A History of the Woodford and Clarke Families including family trees and photos

A New look at  the meaning of Ancestry



When I started tracing my family tree for at least 15 years I thought to myself this isn’t going to take long. How wrong I was! It has become an obsession and spend almost every day doing some kind of research. In 10 years it has grown from a handful of relations to nearly two  thousand direct and distant ancestors.

This site is dedicated to the Woodford and Clarke families. All the information has been gathered from various sources:

  • Recollections and records of immediate family
  • Original sources such as census records, or B.M.D certificates
  • Published family trees of other individuals and members of Genes Reunite and Ancestry.com.

Thank you to every one who have been pestered with emails and phone calls asking Do you remember who or what or when? and also many contacts from Genes Reunite and Ancestry.com, without whose help I could not have progressed as far as I have.

I have tried to include some information about the places and occupations related to these ancestors. During this research I have learned a lot about the hard lives they endured and poverty during the Victorian times. If this research ever gets completed it will be a living legacy to my family and future generations.

My ancestry has taken some curves into the realms of nobility including the Isham family of Northamptonshire and progressed to Robert E Lee and Thomas Jefferson the 3rd president of the USA.



The Woodford and Clarke Coat of Arms

Genetic Ancestry

Genetic ancestry testing, or genetic genealogy, is a way for people interested in family history (genealogy) to go beyond what they can learn from relatives or from historical documentation. Examination of DNA variations can provide clues about where a person’s ancestors might have come from and about relationships between families. Certain patterns of genetic variation are often shared among people of particular backgrounds. The more closely related two individuals, families, or populations are, the more patterns of variation they typically share. ancestory.com  is the largest consumer genetic testing company and It took them 11 months to go from 1 million to 2 million customers and just seven months later, they surpassed 3 million customers in their AncestryDNA database.

I had my DNA tested through ancestry.com earlier this year and the results were surprising as I did not expect the Scandinavian link being so high. I found several cousins as a result of this test and have now got more information about my ancestors who in fact did originate in Scandinavia in medieval times.

DNA Results

13 Responses to “Home”

  • Simon Partridge:

    I was looking at the ancestory of the Raven Family (Portland House)and could not understand the woodford-ancestory,com/family tree website. Then I could see the name Raven was involved and then I recall someone saying when I was very young that we (Partridges) were related to the Woodfords, a large family that I think lived on London Road, some of whom (boys) attended Stoneygate School and must be nearing 60 now. I have a picture of the Stoneygate School First lV in the 1960s which contains a Woodford, as well as the actor, Greg Hicks. There were some sisters as well, but obviously in those days were educated elsewhere. I think Goddards are also related. Is this Col. Goddard who had a son at Stoneygate as well as a daughter, Janet. Janet was a contemporary Brigid Presho whose mother, Peggy was the daughter of Maud Raven.

    Anyway if you go to William Raven 1832-1914 you will find that Maud (Annie Maud) born 1885 is missing from Dorothy 1891, Arthur 1899, William John 1884, Horace George 1887.

    • admin:

      Thanks simon for your information I will certainly add Maud Raven born 1885 into my tree

    • Mary Partridge:

      I am the great granddaughter of Dorothy Mabel Raven. I seem to recall a conversation with my mother and indeed a trust document with the name Partridge who was a relation. A massive coincidence as I married a Partridge. I too was interested to look at the family tree, I think there was a Simon Raven who went to Cambridge university and became a writer. I would be very interested to know your connection.
      Thanks and best wishes,

      • Simon Partridge:

        Dorothy Mabel Raven (b.1891) was known as Auntie Dob. Her first husband was Medical Officer for Nottingham and his father had been Chief Constable for Leicestershire. Barbara Holmes was Dob’s daughter. After her husband’s death, Dorothy (Auntie Dob) Mabel Holmes subsequently married Canon Felix Matthew (Chat?), the Rector of West Runton whose wife had died young leaving numerous children whom Auntie Dob looked after.

        The only way I think Partridge would have appeared on documents would be because Dorothy Mabel’s only sister was Maud Annie Raven whom married Herbert Partridge and she was certainly married when her father William Raven died, leaving considerable wealth to the two daughters and their four brothers. One of whom was Arthur Raven, Simon Raven’s father, the author seemed irritated that his father never needed to work, spending a lot off time playing golf. I think they lived for a time at Hunstanton where Arthur built Portland Lodge. I am not sure, but my mother seemed to think that William Raven’s daughter’s did not receive the same amounts as their brothers as their share was subject to death duties/ or more death duties than the brothers’ shares (worth probably around the equivalent £2.5 million each). I have not made this all up, but accept some points I have made could be “widely off the mark”. All the best

  • David James:

    Hi again,

    As I stumbled upon your site by accident, I was trying to establish who you are. I guess you are John Clarke?

    Also, I have another picture of John William Nash somewhere if you are interested?


  • Sheila Higginson:

    Hi, I am David James’ sister. The picture you have of Violet Frances Nash is actually her sister, Lil. Our mother, who is Violet Frances Nash’s daughter is still alive, so if you require any further information, please let me know.

    • admin:

      Hi Sheila, thanks for your message, David did contact me and I am in the process of correcting my mistake and reuploading the photo. David sent me several photos of the Nash family and will get them uploaded as soon as possible
      Best wishes

  • Roger Puxley:

    Hi That is a fantastic Family Tree you have put together. Noticed Puxley’s from London and as my family seem to be from the same area there may be a link as it is an uncommon surname.

    • admin:

      Hi Roger,
      Thank you for visiting my website. Indeed the Puxley family is linked to the Houghton family which is a direct line on my husbands side, so you are part of the family one way or another.
      Best wishes

  • Jacqui:


    Thank you for a most interesting family history website. I am curious about James Downing KITTO/RUNNALLS b1863. His birth is registered as KITTO, on census, his marriage, etc., he is RUNNALLS. Have you found any documentary evidence which confirms beyond doubt his father being James RUNNALLS?

    Thank you.

    • admin:

      Hi Jacqui, Thank you for Your enquiry. James Downing Runnalls was my Great Grandfather. I have his birth certificate which names his mother as Elizabeth Ann Kitto but no father’s surname. I also have his death certificate naming him as James Downing Runnalls.His father James and mother Elizabeth Kitto never married, in fact she died in the same year of his birth, so he was James Runnalls’ illegitimate son.He shows in 1881 and 1871 census as living with his great uncle and aunt John and Alice Kelynack.

  • David Lonsdale:

    Hi Jacqui. My mother was a Dean whose father was born in the Kings Arms Polebrook the son of Charlotte Slater who is in your tree. I see you have gone back on one line to Cecily Gage. Her lineage goes back with very little doubt to King William the Conc,Alfred the Great, the Kings of France and Scotland, Vladamir the Great Etc. If you wish I can give you the full details. I also note that you show Mary Ragsdale, she was actually born Quincy but married a RAgsdale before marrying John Hunt, Her ancestory can also be traced way back.

    David Lonsdale

    • admin:

      Hi David thank you for contacting me yes it is very interesting all these ancestors overlapping I believe on ancestry.co.uk we are DNA connected too.

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