives, as well as many who live in Great Brittain and the European Continent who in some manner fit in somewhere, but I am afraid that I will leave that to the next person who wishes to devote their time to this rather onerous, but, in the long run, most satisfying task. They will do this with my blessing and good wishes.
William Woodfall b. circa 1550
Judging by the fact that he was married to Rose Wood on the 4th August, 1575, at St. Margaret’s, Westminster, we can assume that he was born around 1550. While there are records of numerous Woodfalls being shown at an earlier date, this is the first that we can track down any direct linkage to our family. That is not to say that the others are not related, but more to say that we just can not prove by any records kept, that they are. As the following page shows they had 6 children born to them and all christened at Kingston upon Thames, Surrey between 1575 and 1585. These being Henry, Grace, Ann, James, Alice and Benjamin, with only the latter 2 shown as being married. That is not to say that the other 4 did not marry and continue other arms of the family, just that we can not come up with any proof. Unfortunately, on numerous occasions throughout this publication there are a number of dead ends, like with first mentioned 4.
Benjamin married a Surrey girl Winifred Hiller Mary Magdalen from Bermondsey and between 1624 and 1630 they had 4 boys. Henry born in 1624 died in infancy, Henry born in 1626 grew up to marry Mary Beswick on the 24th April, 1654, Benjamin born in 1628, and Thomas born in 1630 had a daughter called Alice born in 1656, later to marry Risely Bedford.
Henry and Mary had one known son also called Henry born in 1655. Now this Henry we assume married, but to whom we can not establish, but we do know from records transcribed by the Church of Latter Day Saints that there were 6 children attributed to him, being George, Mary, Ffransee, Henry, Esther and Elizabeth
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Please note no personal information is available for anyone born after 1920 and still living
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||Geoffrey Woodfall's Bibliography||Linden Woodfall's Curriculum Vitae|
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