Dickinson of Streetgate: Sources
Apart from the usual sources (parish registers, probate, property transactions, taxes, etc.), researchers of this family have an access to private sources - not always a good thing!
The family seems to have started to take note of itself in the early eighteenth century, as we took on 'gentle' status. Not only did we assume the arms of another family, but we also started drawing up trees to define who we were (or wanted to be!).
These trees are based on readings of the parish register, on family documents and on family lore. The people creating the trees haven't necessarily been trained in reading documents, and have sometimes been over-enthusiastic.
I have in my possession two such trees. The first is held at Red How, the house built by my g-g-g-grandfather. The second is a professional wall chart, drawn up in the 1880s, with a copy being supplied to each branch of the then family; which I purchased a few years ago.
The trees invent descents from the ancient Cumberland families (Curwen, Lamplugh, etc.) and from the Patricksons (the family had purchased the ancient Patrickson seat of Caswell How [How Hall]. None of these work.
Both of these trees have errors as well as a spurious lineage going back into eleventh-century Ireland. The reality is that the family can't be taken back further than 1581.
Three sets of documents are unusual. One is William Dickinson's appeal to the County Committee against the sequeestration of his goods after the civil war. The second is a brief statement of Daniel Dickinson's hasty trip to London as a courier - unfortunately with no indication of what mail he was carrying. The third is a small batch of his accounts and diaries.
There are two sets of archives deposited in record offices. That of the Red How family is at Whitehaven. That of Streetgate is at Barrow. The archives of the Brooksbank/Lamplugh family (at Whitehaven) are also revealing.
The current owner of Streetgate has written a history of the family, particularly strong on the nineteenth-century Streetgate branch from which I'm not descended. To my knowledge, this hasn't been published.
I have made some significant changes to the family tree before 1750. I haven been able to do this because I've accessed a source that previious researchers haven't - probate. I've probably read or skimmed through every seventeenth-century will and admon in Lamplugh, Dean, Loweswater, Ennerdale, Cleator and Arlecdon. This has shed a lot of light on Dickinson contacts and relatives, enabling me to make new connections and, on at least one occasion, wiping out a branch of non-family.