Saturday, February 25, 2012

Surname Saturday - A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames

I recently ran across A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames With Special American Instances, written by Charles Wareing Bardsley while searching for information on my English surnames. I found the book on, but the full text is available on Google books at A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames.

I've looked at several books with surname derivations, but this one adds some interesting records and commentary to many of the surnames. The book was published in 1901 after the author's death, so captures research done during the 1800s. This collection represents a lifetime of compiling and collecting information by the author. I can only imagine doing something on this scale before computers!

Here are a few examples from the book for some of my surnames. The numbers at the end of each entry are a count of each surname variation found in city directories such as London and New York.

Variations on my Chilcutt surname

My family spelled this name Councill, although I have seen Counsell and Councell in some of the earlier records. Council with one "l" is also common. I wish he had put his guesses here! This is one of those names that can be especially hard to search for since it has many variations and instances of the word council come up.

Family lore says that we have some Welsh ancestry, so perhaps it is through our Meredith line. I don't know too much about them yet. My ancestor Francis Councill married Mary Ann Meredith in Queen Anne's County, Maryland on July 8, 1840.

My family spelled this name as Sparks, but it's interesting to see that the name may have originated from Sparrowhawk. The earliest records I have on my Sparks family are from Queen Anne's County, Maryland.

I looked Creed up to see if it made any references to my Creedon/Creeden surname. The Irish Creedon surname was sometimes abbreviated to Creed, but I believe it has different origins than the English Creed. Bardsley's book did not include any references to Creedon.

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