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History Of Boaties!


Proud Brummie!
Having discovered that up until 1940 there had been an history of boaties in my family (since the 1700's at least!) I was wondering if anyone else had a similar history? :rolleyes: :)


Gone but not forgotten. R.I.P.
I discovered only 6 months ago that my Moms side of the family were on the Boats. I haven't gone into it much yet as I've been to busy with Dads side Gwen.:)


Proud Brummie!
That's cool Alf. What is your Mom's surname now and maiden name if you don't mind me asking?

I know some names of the canal boats they were on but I wish I could find photo's and more information about them! :)


knowlegable brummie
Hi Bluebrummie & Alf,

my nan was born on the boats in Tipton in 1910 and so far I have found out that her dad, George Cutler and Mom, Mary Elizabeth Cutler (nee Ward) were also from boat families. I have found George on his dad's boats in the census for 1891 (Fazeley St. B'ham) & 1901 -(Claytons wharf Oldbury). George's dad was Charles Cutler & was shown as a captian and Steerer (also spelled Stearer) and I have found him on the boats from 1871 onwards. George was born in Rounds Green Oldbury & Charles in Halesowen (according to the census).

On the Ward side my gggrandad was Edward Ward, boatman and so far I have found his family on boats in West Brom in 1881, Ellesmere Port in the 1891 Census, and in Tipton in the 1901 census. Edward's place of birth is shown as Nuneaton.

I too have some of the boat names and would like more information, however, it seems that there may have been more than one boat named the same. I was over in England last year and looked through a couple of the "Register of Canal Boats" at the B'ham library archives. I was looking for the boat "City of London" and found three different ones!! I would love to get to the boat Museums at Ellesmere and Stoke Buerne next time I am over, have you been there, any luck in finding info?

What are your boat family names? I will look out for them in my research, who knows our ancestors may have been moored next to each other at some time - wouldn't that be something!!

regards - Dympna


Proud Brummie!
Hi Dympna. Cool info, thanks.

No I don't know the museum you mentioned but it sounds good.

Boat Names:

On 12 May 1904 Minnie Allcott was born aboard Canal Boat "Snap".
On 20 May 1905 Frederick Allcott was christened on Ellesmere Port ,Wirral, England.Canal Boat "Martha".
In 1861 Richard Goddard
(and Mary Lindop) was aboard Canal Boat "Lincoln", Stafford, England. In 1871 it was "Emily" and in 1881 it was "Birmingham".
In 1871 Issac Hobley (and Sarah Lowe) was
aboard Canal Boat "John Barleycorn", Grand Junction, Northampton, England.

I think that is all of them but if I find any more (its like 3:16 am here so I'm a bit tired now!) I will let you know.

Yeah it would be really cool if our ancestors met in the past! :biggrin:



Journeyman Brummie
My Grandfather Joseph Martin born abt 1882 in Ireland was a Boatman
according to his Marriage Certificate and Army Records.
He came from Ireland to Birmingham and met his wife Elizabeth Bennett
who was born in Oldbury,so i don`t know if Joseph was a Boatman in
Birmingham or maybe Oldbury.
He died in abt 1934 so i don`t know anything abt him.
So if there is any information abt him i would be very grateful.

john knight

Hello to you all,
Being a signwriter and having done many a narrowboat in
my time, I have a vested interest in this topic.
May I reccomend the following book, although it is mainly about the decoration of the boats it has much info and pictures which would be useful to any one interested in the subject.
I enclose a few photos - quality lacking a bit but I took them from the book.
Regards John Knight.


master brummie
This is a fascinating subject. Moving great loads with a couple of people and a horse and this modes place in history.


Proud Brummie!
My great grandfather Thomas Nash (b.1861) was a canal boatman - and appears not to have registered the birth of his children, including my grandfather.

Does anyone know if this was a common practice among boatmen who were always on the move - or is there a special place where boatmen's children were registered at birth?

I know the exact date of my grandfather's birth and have searched the BMD indexes for him and his brothers with no success.

Hi Richard,

I am not sure on that one? I know the boaties on my Mom's side of the Family have Children registered on the boats at birth whilst others are baptised at nearby churches to where they were moored I presume. The same goes for weddings to. :)


Brummie babby
Hi Everyone
My great great grandfather had boats in the nechells area his name was Drakeley anyone got any info?:


Journeyman Brummie
My Grandfather Joseph Martin was a Boatman,i know is date of birth,but
i can`t find 4 of his childrens birth`s,so whether they just did not register
the Birth`s or there was some other place they went to i don`t know.
I don`t even know where he was a Boatman,he lived in Birmingham so
probably there.


master brummie
Here is a ref to the travel info of Pye in 1818. There is a lot of info of canal boat departures and much more about travel in those days. The writing is old style but none the worse for that. I thought it might be a bore to read but not so. You might recognise the areas of you familiarity as I did. Remember this writer travelled by horse and carriage.


Scroll down second page below for boats.


knowlegable brummie
Hello all as mentioned earlier on in this thread I am also researching canal boat families.
Richard X & Carrollworral – I have not yet sent for any birth certs from 1800’s but I do have my nan’s birth cert from 1910 and she was born on a barge in Tipton to travelling canal boat people. I also have her parents’ marriage cert from 1907 and they were married in Tipton. Are you searching the freeBMD as you probably know they are not totally complete and that threw me for a loop looking for births at first. Also have you tried searching in the next quarter for the births – especially if the birth date is at the end of a quarter. (you may be experienced researchers and already know this ,I’ve just been doing this for about a year ) Also sometimes the wonderful folks on this forum can work their collective magic and find entries that may help if you post your info and query.
I recently found info on Norman Holts list of Boatpeople for the Wolverhampton area on Genuki – he lists the names of boatpeople whose births & marriages registered in the W’ton area then you send for info on the actual entries. Or if you are able to visit one of the depositories listed on the site you can look the entry up for yourself. May help you Caroll if it covers Oldbury – here is the link –https://www.genuki.org.uk/big/eng/STS/Names/WolvCanal.html - I have yet to try it –anyone else used this list?
Witton56- I found an Aaron Drakeley (b. approx 1848) on the 1881 and 1901 census with his wife Sarah and 1 child in 1881 then 6 in 1901 – he is listed as a boat sterer (their spelling). In 1881 he was at 45 Court 4 Cromwell St. Aston, Birmingham, Nechells- and in 1901 at 6 Buckingham St –Birmingham, St. George – I think this is Nechells – you or the good folks on this forum may confirm. If this is your family and you don’t have the details from the census – I can send you all the details.
Keep the great pictures and info coming – it’s such a fascinating subject – Also have you seen kmt123’s posting of her family website on the canal thread ?, she has some wonderful pictures of her husband’s boat families .
Regards Dympna



Gone but not forgotten. R.I.P.
I discovered only 6 months ago that my Moms side of the family were on the Boats. I haven't gone into it much yet as I've been to busy with Dads side Gwen.:)
Sorry for the Delay Blue Moms maiden name was Windle:)

Looking into it again my GGFather was on the boats.


proper brummie kid
When looking for information on boaters families it may be helpfull to know what type of boating they did .

A Day Boatman would work on the short haul traffic , colliery to factory or power station etc and would live in a house probably near the canal carriers yard for whom they worked . T.S.Elements being an example of a carrier engaged in this traffic .

A Long Distance Boatman would live with his family on the boat and may have operated on the trade between Birmingham and London or Birmingham and the north . The boats would be provided by the company and the boatman may have changed boats if repair work was needed . Examples of companies involved in this traffic were Fellows Morton & Clayton , Grand Union Carrying Company , Thomas Clayton or Barlows .
There may be clusters of registrations of births etc relating to this type of boatman as they tended to time their trips to be near one of their companies yards if at all possible or in the case of FMC and GUCCC boats Stoke Bruerne as the GU company paid for a nurse (Sister Mary Ward) to look after boating families and she lived by the top lock.

The Number One Boatmen were those that owned their own craft and would follow the trade picking up whatever traffic they could , possibly small jobs the bigger companies found uneconomic or sub contracting to the bigger companies when they had extra work .Normally the owner boatman and his family would live on their boat but if sucessfull may have bought a house .


master brummie
My partner's ancestors were boatpeople and we found that Norman Holt's very helpful, we went to the LDS Centre, in Wednesbury, I had phoned earlier to find out about opening times, and one of the ladies there had already made a list of a lot of the births and marriages for the BOAZ and MINCHER families, and we found quite a number of the names of their boats.
Most of the christenings and marriages were at St. Lawrence, Darlaston, and St. James, Wolverhampton.

I also have an ancestor David Ball born Hanley, Stafford in 1805 and on the 1841 census he is shown as a boatman living at Longford, Foleshill, Coventry. In 1861 his son Daniel Ball is also a boatman still in Longford.


GT GT Gt Grandad Thomas Knight owned 3 boats - one of which was the Emily according to the boat registers - any details of the other occupants?

Hi Dympna. Cool info, thanks.

No I don't know the museum you mentioned but it sounds good.

Boat Names:
Richard Goddard [/B](and Mary Lindop) was aboard
In 1871 it was "Emily" a



master brummie
Hi all, even though this to me is a fscinating subject it is hard work searching but sometimes fun!!!!

i have previously asked that although on my website they are my husbands family i would be grateful for any phot's or any stories you would be willing to share on my website,

thank you all for looking and happy searching