It is thought that the Walkers are descended from an old family of Whitby merchants who traded between Holland and England. Family tradition has it that the Walkers belonged to the Society of Friends or Quakers although during the 18th and 19th centuries, they gradually abandoned this faith and became members of the Church of England.
Three families of Whitby Walkers can definitely be identified. The three families are thought to be related but it is not known what the relationship was.
The best known Whitby Walkers are the brothers John and Henry Walker. John Walker is best known for his connection with Captain James Cook, the Navigator. John and Henry Walker were ship owners and James Cook stayed in John Walker’s house during his apprenticeship and was supported and encouraged by John Walker during his career.
Richard Walker was thought to be descended from another family of Whitby Walkers, but by the mid eighteenth century, he was living in Yarm, a market town on the Tees. Richard Walker married Ann Carr and they had two sons, Richard (b. 1743) and James (b. 1750).
Elizabeth Walker was daughter of another John Walker and married Abel Chapman. The Chapmans were another prominent Whitby family. During succeeding generations, a number of descendants of Abel Chapman and Elizabeth Walker married descendants of James Walker.
My grandparents, were both descendants of James Walker. My grandfather in the direct male line and my grandmother through a marriage between a son of James Walker and a descendant of Abel Chapman and Elizabeth Walker. My own descent can be traced back to two of the three families of Walkers described earlier.
Copyright © Geoff Walker 1999 - 2003
Last Modified 30 December 2003