Hancocks of Lisburn

The DNA results have indicated that some Pelans are biologically similar to Hancocks - i.e. their Y-chromosome haplotypes are typical of some men with the surname Hancock.

It seems natural to suggest that the Hancock link is derived from the prominent Hancock family of Lisburn given their proximity in time and location with the Pelans. In 1819, working in the same Market Square we can find George & Richard Pelan who were chandlers and William Hancock who was a linen merchant. The genetic match is very useful as an understanding of the Hancocks can impart information of relevance to the Paling/Pelan lineage, as well as being of interest to those that are apparent biological descendants.

The Hancocks were members of the religious Society of Friends, commonly known as Quakers, although they appear to have arrived in Ulster prior to the formation of the Society. They were hard working, industrious and successful particularly in the linen and associated trades.

In his 1834 account of Lisburn, Henry Bayly writes that:

"The Hancock family always have distinguished themselves as friends and supporters of every useful and charitable institution in Lisburn".

Here are some of the notable members of the family:

    • John Hancock (d. 1764) - his will founded the Friends' School Lisburn

    • Jacob Hancock - brother of the above

    • John Hancock, junior (1762 - 1823), author of famous treatise on rejection of Quakerism

    • William John Hancock (d. 1848), Poor Law Commissioner (Ireland)

    • William Neilson Hancock (1820 - 1888), Legal Professor Belfast & Dublin

The late Neville H. Newhouse has written extensive essays about John Hancock senior and junior:

    • "John Hancock, Junior, 1762-1823", 1971, Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland

    • "The Founding of Friends' School, Lisburn", 1968, Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland