Thomas Staniforth & Co. Sickle works at Hackenthorpe.
The Staniforth Society group was founded by Nathan James Staniforth at the start of 2018, however our story goes back years. Nathan’s grandfather Anthony Heaton Staniforth began looking into his direct family line over a decade ago, this was around the time websites such as Find My Past and Ancestry were becoming popular. Being able to combine his own personal memories with Census and parish records meant that he was able to discover some basic information. Anthony remembered his grandparents Herbert Heaton Staniforth and Edith Bannister fondly, as well as the family on his maternal line. He of course had great memories of his father Windsor Heaton Staniforth and his mother Olive Beauchamp. It was around this time that he discovered his great-grandfather Charles Heaton Staniforth was buried in the Hackenthorpe Christ Church Cemetery, only a mile down the road from his home. Anthony spent the next few years delving into his family history on-and-off before eventually passing the torch onto Nathan.
Nathan was born on April 1st 1993 and being raised mostly by his Grandparents, he was surrounded by family history. His grandmother Bernadette Staniforth (nee Moran) is from a small village in County Westmeath, Ireland named Milltownpass, and the older Irish generations are very family orientated. Some of his earliest memories are of walking with his grandfather Anthony to visit his great grandfather Windsor at Richmond, Sheffield. They would often walk through the local Shirebrook Valley Nature Reserve to visit the Birley Spa Bath House and other local landmarks. Throughout his college days he would often walk from their home in Frecheville, through Hackenthorpe village, passing the old Thomas Staniforth & Co. Sickleworks to Peaks College, and although unbeknownst to him at the time, he passed many plots of land that was once owned by his ancestors. In 2014, at age 20 Nathan emigrated to Texas, USA and married Cassie Cleveland soon after. It was around this time that he truly began to take an interest in social and family history.
This project began to take shape in 2015, originally it was a basic family tree much like any other, however as more information began to be uncovered, it was clear that the Staniforth family of Hackenthorpe was part of a much larger family.
Various Sheffield historians from the past such as Joseph Hunter and David Hey had mentioned the Staniforth surname in their publications. David Hey mentioned them numerous times in his books on local Yorkshire surnames and it was in his research that Nathan uncovered the fact that the surname stemmed from an area near Wincobank known as Stanyford. Joseph Hunter, another well-known historian and antiquarian, produced a number of Staniforth charts that were included in his Familiae Minorum Gentium publications. The larger of the two charts include the Darnall and Wincobank Staniforth families and include some of the earliest known Staniforth ancestors.
In more recent years, after collecting and digging through various Census and parish records, wills and various other documents, Nathan began to put together a large Staniforth family tree. Although the tree contains various ‘floating’ lines, the main aim is to link these up to the ‘main lines’ eventually.
In 2017 Nathan was interviewed for the Sheffield Star, as well as a local publication in County Mayo, Ireland titled Erris Eye, in which he wrote an article on the line of Staniforth lighthouse keepers from Ireland. He was also interviewed by Paulette Edwards on BBC Radio Sheffield.
At the start of 2018 work began on the Staniforth Society website. The idea behind the website is to offer a place where all of the research can be displayed so that Staniforth family members from around the world can locate specific information on their own personal family lines, no matter how distant. Although the website is still in its infancy, there is already a lot of information on offer, from photos and articles to records and documentation. This is very much a community driven website and we hope that people from around the world will contribute to help our collection grow.