Our English Ancestors
Like most genealogical research, the material assembled here is the result a labor of love by many members of our family. Much of this material traces the Longstaff ancestry of our family although we are very interested in expanding the scope of these pages to include as many related families as we can identify. In spite of the name of this web site, we won't limit ourselves to Longstaffs. We would like to know more about those many families who are related to us. [Click here for a partial list of surnames included in our extended family]
We can confidently trace the history of our branch of the Longstaff family to Morpeth, located in the beautiful hill country of Northumberland in Northeastern England. Morpeth was one of the most important market towns, especially for livestock (sheep and cattle), until the mid-19th century. Our Longstaff ancestors seem to have been skinners and leather workers. Indeed, the field where "Tommy" Longstaff once stretched out skins to dry is still known as "Tommy's Field." In 1847, when the garment industry went into decline, "Tommy" closed his tannery and opened a public house called the Prince Albert Inn. You can read some of this early history in T. H. Rowland's essays. Click the link for family history and information about Morpeth below.
Our Willis ancestors were printers, stationers, publishers and possibly painters. We are still finding information about this branch of our family tree.
Thus the earliest ancestors that we have identified with certainty are Thomas Longstaff who was married to Jane Reay (a.k.a. Reed or Reah) in Morpeth on March 17, 1808, and Thomas Willis who was married to Dorothy Nicholson in Mitford on March 19, 1809.