Wednesday, 18 April 2007

Croscombe names, 1851

I have been working on the census for Croscombe in 1851 and doing some analysis with a view to gaining a better insight into life in the village. If this analysis proves useful, I might repeat the exercise for successive decades to see how the village has changed over the years.

There were 159 occupied households, 16 unoccupied and one under construction. The total population was 673, made up of 320 males and 353 females. The average number of people per dwelling was 4.23, but I plan to look in more detail at household structure in a later post. Today I want to take a quick look at some of the names on the census.

Starting with the surnames, there are 137 different surnames, but just 5 family names account for 25% of the population:

48 7% BAKER
39 6% FOXWELL
36 5% WEBB
25 4% WOOLLEY
21 3% BLINMAN

This might suggest that these families have been in Croscombe for a long time.

While tabulating the data, I noticed that Mary Ann was cropping up an awful lot as a forename, and although there are 25 people with this name, it is not the most popular by far. Here are the twelve most common names, accounting for 54% of the population:

51 William
40 John
29 George
29 Thomas
28 James
22 Henry
21 Joseph

40 Elizabeth
37 Ann
36 Sarah
35 Mary
25 Mary Ann

In most cases the age range of these popular names seems to be reasonably evenly spread. Henry, William and Mary Ann have perhaps seen a rise in popularity in the previous two decades, while Joseph has declined, but otherwise there are no really discernable spikes such as we might expect if babies were named after a new member of the Royal Family or some such celebrity.

There does seem to be more males than females with these common names, perhaps suggesting that parents are more conservative in naming boys, and more willing to try something different with a girl.

From these numbers it would seem quite likely that there will be more than one person with the same name. And in indeed there are quite a number. If we just look at the BAKER's, we find 4 Charles', 4 Georges and 4 Williams, and many other names repeated two or three times. There are no less than five Ann WEBBs in the village, that's nearly 1% of the population! If we also consider their ages, we see that there is a 4 year old and a 5 year old Charles BAKER; two William BAKERs both 2 years old; two George FOXWELLs both aged 20; and two Ann FOXWELLs aged 58 and 60.

This should serve as a warning that having someone's age, name and place of residence is not always sufficient to identify an ancestor, and that we should be very careful before jumping to any conclusions. We might therefore want to do a more thorough search and eliminate these other possibilities. And just because a name doesn't seem to be very common within our own personal experience (for example, I can't say I have come across any FOXWELLs in my life), it could be that 150 years ago in a small village somewhere in England, that it accounted for 6% of the population.

That's it for today, but do let me know if you find this useful or interesting, and leave any comments you have on this analysis. In the next post in this series I am going to look at occupations in Croscombe in 1851.

10 comments:

Parky said...

I am currently transcribing the parish registers for Croscombe, and the trend of a few big family is very noticable.
Of the 136 baptismal records I have so far entered between 1840 and 1844, there are 14 Bakers,8 Woolleys, 8 Webbs, 8 Foxwells, 6 Blinmans. There are also 6 Parkers and 6 Hatchers. These 7 names account for over 40% of all baptisms in Croscombe for this period.
Looking through the records it seems that the trend will continue.
Unfortunately, the family I am researching is Baker! In the 1841 census there are 45 Bakers in 13 households.
It seems that Croscombe was already a village in decline, as there were 803 persons in 171 households in 1841 compared to 673 and 159 in 1851.
If you would like me to look up names for you in Croscombe, let me know (within reason)

Derek Andrews said...

Hi Parky, thanks for adding that information. Good luck with the transcriptions. Is that for FreePR by any chance?

I have some transcriptions on paper for my family names (mainly WEBB and PARKER)which I plan to add to this blog as time permits.

I see a couple of WEBB/BAKER marriages in there, but I haven't figured out yet if these are my WEBBs or not.

As to the decrease in population that you noted, I wonder if it was due to the cholera epidemic of 48/49 which I mentioned a few posts back (Google Books as a research tool).

Jo said...

Does anyone know of any relationship between the Croscombe Blinmans, and other Blinmans in Somerset please?

susan merrifield said...

My family is Perkins...My GtGf Pichard Sutton Perkins was the son of Hannah and Joseph Perkins (buried in the church cemetary (1867) by the main road...Is there a way to find what street of house the family lived in while in Croscombe...My gtgtgt GF was Richard Norris and lived in Croscombe, too...Susan Merrifield

Anonymous said...

Can you tell me if you have any Nash's on your list. Or if come across any I would love the help in tracing me relatives.My dad was born in the village so would probaly be able to help. He was born in 1927.

Devizian said...

Thank you for this site. I am descended from Josiah Parker and Maria Baker, who married in Croscombe in 1778, through their son Thomas(b.1779) and grandson Jonas(b.1812). Apart from deducing that Josiah probably had siblings named John,Thomas and Ruth I've not progressed further back. The misdemeanour's of Jonas' brother Josiah in 1857 made The Times (and was one of the reasons they built Broadmoor!). This Josiah's son Frank was awarded the rank of Colonel in the U.S. army for his services as a scout in Indian wars after an alleged brief stint supporting Garibaldi. Definitely spiced up my family tree! I'd be interested to know if I can establish a link with Derek.

Derek Andrews said...

Anonymous, sorry but there are no NASH's in the 1851 census.

Derek Andrews said...

Devizian, I haven't been able to verify it yet, but by oldest Parker ancestor seems to be Thomas Parker born in Bath 1844/5, wife Ellen and children Sarah, John, Charles.

clive h said...

very interesting, my own surname is Hares and i have managed to trace a line back from my Grandfather born in 1896 in Croscombe to 1777 just using parish BDM registers. they have married Foxwells and Bakers along the way and many of the fornames feature heavily down the generations. its to easy to look at ones own family in isolation without realising how many of the population of one small village must have been related through marrage as well as blood. I to looked at the pages where a whole swath of children were carried of by epidemic, it must have been an horrific time in such a small community.

clive h said...

very interesting, my own surname is Hares and i have managed to trace a line back from my Grandfather born in 1896 in Croscombe to 1777 just using parish BDM registers. they have married Foxwells and Bakers along the way and many of the fornames feature heavily down the generations. its to easy to look at ones own family in isolation without realising how many of the population of one small village must have been related through marrage as well as blood. I to looked at the pages where a whole swath of children were carried of by epidemic, it must have been an horrific time in such a small community.