I’ve only GOON and registered a surname

On the second day of the 2014 Who Do You a Think You Are? Live show, I joined The Guild of One-Name Studies, and registered the surname of Yarrow.

On Day Two of the 2014 Who Do You Think You Are? Live show, I joined the GOONS (the affectionate acronym for The Guild Of One-Name Studies).

Not only that, but their Secretary Jan Cooper did such a good job, that I even registered as the worldwide name research point for a surname. I challenged them with three of my more unusual surnames in my ancestry, and they only had one of them (Dewey). I chose to register Yarrow (the other was Moden, and in hindsight, I could probably have tested a few more like Tingey).

GOONS badge
My GOONS badge

I’ve been aware of their work (which began in 1979), and have often seen them at talks, but this was the first time I’d actively talked with them.

Minutes after becoming their newest recruit, I discovered that I had joined the ranks of a number of genealogy chums who are also fellow GOONS surname registrants. All were hugely positive of the Guild, and of the supportive approach between members, and registrants.

Armed with the induction pack and a detailed guide titled ‘Seven Pillars of Wisdom‘, I shall endeavour to record and data crunch all Yarrow name-bearers that I can find, or that find me. I shall be absorbing the guide over the next week, and start my data trawling.

In the meantime, if you’re a Yarrow, have Yarrow ancestors or relatives, or have information about Yarrow surname bearers, then I’d like to hear from you (feel free to leave comments below).

I’ve just set up @YarrowGOONS on Twitter, to help me reach out and connect with the surname connection.

Check out the Guild’s registered one-name study surname list to see if your surname is included (if not, sign up for it, just like i did!)

Surname Saturday: Ong

This week, the Surname Saturday theme stops at the story of the 18th Century unusually named ONG family of Stuntney and Ely, Cambridgeshire.

This Saturday we’re on the trail of the unusual surname of Ong.

The earliest reference that I can find for my Ong family, is the first marriage of my Great, Great, Great, Great, Great Grandfather, Thomas Ong to his first wife Martha Jennings in Stuntney, Cambridgeshire in April 1757.

Illustration of Stuntney church, Cambridgeshire (1806)
Stuntney parish church, 1806.

I’ve not found any earlier record for him, but estimating his birth to have been in the 1730s, I have found a few potential matches via familysearch.org in the neighbouring county of Suffolk in its villages of Hepworth and Hinderclay – themselves neighbouring parishes.

Martha was already heavily pregnant when she walked the aisle with Thomas, and they soon welcomed their first son – John Ong – into the family, with him being baptised at Stuntney just four months later.

The couple and their baby shift from Stuntney, to the nearby Ely which it overlooks. Sadly, this happiness was to be short-lived, and Thomas’ luck was going to take a long-running bad turn.

Within seven years, Thomas had lost his wife Martha (d. August 1764), and three sons: John (1757-1758), Thomas (1760-1764) and John (1763). No doubt deep in grief, a widower, and childless, he vanishes for 9 years, returning to parish registers in 1766 at Ely.

In January 1766, he marries spinster Martha Feast, and they are joined by their first child Mary. Sadly, Thomas’ bad luck continues – claiming the lives of their first three children: Mary (1767-1769), Thomas (1769-1773) and John (1772-1773).

It’s not until Thomas’ 7th child (and Martha’s 4th) – Mary Ong – born in 1774, that a child survives into adulthood. Mary was to live until she was 85, and is my Great x 4 Grandmother.

Thomas and Martha continue to grow their family with another 4 children: Martha (1776-?), Thomas (1778-1781), Margaret (1780-?) and Thomas (1783).

Whilst it’s unclear as to what became of Mary’s siblings Martha and Margaret, Mary seems to be the only child of 10 to survive – perhaps accounting for the rarity of the Ong surname.

Mary goes on to thrive – marrying my Great x4 Grandfather Thomas Cross in Ely in 1790, and bearing 14 children (only 3 of whom are known to have died as children).

Mary outlived her husband Thomas Cross by 13 years, dying in February 1859, aged 85.

Variants of Ong

I’ve only spotted two versions of the surname whilst rummaging in the records of Ely and nearby Stuntney.

  • Ong – the main version
  • Ing – making one occurrence

However, the surname is so infrequent, that I am suspicious. Only one other ‘Ong’ appears, and as yet, she (Margaret Ong) remains unconnected – but probably the sister of my Gtx5 Grandfather Thomas. At the same time, and in both Ely and Stuntney, are rather a lot of parish register entries for the Long and Young families, and so with little imagination and some illiteracy, you could easily lose a letter or two, throw in an thick rural fenland accent, and you’re soon staring at an ‘Ong’ in a parish register.

Surname Saturday: TINGEY

Surname Saturday – TINGEY or TINGAY. A look at the Tingey surname in Cambridgeshire.

An unusual surname with seemingly disconnected family groups turns up in both my maternal and paternal families.

Mary Tingey (1821-187?)
Mary Tingey

The Tingey name turns up twice in my family tree. Once as ancestral in my paternal tree, and the other as a husband of a maternal great aunt.

My earliest record of a bona-fide Tingey ancestor is Ann Tingey, who appears at the parish church in Witcham, Cambridgeshire in 1769 where she went to baptise her illegitimate son Thomas.

By 1771 she had returned, to marry James Toll with whom she had at least two children.

Thomas remained in Witcham, where he married Mary Barber in 1794 and together they had three children – Robert, Elizabeth and Sarah. It appears that the family moved just a few miles away to Oxlode in 1841 – a tiny hamlet close to the village of Little Downham, Cambridgeshire – which is where they ended up by the time of the 1851 census.

Robert went on to marry Fanny Harrison and together they had a family of 12 children, with their oldest (Mary Tingey) being my ancestor, born in 1820.

Amongst family photographs is a photograph of Mary in later life. By the time that this photo was taken, she would have either have been Mary Martin, widow, or Mrs Mary Watling(ton). She was married a total of three times.

Another photograph is somewhat of a mystery – a carte de visite with the words ‘Aunt Tingey’ written on the back. It remains unclear as to whether this was an elderly maiden aunt, or a  wife of a Tingey uncle.

Aunt Tingey
The mystery ‘Aunt Tingey’

Other family groups

Whilst my own branch was busy living their lives and growing in the Little Downham area of Cambridgeshire, just four miles away in Ely appears to be another family group which I’ve never found a connection to.

Another group of Tingeys appear in Henlow, Bedfordshire. For many years I have been in correspondence with another researcher – but as yet there appears to be no link between the family groups. According to the researcher, there are many gravestones for Tingey name-bearers standing in the parish churchyard.

This unusual surname does have a few variants through the years – ranging from: Tingey, Tingay, Tingye, Tangye, Tyngy Tyngie.

Origins of the name

According to John Ayto’s ‘Encyclopedia of Surnames’, Tingey/Tingay are derivative of Tangye. He says that:

“Tangye from the Breton personal name Tanguy, a contracted form of Tanneguy, literally ‘fire-dog’.”

According to The House Of Names.com:

“First found in Cambridgeshire where the name first appeared in the early 13th century.”

Surname Saturday: TRUELOVE

Surname Saturday theme : Truelove of Leighton Buzzard, Bedfordshire.

The Truelove surname is one of my favourites. More so when I discovered that my Truelove ancestor married someone with the surname of Goodsole. You can only imagine that they were therefore the ideal couple.

The earliest record of my Truelove ancestry is John Truelove and his marriage in 1671 to Eleanor Goodsole in Leighton Buzzard, Bedfordshire.

John is noted as a tailor and other than this scrap of information, I’ve yet to find anything else for certain about him. I’ve received a copy of a handwritten tree but this gives his death in October 1751 in Potton, Bedfordshire. I find this difficult to believe as in 1671 he would have been in his late teens or early 20s (an average guess there), which means that by 1751 he would have been around 100 years old. I’m guessing that the 1751 death may have been a son or nephew, rather than he himself.

His birth is currently elusive although I admit that I have yet to check the Leighton Buzzard records in person. However, those who I believe are his parents – Edward Truelove and Joan Pratt were married in the parish in 1654. There is one John Truelove born in 1649 to an Edward Truelove, but this is in Bishopsgate, London. If this was him, then it would appear that Edward (at the age of just 17) fathered him with a woman named Elizabeth. If this idea is correct, then Joan Pratt would be John’s step-mother.

John and Eleanor had six known child – including Elizabeth (my ancestor) who went on to marry William Hale of Knotting, Bedfordshire, and my brief coverage of my Truelove ancestry passes on.

Family x2 x2 x2 x2 and so on…

I like to think that I can pop back many generations on both sides of my tree and name all the surnames that I’ve been able to ‘collect’ – apart from those where there’s illegitimacy.

I’m going to type out my ancestral surnames now as far as i can remember them off the top of my head. The first line is always my own – Martin and the next line is whoever the bride was. On the second generation i list (a generation back), I start again with Martin and add that generation’s bride’s name. Then move on to the ancestors of the bride in generation 1. Still with me?

Oh… well, take a look at my list of the first few from the top of my head… hopefully that’ll make it clearer.

  • Martin
  • Dewey
  • Martin
  • Newman
  • Dewey
  • Barber
  • Martin
  • Burnell
  • Newman
  • Gilbert
  • Dewey
  • Moden
  • Barber
  • Yarrow

This gives me eight surnames (those of my Great Grandparents – 4 of whom i was lucky to know) before i hit the first illegitimacy blocker…

  • Martin
  • Giddings
  • Burnell
  • Barker
  • Newman
  • Cooper
  • Gilbert
  • Howlett
  • Dewey
  • Boulter
  • Moden
  • Cross
  • illegitimate line (with Barber)
  • Barber
  • Yarrow
  • Bishop

Had there have been no illegitimacy, that would have given me a complete set of 16 Great Great Grandparent surnames.. but we’re down to 15 now, due to illegitimacy in the Barber camp.

The next generation of 32 Great Great Great Grandparents not only stretches my memory a bit, but also brings in a few more illegitimacy lines, taking it down to 28 surnames due to 2 new illegitimate children and the line from the previous generation.

  • Martin
  • Tingey
  • illegitimate line (with Giddings)
  • Giddings
  • Burnell
  • Babbage
  • Barker
  • Head
  • Newman
  • Levitt
  • Cooper
  • Fyson
  • Gilbert
  • Brightley
  • Howlett
  • Clarke
  • illegitimate line (with Dewey)
  • Dewey
  • Boulter
  • Moden
  • Moden
  • Freeman
  • Cross
  • Taylor
  • illegitimate line (the paternal line from the Barber one from the previous generation)
  • illegitimate line (the maternal line from the Barber one from the previous generation)
  • Barber
  • Dewsbury
  • Yarrow
  • Gothard
  • Bishop
  • Bowers

I’m going to stop there, but can you name this far back? I do know further back, in fact, i’ve got about 13 generations of the Barber family up my sleeve and almost the same number of Cross too… but how do you fare?