Overview of the Moxon Family Trees

Since the Moxon Society’s inception in 1987 following the publication of The Moxons of Yorkshire there has always been a pressing need to explore, compile, illustrate, verify and preserve the family history of  Members including how they might one day mesh together in one giant Moxon or Moxham tree. These pages give a brief overview of the family trees that have been compiled in the intervening years as a result of this research. 

As an introduction, we reprint here an article, Evolution of the Moxon Family Trees by John Moxon Hill describing the early days of the Moxon Family trees, taken from issue 42 of the Moxon Magazine (Oct 2008). Click here to see maps of England and Wales showing the geographical distribution of the Moxon and Moxham surnames in the 1891 census.

I FIRST BECAME really interested in my family history in about 1981. Dymps [Dympna, John’s wife.  Ed.] and I took my mother over from Uttoxeter to Lichfield to visit her sister. During the evening, Auntie Pip (Kathleen) pulled out an old cardboard shoe box, containing many old Moxon family papers. There was the will of Nathaniel Moxon, Innkeeper of Market Bosworth dated 1806 (who was Nathaniel?) Then there were letters from my great Grandfather, John Payne Moxon, to his father, tantalisingly just addressed to “Mr. Moxon”! Who was his father? Curiosity got the better of me! A few weekends later, we searched around the graveyard of Market Bosworth Church, and found many useful monumental inscriptions. Next, taking a day’s holiday from work, we visited the Leicester Record Office. There, the very helpful staff, enabled us to find out much more. So, armed with a large piece of paper, I was able to draw out a family tree, showing the descendants of Thomas Moxon of Market Bosworth. The pressures of family and work delayed much further research, until I retired in 1986. Some more research soon meant re-drawing the family tree on an even larger piece of paper! Having acquired my first (proper) computer in 1987, it seemed a reasonable thing to expect it to do the hard graft of laying out and drawing up family trees. To my surprise, I could not find a proprietary program anywhere which would perform this task. So, having learnt the elements of “Basic” programming, I set to, to compile my own program. It took ages! But eventually I had a program that would compile a family tree, up to 12 sheets wide by 4 sheets deep, accommodating up to 20 generations, and up to 255 individual entries. So, the first version of Tree MX01 was born. In May 1988, I had a letter from my second cousin, Chris Moxon, who told me that Jimmy Moxon had produced the first “Moxon Magazine” in April, and enclosed a copy. I immediately rang the printers, Tortoiseshell Press in Ludlow, to get details. They gave me the late Dick Moxon’s telephone number. He “signed me up” to receive future issues of the Magazine on subscription, and sold me a copy of The Moxons of Yorkshire. The book included the research that Joan Rendall had carried out into the ancestry of her ancestor, Thomas Moxon of Market Bosworth. Another call to Dick, and I had Joan’s telephone number. I called, and Dymps and I were instantly invited to visit Joan and Robert. That was a most interesting, enjoyable and fruitful visit! Joan had determined Thomas Moxon’s ancestry right back to Charles Mokeson, who made his will, and died, in 1592. Back home, the computer worked overtime to load in all this new material, and to print out the new tree.

In July 1989 I booked to attend the first Moxon Gathering in Leeds. Joan and Robert were going, and Joan asked me if I could call in at Leicester and take Graham Jagger with me – this was the first time we had met. I took my MX01 tree with me, the sheets stuck to a roll of corrugated cardboard, which could be rolled up for transport. Soon after returning home I started to receive hand drawn copies of Moxon Trees for computerisation! These, and the trees shown in The Moxons of Yorkshire were computerised. After the death of Dick Moxon, his files were passed to the late Jimmy Moxon. Among these were two lever arch files containing all the correspondence Dick had received concerning orders for The Moxons of Yorkshire, for which about 1000 “flyers” had been mailed out to Moxons worldwide, with addresses taken from Phone books. This mailshot must have been one of the most successful ever with around 350 positive responses; normally a return of 5% is thought to be good!  I borrowed these two files since many who responded sent in their own Moxon trees. Most of them were then either added to existing trees, or new trees drawn. At the third Gathering, also in Leeds, my corrugated cardboard was now about 25 feet long! I continued to create new trees, and add to existing trees, until around 2002, when the backlog became too large for me to continue. There were over 3600 entries. By this time, many proprietary tree drawing programs were available: most were compatible one with the other, using the GEDCOM file interchange system. Unfortunately, my program was not compatible with any of them!

As computers evolved and become more capable, Moxon Society stalwarts Graham Jagger, John Earnshaw and Ed Moxon took up the baton and began the process of converting the trees from John Moxon Hill’s personal system to what had become the standard GEDCOM format, the internationally accepted standard for storing and swapping genealogical information. 

Following John’s death in 2010, this process was continued by the then webmaster Margaret Tucker Moxon, of Moxons Downunder, and others.  Margaret then uploaded the GEDCOM files to the Ancestry.com website, where the Society now stores all its Trees.  The result is a much greater ability to keep the trees up to date, to be able to create new trees and to be able to carry out further research by using a system of “Tree Guardians” who have the responsibility for maintaining the individual trees.

It has been possible, due to the advent of, and continual improvement in, DNA testing, to determine the probability of which trees are related to each other, and the trees are presented on this website grouped in this way, where known: for examples, please see the Case Studies.