Hebden & Variants Family Website


   Introduction 900 AD - 1500 1501 - 1700 1701 - 1836 1837 - 1913 1914 - 1938 1939 - 2000



1837 - 1913: Civil Registration to WW1


The population was growing rapidly, especially in urban areas, and In the autumn of 1837, the government introduced a formal, standardised system of civil birth, marriage and death registration. In 1841 this was followed by the first national census, These two systems provided the first reliable statistics on population growth and movement.

The approximate numbers of Hebden and derived surnames in the 1841 census are Hebden (551), Hebdin (27), Hebdon (67), Hepden (13), Hepton (96), Ebden (71), Ebdon (60), and Epton (173). These numbers are subject to modern transcription errors and vagaries of spelling and literacy at the time.

The migration of Hebden families from the Yorkshire Dales in the late 1700's (see here) increased substantially, first to the prospering industrial towns and cities in the the North of England and then to areas further afield. The map below, compiled from a study of Hebden birth registrations give an interesting insight into the spread of the family and its derivatives from 1837 onwards, (though Hebden families were already well established in most major cities much earlier). 

Rapid urban and industrial growth continued through the 19th century, and from 1830 to 1860 the prime factor was the growth of railways. In October 1829, the directors of the Liverpool & Manchester Railway had sponsored Locomotive trials at Rainhill near Liverpool, and on the 15th September 1830 the Liverpool and Manchester Railway opened for business. Its spectacular success paved the way for hundreds of railway schemes all over the country, bringing about an era of cheaper and faster travel for the working classes. This new-found mobility created opportunities to seek work in places well beyond the limitations imposed by the speed and cost of horse transport.

The rapid growth in urban areas and population was not all good news, however. Poor sanitation led to serious outbreaks of Cholera in the early 1830's killing over 22,000 people. When the link was established between the water supply and contamination by infected sewage, the government took urgent measures to ensure that growing towns and cities were provided with adequate drains and sewerage networks and clean water supplies.



A New Start in the USA

In more recent times other factors encouraged family members to seek a fresh start in America. Low wages and poor working conditions and the threat of war prior to 1914 started a mass exodus from Europe including the UK.  In Canada and the United States, the period between 1865 and 1917 was one of rapid industrial growth and urbanisation. By this time, the descendants of earlier migrants (English, Scots, Germans, and Scandinavians) were largely working as skilled labourers. With the increasing importance of mass production, the need for large amounts of unskilled labour meant that many new immigrants were able to find jobs only as assembly line workers. Female immigrants worked in both skilled and unskilled fields, often in textiles or as domestic help. Several members of my own family moved from employment in the cotton mills of East Lancashire and quickly found work in the mills of Philadelphia. Because jobs were available mainly in industrial areas, migrants from Eastern and Southern Europe tended to settle mainly in areas of urbanisation and industrialisation. At the same time, many people looking for work migrated from rural to urban areas. The overall effect was one of rapidly expanding cities and industrial growth. It surprised me to find how many single females migrated often as groups of friends or neighbours, though this was more likely to be because of improved marriage possibilities across the Atlantic. For 1920 and 1930 US census data click on the link, or go to the data pages



Travel poster for New York, published by the Municipal Art Committee - City of New York. from the collection of David Levine http://www.travelbrochuregraphics.com/


Canada: a Gateway to the USA

Many migrants from the UK headed for Canada. As a Dominion, it was easier for British Subjects to enter Canada than the United States, and once there, entry to to the US was across a land border rather than disembarkation at New York or Boston. Canada also had many attractions in its own right. It was more "Anglicised" or European than its neighbour and its abundance of cheap farming land offered rich opportunities to settlers prepared to work hard. For the Hebden Clan, The most popular choice was Ontario, together with Alberta, British Columbia, and Manitoba. Although subsequent generations tended to move elsewhere, there are still many Hebden families in Ontario.


The earliest settlers in Australia had little choice about being there. Later emigrants from the UK headed for Victoria, entering via Melbourne or New South Wales entering via Sydney. As with the USA and Canada, life in Australia offered opportunity, freedom of choice and potential wealth which Alistair Cooke famously described as "The Abundant Life". The image (right) "Australia Land of Opportunity" is from the collection of Björn Larsson, http://www.timetableimages.com

A number of shipping lines operated services from the UK to Australia, notably Orient Line and Australian Commonwealth Steamers, sailing from London via the Suez Canal and Columbo to Freemantle, Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane. The journey from London to Melbourne took about 7 weeks.

For lists of Hebden Clan emigrants travelling to Victoria on unassisted passages, click here or go to the data pages



  Most immigration to India and the sub-continent took place as a result of Military, Government and Trading activity during the Empire period. Many of the people connected with the Indian Government under British Rule stayed on, as did those with interests in tea plantations, and import and export businesses. India did not have the same levels of immigration seen in the United States and Canada, or Australia in the 20th century.

To find families and descendants in other countries go to the People and Places page and check the list of Countries Towns and cities. Click on the number of the chart to explore the particular branch of the family shown.


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