Surname Saturday: FRANKS

Surname Saturday – the Franks family from Cambridgeshire and Huntingdonshire.

Sarah Jane Giddings (née Franks)
Sarah Jane Giddings (née Franks)

 The surname of Franks is part of my paternal family and my last direct ancestor to bear the name was Sarah Jane Franks, who was born in 1803.

Sarah Jane married my Great x 4 Grandfather Daniel Watson Giddings during 1825 at a church in March, Cambridgeshire. The couple settled down to produce eight children, which included a short-lived set of twins born in 1841.

Sarah’s sister, Mary Ann Franks (born in 1800) married Daniel’s brother James, but she died in 1824. James remarried, but then died in 1840.

A lost church

Sarah’s origins are a little ambiguous – looking back to the 1871 Census for March, Cambridgeshire, she states that she was born in that parish. However, go back 10 years to 1861, and Sarah states that she was born in “Coppenforth, Norfolk”, which does not appear to exist.

However, just a few miles from March is a parish called Coppingford – so this is likely to have been (or where she thought) her place of birth.

Coppingford’s parish church was destroyed prior to 1707, after which the villagers used the nearby church at Upton. It is likely that church records from Coppingford prior to this date were also destroyed.

By the time of Sarah’s birth, the population of Coppingford was just 53 persons. By 1931, this had dwindled to 29 persons.

Without church records or gravestone clues, the real identity of the origins of this surname are clouded, unless records for Upton can open a window on Sarah’s family.