Pardon my French!

Flavour of the month seems to be revised Ancestry DNA test results, which seem to be more blunt, and to offer less insight into ethnicity before records began.

I have been thinking about a blog on this topic, but it seems to me that, unless we have data to show the stratification of the samples, we cannot know the skewness. In other words, when revised estimates show stronger or weaker association with various ethnicities is that simply because the overall sample has been “swamped” by the predominant ethnicities among those with the inclination and resources to submit a test, and to relate the results to hard facts about actual ancestors?  The great majority of matches thrown up by Ancestry have yet to attach a tree.

For example:-

  • if my English, red-haired, blue-eyed, fair-skinned ancestors were from Scandinavia via Normandy (as opposed to direct from Denmark);
  • and no one from Normandy is tested (I gather it is illegal in France);
  • and other white English and American folk like me have tests in their droves;

Continue reading “Pardon my French!”

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V is for …

The latest in my ad hoc series on surname origins.

Based on: Reaney, P H, (ed. Wilson, R M), 1997, Oxford Dictionary of English Surnames, 3rd ed., OUP, Oxford, unless otherwise stated.

Van Dyck

Earliest in Andrew’s Kindred: Georgette Van Dyck, who married Allan James Dennis (my 3rd cousin, about whom I know only the rudiments of hatch, match and despatch) in 1945, registered Cannock.  I suspect they met in the Netherlands during the war.  In 1939 James and his mother lived at the corner of Brownhills Road and Norton East Road, Norton Canes, Staffordshire. Continue reading “V is for …”

U is for …

The latest in my ad hoc series on surname origins.

Based on: Reaney, P H, (ed. Wilson, R M), 1997, Oxford Dictionary of English Surnames, 3rd ed., OUP, Oxford, unless otherwise stated.

Underwood

Earliest in Andrew’s Kindred:  John Underwood, father of Mary Underwood, baptised 25 January 1713, St Mary, Stafford, Staffordshire.

St Mary the Virgin Stafford font Geograph Alan Murray-Rust
Medieval font, St Mary the Virgin, Stafford, where Mary was baptised. Via Geograph, copyright Alan Murray-Rust, creative commons.

A dweller below a wood on a hillside, or from a place named Underwood, such as in Derbyshire or Nottinghamshire.  There is a Weston Underwood about five miles north west of Derby.

Upton

Earliest in Andrew’s Kindred:  Richard Upton, born about 1754, probably at Bishops Wood, Staffordshire.

From one of the numerous places named Upton.

Ushawood / Usherwood

Earliest in Andrew’s Kindred:  John Usherwood, father of Elizabeth Usherwood, baptised 6 February 1687, Measham, Derbyshire.

This name is bundled up with Isherwood.  “From an unknown place, probably in Lancashire”.  The Internet Surname Database suggests derivation from a lost village in the parish of Bolton-le-Moors, Lancashire (today just Bolton).  On the Ordnance Survey of 1844 is an Isherwood Fold, to the north east of Bolton.  There seems to be no other landscape recollection at that time.

 

T is for …

The latest in my ad hoc series on surname origins.

Based on: Reaney, P H, (ed. Wilson, R M), 1997, Oxford Dictionary of English Surnames, 3rd ed., OUP, Oxford, unless otherwise stated.

Talbot

Earliest in Andrew’s Kindred:  Andrew Talbot. born about 1840, Oakthorpe, Derbyshire.

There are competing theories.  One is derived from Old French Talbot, a wooden billet hung round the neck of an animal to prevent straying.  However, the root that seems to have more credence as a personal name is derived from the Normandy dialect talebot, literally lampblack, after robbers who blacked their faces to avoid recognition. Continue reading “T is for …”

S is for …

Another in my ad hoc series on surname origins.

Based on: Reaney, P H, (ed. Wilson, R M), 1997, Oxford Dictionary of English Surnames, 3rd ed., OUP, Oxford, unless otherwise stated.

Scoffham

Earliest in Andrew’s Kindred: John Scuffum, father of George, born about 1801, Pipe Hill, near Lichfield, Staffordshire. Continue reading “S is for …”

R is for …

Continuing my exploration of surname origins in Andrew’s Kindred.

Based on: Reaney, P H, (ed. Wilson, R M), 1997, Oxford Dictionary of English Surnames, 3rd ed., OUP, Oxford, unless otherwise stated.

Rathbone

Earliest in Andrew’s Kindred:  William Rathbone, born about 1793, Coventry, Warwickshire. Continue reading “R is for …”

Nantwich: pub sign crawl

The other day I had a wander round Nantwich, Cheshire, to capture images of pub signs, with the intention of finding out a little about them.  They are in no particular order, and my list may not be comprehensive.

The Black Lion Continue reading “Nantwich: pub sign crawl”