Sykes in England

Updated 15 February 2011


Numerous families of Sikes and Sykes are found in communities, villages,
towns, and cities of England.  If you have ancestors and family in England,
you are invited to submit your information to be included on these pages.




Ruth (Cordingley) St. George writes:


I understand Richard Sykes lived in Littletown (possibly in the parish of Birstall, West Riding, Yorkshire).  His wife was probably Phoebe __________, and one of their daughters was  Hannah C. Sykes born Oct 1797.   Hannah married William Cordingley, a stone mason,  on 19 May 1817 in the Parish Church, Birstall, Yorkshire, England.  Both were living in Heckmondwike and signed their names with an X.

Hannah and William  had three children, William Sykes Cordingley; Bessey Cordingley, and Samuel Cordingley.   William Sykes Cordingley was born 10 Nov 1823 in Heckmondwike, Yorkshire. He was baptized on 4 Jan 1824 and immigrated to the United States where he lived in Roxbury, MA. He married Jessie Forsyth in 1853. She was born 31 May 1831 in Perth or Edinburgh, Scotland, and died in Roxbury, MA in May 1910. William died 19 May 1903.

William and Jessie  had four children, twins Joseph Sykes Cordingley (my grandfather) and Ellen Sykes Cordingley, Anna Forsyth Cordingley, and William Robert Cordingley.

Joseph S. Cordingley married Ruth Gertrude Parkhurst in Somerville, MA and their son, Robert F. Cordingley was my father.

If anyone reading this is descended from Richard Sykes and his wife Pheobe, or has any information about the Sykes family in Birstall, or Heckmondwike, West Riding, Yorkshire, please  send me an email.  I would be happy to share what I can on these families.



David Allen Sykes has expressed his willingness to field questions regarding any Sykes of the Holme and Colne Valleys".

During a trip to England in 2002 we scanned the twenty-nine microfilm reels of the Sykes Collection at the Doncaster Archives. Here are our observations:

1. John Sykes, MD, FSA, of Doncaster died 1 April 1901 at age 84.
2. His Sykes Collection consists of 144 volumes of notes primarily on the Sykes Family.
3. These notes were filmed during February 1965 by the Genealogical Society of Salt Lake City. (I assume that this is the same as the Genealogical Society of Utah, 36 Northwest Temple Street, Salt Lake City, Utah, 84150.)
4. Sykes families in the 1600s frequently were headed by a Richard Sykes/Sikes.
5. The preponderance of his notes concern Sykes families east of a line drawn between Leeds and Barnsley.
6. Information concerning the Sykes families in the Colne and Holme Valleys was sparse.
7. Since he died two weeks after the first UK census (16 March 1801)was taken, and prior to any census publication, no census data is included.

If you draw a north/south line through Huddersfield and move it perhaps fifteen miles east you will have a line passing through Leeds (to the north) and Barnsley (to the south). The collection seemed to primarily include Leeds, Wakefield, Pontefract, Barnsley and Doncaster. The collection did not appear to include many from Dewsbury, Bradford, Halifax and Huddersfield, all of which are to the west of the Leeds/Barnsley line.  I was specifically searching for any Sykes in the Slaithwaite, South Crosland Delph, South Crosland Netherton, and Honley Woodbottom settlements, which is where my family originated prior to 1800.

The material was collected from many sources during the 1800s, including parish registers and extensive correspondence with other members of the family. Non-Sykes lines constitute a minor part of the collection. Much consists of notes. There are several lineage charts. It was not difficult to read and comprehend the contents. There is some unfinished analysis, but the work is not obscure.



My good friend, Dr. George Redmonds, feels that there were two centers from which all Sikes/Sykes originated. One center is Flockton, which is a bit southeast of Huddersfield. The Sykes research of Dr. John Sykes of Doncaster appears to concentrate on lines originating in Flockton. As an example, Birstall, (which is mentioned in the first entry in the "Yorkshire Lineages" section of the Association's web site), is a parish and village but never was a township. This parish would be in the Flockton division. (Ref: Yorkshire Archaeological Society, Birstall Parish Register Transcription, 1558 - 1724, volume I, page xi).

The other center is Slaithwaite. Slaithwaite is a few miles west of Huddersfield.  While Slaithwaite lies north of the River Colne and is currently in the Huddersfield Parish, at an earlier time it was in the Almondbury Parish.

My own interest extends between about 1550, and 1851 when my line emigrated from Honley, Almondbury Parish. Kaye family members were lords of an extensive local manor during much if not all of these years. Many of the Kaye manorial records are presently located in Kansas. A few years ago several of us contributed to a research project sponsored by the New England Historic Genealogical Society in which George Redmonds devoted a month in Kansas documenting these Kaye records. He found that a John Sykes and several of his relatives were tenants of Slaithwaite Hall, which was owned at the time by the Kaye family.

The River Colne flows eastward from Marsden to Huddersfield. The Huddersfield Parish currently lies north of this river and the Almondbury Parish currently lies south of the river. A colleague, Steve Whitwam, has about a million name entries of the Colne Valley. I have about a half million records of the area, including all of the Almondbury Parish records between the years of my interest. My files include all of the 1841 and 1851 census records of the fifty towns of the Kirklees Administrative District (which represents the area of the Huddersfield and District Family History Society). I also have had research done by Shirley Heaton. Shirley is the author of the Honley Town Book, 1746 - 1846, and has access to the records held by the current Lord of Dartmouth. Honley lies on both sides of the River Holme a few miles south of where it flows into the River Colne.

It is very likely that my branch of the Sykes family is descended from John Sykes of Slaithwaite and settled in Honley prior to 1746. The needed research is not yet complete.

The Blackstone Valley lies between Worcester, Massachusetts, and Providence, Rhode Island. During the two decades prior to the Civil War this valley was a major center of the woollen industry. A search of the 1850, 1855 (Massachusetts), and 1860 censuses for the towns of this valley finds several Sykes families the senior members of whom were born in England.

David (b c1818 England) and Sarah (b c1816 England) Sykes lived in Smithfield RI, in 1850, and had a son, William, who was born in RI in 1853. David and Sarah possibly match a couple that lived in Slaithwaite, West Ryding, prior to 1850.

Hannah Sykes (b c1847 England) lived with James and Hannah Moorhouse in Uxbridge MA, in 1850. Moorhouse is a common name in the Huddersfield, West Ryding, area.

James (b c1816 England) and Elizabeth (b c1824 England) Sykes, and five children (Mary, Abraham, Henry, James and Benjamin) lived in Smithfield RI, between 1850 and 1860. Several of these children were born in England after James and Elizabeth had settled in RI. This couple and Abraham match a Slaithwaite family in dates and names.

John Sykes (b 1812, Honley, West Ryding) and wife Harriet (b 1819, Longley, West Ryding, dau of Thomas Durrans and wife Elizabeth Dransfield), and their children George, Thomas and Elizabeth, settled in Blackstone MA, in the fall of 1851, where they had James Taylor and David Allen. Son Joseph died prior to the emigration of his parents and siblings. (This family lived in the portion of Blackstone that later became Millville.)

John (b c1820 England) and Elizabeth (b c1820 England) Sykes and children Joshua, Ellen and Joseph, settled in Uxbridge MA, between 1859 and 1860. This family matches a Dewsbury family. Dewsbury is a few miles east of Huddersfield.

John (b c1820 England) Sykes settled in Smithfield RI, prior to the 1850 census.

John (b c1824 England) and Sarah (b c 1824 England) Sykes settled in Burrville RI, prior to the 1860 census. They were living with children Caroline (b c1844 RI), James and Elvira. This couple matches a Dewsbury family.

Joseph Sykes (b 1818 Honley) and wife Annis (b 1821 Hepworth, dau of Reuben and Mary (Mitchell) Lindley) settled in Uxbridge MA, by 1850. Joseph is the brother of John Sykes (b 1812). At the time of Joseph's probate record (1885) his children lived in Minneapolis MN (Edmund and William), Framingham MA (Luther) and Blackstone MA (Alvin).

The Moorhouse data and a portion of the Sykes data are abstracted from "Some English Settlers of the Blackstone Valley, 1850-1860", printing of 9 January 1993. I transcribed this material from the 1850, 1855 (Massachusetts), and 1860 censuses, and two professional proofreaders verified my transcription. Meredith Sorozan then of the Rhode Island Historical Society checked the Rhode Island returns, and Mark Choquet then of the New England Historic Genealogical Society checked the towns then in Massachusetts. A printed copy was deposited in the library of the Rhode Island Historical Society.  This transcription includes only those households that contained one or more English-born members, and is limited to the seventeen towns which were then in the Blackstone Corridor.  When in existence, all three census versions were reviewed. (There was an original version, a federal version, and a state version, with subsequent versions containing transcription errors that were hand-copied from earlier versions.)

The information relevant to Mary, John and Joseph Sykes of Honley, West Yorkshire, is from unpublished family documents in my possession and the transcribed records of several churches and chapels in the immediate Honley area. I plan to document this unpublished material for you as soon as prior commitments are completed. Steve Whitwam and Janet Ogden were two of the transcribers of these published church and chapel records, although I am incorrectly listed as the transcriber of the St. Mary Chapel records.

Any information relevant to these families will be warmly appreciated.



A computer scan of the document "Some English Settlers of the Blackstone Valley, 1850 - 1860", printing of 9 January 1993,finds only one English-born female Sykes, other than the wives and daughters of male settlers.

Hannah Sykes, born about 1847, was living with James and Hannah Moorhouse in Uxbridge MA in 1850.

The only wife known to have a Sykes surname prior to marriage is Mary (Sykes) Heppenstall. Mary is the sister of John and Joseph Sykes. Only Mary and Joseph lived in the Sykes household on Berry Croft, Honley, at the time of the 1841 census. John, his wife Harriet, and their children lived on Berry Croft at the time of the 1851 census. John and Harriet's children included only one daughter, Elizabeth, who came to America with her parents but never married.





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