A Synopsis of the Research Undertaken in England.


The 'Robert's English family Tree' button takes you to a chart, showing the Robucke family from 1460 AD. This is 100 years before the period of the oldest surviving Parish Registers. At this time the majority of surviving documents were written in Latin. From this chart are links to various copies of Deeds, Wills, Admons and Parish Register entries.

By 1460 the Robucke family had moved from the area of Netherthong to Felkirk. This is the earliest documented record of the family's abode. Although initially it appears that the Robucke's commuted the short distance between Felkirk and Darton, by 1540 the move had become permanent. The family lived at Staincross within the Parish of Darton. The 'Felkirk to Darton' button takes you back to the 15th and 16th centuries, illustrated with maps and photographs.

The 'Darton Parish' button takes you back to the 17th century, and to the home of Robert Robucke's family. Here are maps and photographs of the Parish Church and the surrounding area. there is also a link to Robert's maternal ancestor's, the Haigh's.

The 'ancient Manor of Wakefield' button takes you further back to medieval times and includes records of notes taken from the translations of the Manor Court Rolls and a map of the Graveship of Holme, as well as more recent photographs.

The 'bibliography' button takes you to a list of many of the sources used and hyperlinks to various other web sites.

The research in England was undertaken for me by Ancestor Search. Their web site is more general in nature and includes an extensive list of Yorkshire Wills, including those of Roebuck, Haige and others of the Darton area as well as the results of other research undertaken in Yorkshire.


By way of an introduction I would like to quote from the Borthwick research paper 102; 'Yorkshire Surnames and the Hearth Tax returns of 1672-73' written by David Hey and George Redmonds.

"Roebuck, a nickname from the animal, probably had several origins in Yorkshire and Lancashire, for the name was widely scattered in the middle ages, it was most commonly found in and around Holmfirth, close to where Thomas Robuck was recorded at Netherthong c. 1300. In 1672-73 18 of the 28 Roebuck households were taxed in neibouring parts of Agbrigg & Morley wapentake (6 in Holmfirth, 3 in Shelley, 2 in Kirkburton and 1 each in seven other places), but 9 others (including 3 in Cawood and 3 at Norton) lived further east near the banks of the Ouse, and an isolated household was taxed at Loversall in SouthEast Yorkshire."

This corresponds to what has been discovered in this research project, insofar as it relates to the specific objective of discovering the identities of the English ancestors of Robert the emigrant. Interestingly there were no Robuck's recorded at that time (1672/73) in Darton. By 1672 Robert Robuck senior had died, and Robert the emigrant was probably setting off on his travels to his new life in America. What happened to his elder brother Thomas is still a mystery.

Many of the sources of this research are listed on the Bibliography page.

It is impossible to put all the evidence on this web site, but some of the more interesting 'discoveries' such as Parish Register entries, Deeds, Wills and Admons can be seen by way of scanned images. Many of which are referred to and linked from the Family Tree charts.

Although the conclusions have been drawn from the actual evidence uncovered, this research has also been significant in what was not found. For example Robert Robucke was not found in the West Riding Quarter Sessions Indictment Books. This means he wasn't transported to America as a convict, which is consistent with the theory of his transportation in indentured servitude.

There was also no evidence that Robert married in England prior to his emigration.

Other interesting discoveries have been made concerning 17th Century people with the name Robert Robucke. These discoveries were useful in that they served to eliminate the individuals in question. Examples include the burial of Isabell, the wife of Robert Robuck at Conisbrough on 2 January 1657/58 and then the burial of Robert Robuck himself on 20 September 1660. Also the marriage of a Robert Robucke to Elizabeth Hilton, at Conisbrough on 1 July 1711. The Parish Registers for Conisbrough did not contain any other reference to any other individual who might have been 'Robert the Emigrant'.

In the course of this research the number of Robucke individuals, born before 1700, that have been identified, listed and analysed is now in the region of 1000, and still growing. In addition a further 250 individuals with the name Haige, specific to the Darton area, born before 1650 have also been identified.

After it was established that the Robert Robucke, born in 1653, the son of Robert Robucke and Catherine Haige of Darton, in the West Riding of Yorkshire, was indeed 'Robert the Emigrant', the research concentrated on this area and the surrounding Parishes, including those of Kirkburton, Almondbury, Penistone, Woolley, Sandal Magna, Cawthorne, Silkstone, Felkirk and Royston.

At that time (1600 to 1675) the population of the Darton Parish comprised about 100 different family names, including Robucke. This has been established by analysis of the Parish Registers and Wills. These family names can be seen on the Darton Surnames page.
There is also a plan of some fields within Darton tenanted by the families of Robucke and Gibson circa 1625.

Robert the emigrant's father, also called Robert married into the landed family of the Haige's of Mapplewell. His wife Catherine was the daughter of Thomas Haige. Robert and Catherine Robuck and their children are referred by name to in an Indenture dated 1659, which was one of a series concerning rights to the Tithes of Darton and Mapplewell purchased by Catherine's father Thomas Haige from George Carr, a nobleman of London, in October 1625 and April 1631.

In May 1631 King Charles issued a royal charter confirming his right to collect these tithes.

From the most recent research, involving Wills, Admons, Deeds and Manor Court Rolls, it appears that the Robucke's moved to Staincross within the Parish of Darton from the nearby Parish of Felkirk during the mid 16th Century (the time of King Henry VIII). First as tenant farmers, before taking up permanent residence. Unfortunately none of the early Felkirk Registers have survived.

That time was also a period of much religious percecution and it was not uncommon for some people to change name or move locality or both. One such example concerns a Edward Roebucke who arrived in Dewsbury circa 1600 AD with his brother William and then changed his name to Barnard. See the 'Roebuck or Barnard' page for more details.

Before 1600 AD, the largest concentration of Robucke families, not only locally, but anywhere within the County of York(shire), appears to have been in the Parish of Kirkburton.
Between 1550 and 1600 existed at least a dozen Robucke families in the Parish of Kirkburton centred around New Mill (including the hamlets of Fulston, Hollinhouse and Mearhouse) and Shelley (including the hamlet of Roydhouse) and just outside the Parish at Netherthong, in the adjacent Parish of Almondbury. Coincidentally the earliest Robucke's so far identified are from this very small area. They are Elyas Robuck and his son Thomas of Netherthong circa 1300 and Joanna Robucke the daughter of Simon Robucke, also of Netherthong circa 1300, mentioned in an ancient charter dated 1323 .

All the evidence points to a single ancestor bearing the name Robucke from the time when surnames were becoming established in the middle ages. (Could this be Simon Robuck of Netherthong, born in the 13th century?)

Interestingly Netherthong is only about 3 miles from Almondbury Castle. In 1130 AD King Stephen built a castle at Almondbury (on Castle Hill), which was surrounded by a triple fortification. Certainly Netherthong would have come under the influence of the Castle at that time, circa 1300. From research carried out for the above mentioned Borthwick Research Paper 102, it was apparent that even as late as 1672, the end of the period studied, there had not been much population movement in this part of Yorkshire since surnames had started to be formed during the Middle Ages. Although it might be logical to assume that the ancestors of Simon Robucke and Elias Robuck both of Netherthong, were probably from this same area from a time before the Middle Ages and before any records were kept (the history of Brigantian fortifications and habitation of Almondbury predates the Roman occupation by many centuries and probably goes right back to the Iron Age or even earlier) there is evidence that the first person to bear the name Robucke actually arrived in Netherthong from Roebuck Low, just over the Pennines to the West. This would have been circa 1200 AD.

 The copyright of this website 2002 to 2008 belongs to the web owner. No part of this website may be sold, used for commercial purposes or republished in any form, either in print, electronically or otherwise, without the express permission of the web owner. Any person, company or organisation found to be in breach of the foregoing will be liable to prosecution.