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  #1  
Old 25th April 2013, 10:29 AM
bob armstrong bob armstrong is offline
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Surname Variations

I've been researching Medieval docs concerning northern England & southern Scotland for many years & have recently found a geographical connection between an R-P312** poster & my own surname's place of origin.
The poster has an ancestor with connections to Hatfield, Yorkshire. I have found that a William de Redness (from Reedness, near Hull) was living close to areas inhabited by my surname, in Cumberland. Reedness is a mere 10 miles from Hatfield.
Although I don't believe my R-P312** results are close enough to the Hatfield chap's ancestors to claim close ties, I do believe that both familes may well have had earlier links to Flanders. I say that as I have found numerous links to Flemings during my research.
I have also found that one famous northern family adopted 4 or 5 different surnames during the 12th-13th centuries, and that the majority of the old lineages had 'daughtered out' by the 16th C.
Finally, another of our tiny R-P312** group claims an ancestor in the mid-1600s who was a Flemish silk trader.
Cheers,
Bob

Last edited by bob armstrong; 25th April 2013 at 10:32 AM.
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  #2  
Old 25th April 2013, 12:26 PM
Zaru Zaru is offline
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I just completed a 15 year research project on my family in which I compiled 121 variant spellings of the surname. Welcome to medieval genealogy!
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  #3  
Old 25th April 2013, 12:34 PM
bob armstrong bob armstrong is offline
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Thanks. That's a lot of variations! I think I got to 35 for my actual surname. My main interest wasn't so much in variations of the same surname, more that several people from the same family adopted totally different surnames.
Most took the name of the village they later lived in as adults, while later generations sometimes kept their father's surname while others took their mother's surname. Not helpful for genealogists!
Bob
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Old 25th April 2013, 07:33 PM
thormalen thormalen is offline
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Hello Bob....My Y ancestors were Grahams from southern Scotland and I find it interesting that you said some of your people took their mother's name. I have some Johnsons, some Irvings and an Armstrong or two as 67 matches. All these clans were grouped near each other along the Scotish/English borders during Border Reiver days. Your research has given me some new ideas on how we all came to have the same DNA....I had been thinking they had all just been very good friends. Ha.
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  #5  
Old 26th April 2013, 12:11 AM
bob armstrong bob armstrong is offline
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There was a tradition on the Borders called 'hand-fasting', Thormalen. This involved a trial marriage of a year. After that year was over, either party could leave the union if unsatisfied. I dare say many children may have arrived after the split!
Also, the Borders was one of the world's most violent regions, what with inter-clan feuding, plus numerous Anglo-Scottish wars. The result was a plethora of orphaned children, presumably taken in by their neighbours.
Finally, there's scarcely a Border family who doesn't have Armstrong, Elliot, Graham, Johnson, Irving or Little relatives!
My line & Y-DNA is solid Armstrong , numerous close matches, but I do have a handful of Graham, Johnson & Elliot matches (approx 3%) amongst my ancestors.
Cheers,
Bob
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  #6  
Old 26th April 2013, 12:30 PM
Steven Akins Steven Akins is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bob armstrong View Post
There was a tradition on the Borders called 'hand-fasting', Thormalen. This involved a trial marriage of a year. After that year was over, either party could leave the union if unsatisfied. I dare say many children may have arrived after the split!
Also, the Borders was one of the world's most violent regions, what with inter-clan feuding, plus numerous Anglo-Scottish wars. The result was a plethora of orphaned children, presumably taken in by their neighbours.
Finally, there's scarcely a Border family who doesn't have Armstrong, Elliot, Graham, Johnson, Irving or Little relatives!
My line & Y-DNA is solid Armstrong , numerous close matches, but I do have a handful of Graham, Johnson & Elliot matches (approx 3%) amongst my ancestors.
Cheers,
Bob
In Scotland, at least during the 1600's, a wife generally kept her maiden name even after marriage, as there are many Scottish court records which refer to female defendants as "Bessie Wilson spouse of Alexander Cumming" or "Isobel Napier spouse of Robert Douglas", as examples.

In some cases, it is possible that a child's father may have died before the child was born, in which case the child may have gone by the mother's maiden name.
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Old 26th April 2013, 01:05 PM
thormalen thormalen is offline
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This is interesting. I just looked on my old records from the early 1600s in Hawick and Edinburgh and have found that all the wife's have seemed to have kept their maiden names; Heslope,Eliott, Bell, etc. I am a J1c3d L1253. Claude
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  #8  
Old 26th April 2013, 01:13 PM
bob armstrong bob armstrong is offline
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Steve, you're probably aware that a Victorian work claimed that Aiken was a surname reputedly via the same progenitor as the Armstrongs? I appreciate that the spelling is slightly different to yours (Akins). My own research doesn't substantiate that claim, but it is of interest.
Many graves I've seen on the Scottish side of the border conveniently mention the wives' maiden names - very helpful to researchers!
Bob
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Old 26th April 2013, 02:12 PM
Steven Akins Steven Akins is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bob armstrong View Post
Steve, you're probably aware that a Victorian work claimed that Aiken was a surname reputedly via the same progenitor as the Armstrongs? I appreciate that the spelling is slightly different to yours (Akins). My own research doesn't substantiate that claim, but it is of interest.
Many graves I've seen on the Scottish side of the border conveniently mention the wives' maiden names - very helpful to researchers!
Bob
Hi Bob,

That is a new one on me. I had always heard that the Armstrongs were descended from a man whose last name was Fairbairn IIRC.

My surname likely is a variation of Aiken, spelling in previous centuries was always somewhat arbitrary. In early records here in the United States it is rendered variously as Aiken(s), Aikin(s), Akin(s), and Eakin(s), but at least as far back as my 4th great grandfather who was born in 1756, it has been Akins in my line of the family; although I have distant cousins who spell it without the -s.
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  #10  
Old 26th April 2013, 03:19 PM
bob armstrong bob armstrong is offline
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Sadly, most of the Victorian's theories were erroneous, Steve. The Siward & Fairbairn conjectures fell into that trap. Unfortunately, once info is put on the internet it is taken as gospel. Luckily the Medieval cartularies, pipe rolls etc have enough clues in them to allow a more sensible assesment to be made.
Bob
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