Aug 032016
 

H is for Howe – a farm in Watlington, Oxfordshire. It had been occupied by a Toovey ever since 1633. Then in 1649 it was purchased from Sir John Symeon by a John Toovey, jnr of Greenfield. There are a lot of Johns in this tale.

27 years later John Toovey (of The Howe) sold the farm to (yes a John) John Toovey of Swyncombe, when he dies the estate divided between his sons William Toovey and (yes you guessed it) John Toovey. This John Toovey was the last Toovey of the Howe (though not the last John).

John Toovey had two daughters: Catherine and Elizabeth. Catherine fell in love with John (of course) Hine. John Hine works in a local mill and is not approved of by Catherine’s father. The two lovers take the only course open to them, they elope and travel to Oxford to get married. However John Toovey pursues them and overtakes them on Magdalene Bridge. Catherine is brought home again.

However true love is seldom thwarted, and John and Catherine try again just a fortnight later. This time John reverses the shoes on the horse’s feet to send Catherine’s father in the wrong direction. I know they succeeded in getting married because I am here, but as yet I can’t discover where. Possibly they were married by Catherine’s uncle who was a local Rector.

Twenty years later John Toovey had forgiven them enough to leave half of The Howe to John Hine and Catherine. The other half he had left to Elizabeth 20 years before.

The tale caused enough of a stir to be recorded in the local Parochial Notes.

 

© Ed Toovey
Toovey Surname Study

 

Next week’s letter is ‘I’. Has anybody got any interesting snippets that marry up I with surname studies?  If so, please send them to Ros Haywood at sos [at] surname-society.org

letter H courtesy of openclipart.org

Jul 272016
 

Gasp! G is not for Genealogy!

Are any of the members of your Surname Study gentlemen?  It can have a special meaning, not just the modern-day one of a man with nice manners.  It came about in the fifteenth century as being a status between a baron and a yeoman.  But from the sixteenth century, it was more about what you did and did not do.  A ‘gentleman’ did not work with his hands (so he had servants) but a yeoman’s servants were more like his farm assistants.  Army and naval officers were viewed as ‘gentlemen’, as were barristers. 

If you are searching in parish registers for your name, you may well come across entries like this: “Mr James Blagdon and Mestres Anna Ford were maryed this day”.  ‘Mr’ really meant something.  A woman being called ‘Mrs’ or ‘Mestres’ didn’t necessarily mean she was married or a widow.  It usually meant she was the daughter of a gentleman.  Even the handwriting of the clerk may suddenly become large and beautifully flourished and decorated when dealing with a member of the local gentry.

And where there was a gentleman or gentlewoman, there might also be an estate, a Will, servants, other employees, charitable donations – all sorts!

Next week’s letter is ‘H’. We will be delighted to hear from Ed Toovey, one of our registered Surname Studiers.   Please send future surname-study-snippets to me at sos [at] surname-society.org

© Ros Haywood
School of Surnames

letter G courtesy of openclipart.org

Jul 212016
 

This can be a fact which can have a large impact on your Surname Study.  The term ‘father-in-law’ as we understand it today means the father of your spouse.  However, in earlier years this meant your stepfather.  If the father of the family died, and his widow remarried, the new spouse was often called ‘father-in-law’ to the children.  (It also applies to ‘mother-in-law’.)  Today we would call him ‘stepfather’.  Don’t keep searching for a mysterious spouse if you see a child of eight called a ‘son-in-law’, either.  He is more probably a ‘stepson’.  (This also applies to ‘stepdaughters’ as well.)

And just to confuse matters completely: what today we would call a ‘father-in-law’, meaning the spouse’s father, is often referred to simply as ‘father’.  Bewildered? You should be!  Forewarned? You have been!

Next week’s letter is ‘G’. Has anybody got any interesting snippets that marry up G with surname studies?  If so, please send them to me at sos [at] surname-society.org

© Ros Haywood
School of Surnames

letter F courtesy of openclipart.org

Jul 152016
 

Aha! you say – there is no such word.  In genealogy: oh, yes there is.  We’re talking 1066 to the mid fourteenth century, here, and the subject is: murder.

The penalty for killing a Norman was quite severe; the penalty for killing an Englishman, not so severe.  So, instead of just finding out ‘whodunnit’, genealogy came into play to find out whether the deceased was Norman or English by descent.  (If nobody could decide, then they considered the victim to be Norman).

Then, the spotlight would fall on the person accused of the murder.  If he could successfully plead ‘Englishry’ (ie that the deceased was English and not Norman), he would not receive the more severe penalties, which included a fine on the hundred (place) in which the murder was committed.

Next week’s letter is ‘F’. Has anybody got any interesting snippets that marry up F with surname studies?  If so, please send them to me at sos [at] surname-society.org

© Ros Haywood
School of Surnames

letter E courtesy of openclipart.org

this post first appeared on GenWestUK in 2012 – and I wrote it, so I hold the copyright!

Jul 092016
 

Sir William Dugdale was born in 1605 in Warwickshire.  As well as getting married and having NINETEEN children,  he was commissioned to transcribe all the monuments in Westminster Abbey and principal churches across England.  He wrote The Antiquities of Warwickshire in 1656, which has been described as ‘one of the finest of the old county histories; it set new standards of scholarship in the interpretation of historical documents’ [David Hey, 1996].   Dugdale was knighted and was created the Garter King of Arms in 1677.

Something to remember when you are clambering through weeds and nettles in order to read a very old gravestone for your Surname Study.  William Dugdale got knighted!

Next week’s letter is ‘E’. Has anybody got any interesting snippets that marry up E with surname studies?  If so, please send them to me at sos [at] surname-society.org

© Ros Haywood
School of Surnames

letter D courtesy of openclipart.org