Alan Birtwhistle: onBirtwistle, Birtwhistle, Birtwisle, Bertwistle and Birdwhistell family trees

I am still plugging along keeping up with our family tree which you can have access to if you want. Just let me know. I may have to give you permission to access.  I just need your email address. The tree is quite large since the tree also includes both my and my wife Martha’s ancestries. Martha’s ancestry also goes back quite a ways in England, in fact, further than ours. (I can also supply you with your direct line back to Ralph, our so far earliest ancestor, to make it easier to follow your line and correct me for any mistakes or provide me with better information.) You will be given credit as the source of such data.

Just a word to those using only ancestry as their research tool. The site doesn’t have all the data available on the internet and, in fact, on certain sites that it has merged data from, the merged data is not complete. I still have to go to some of the old reliables: FreeBMD, LancashireBMD, YorkshireBMD, Church records, Find a Grave, etc. At least some of the Non-Conformist records are now on FreeBMD. I also use Google and Bing quite often. I just used Bing today to find and confirm an ancestor for one of your bloggers. I do try to confirm data before it is entered on the tree, but that is not always accurate since there may be several people of the same name born about the same year. Then you try to determine their parents and then their children.

If any of you access the tree and find missing information or errors, please let me know. If you want to add to the tree, especially your branches, also let me know. Living peoples’ names are not shown, but I do have most of that information on my Family Tree Maker tree on my computer. If you like to see what I have on your line, please let me know and I can probably email the same to you.

I would like to share with you some DNA results I received on my male genetic line after I took both the Genographic 2. Test (National Geographic) and the Ancestry DNA test. The Genographic test concentrated on early history until about 500 years ago. The Ancestry test concentrated mostly on the last 3000 years. The Genographic test is now offered to get results for more finite subgroups or Haplogroups.

The Genographic test is run by Family Tree DNA, not related to Family Tree Maker software. I asked to join a group that had mostly Anglo-Saxon (Germanic) ancestors, but my name is not one of the common names they were looking for so I have not heard from them. Our Haplogroups, R1b-M343 and R1b-M269, Anglo-Saxon Y-DNA, are in this Germanic grouping. I will explain more about this “Germanic” Anglo-Saxon Y-DNA group later.

These tests are somewhat confusing, especially the Ancestry results which I will try to explain. I have given John M. Birtwhistle a copy of the Genographic results and I will try to provide others with those results, if you are interested. I don’t think you can access my Ancestry or Genographic results on the internet. Everything is password protected.

It might be interesting if some males in the UK took the AncestryDNA tests to compare with my results.

If you want to get a little history of some other DNA tests run in the UK, check out the Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, an Oxford Academic publication, in the Molecular Biology and Evolution article,  Y Chromosome Evidence for Anglo-Saxon Mass Migration. I do believe they test areas south of where our ancestors lived early in 1100 AD. You might also want to look at an article on the internet from Wikipedia entitled, Anglo-Saxon settlement of Britain. I will give you some summaries of the results that may or may not make sense to you.

The Genographic test shows that we only have 1.2% of Neanderthal DNA whereas the average is 2.1%. For those that want to see where we came from back 100,000 years until 1,000 years ago, I have can supply you with part of the report, Your Deep Ancestry (1,000 Years-100,000 Years Ago), and on the last page you will see a small diagram pointing our travels routes.

Where I use the term geographic areas with the percentages, which is what the test shows, one must then look to see what area that definition actually included. It was also found that the areas overlapped.

The Genographic test shows that we have 73% DNA of Western & Central Europe which included Spanish, Dutch, Swiss, Austrian, German and northern Italian ancestries. Note, Belgium and France and Portugal were not included. Remember this is for probably a 1000 years or more years ago. The Ancestry test shows we have 54% Western Europe DNA found in Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Netherlands, Switzerland, Luxemburg and northern Italy; or Germanic & Celtic tribes. Probably included Great Britain also.

The Genographic test shows we have 17% Great Britain & Ireland DNA which included area of Scotland and Wales. The Ancestry test shows we have 11% Great Britain DNA. The Ancestry test also showed 19% Ireland DNA which included Scotland and Northern Ireland.

The Genographic test shows 8% Eastern Europe, an area where we could have picked up Celtic and Germanic genes. Remember we are dealing with maybe 10,000 years ago.

The Ancestry test shows we have 11% DNA of Italy and Greece which threw me a little, but this included northern Italy and as I have said we did pass thru this area a long time ago on our way from Africa to Great Britain.

On another subject, some archeologists believe they have found the original Hamlet of Birtwistle. I found out about this thanks to Maureen Harrison. They were to start digging in June. See below.

I am still working to determine who our predominant ancestors in England may have been. I still believe they were a combination of the original settlers, Britons (Celts or earlier) and the Danes (Angles not Saxons) since so far everything I have found, Birtwistle appears to be on a border area between these 2 groups.  Any other ideas or pointers for my research I have read too much and looked at too many maps.

Just for your information if you are not familiar with some of the early history, here are some notes of mine under Ralph, born about 1160 AD.

“Please note. Ralph did not have a last name until his sons received the last name, but for listing purposes, I used sons’ last name for him also. The lines and branches of the family through 1850 which show no source are most likely from the book The Birtwistle Family, 1200-1850 A.D. compiled by William A. Birtwistle assisted by Ray Aspden and others. At the time these lines were entered, the software that was being used did not provide for a source to be entered easily and this compiler did not then realize that he would become the central family compiler, with the help from many others from around the world, and that the tree would become so large so it is now over 20,110 descendants of Ralph as of February 5, 2017. The tree contains more who are blood relatives of the descendants and some are ancestors of L. Alan Birtwhistle’s other lines and ancestors of his wife and their daughters’ spouses’ lines.

William A. Birtwistle, Billy, in his book, on page 3, states that. “The family is well documented from 1200 A.D. up to the time of the Reformation, and in spite of the absence of Parish Records, it has been possible to complete their history during these early years, from over one hundred and fifty mentions of the family taken from the printed transcription of the Court Rolls of the Honour of Clitheroe by William Farrer, The Victorian County History of Lancashire, The Histories of Whalley and Craven by the Rev. J. D. Whitaker, and from the many references to the family in the published volumes of the Record Societies of Lancashire and Yorkshire.”. Per page 5

Recorded in many spelling forms including Birtwistle, Birtwhistle, Birtwisle, Bertwistle and Birdwhistell, this unusual surname is English. It is locational from now “lost” or at least depopulated village or hamlet called Birtwistle near the Village of Hapton in Lancashire. The place name is believed to derive from the pre-7th century Olde Norse word “birki”, meaning birch trees, but which may also refer to a bridge or causeway made of birch, plus the Olde English word “twissel”, meaning a fork, and describing the junction of two streams. Locational surnames are usually “from” names. That is to say names given to people after they left their original homes to move elsewhere as an easy means of identification. In this case, early examples of the recordings include Henricus de Birktwysell of Yorkshire in the Poll Tax rolls of 1379, John Brittwissil in the lists of members of the Preston Guilds, Lancashire, in the year 1397, and Gilbert Birtwisle of Love Clough, Lancashire in the Wills register of Chester, in 1594. The first recorded spelling of the family name is believed to be that of John de Briddestwysill. This was dated 1285, in the Assize Rolls of the county of Lancashire, during the reign of King Edward 1st of England, 1272 – 1307. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to “develop” often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.

Read more:

On Friday, April 21, 2017, The Burnley Express contained a news article announcing that a “Big dig to find lost village” by Sue Plunkett which is to recover the lost village or hamlet of Birtwistle which it is believed is situated in the vicinity of Hapton Tower. The Hapton Heritage web site contains several articles in regard to this lost hamlet and the location. See

From the articles there is evidence that the site pre-existed 1193 A.D. We know this since Ralph was born there.

Family Search (LDS) has a date of birth as 1162 at Bridtwisell allegedly taken from a published book. No source shown. Only published books are William’s, mine and 2 older books, but found none gave definite birth date.

NOTE: Lancashire as a county did not exist in 1080 AD when the Doomsday Book was created and was not created until approximately 1182 AD as County Pallantine Lancaster which later became Lancashire.”

A group of us Birtwistle cousins put together a successor book to William’s that was called Thirty-One Generations of the Birtwistle Family, a Family History. Several copies are located in the Accrington Library in the Local Studies section. The book is out of print. I would be happy to provide you with the first 19 pages which covers the Introduction and history of the hamlet of Birtwistle. I can do this since I was the compiler as well as the publisher of the book. You can put part on your site if you like. Several of your bloggers contributed sections to this book.

Kind regards,

Alan Birtwhistle

PS Please use this email now. I have had problems with others thanks to

Appendix from Hamish MacLaren:

The main resource on all things Birtwistle is the book “The Birtwistle Family, 1200- 1850 AD” by William A Birtwistle assisted by Ray Aspden.
Including Birtwells of Accrington and Whalley, Birtwhistles of
Yorkshire and other local spelling variations.

(c) William A.Birwistle 1989. Published in Great Britain 1990.
ISBN 09515337 0 3
W.A. Birtwistle, Brier Nook, Park Cresent,Blaclkburn , Lancashire. UK
Printed by Caxton Printing Co. (A)

This has many family trees.

You might also look at The Birtwistle FamilyHome Page. This was on a Family Tree Maker webpage, but those were all moved to when Family Tree Maker stopped those. They can’t be updated, but at least the information is still there. There might be some leads there for you.

For example Genealogy Report: Descendants of Ralph De Bridtwesell, if you follow that through the generations you might find something. That was done by L. Alan Birtwhistle . I don’t know if he has moved any of that to a new site.

He at one point did an enormous amount of work collecting a huge number of Birtwhistle trees from all round the world and put them on CDs which many of us bought at cost.

In looking around on Google I came across The Birtwistle Genealogy and Family Tree Page.

There is also

WikiTree’s Birtwistle Genealogy


RootsWeb search at you could put in any variation of the spelling you want.

I haven’t actually tried searching for any Birtwistles on those, but they might have something.

I have some lines starting with the first known Birtwistle, Ralph de Bridtwisell , of Bridtwisell in Hapton b: ABT 1160 on Rootsweb at It shows 10 generations at a time, click on a name, then on “Descendancy” to see the next 10 generations. I think nearly all of that is also on L. Alan Birtwhistle web page.

You probably already have most of this, but I hope something is of some use.
Good luck with your search.
Hamish Maclaren

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s