Tankersley History

The following history has been selected with generalities as they apply to the TANKERSLEY name. Hope you enjoy it.

Contents

900: FORMING OF THE TANKERSLEY NAME

900: WHERE IS THE ORIGINAL TOWN OF TANKERSLEY LOCATED?

900: TANKERSLEY MANOR (CASTLE)

1086: THE TANKERSLEY PARISH AND CHURCH

1086: FIRST PERSON TO USE TANKERSLEY NAME

1100: CHOOSING OF SURNAMES

1100: PURPOSE FOR SURNAMES

1100-1300: CRUSADES & TANKERSLEY COAT OF ARMS

1100-1700: VARIOUS SPELLINGS OF TANKERSLEY

1200: DOLPHYN "DE" TANKERSLEY—FIRST TANKERSLEY FAMILY

1225: A 139-YEAR GAP FOR THE TANKERSLEY PRIESTS

1290: TANKERSLEY'S THOUGHT TO BE EXTINCT

1379: TANKERSLEY'S PAY TAXES

1598: PEDIGREE TANKERSLEY'S IN YORKSHIRE, ENGLAND

1600'S: TANKERSLEY'S LEAVE ENGLAND FOR NEW WORLD

1999 (JUNE): TANKERSLEY FAMILY REUNION IN VIRGINIA

900: FORMING OF THE TANKERSLEY NAME

—TANKERSLEY Is the Name of A Town in England—

The name TANKERSLEY is derived from "Tancresleia," which is a town that was built in Yorkshire, England, around 900 AD. The name "Tancresleia" is formed by using two words, which are:

Tanchere—name of a small town in Yorkshire Leah, or lea (pronounced "lee")—means "meadow"

Tancresleia means "the meadow (or lea) of Tanchere." Tancresleia evolved from "Tanchere's meadow" into "Tanchere's Leah," then into "Tanchere's lea," and finally into "TANKERSLEY." (NOTE: Saying "Tancresleia" or "Tanchere's lea" over and over easily evolves into "TANKERSLEY.")

—Tanchere Is the Name of A Town and A Person—

Though Tanchere (or TANKERSLEY) is the name of a town, it's also the name of a person. It should be noted that Tanchere is a personal name recorded in Searl’s Onomastican Anglo-Saxonicum. At this point, there's not enough available information to decide if Mr. Tanchere was named after the town of Tancresleia, or vice versa, or even if they had anything to do with each other at all.

—The Town of TANKERSLEY Has A Manor (Castle)—

The town of Tancresleia (or TANKERSLEY) currently has the ruins of a manor (or castle). Certain information suggests that both the town of Tancresleia and the Tancresleia Manor (or Castle) were built at the same time around 900 AD.

—TANKERSLEY Is Called Both Tancresleia and TANKERSLEY—

There are no known records indicating when the town of Tancresleia, or TANKERSLEY, was built or established. The town was called by the names Tancresleia and TANKERSLEY for several centuries. We find the town of Tancresleia recorded in the "Doomsday Survey of 1086" indicating the town was already well established and populated by that year. In that record, the town is listed as "Tancresleia" and not "TANKERSLEY." Later in the 1300's, the "Yorkshire Archaeological Society" Record Series, Vol. LIV. For the year 1915, page 23, refers to the town as TANKERSLEY and not Tancresleia. By the way, remains of the old TANKERSLEY Manor (or Castle) still stand today.

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900: WHERE IS THE ORIGINAL TOWN OF TANKERSLEY LOCATED?

—The Town Is Distinctively English—

The original town of TANKERSLEY, which was built around 900, is located near Sheffield, which is a city, county, parliamentary borough of West Riding in Yorkshire, England. The English "borough" is a town with a municipal corporation and rights to self-government granted by royal charter; a town that sends one or more representatives to Parliament; and any fortified town larger than a village. The English "shire" is any of the former districts or regions in Great Britain coinciding generally with the modern county.

Sheffield, a very common borough in England, is located "central, north central" in England. It is 43 miles SE of Manchester and 159 miles NNW of London. It is a short distance north of the center of England. There are three small towns in Sheffield namely—TANKERSLEY, Pilley, and Wortley. These are just minutes apart from each other. They are closely related to each other in every respect, and are heavily dependent upon one another (or at least have been in past centuries).

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900: TANKERSLEY MANOR (CASTLE)

—TANKERSLEY Castle Recorded in Society Pages—

The small town of TANKERSLEY has a manor (or castle)—more correctly, has the remains of one that still stand today. Again, we don't know for sure how old the town and manor (castle) are. Tradition claims the manor was built around 900 AD. The earliest written record of TANKERSLEY may be found in the Doomsday Survey of 1086. It describes the extent and nature of the Manor. In addition to the Doomsday Survey of 1086, the "Yorkshire Archaeological Society" Record Series, Vol. LIV. For the year 1915, page 23, states:

In 1372 a feoffee for the manor of Elland and a moiety of the manor of TANKERSLEY (Yorkshire Fines, 1347-77, page 157.)

(Note that all the words in the statement are spelled correctly.)

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1086: THE TANKERSLEY PARISH AND CHURCH

—A TANKERSLEY Church?—

There is a parish and church in TANKERSLEY, England, called, "The Parish and Church of St. Peter, South Yorkshire." It seems the church has been there since before 1086—that's the year the first priest is listed in the rector.

—Later, the Town and Church of TANKERSLEY Flourished—

Centuries later, we find the following statement at the TANKERSLEY Church:

The Parish of TANKERSLEY was for many years one of the richest livings in the North of England, if not in the country. Tithe records for the early years of the 18th century show an income of over One thousand Pounds from tithes alone

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1086: FIRST PERSON TO USE TANKERSLEY NAME

—The First TANKERSLEY Person on Record—

The very first person to use the name TANKERSLEY seems to be Richard TANKERSLEY in 1086, a priest of the TANKERSLEY Church. There exists today a copy of all the "Rectors of TANKERSLEY" (or priests of the TANKERSLEY Church) since its beginning for the "Parish and Church of St. Peter, TANKERSLEY, in the Diocese of Sheffield." It shows the very first priest to be Richard TANKERSLEY. We find the following statement in the TANKERSLEY Church:

Rectors of TANKERSLEY

1086 A Priest Richard de Tankerle

—Richard Was From Town of TANKERSLEY, Not TANKERSLEY Family—

Note that Richard spelled his name T-A-N-K-E-R-L-E. As previously mentioned, the TANKERSLEY name has many variants of spelling. It is suspected that Richard did not assume the TANKERSLEY name as his surname, but rather only to indicate that he was "from" or "of" the town of TANKERSLEY. Of course, it remains that he must be one of the earlier TANKERSLEY ancestors.

—What Does "De" Mean?—

Note the following statement about the word "de," which is part of Richard's name:

The preposition "de" in the names of French nobles and "von" in the names of German nobles (both meaning "of" or "from") express the idea of land ownership that is fundamental to the feudal concept of nobility. (1)

Strong indications are that this Richard was simply a priest "from" the town of TANKERSLEY; that is, Richard "from" TANKERSLEY, or Richard "of" TANKERSLEY, which became Richard "de" TANKERSLEY. The TANKERSLEY families, per se, seem to have begun a hundred years later, shortly before 1200.

History tells us that William the Conqueror had taken over England in 1066, only 20 years before Richard de TANKERSLEY became priest, which was in 1086. "De" is of French origin, and it is believed that Richard used "de" as part of his name, because "de" was then a new custom brought into England by William. In other words, the TANKERSLEY carried some "class" with it—Richard was a "VIP."

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1100: CHOOSING OF SURNAMES

—Surnames Needed—

Throughout history, people have mostly had only one name such as John, George, Henry, William, etc. As the population increased on earth, it became awkward to live in a village wherein perhaps 1/3 of the males were named John, another sizable percentage named William, etc. And so, to distinguish one John from another a second name was needed.

—English Law Require Surnames for Families—

Around 1100, English law required every person throughout England (and later throughout the British Empire) to have a surname—which is a second name or family name. As a result of this law, heads of families registered their surnames with government officials. The selection or choosing of surnames became an interesting matter. As it turns out, families chose their surnames through one of four sources, as follows:

OCCUPATION: A local house builder might choose his surname to be "Carpenter"; a food preparer, "Miller"; or a suit maker, "Taylor."

LOCATION: John, who lived over the hill might choose "Overhill" as his family name, or the person who lived by a stream might choose "Brook" or "Atbrook."

PATRONYMICAL (father’s name): Many surnames can be recognized by the ending of the names, such as "son" in Williamson (i.e., son of William), Jackson (i.e., son of Jack), etc. Endings of names used by other countries to indicate "son" are Armenian’s—ian, Dane’s and Norwegian’s—sen, Finn’s—nen, Greek’s—pulos, Spaniard’s—ez, and Pole’s—wiecz. Prefixes denoting "son" are the Welsh—AP, the Scot’s and Irish—Mac, and the Norman’s—Fitz. The Irish O’ incidentally denotes "grandfather."

CHARACTERISTIC: A small person might choose the surname "Small, Short, Little or Lytle" whereas a large person might choose "Longfellow, Large, Lang or Long." People who have characteristics of animals might be named after them, such as a sly person might be named "Fox"; a good swimmer, "Fish"; or a quiet man, "Dove."

The surname TANKERSLEY appears to be locational in origin, and is believed to be associated with the English, meaning, "one who came from, or lived near Tankersley, in Yorkshire."

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1100: PURPOSE FOR SURNAMES

—Surnames Aid the Government—

Before 1100, no nation had ever mandated their people to have more than one name. Then however, around that time the need for surnames did in fact become necessary. By having more than one name, the government could keep track of people easier when it came time to:

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1100-1300: CRUSADES & TANKERSLEY COAT OF ARMS

—Several Statements About TANKERSLEY Coat of Arms—

According to the Burke's General Armory in England, the TANKERSLEY Arms are recorded as follows:

Gu. two bars betw. nine martlets ar. three, three, and three.

When translated, the arms description is: red, two horizontal bars between nine silver birds without feet, three, three, three.

Family mottoes are believed to have originated as battle cries in medieval times. A Motto was not recorded with the TANKERSLEY Coat of Arms.

A second statement about the TANKERSLEY Coat of Arms is found as follows:

This coat of arms was in existence long before heraldic records were kept, the Visitation of 1585 being held to establish the rights of those who claimed coats of arms to display them. Like many dating from the earlier times, it carried no crest or motto--these were added to heraldry much later. The TANKERSLEY Coat of Arms was allowed to Sir George Savill, as a quartering, at the Visitation of York.

And a third statement about the TANKERSLEY Coat of Arms is found as follows:

The Family arms are without crest or motto, and antedate the establishment of the College or Arms in London, where a record of them may be found and a copy obtained. They are described as:

"Arms: Argent, on a bend gules, three scallops, or."

They may be found described also in Burke's "Record of Arms, or General Armory." This coat of arms was allowed to Sir George Savill, as a quartering, at the visitation of York in 1585. When and to whom the first grant was made is not recorded, but it is said by well informed persons that it was at a time when the use of crests and mottoes was unknown, and that the pictorial legend and figures in the coat of arms of the TANKERSLEY family carry its origin back to the crusades.

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1100-1700: VARIOUS SPELLINGS OF TANKERSLEY

—TANKERSLEY, Spelled Eight Different Ways—

Different spellings of the same original surname are a common occurrence. Dictionaries of surnames indicate probable spelling variation. The most prominent variations of TANKERSLEY are:

  1. Tanchere
  2. Tancresleia
  3. Tanker
  4. Tankerle
  5. Tankers
  6. Tankerslee
  7. Tankersley
  8. Tankersleys

—King James Version Bible Stabilizes English Language—

We see here that the TANKERSLEY name has various ways of spelling. Well, not only was the name TANKERSLEY spelled in different ways, but virtually every word in the English language was spelled differently until the event of the "King James Version" Bible. In the year 1611, the translation of the Bible caused the English language for the first time to become stabilized, simply because in the future when a copy of the Bible was printed, all the words in it were spelled the same way as before. The King James Version Bible became the best selling book of all times, which generated a massive amount of literature into society, thereby stabilizing the English language for the first time in history.

Prior to the event of the King James Bible, words were spelled "phonetically," which has to do with "speech sounds" (or the way words sound), and not by sight or the way they should have really been spelled. Basically, everybody had a different way to spell the same word. "Cat" might have been spelled: cat, kat, catt, katt, etc. Even the great and famous William Shakespeare of England signed his own name at least sixteen (16) known different ways.

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1200: DOLPHYN "DE" TANKERSLEY—FIRST TANKERSLEY FAMILY

—First TANKERSLEY Family Found In England—

As previously stated, Richard de TANKERSLEY was the first person to use the TANKERSLEY name. This however, does not mean that his whole family used the surname of TANKERSLEY. It only means that Richard himself personally used the name. It doubtful if any family "as a whole" in the year 1086 used a surname, although certain individuals did.

The following statement is helpful:

An English work, published in 1605, states that surnames were derived from occupational titles of the French medieval…. Before the conquest [of William the Conqueror who conquered England on October 14, 1066] clerical marriages were common and many children of such unions were names Priest, Deacon, Rector and Vicar after the calling of their father. The European nobility, late in the 13th century [i.e., the late 1200's], were the first to use surnames in order to establish hereditary families. The oldest son and daughter took the names of the principal estates of their parents, while younger ones adopted names of lesser holdings…. The highest surname count in the United States runs to 154,750 minus the variant spellings of the same name.

Recorded in the British Museum in the year 1200, we find the very first TANKERSLEY "family as a whole" beginning with Dolphyn de TANKERSLEY as the head of the household. This truly seems to be the first "family" of TANKERSLEY's. We find the following statement:

According to the research in the British Museum, which helps to uncover the history of the family as a whole, the TANKERSLEY family began with a Dolphyn de TANKERSLEY who was recorded as being alive in 1200 AD. This was established by reference to the Harleian Manuscripts (No 4630, page 615 -- "Herald's Visitation of Yorkshire").

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1225: A 139-YEAR GAP FOR THE TANKERSLEY PRIESTS

—Gap Might Be Caused By Persecution from Kings of England—

It is interesting to note that the first two priests of the TANKERSLEY Parish were as follows:

Rectors of TANKERSLEY

1086 A Priest -- Richard de Tankerle

1225 A Priest -- William de Tankerle

There is a gap of time between the first two priests, which several gaps of time are found through the centuries at this church. During some of those gaps, England was at war with invaders, etc. Also, some of those gaps are believed to have been caused by certain English kings themselves where they persecuted the Church. So, for periods of time, there were no Churches or priests unless they went underground.

There is found a miscellaneous note stating the following:

… and before 1225 there is a note of Henry de Tankerle presenting his son, Richard, to the Benefice.

Henry TANKERSLEY might have become a priest during this gap of time and never officially recorded in the annals. There is no more available information at this time on Henry.

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1290: TANKERSLEY'S THOUGHT TO BE EXTINCT

—Where Did All the TANKERSLEY's GO?—

There must have been only a few families that actually assumed the TANKERSLEY surname in the 1100's, because a hundred years later (or so) it was believed the TANKERSLEY's had become extinct (died out). Note the following statement:

For a long while the TANKERSLEY family itself was thought to have died out when the two daughters of Sir Richard [TANKERSLEY] were married, Alice to a Richard le Tyas, and Joan to Hugh de Eland. They succeeded to Sir Richard's estates in 1290.

—That Notion Is Brought Into Question—

However, the year "1290" is seriously brought into question by the Harleian Manuscripts. These manuscripts declare this "belief of extinction" occurred during the 1500's or 1600's, and not during the 1200's. This seems to be the case, since we have TANKERSLEY's signing documents up to the 1500's and 1600's. Note the following statement:

The Harleian Manuscripts continue the TANKERSLEY line much further than Joseph Hunter, the South Yorkshire antiquary of the 19th century, noted. It maintains that the last recorded members of the family were Henry, Johanna and Alice TANKERSLEY, all born in the 16th century to Sir Richard TANKERSLEY and his wife, Sarah Thornhill, who was the daughter or Sir John Thornhill. Confirmation of this was found, much later than Hunter, in an old notebook referring to the family. (Exchequer depositions. Lincolnshire, 17th. Elizabeth. Easter. Signed: Vincent TANKERSLEY, also Anthony TANKERSLEY.)

Further to this entry Lewis' Topographical Dictionary, published in 1844, states that in the Parish of Haxey in the Union of Gainsborough, Lincolnshire, a Free School was founded and endowed by Thomas TANKERSLEY, Esq., in 1654. It is not all that long afterwards, in 1708, that Richard and George TANKERSLEY, sons of Rueben TANKERSLEY and his wife Sarah Ann Beverly, landed in Virginia and settled at Port Royal, King George County, Virginia. It is likely that they came from an influential and still wealthy family, for they acquired large estates, partly by Crown Grant, and later by marriage and purchase. From this slight, but interesting diversion, back to the Parish 400 or so years earlier.

Vincent and Anthony TANKERSLEY signed the above document in 1617, which is certainly much later than the 1200's, agreeing with the Harleian Manuscripts.

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1379: TANKERSLEY'S PAY TAXES

—As You and I, These TANKERSLEY's Paid Taxes—

An interesting note was recorded in 1379 in England that states:

In Tancresleia -- one Manor of One Carncate and a half to be taxed, where there may be two ploughs'. (The Doomsday Book)

A total of 110 inhabitants, mostly poor -- paying only four pences each in tax, except for two who paid six pence. Total Poll tax -- 12 shillings and 8 pence. (Survey of 1379)

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1598: PEDIGREE TANKERSLEY'S IN YORKSHIRE, ENGLAND

—Important TANKERSLEY's (VIP's) Visit Yorkshire, England—

Pedigree TANKERSLEY's have been in Yorkshire, England, at different times. On certain occasions, the events were documented. Note the following statements:

"Abridged Compendium of American Genealogy" by Virkus. "North England Historical & Genealogical Reg. A series. Gives Yorkshire Pedigrees (among them, TANKERSLEY) contained in William Paver's Consolidated Visitations of Yorkshire, being those taken in 1584, 1612, 1665.

"Key to The Ancient Parish Registers of England and Wales" by A. M. Burke.

Parish = TANKERSLEY

County = York

Earliest Entry = 1598

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1600'S: TANKERSLEY'S LEAVE ENGLAND FOR NEW WORLD

—Mysterious TANKERSLEY's In Boston—

During the 1600's, the TANKERSLEY's began leaving England for America. In 1673, there were some TANKERSLEY families in the Boston area. Note the following statement:

"Genealogical Dictionary of New England," Vol. 4, (S to Z) page 253. "Birth record: TANKERSLEY, George, Boston, by wife Tabitha had Sylvanus, b. 24 Sept. 1763, died soon; and Sylvanus again, 17 Sept 1764."(2)

These Bostonian TANKERSLEY's present a mystery. Who were they? From where did they come? There is no knowledge at this time leading to them, and they can't be traced back to England.

One idea suggests, they might have come from Germany. Some TANKERSLEY's claim their ancestry back to Germany, which seems to drastically differ from tradition. However, some TANKERSLEY's might have left England for Germany due to the known persecutions by the kings of England, and later migrated to America. Since new TANKERSLEY's would have been born in Germany, that would then create their roots in Germany. This is only a guest, and there is no evidence for this statement as actually being true, but it would answer lots of questions.

—Most TANKERSLEY's Departed England for America—

In the early 1700's, TANKERSLEY's had arrived in America and acquired land. Two of the most notable TANKERSLEY families that arrived in America were Richard and George TANKERSLEY who settled in King George County, VA, in about 1708.

Today, there are no TANKERSLEY families living in the town of TANKERSLEY, England. Most of them live in the USA.

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1999 (JUNE): TANKERSLEY FAMILY REUNION IN VIRGINIA

—Family Reunion Information—

The 6th annual GEORGE R. TANKERSLEY family reunion will be held for the descendants of George R. TANKERSLEY at the Fairview Elementary School in Fairview (Scott County), Virginia, on Saturday & Sunday, June 26 & 27, 1999. The school is approximately 5 miles from Lee County on State Road 600. Descendants, family, friends and neighbors are invited to the reunion. You should plan to attend the two-day affair. There will be lots of good food, games, music, fun, socializing, etc. Since it will last for two days, you can "drop in" and "drop out" as you please.

—Who Was George R. TANKERSLEY?—

George R TANKERSLEY was the first TANKERSLEY to move into, and live in, Lee County, Virginia. He and his family moved into the Dryden area of Lee County in 1857, only four years before the Civil War began.

1. William L. (1843-1920's)

2. George W. (1846-1923)—my great grandfather

3. Emma Angeline (1849-????)

4. Ellen A. (1852-????)

5. Henry Alexander (1856-1949)

In the early months of 1857, George, Judith and the five children moved to the Dryden area in Lee County. There, George and Judith had three more children, who were born in Lee County, VA.

6. Mariah Jane, also called, Barbara Jane (1857-????)

7. Mary E. (1860-????)

8. Frances Belle (1863-????)

Can you find your ancestors in this genealogy?

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My name is C. Ray Tankersley. I was born in November 1942 in Newberry, South Carolina, and raised in Whitmire, South Carolina. In January 1977, I moved to Whiteland, Indiana, and have lived there since that time.

All comments and questions are welcomed. Please respond to me at: rtankers@comsys.net

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END NOTES:

(1) Genealogy of the TANKERSLEY Family in the United States, by Charles W. Tankersley, printed about 1895.

(2) Ibid.

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Last Revised: May 11, 1999

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