The Booles were yeoman farmers in Lincolnshire since at least the sixteenth century1. The Boole name (which is an old variant spelling of ‘Bull’2) appears in early records for areas southwest of Skegness; somewhat later around Newark they provide a constable for Caunton district.3 George’s branch of the family had lived northwest of Lincoln in Broxholme since at least the mid 17th century.
George’s mother, Mary Ann Joyce came from a Berkshire family of similar stock. John and Mary had four children, three boys and a girl. George was born in 1815, Mary in 1818, William in 1819 and Charles in 1821. The sons all moved away from Lincoln to follow their businesses.4 Mary stayed to look after her parents until after her mother died in 1854 and later went to Cork to become governess for the children of the Bishop.
George married Mary Everest5 (niece of the mountain’s namesake) and they had five daughters6. So the Boole surname was not carried on in George’s lineage. However, the intellectual curiosity and brilliance did not die out. Four of his daughters showed intellectual gifts ranging from mathematics through chemistry to writing novels.7
Some grandchildren also showed remarkable gifts in mathematics and sciences. Sir G. I. Taylor became a Fellow of the Royal Society, like his grandfather8. In the subsequent generation, H. E. Hinton, a great grandson was similarly recognised9 and his cousin Joan Hinton was a great American nuclear physicist.10 The absence of the name “Boole” from this lineage might go some way to explain how George and his legacy has been so little recognised by the wider world.
*Source: Museum of English Rural Life (University of Reading) “Durham Bull Favourite”
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