Surname Saturday: GIDDINGS

Surname Saturday – it’s the turn of the Giddings family from Fleet, Lincolnshire and later from March, Cambridgeshire.

My Giddings ancestry from Lincolnshire and later from Cambridgeshire provides me with one of my favourite photographs in my collection.

Elizabeth Giddings (1831-19??)

At some point between October 1791 and December 1793 my 5x Great Grandparents Thomas Giddings and his wife Rebecca (née Watson) left the village of Fleet on the border of Lincolnshire and brought their family of at most 3 children to March, Cambridgeshire.

By 1798 the couple had grown the family to 5 children with the youngest, Daniel Watson Giddings (my Gt x4 grandfather) having been born that year.

The Giddings family appear to have been Baptists, attending The Providence Baptist Church in March – this is certainly the place of many of their appearances in parish records.


In 1852, my Gt x3 Grandmother Elizabeth Giddings (pictured) gave birth to my Gt x2 Grandmother, Sarah Elizabeth Giddings. This must have been a real test for both Elizabeth and Sarah as illegitimacy was heavily frowned upon during this period and both mother and child would have bore the weight of the ‘disgust’ of the community they lived in. Elizabeth would have been encouraged to marry. Despite this, Elizabeth remained unmarried for another 10 years, finally marrying a Charles Lincoln from Potton, Bedfordshire in 1862. Together they had a daughter, Jane.


Sarah Elizabeth married my Gt x2 Grandfather James Martin from Little Downham, Cambridgeshire and the couple settled down to rear a family of 13 children. Sarah must have been as tough as her mother, as she saw six of her children plus a son-in-law and daughter-in-law all go to the grave in her lifetime. One son died as an infant, another was killed when he fell from a horse as a working child. She then lost a daughter and son-in law, and two sons as a result of the First World War. I’m unsure of the cause of death for one of her daughters and her daughter-in-law. All in all, Sarah and her family suffered terrible losses.

Sarah died just five years after her mother in 1925, aged 72 years at Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge.

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.

%d bloggers like this: