From Sexey to Stigwood – it’s all in an unusual name
MY mention last week of unusual surnames prompted a flurry of activity.
Let’s start with a posh one. Irene, from Didsbury, believes her maiden name to be very uncommon. It’s Colecliffe.
Irene looked into the family history and discovered her greatgrandfather was born in York and served in the Household Cavalry.
Irene’s inherited a Colecliffe coat of arms and a family crest but she has no further details. Any more Colecliffes knocking about?
Austin Stigwood, from Oldham, reckons there are only 50 Stigwoods left in the whole country and five of them are in his immediate family.
Iris Wood’s maiden name was Meats. Her grandfather Reuben Meats was told the name originated in Germany and used to be Metz, which was anglicised as the family arrived in England.
Iris has only met a couple of Meats over the years and they both turned out to be relatives.
She feels the name may be dying out completely and would love to trace her family tree before that happens. However Iris doesn’t have a computer and is unsure of how she should go about it. If you can help, let me know and I’ll pass it on.
Brian Kay’s wife was brought up in Limerick and her sister married a Limerick man called Joe Hardaker.
They are the only Hardakers in the whole of the Republic of Ireland. The family moved from Yorkshire to Limerick around 1870 and set up in business manufacturing clogs.
I touched a nerve with Paula because collecting names has been a hobby of hers for many years.
She’s done loads of research and has sent me some which she thinks will make you chuckle.
She dug these out from census information across the years. In 1891 there was a woman listed called Silly Price and in the 1901 census she found Win King, Wal Paper, Matt Black and Mable Able.
Paula also came across Lucy Pancake and a firm of solicitors called Argue & Phibbs.
The medieval name of Secey has become corrupted over the years to Sexey and in one phone book, where surnames are listed first, Paula found SEXEY Susan.
I can only imagine the confused calls Susan will have received.
To finish her long letter, Paula recommended a book of real-life, crazy British names.
Written by Russell Ash, the book’s called Potty, Fartwell & Knob. Charming.