Tracing My English Roots
Mapping My English Ancestors
In working on my family tree, I'm finding quite a few ancestors linking back to England. To keep track of these, I'm mapping them here. I'll add more as I trace various branches back through the generations.
The names that I'm starting with are Tower, Long, Martin, Babcock, Ashlock, Bixby, but there will be many more surnames as my search for my roots continues.
I've just added Pease which seems to be a well-documented English surname. If you are searching for any of those names, maybe we are related.
I've included some books to help you find your British ancestors.
Map graphic available from Zazzle: Map of British Isles by AliceOtylieCards
Overview of English Roots
Click on the red flags in the map below to see the family name and dates that go with each location.
- Bates family came from Aston Clinton, Buckinhamshire
- Bixby ancestor came from Thorpe Morieux, Suffolk
- Browning family came from Maldon, Essex
- Collier family came from Southwark, Surrey
- Goodale ancestor came from Ipswich, Suffolk
- King, West, and Pease ancestors came from Great Baddow, Essex
- Long ancestors came from West Riding, Yorkshire
- Putnam ancestors came from Tring, Hertfordshire
- Tower family came from Hingham
- Vining ancestors came from Wincanton
- Joy family (earlier Joyce) came from Kingston upon Thames
Flag Map - Locations of My English Ancestors
Tower Ancestors - The Tower family came from near Norwich, England
They went from Hingham, England in Norfolk, to Hingham, Massachussets.
Tower Family Crest
I think this would look lovely on the wall in my genealogy room (hint, hint). Although many companies want to sell you a family crest, some aren't well-documented.
I belong to the Tower Genealogical Society and it is a well-researched line, having come from England to America in the 1600s.
Vining Ancestors - The Vining family came from near Plymouth, England
I traced them back to Wincanton in Somerset. My ancestor came by Mr. Stratton's ship to Weymouth, Massachussets in 1652. He was about 16 years old.
I was able to track back in Wincanton to his grandfather, John Vinning or Vining born in 1587, but stalled out there.
(Sometimes the Google Maps get confused and it shows a map of Australia here. Don't be misled, Wincanton is in Somerset, UK)
My Page about My Kennedy and McGhee Roots
- Scotch-Irish Ancestry: My Family Roots
I learned about the Scotch Irish while researching my McGhee and Kennedy family roots. It's a heritage that you can be proud to claim. Learn more about these immigrants to America and their background.
Check Out the English Surnames in This Dictionary
Some surnames like Baker or Butcher obviously trace to the occupation of your long-ago ancestor. The book gives early examples of a name and how it may have evolved.
For instance, our Tower line may be descended from Gilbert le Tower 1255 or Thomas le Touere 1275. The meaning coud be "dweller by the tower."
Having read that, it gives me incentive to keep working on my line to see if I can trace it to either of those names. Wow, who wouldn't like to get your surname traced back to that early in history.
On Amazon, this book has a Look-Inside-the-Book feature. That lets you search a name you are interested in and it brings up the pages where it is mentioned.
Some last names come from an Old English first name (example: Swift, Snell and Tate). Browse the Preface and Introduction which are most informative on how English surnames developed over the centuries.
Books to Help Trace Your English Ancestors
You can get the overseas version of ancestry.com but before you go to that extra expense, try some of these books.
There is much free information online that you can get outside of ancestry.com.
My sister was able to use free online searches to take the Joy line back to England in 1580. She was surprised to see that the name changed at that time to Joyce which is probably Irish.
These books can probably be borrowed from the public library or you can order them from Amazon.
Need a Goal for Working on Your Ancestors?
- Join the 52 Ancestor Challenge
I'm working on the 52 week challenge to blog about my ancestors. What a great incentive to research and write regularly about your genealogy findings. Why don't you try it too. Here's how to start.
To get started, it's helpful to use a book like this. British and Irish records are quite a bit different from using sources like the U.S. census and passenger immigration lists. You won't flounder around as much with a book like this to advise you in your research.
Do You Have English Ancestry?
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© 2012 Virginia Allain