There are four separate family trees detailed on the website, The Micklethwait Genealogy. This is because it has not been possible to link the people at the top of each tree to each other due to a lack of source documents. All of these four trees started in Yorkshire.
Members of Tree 4 (UK-USA) now reside on both sides of the Atlantic. The oldest ancestor of this tree was of Cawthorne, Yorkshire, which is the village from which the Micklethwait family originated. It is therefore very likely that this UK-USA tree is from the same source as the others.
In an effort to prove this, we have used DNA testing to help us. One person from the first tree (Cawthorne-Ingbirchworth) and one person from the fourth tree (UK-USA) have each been tested. The results were most interesting because it seems highly likely that the two men have a common ancestor, but it cannot yet be said at what point in time the common ancestor lived.
We do know though when and why this branch of the family decided to move to the States.
Emigrated from Yorkshire to USA in 1831
Willoughby Micklethwait (1786–1856) and his wife, Susannah nee Wood, ran The Bay Horse Inn at Heck, Snaith Parish, Yorkshire from From 1822. Times were difficult, so on 3 Apr 1831, they decided to sell up and emigrate. 13 members of the family left Yorkshire to make a new life for themselves in the United States.
Willoughby, his wife Susannah nee Wood and their eight children (six boys and two girls) were accompanied by Willoughby’s nephew Joseph (1808–1850), his sister Ann and her husband William Raynor.
Hundreds of years before, when their Viking ancestors were all ready to cross the North Sea in primitive rowing boats, it is quite possible that they had second thoughts at the last moment about emigrating to England.
The same thing happened in 1831. The courage of the Willoughby party was about to fail them when Susannah picked up her bundle and was quoted as saying, ‘I am going to America!’ She started off, whereupon the others took up their bundles and followed.
Arrival in America
Their ship from Liverpool arrived in Baltimore, Maryland. From there they made their way west to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and then down the Ohio River in a keelboat to Portsmouth, Ohio, where Joseph and the Raynors disembarked.
Willoughby continued on to Jacksonville, Illinois with his family, where he bought land on arrival. In about 1840, they moved across the Mississippi River and finally settled near Hillsboro, Henry County, Iowa.
It is thought that when Willoughby bought this land, his last name was spelt incorrectly on the deeds. He and his descendants just accepted the new spelling of ‘Mickelwait’; however, Joseph and his descendants continued to spell their name as we do i.e. Micklethwait.
Willoughby’s sons and their descendants went on to have successful careers. Find out more about them and other leading family members in the USA.
We would like to thank the Ralph Bruner Micklethwait (1911–1995) and Major General Claude Mickelwait (1894–1981), who worked together many years ago to bring us much of the information, on which this research has been built.