Richard and Mary (Rippon) Brooks – DNA: the path to George Warren.

For Parish, Census & Wadkin Archive material go to the family specific pages:

1881 Census – the Brooks family in Hickling.

Can you Help?

The family of Richard Brooks (Census 1881) are looking for information about him and his Hickling family, including his wife, Mary (Rippon) Brooks – if you can help, please contact us.

A brief introduction published in the Hickling Standard (Dec 2022):

Hickling Standard Newsletter Dec 2022
Hickling Standard Newsletter Dec 2022
Hickling Standard Newsletter Dec 2022
Hickling Standard Newsletter Dec 2022


How DNA solved the mystery of George Warren and Richard Brooks:

  • What the family knew
  • The only route left – DNA
  • Following the science
  • What happened to Richard Brooks and why did he change his name to George Warren?
  • DNA & family history coming together
  • Postscript (1): William Henry Brown, Immokalee, Florida
  • Postscript (2): What happened to Mary (Rippon) Brooks and their 4 daughters?


George Warren (born Richard Brooks) in c.1910.
  • Timeline
  • The Brooks family in the Hickling area (general)
  • The Rippin/Rippon family in the Hickling area (general)
  • Some ‘to do’s
  • Parish & Civil Records – Richard & Mary (Rippon) Brooks & family
  • Mary (Rippin/Rippon/Brooks) Allen; in detail
    • 1856 (birth) to 1901
    • William Allen
    • 1911 to ?
  • Richard Brooks/George Warren
    • Richard Brooks & parents
    • Richard Brooks in Hickling c.1878-1887
    • George Warren 1891 to 1935
  • The Immokalee, Florida connection: William Henry Brown (cousin of Richard Brooks)
  • Census Records: Hickling & Kinoulton – Rippin & Brooks families
  • All Hickling Parish Records: Rippon, Brooks, Allen: see links at top of page
    • Baptisms
    • Marriages
    • Funerals

How DNA solved the mystery of George Warren and Richard Brooks.

When the family of George Warren approached us about their links to Hickling it seemed impossible to be sure of their connection to Richard Brooks who lived in the village in the 1880s. However, Ian Warren’s tutor in DNA studies had advised him to ‘follow the science’ – he did. The following account cannot do justice to the many, many hours of painstaking research which led him to solve the mystery of his great grandfather’s origins – it is an incredible piece of work and, for Hickling, a fascinating glimpse into the lives of the village and the canal at the time.

What the family knew:

In 38 years of searching; the family went back 13 generations, placed their earliest ancestor in 1530, placed 1,343 people in 460 locations. But the Warren family had resigned themselves to not being able to go any further back than 1891 in their search for George Warren – grandfather and great grandfather to the searchers. They had memories and anecdotes which he had left behind him but no way of confirming his stories or placing him before the age of about 32.

  • His name was George Warren
  • He was born in 1859
  • He died in 1935
  • He came from either Melton Mowbray or from Enfield
  • He was experienced in handling horses
  • He had an older brother who had drowned when young (the story went that his brother had been born with his legs crossed and when his body was recovered, his legs were also crossed)
  • His father was a licensed victualler
  • Either his father or his grandfather had been a policeman
  • He went to school for a week (the school was some distance from home)
  • He ran away from home aged 11 and taught himself to read by reading street signs in London

The earliest record for George Warren was found in the Census of 1891:

  • George Warren is living in Runcorn at 13 Taylors Row
  • His birthplace is listed as Enfield, Middlesex and he is aged 32
  • Ellen Howard – wife – from Westhoughton aged 23
  • Daughter – Sarah Alice – 2 months – born Runcorn

In 1897, George Warren (bachelor – excavator) married Ellen Howard (spinster – cotton carder); he gives his father’s name as James Warren (deceased, licensed victualler). Both George and Ellen are resident at the same address on John Street in Wigan.

Meticulous national searches of census, parish and civil records (including commissioning a search for every George born in Enfield between 1855 and 1861) produced no viable results at all.

The only route left – DNA:

Several members of the family took DNA tests as a way of pursuing their family history searches and the way it worked is fascinating. Having hit the brick wall of 1891 when tracing George Warren in a backwards direction, DNA studies offered them the opportunity to fix an earlier point in time (c.1800) and to try and work forwards towards 1891, instead. carries millions of DNA connections; many of these records are shared to help families make connections. The initial results produced thousands of possible connections for the Warren family but important locations began to emerge; Ireland, USA (Florida), Canada and in England; Hertfordshire, Somerset, Yorkshire and Lancashire.

Then the painstaking process of elimination began.

The first task was to eliminate any known connections that didn’t involve George Warren as a shared record (for example; his wives, the mothers of his grandsons etc). This reduced the number of connections from 54,000 down to 6,000.

The first breakthrough came when Mick Warren asked his cousin to take a DNA test – they shared a grandfather (George Warren) but their grandmothers were different (George married 3 times); this meant that any DNA connections they shared must have come through George Warren. This produced 28 significant individuals which included several in Immokalee, Florida; their only English ancestor was William Henry Brown born in Bristol in 1856 – however, no connection could be found between George Warren and William Henry Brown.

  • But remember this name! (see full section, below)

Following the Science:

  • Note: a Centimorgan (CM) is a measure applied to how much shared DNA there is between two individuals; the higher the CM figure, the closer the link is to you as an individual (for example, our parents are likely to be our highest CM relationship).

Going back to the idea of picking a point in the past and working forwards, Ian decided to work around the date of 1800 which, in their case was 3 generations back from George Warren – they were looking for matches in the 40-60cm range. This is the longest and most laborious part of the search; Ian was looking for as many points in common as possible – places, names etc.

Patterns gradually began to emerge and in this case it came down to 3 surnames – Brooks, Hill and Gardner and a small group of villages in Hertfordshire. But there was still no sign of the surname ‘Warren’ – the searches simply didn’t add up. At this stage Ian went back to his tutor, sure that something must have gone wrong, but he was told to forget names and stories and to ‘follow the science’.

  • At no point did anyone with the surname Warren emerge in any of the DNA matches.

All searches went back to two sisters: Sarah Hill and Mary Ann Hill from Hertingfordbury in Hertfordshire.

  • Sarah Hill married James Brooks; they had a son named Richard Brooks.
  • Mary Ann Hill married Edwin Robert Goodhind; they had a son named Edwin John Goodhind

The final check came through an online tool which analyses all the possible connections and the probability of them being correct; all possibilities were dismissed except for one:

  • George Warren was born Richard Brooks, son of James & Sarah (Hill) Brooks – born, Enfield 1857.
  • He had changed his name sometime before the 1891 Census which had placed him in Runcorn, Cheshire.
  • The next step was to work forwards, from his birth, to see if Richard Brooks’ records could be linked to the known records of George Warren after 1891.

It is these searches which led the Warren family to Hickling:

  • Richard Brooks arrived in Hickling sometime before 1878 when he married Mary Rippon (born in Hickling).
  • The 1881 Census shows the couple living in Hickling with their baby daughter, Sarah. They appear to be living next door to Mary’s parents and records on the same page imply they were living close to the canal.
  • Richard is recorded as a ‘boatman’ on the baptism records for his two eldest daughters which may explain how he came to be in Hickling.
  • Richard and Mary’s youngest daughter (Kate) is born in Hickling in Q2 1887.
  • However, Richard doesn’t appear in any further census records in Hickling; he seems to leave Hickling sometime between late 1886 and 1889 – his next confirmed record is in Runcorn, Cheshire under the name George Warren (census 1891).

What happened to Richard Brooks and why did he change his name to George Warren?

The short answer is that no one knows.

  • No hints have been found (so far) as to why Richard chose the name George Warren for his new identity.
  • Richard Brooks lived in Hickling for approx. 10 years – why did he leave?
  • Did he leave in search of work and just never came back?
  • Was he a wanderer who just couldn’t settle in one place?
  • Did he feel like an outsider? A boatman in a farming community?
  • Divorce wasn’t an option for those from a humble background; perhaps parting and moving far away was a way to achieve a separation?
  • Did he live a double life? Occasionally, returning to Hickling?
  • Richard’s/George’s actions are reasonably clear; but how much did Mary know when her husband left Hickling? Did she expect him to return or not? How would she know whether he was dead or alive?

There are some hints that may help to fill out the story of the Hickling family:

  • Mary remained in Hickling, close to her parents and relatives; it is likely that she was well supported within the community.
  • The two youngest daughters weren’t baptised at their births; they were both baptised in 1899 (although at separate times) – at this point their father has been absent for over 10 years but he is still recorded against the baptisms, although as a ‘labourer’ instead of boatman.
  • On Aug 4th 1900, Richard & Mary’s second daughter, Elizabeth, was married in Hickling to Edward Guy (Owthorpe): a newspaper report refers to, “Elizabeth, second daughter of Mr Richard Brookes, of Hickling.” as if Richard Brooks still lives in the village. The report may simply reflect the wish for respectability but the wording might imply that Mary and her daughters still view Richard as a resident of Hickling in 1900.
  • However, by 1911, Mary (Rippon) Brooks has re-married to George Allen and is living in Upper Broughton (more detail, below). George Allen had long been widowed and Mary Brooks had been on her own for 20 years – they both lived in Hickling during these years and are likely to have known each other well, perhaps finding comfort and/or stability in each other’s company when their children had grown up.

By the time of the 1891 census, Richard Brooks (now George Warren) was settled with a new wife and family and in a new location (Runcorn in Cheshire).

DNA and family history coming together:

The DNA search focused in on the two sisters, Sarah and Mary Ann Hill; but it was the connection between their two sons (first cousins), Richard Brooks and Edwin Goodhind that confirmed that Richard Brooks was indeed, George Warren.

  • It gradually emerged that the two cousins followed paths littered with coincidental similarities:
    • They were of a similar age and they are very likely to have known each other well as they grew up.
    • Both left home young and travelled.
    • Both changed their names (much to the confusion of later family historians); Richard Brooks became George Warren and Edwin Goodhind became William Henry Brown.
  • But it was the DNA connections found amongst Edwin Goodhind’s (William Henry Brown’s) descendants in Immokalee, Florida that confirmed the common ancestry for the Warren family could be traced back to the Hill sisters.

Final confirmation came through searches into Richard Brooks’ records which provided confirmation of some of those family anecdotes and memories which belonged to George Warren:

Richard and George:

  • Were both born in Enfield, Middlesex in the late 1850s – 1857-1859
  • Both worked on the canals
  • Both gained experience handling horses
  • Both had a brother who died at the age of 12
  • Both had fathers named James who was variously referred to as a publican or licensed victualler
  • Richard Brooks’ eldest daughter with Mary Rippon was named Sarah – perhaps after his mother. George Warren’s first daughter with Ellen Howard was also named, Sarah – perhaps for the same reason.
  • Both had Methodist links; the Rippon family in Hickling were chapel-goers and George Warren ‘became religious’ and was a founder member of the Lee Clough Methodist Church in Bolton.

The only way that this story could have been unearthed was through the science of DNA and many hours of painstaking elimination and research – awe-inspiring.

  • Extraordinary as this story has been to follow, DNA searches often come up with unexpected results and sometimes these are unwelcome – it is sensible to be cautious before beginning your search.

Postscript (1).

William Henry Brown:

Census 1881: the family of Richard and Mary Brooks in Hickling

Postscript (2).

What happened to Mary (Rippon) Brooks and their 4 daughters:

  • Mary’s history is traced in detail, below – also a DNA success story.
  • Sarah Ann Brooks (born 1879):
    • Baptised in Hickling, 21st September 1879, parents Richard & Mary Brooks
    • Census 1891; age 11, scholar in parents’ household
    • There is another Sarah Ann Brooks born in Hose at a similar time making certainty of some records difficult; one record of banns found (1895), but likely to refer to the Hose individual.
    • Census 1901: Lidgett Lane, Moor Allerton, Chapel Allerton, Leeds, Yorkshire – Sarah A Brooks, born Hickling, age 21, working as a domestic cook in the Mosley household.
    • Likely marriage record (nb. no trace in 1911 census making marriage likely before 1911): Sarah A Brookes to Benjamin Ward Q3 1910, Nottingham.
    • Census 1911 (10, Hinds Yard, Angel Row, Nottingham):
      • Benjamin Ward – head – married – age 32 – born 1879, Ripley, Derbys – fitters labourer engineering
      • Sarah Ann Ward – wife – married 8 months – age 31 – born 1880, Hickling, Leics – unpaid domestic
      • Kate Brookes – sister – single – age 24 –           born 1887, Hickling, Leics – Jennier, lace industry
      • John Leslie Brookes – nephew – male – age 2 – born 1909 – Nottingham
    • Census 1921 & 1939 Register – no trace found
    • No trace found after 1911 for either Sarah or Benjamin Ward – could they have emigrated? (children?).
  • Elizabeth Brooks (born 1882):
    • Elizabeth baptised Hickling 19th March 1882 (born Q1 1882) – parents Richard (boatman) & Mary Brooks. 1939 Register records a birthdate of 16th January 1882.
    • Census 1891: in a household with her mother and sisters in Hickling.
    • Married Edward Guy of Owthorpe (sometimes recorded as Cropwell Bishop) in June 1900.
    • Census 1901: They are living in Kinoulton (Edward is listed as a labourer on a farm) with a baby daughter, Gertrude.
    • Census 1911: The family is living in Owthorpe – Edward is a plaster miner at the plaster pits in Cropwell – they have 2 daughters; Gertrude age 10 and Mary Elizabeth age 5.
    • Census 1921: Edward and Elizabeth are living alone in Fish Ponds Cottage, Owthorpe. Edward is a farm labourer, working for Samuel Holmes (farmer).
    • Census 1921: no trace of Gertrude, Mary is a servant in the Tinsley household at the Fern in Cropwell Bishop.
    • 1939 Register: Edward Guy (heavy labourer) and Elizabeth Guy (unpaid domestic duties) are living in the Lacey household (tenant farmer) at Home Lane House, Radcliffe Road, Holme
      • Possibly coincidentally; the household record above this one includes members of the Rippon family – Stephen (born 28th Jan 1905, married, heavy labourer). [Grace] Annie (born 4th March 1902, married, unpaid domestic duties), 2 closed records and Mary Rippon (born 28th […] 1872 – widow – unpaid household duties).
    • Likely death record: Edward Guy, born 1879, age 80, Q2 Nottingham.
    • Likely probate record: Guy Edward of Holme View Main Road Bassingfield near Radcliffe-on-Trent Nottinghamshire died 29th April 1959 at The City Hospital Nottingham Probate Nottingham 8th July to the National Provincial Bank Limited. Effects £613.13s.10d.
    • Likely death record: Elizabeth Guy, born 1881, age 82, Q4 1963, Nottingham.
    • Likely probate record: Guy Elizabeth of Holme View Main rd Bassingfield Radcliffe-on-Trent Nottinghamshire widow died 4th October 1963 at The General Hospital Nottingham Administration Nottingham 25th November to National Provincial Bank Limited. Effects £606.3s.10d.
  • Emily Brooks (born 1884):
    • Brooks, Emily: born Q4 Bingham District, mother’s maiden name Rippon
    • Emily baptised Hickling 26th November 1899 (born Q4 1884) – parents Richard (labourer) & Mary Brooks
    • Census 1901: likely record – working as a general domestic servant in the household of Henry Whatton at the Royal Oak Inn, Long Clawson.
    • No trace (quick search) Census 1911 or 1921; (marriage/burial possibilities – to be checked).
  • Kate Brooks (born 1887):
    • Brooks, Kate: born Q2 1887 Bingham District, mother’s maiden name Rippon
    • Census 1891: living in her mother’s household in Hickling (with 3 sisters + lodger (Sarah Jane Cray))
    • Kate baptised Hickling 5th November 1899 (born Q2 1887) – parents Richard (labourer) & Mary Brooks
    • Census 1901: living with her mother in Hickling
    • Birth record: Q4 1908, John Leslie Brookes, mother’s maiden name Brookes.
    • Census 1911: living in Nottingham in her sister Sarah’s household, with Kate’s 2 year-old son John Leslie Brooks (born Nottingham) – Kate working as a jennier in the laceworking industry.
    • Census 1921: living in Upper Broughton with her widowed mother and 12 year old son, John Leslie Brooks – working as Clerical Assistant, Government Clerk – Army Labour Corps Record Office, Nottingham
    • 1939 Register: No 21, Station Terrace, Shelford Rd, Radcliffe-on-Trent, Notts
      • John L Brooks – born 18th Oct 1908 – single – grinder in provender mill
      • Kate Brooks – born 30th March 1887 – single – unpaid domestic duties – note; married Aylott 21/6/1948
    • Marriage record: Kate Brooks to Albert Aylott Q2 1948, Nottingham
    • Probate record (likely): Aylott, Albert of 96 Glapton Rd Meadows Nottingham died 30th September 1957 Administration Nottingham 15th May to Kate Aylott widow. Effects £656.5s.
    • Death record (likely): Kate Aylott Q1 1968, age 80, Nottingham
    • Probate record (likely): Aylott, Kate of 96 Glapton Rd the Meadows Nottingham died 26th January 1968 Administration Nottingham 1st March £679.
    • Possible death record for John Leslie Brooks in Q4 1973 – Nottingham (birth date 18th Oct 1908).


  • 1856, 22nd November: Mary Rippin/Rippon is born in Hickling
  • c.1858: Richard Brooks, born Enfield in Middlesex
  • 1878: Richard Brooks (boatman) married Mary Rippon (labourer’s daughter) in Hickling
  • They have 4 daughters; the youngest (Kate) is born in Q2 1887.
  • 1887-9: At some point in this period, Richard Brooks leaves Hickling; reason unknown (perhaps he was unhappy or unsettled in Hickling? Perhaps he left in search of work and just never returned?).
  • Richard Brooks changes his name to George Warren.
  • 1891 Census: George Warren (previously Richard Brooks) is recorded in Runcorn, Cheshire – at Lee, and within walking distance of the canal. In the household with him, is his wife, Ellen and one child.
  • George Warren married Ellen Howard in 1897 (although they are recorded as married in the 1891 census); they have 11 children and Ellen died in Runcorn in 1915.
  • 1900: Richard & Mary’s second daughter, Elizabeth, marries in Hickling.
  • 1911: Census – Mary has re-married (to William Allen) and she is living in Upper Broughton; they have been married for 7 years.
  • 1922: George Warren married Ethel Bedford; he is aged 62 when they marry and his wife is aged 21; they have 3 children.
  • George Warren died in 1935.

Brooks (in the Hickling area):

  • There are a number of different Brooks families in the immediate area at the relevant times and, although Richard Brooks was born in Enfield, it is possible that he came to Hickling because there was already some connection to the area, a relative perhaps.
    • References to him as a boatman and his later appearance on the canals in Runcorn imply that he came to Hickling because of the canal, though.
  • There seems to be a strong Brooks family presence in the Nether & Upper Broughton villages (which are close to Hickling); there is still a presence in Upper Broughton – for example, Brookes’ Sawmills on the A46.
  • Otherwise, the Brooks’ family members recorded at the time may be extended family from around here or simply random individuals – this Richard Brooks is likely to be completely unrelated.
  • Further exploration of Richard and Mary’s children may produce more recent links: Kate, for example, didn’t marry but did have a son – John Leslie Brooks (born 1908) who may have stayed in the area.

Rippon/Rippin family (Hickling):

  • There are two Rippon headstones in Hickling churchyard, both of which link back to Mary through her brother, Joseph – see, below.
  • It seems that Mary was baptised in Hickling on 22nd November 1856; parents John & Ann Rippon.
    • John Rippon was born in Barsby, Leicestershire; the 1841 census shows him aged 30 & living in Kinoulton (neighbouring village to Hickling) as a labourer – see census records, in section below.
    • There are several other Rippin/Rippon families including others with Barsby references in both Hickling and Kinoulton; they are likely to be connected (possible siblings of Mary’s father?).
    • John Rippon married between 1841 and 1849 to Ann born in Mapperley, Nottingham. A possible marriage has been identified as John Rippon marrying Ann Sinclair [Q4 1846 Radford Reg Dist vol 15 page 1148]; there is a census record which has been mis-transcribed but which may confirm her birthplace as Mapperley.
    • John and Ann (Mary’s parents) appear in census records in Hickling in 1851, 1861 and 1871; Mary has 4 known siblings – Joseph (bap.1849), Sarah Ann (bap.1851), Stephen (bap.1855), Amy (bap.1863).
    • John and Ann had two further daughters who both died as infants; Elizabeth  (bap.1858, died aged 6m), Elizabeth (bap.1860, died aged 6w) – this may explain the frequent later use of the name, Elizabeth.
    • John & Ann moved to Kinoulton latterly; see census & possible burial records (below).
  • The Wadkin archive references a photograph of the canal bridge in Hickling (c.1905) as showing Mr Rippon who lived opposite the Church – this is likely to be Joseph (Mary’s brother). This is likely to refer to the cottages now known as Greengates and which would have been 3 or 4 farm cottages in the late 1800s.
    • There are quite a number of these farm cottages dating from the mid-1800s surviving in the village but there are many labourer’s cottages (including cruck cottages) that have disappeared over the years, too.
    • Census record originals can identify neighbours, which can then help to identify where in the village the families were living (see census notes, below).
  • The log book kept by the village headmaster between 1876 and 1895 references the Rippon/Rippin family a number of times; transcription, ongoing.
    • So far, these refer to a couple of broken windows and, more sadly, an outbreak of scarlatina.

Some ‘to do’s:

  • Explore Mary’s father’s family (for example, siblings) to see whether any/all of the Rippin/Rippon census records are connected.
  • Collate the Rippin/Rippon census & parish records into a family tree.
  • It would also be interesting to trace what happened to Mary’s siblings and daughters.
    • Mary’s parents appear to have moved to Kinoulton in the 1880s with a possible death record for her father (John) in 1888 and for her mother (Ann) in 1901.
  • Similarly, it would be interesting to trace Richard Brooks’ siblings to see if they feature anywhere.
    • Richard’s parents appear to have remained in the Amwell, Herts area until their respective deaths.

Marriage Certificate (certified copy):

  • 1878 Marriage solemnized at Hickling in the Church of Hickling in the County of Notts
  • Entry: 135
  • October 26th
  • Richard Brooks – age 20 – Bachelor – labourer – father’s name, James Brooks (publican)
  • Mary Rippon – age 21 – Spinster – father’s name. John Rippon (labourer)
  • Both in residence in Hickling at the time of their marriage – married following Banns
  • Richard signs and Mary gives her mark
  • Witnessed by John Rippin (Mary’s father?) & Amy Rippin (Mary’s sister?) – no indication that any members of Richard’s family were present.

Civil Records; births of their 4 daughters:

  • Brooks, Sarah Ann: born Q3 Bingham District, mother’s maiden name Rippin
  • Brooks, Elizabeth: born Q1 Bingham District, mother’s maiden name Rippon
  • Brooks, Emily: born Q4 Bingham District, mother’s maiden name Rippon         
  • Brooks, Kate: born Q2 Bingham District, mother’s maiden name Rippon

In the Parish Registers:

The Rippon surname is found in records with various spellings including Rippin and Rippen.

Baptisms/marriages/burials: see separate section, below (extracts from a transcript of the Parish Registers)

  • Daughters, Sarah & Elizabeth were baptised soon after their respective births
  • However, it seems that Emily and Kate weren’t baptised until 1899 (after Richard Brooks left) – however, they were baptised in Hickling.
  • Note: the clerk records Richard as a boatman against the first two baptisms and a labourer against the two later baptisms.
    • Although the canal is already declining by the 1880s, this might explain Richard’s move to Hickling and/or his decision to move away. Perhaps he was unhappy in Hickling or just wasn’t someone who settled anywhere easily? Perhaps he left to find work and just never returned?
    • ‘Boatman’ was a bit of a catch-all description for men working on the canal – it would have been viewed as a rather precarious occupation amongst the villagers. Perhaps he never quite fitted in after his marriage?
      • His later reappearance as George Warren by the canal in Runcorn implies a pattern.
    • Although gaps do occur (& regulations allowed 42 days to record a birth), Richard and Mary’s first daughter’s birth is registered in Q3 (July-Sept) of 1879 which implies their marriage wasn’t hastened for that reason. She is baptised on 21st September 1879.

There are no surviving graves for the Brooks family in Hickling churchyard.

Joseph Rippon (Mary’s brother) – the only surviving Rippon graves in Hickling churchyard (both by the hedge, by the gates):

  • In loving memory of Mary the beloved wife of Joseph Rippon who died May 7th 1906, aged 58 years “Behold he taketh away, who can hinder Him, who will say unto Him what doest Thou”
  • In loving memory of Joseph beloved husband of Alice Rippon who died Nov 11th 1924 aged 75 years. Simply trusting the Lord Jesus. Also Alice Mary wife of the above who died March 12th 1927 aged 63 years.

Joseph appears to have married twice; firstly to Mary (Mann) who died in 1906 and then Alice (Spencer) whom he pre-deceased in 1924. There don’t appear to be any children from either marriage. Census records show links between the Rippon & Spencer families.

Joseph appears to be Mary (Rippon) Brooks’ older brother.

(news cutting) Aug 4th 1900: Guy – Brookes – At the Parish Church, Hickling, on the 16th inst. (by the Rector), Mr Edward Guy, of Owthorpe, to Miss Elizabeth Brookes, second daughter of Mr Richard Brookes, of Hickling.

Mary Rippon: summary

  • Mary Rippon was baptised in Hickling on 22nd November 1856 – parents John (labourer) and Ann
  • Census 1861 & 1871 – living in Hickling with her parents
  • Mary Rippon married Richard Brooks in Hickling Church on 26th October 1878
  • They had 4 daughters:
    • Sarah Anne baptised Hickling 21st September 1879 (born Q3 1879) – parents Richard (boatman) & Mary Brooks
    • Elizabeth baptised Hickling 19th March 1882 (born Q1 1882) – parents Richard (boatman) & Mary Brooks
    • Emily baptised Hickling 26th November 1899 (born Q4 1884) – parents Richard (labourer) & Mary Brooks
    • Kate baptised Hickling 5th November 1899 (born Q2 1887) – parents Richard (labourer) & Mary Brooks
  • Census 1881: living in Hickling with her husband & eldest daughter (neighbouring her parents)
  • 1887-1889: Richard & Mary Brooks’ youngest daughter is born in 1887; Richard is likely to have left Hickling around this time. By the census in 1891 he is listed in Runcorn, Cheshire under the name of George Warren with a wife and child.
  • Census 1891: Mary is head of household but is listed as married; her 4 daughters and a lodger are in the household.
  • Census 1901: Mary (Rippon) Brooks – is in a household in Hickling with her daughter, Kate.

1901 onwards & William Allen:

  • William Allen:
    • William Allen – 2 possible birth records: (1) Bingham Workhouse (2) Scalford 1848 (see Hickling census records); census records give his birthplace as Hickling but no parish record for his baptism.
    • Census 1901: William Allen (widower, born Hickling 1849) is living alone in Upper Broughton – he is a labourer on the roads.
    • Census 1891 (Hickling): William Allen is living in Upper Broughton – widower – male – 43 – 1848 – ag lab – born Hickling. There are 2 sons in the household; Arthur age 12 and John W age 9. (Arthur probably links this record to the Hickling 1881 census record).
    • 1883, 7th November: Emma Allen was buried in Hickling, age 34. There are no notes against the registry entry and there are no infant burials at the same time; however, there are inconsistencies in the baptismal records for her children which might indicate a death in childbirth (further searches needed).
    • Census 1881 (Hickling): (location in village unclear – on first page of return but other entries imply middle of the village along Main Street)
      • William Allen – Head – Married – Male – 33 – 1848 – Farm labourer – Scalford, Leics
      • Emma Allen – Wife – Married – Female – 32 – 1849 – Wife – Hickling
      • Alice Allen – Daughter – Single – Female – 11 – 1870 – Scholar – Hickling
      • Edward Walter – Allen – Son – Single – Male – 8 – 1873 – Scholar – Hickling
      • Harriet Allen – Daughter – Single – Female – 6 – 1875 – Scholar – Hickling
      • Samuel Allen – Son – Single – Male – 4 – 1877 – Scholar – Hickling
      • Arthur Allen – Son – Single – Male – 2 – 1879 – Hickling
    • Census 1871 (Hickling): location given as Lodge Farm (not known); entry is between the Rectory & Smithfield Lane which isn’t necessarily very helpful.
      • William Allen – Head – Male – 23 – 1848 – Hickling
      • Emma -Allen – Wife – Female – 22 – 1849 – Hickling
      • Alice Allen – Daughter –               Female – 1 – 1870 – Hickling
      • Joseph Allen – Brother – Male – 17 – 1854 – Hickling
    • William & Emma Allen – marriage c.1868: no record in Hickling Parish Registers (even though both came from Hickling)
      • Likely record: William Allen to Emma Henson – 1st Feb 1869 – St. Mary’s Nottingham.
      • St. Mary’s is quite a common record for the villages; it is the first main city parish as you cross the Trent – for whatever reason, the couple may have preferred not to marry in the village.
    • Emma Henson; bap. 27th Jan 1850 (born 1849) – Hickling – parents, John (labourer) & Drusilla Henson.
    • Emma appears in her parents household in Hickling in 1851 & 1861 – in 1861 she is the second eldest of 6 children (note surname sometimes transcribed as Penson).
  • Note: possible banana skin – Mary Allen born Upper Broughton 1856; she appears in UB census 1861 & 1871 – possible marriage before next census but no record found to date.

William & Mary (Rippon/Brooks) Allen:

DNA connections also played a vital role in locating Mary (Rippon) Brooks’ change of name to become Mary Allen of Upper Broughton.

A connection to the Walker family of Nottingham was found; a connection which could only exist if the descendants of Mary Allen were also connected to Richard Brooks/George Warren via one of their 4 daughters. Fortunately, the individual whose DNA test made this connection had also completed her family history which confirmed that Mary Allen of Upper Broughton (Census 1911) was also Mary (Rippon) Brooks of Hickling. 

  • Census 1911 (Upper Broughton):
    • William Allen – Head – Married for 7yrs – Male – 65 – 1846 – Farm labourer – born Hickling
    • Mary Allen – Wife – Married for 7yrs – Female – 55 – 1856 – born Hickling
      • No marriage record found; should be c.1904
      • William Allen had several children from his first marriage – it might be helpful to trace them following their mother’s death.
      • William Allen and Mary (Rippon) Brooks both lived in Hickling at the same time for some years; although there is a 10 year age difference they are likely to have known each other reasonably well. William was a widow of many years and Mary was separated from her husband – both had spent several years alone with a young family.
  • Census 1921: Upper Broughton, Nottingham
    • Mary Allen – Head – Female – 1855 – 65 – born Hickling – Home Duties
    • Kate Brooks – Daughter – Female – 1888 – 33 – born Hickling – Clerical Assistant, Government Clerk – Army Labour Corps Record Office, Nottingham
    • John Leslie Brooks – Grandson – Male – 1908 – 12 – born Nottingham – school, wholetime
    • (Kate & John Leslie appear in the 1939 Register – see above)
    • Possible death record for John Leslie Brooks in Q4 1973 – Nottingham (birth date 18th Oct 1908).

Death & burial records – William and Mary Allen:

  • William Allen died in Upper Broughton in 1914.
  • (Possible parish burial record; Mary Allen died a widow in Upper Broughton and was buried there on 11th March 1923 aged 62, however):
  • Likely 1939 Register record: Mary Allen – widow – sole household – 6, Church Lane, Upper Broughton – born 19th September 1856 – unpaid domestic duties.
  • Possible death record; Mary Allen, born 1857, died Q2 1945, Bingham District
  • Upper Broughton LH group – have a burial record for William Allen but not for Mary.

The Brooks/Warren family:

  • No marriage record found (so far) for Richard’s parents; James and Sarah Brooks.

Census 1861: Hammond St, Cheshunt, Herts (possible record):

  • (Note: on Richard’s marriage certificate, his father is described as ‘publican’)
  • James Brooks – Head – Married – Male – 39 – 1822 – Rat destroyer – Hertfordshire
  • Sarah Brooks – Wife – Married – Female – 37 – 1824 – Hertingfordbury, Hertfordshire
  • Elizabeth E Brooks – Daughter – Female – 10 – 1851 – Scholar – Sandon, Hertfordshire
  • James R Brooks – Son – Male – 9 – 1852 – Sandon, Hertfordshire,
  • Sarah A Brooks – Daughter – Female – 7 – 1854 – Neston, Hertfordshire,
  • William Brooks – Son – Male – 4 – 1857 – Hertfordshire,
  • Richard Brooks – Son – Male – 3 – 1858 – Enfield, Middlesex,
  • Benjamin L Brooks – Son – Male – 1 – 1860 – Cheshunt, Herts

Census 1871: Hertford Heath Village, Little Amwell, Hertford, Hertfordshire (possible record):

  • James Brooks – Head – Male – 49 – 1822 – labourer – Hertfordshire
  • Sarah Brooks – Wife – Female – 47 – 1824 – Hertfordshire
  • Richard Brooks – Son – Male – 13 – 1858 – errand boy – Middlesex
  • Benjamin James Brooks – Son – Male – 11 – 1860 – Hertfordshire
  • John Brooks – Son – Male – 9 – 1862 – Hertfordshire
  • Henry Brooks – Son – Male – 7 – 1864 – Hertfordshire
  • Albert Edward Brooks – Son – Male – 4 – 1867 – Hertfordshire
  • Elizabeth Robins Brooks – Daughter – Female – 2 – 1869 – Middlesex (note the use of ‘Robins’ in the name – may indicate a family connection?)


  • James & Sarah Brooks seem to have had 10 children; Elizabeth E (1851), James R (1852), Sarah A (1854), William (1857), Richard (1858), Benjamin L/James (1860), John (1862), Henry (1864), Albert Edward (1867) and Elizabeth Robins (1869).
  • Possible death record for James Brooks; born 1822, buried Great Amwell, Herts – 24th Feb 1880, age 58.
  • Census 1881: Sarah Brooks (widow) in a household with her son Albert and 3 lodgers – High Street, Stanstead Abbots, Ware, Hertfordshire
  • Census 1891: Sarah Brooks (widow) in a sole household – Cats Hill, Stanstead Abbots, Ware, Hertfordshire. However, there are 7 widows listed together, each as ‘head of household’ and all on Cats Hill – each has ‘living on [her arrears]’ after their entry – these could be alms houses (see 1901).
  • Census 1901: Sarah Brooks (widow) in a sole household – Alms Houses, Stanstead, Stanstead Abbots, Ware, Hertfordshire. As in 1891, there are 6 widows listed together, this time they are described as alms houses – the next entry is for a gardener on Cats Hill.
  • Possible death record for Sarah Brooks; born 1824, buried Great Amwell, Herts – 17th August 1904, aged 80 – Sarah Brooks probably living in an almshouse for the last 12-23 years of her life.
  • If these records are for the correct individuals, it implies that Richard Brooks’ parents remained in the area of his birth for the rest of their lives.
  • Did Richard’s siblings stay in Hertfordshire or move around, too?

Richard Brooks/Warren:

  • Richard Brooks is recorded in Hickling as a boatsman in the census records of 1881 and the baptismal records of his eldest two daughters in 1879 and 1882, he is also registered as Kate’s father (born 1887).
  • No further records found for Richard Brooks.
  • Census 1891 – Taylors Row, Runcorn, Cheshire, England:
    • George  Warren – Head – Married – Male – 32 – 1859 – Teamsman – Enfield, Middlesex
    • Ellen Warren – Wife – Married – Female – 23 – 1868 – Lancashire
    • Sarah A Warren – Daughter – Female – 0 – 1891 – Runcorn, Cheshire
  • Marriage record for George Warren to Ellen Howard in 1897
  • Census 1901 – Waters Meetings, 10, Bolton, Lancashire
    • George  Warren – Head – Married – Male – 42 – 1859 – Fire wood maker – Enfield, Lancs
    • Ellen Warren – Wife – Married – Female – 33 – 1868 – Westhoughton, Lancashire
    • Sarah A Warren – Daughter – Female – 11 – 1890 – Runcorn, Cheshire
    • George  Warren – Son – Male – 9 – 1892 – Runcorn, Cheshire
    • Thomas E Warren – Son – Male – 7 – 1894 – Diggle, Yorkshire
    • Emma   Warren – Daughter – Female – 5 – 1896 – Westhoughton, Lancs
    • Elizabeth E Warren – Daughter – Female – 4 – 1897 – Westhoughton, Lancs
    • Eliza Warren – Daughter – Female – 2 – 1899 – Westhoughton, Lancs
    • Robert Warren – Son – Male – 0 – 1901 – Bolton, Lancs


  • George Warren is recorded as a teamsman in 1891 confirming that he is likely to have been handling horses associated with canal boats when he arrived in Hickling.
  • It seems Richard Brooks/George Warren may have maintained contact with his family in Hertfordshire; his father is alive when Richard marries in 1878 but seems to have died in 1880. By the time George Warren marries in 1897, his father is recorded as ‘deceased’ on the marriage certificate.
George and Ethel Warren c.1910.