An index to Changes of name [electronic resource] : under authority of act of Parliament or Royal license, and including irregular changes from I George III to 64 Victoria, 1760 to 1901 online

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B 3 fiTT 211






1760 TO 1901
















1760 TO 1 90 1,


Cbangee of H^ainc

Under Authority of Act of Parliament or Royal Licence
and including Irregular Changes from


1760 to 1 90 1,



With an Introduction on the

Xaw of Cbanae of IFlame



London : Phillimore & Co., 124, Chancery Lane.




C^.%^ c.

IRote to tbe IRea&ev.

'HPHE compilation of the present index was commenced several years
ago, and has proved a longer and more tedious task than at the
outset was anticipated. It was at first intended to include only changes
of name efifected under the royal sign manual, or by the authority of a
private act of parliament. But so many changes have been effected
irregularly within the last half century, that it was thought it would be
a matter of some practical utility if they also could be included, even
though they were without authority, and this accordingly has been done,
though it has somewhat delayed the completion of the index, and added
in no small degree to the labour of compiling it. But if it adds to the
utility of the index, the compilers will be fully satisfied.

The sources from which this index has been compiled are several.
Primarily it is based on the Changes of Name by Royal licence. For
this purpose the volumes of the London Gazette, and also the Dublin
Gazette from 1760 to 1901 were examined, but it must be remembered
that not all Royal licences are advertised in the Gazettes, though the vast
majority are so advertised for obvious reasons of convenience, and often
also in the " Times " and other newspapers Registration at Heralds' College
only, is a sufficient compliance with the Royal licence granted.

Next, this list comprises those names changed under the authority of
Private Acts of Parliament, a method now but little resorted to. In this
list they, as a rule, are indicated simply by the usual references of year
of the reign and chapter by which such Acts are usually referred to, but
occasionally also the reference to the Index to Private Acts of Parliament
is also quoted.

The next class are those changes made, suo motu, without any
licence or Act of Parliament, and these, which are usually evidenced by
deeds poll and simple advertisement, have been taken chiefly from the
columns of the "Times," though, as this method of irregular change did
not become frequent till somewhat less than 50 years ago, it was not
thought necessary to search the "Times" before the year 1861. These
changes are indicated by the word. "Times," and the date of issue, and
when accompanied by a deed poll, that fact is indicated by the initials
d.p. Some changes are not advertised in the " Times," and these it has
not been found practical to include with any degree of completeness, but
when they have come under notice, they have always been inserted, though
unfortunately, as in some cases they aie taken from small collections of


vi. Note to the Reader.

change of name advertisements, in which the source was not always given,
it has not been found possible to indicate in every case the newspaper in
which the advertisement appeared.

Some few also are included which have not even been advertised,
and the authority for these rests on information given to the Editors,
though they have not included any such, unless satisfied that they have
been in permanent use.

With these irregular changes it has been thought well, for the sake
of identification, to give nearly all particulars which are stated in the
advertisements. So much more information than could be given in an
Index like this is, may be obtained from the Heralds' Office, that in the
cases of Royal licence changes, it has been thought best merely to supply
the reference and the initials of the Christian names.

Besides the changes just referred to, there are those Scottish ones
recorded in the Registers of the Lord Lyon, in Edinburgh, and the Irish
changes noted in Ulsters Office in Dublin. The latter are advertised in
the Dublin Gazette, just as in England they appear in the London Gazette.
In some cases they appear in both Gazettes. In addition to the regular
changes entered in Ulster OfHce, there is there a short list of various
irregular changes noted by a former Ulster, W. Betham, and distinguished
in this Index under his name.

It may be noted that very considerable help may be derived by
the genealogist from changes of name made in pursuance of a Royal
licence. By the terms of the licence such changes have to be entered at
Heralds' College. In the greater number of cases it will be found that
pedigrees have been consequently recorded there, and in the majority of
cases, a grant of Arms has been made to the person effecting a change of
name. Often, too, in the London Gazette, and also in the Dublin Gazette, the
advertisements themselves contain a short recital of the pedigree, or the
reason for the change. Less information is obtainable from irregular
changes, and in not a few cases the advertiser does not even trouble to
supply his address, or gives merely a temporary one.

In consulting this Index the following points must be noted : —
It is primarily an Index to names adopted thus :
Smith : Jones, A. 6 June, iSio (1461)
means : Smith, adopted by A. Jones, under a Royal licence dated

6 June, 1810 ; advertised on page 1461 of the London Gazette

for 1810.

The name discarded is also indexed with a cross reference thus ;
Jones sec Smith.

Note to the Reader. vii.

No particulars are given under the entry of the diicaided name.
Cases in which the Christian name, or its equivalent is altered, arc indexed
only once, and that under the surname.

When merely a date appears, the reader will understand that
such an entry relates to an irregular change, for which the compilers are
unable to give precise authority, though they are satisfied that such a
change did actually take place. In most cases this lack of authority
arises from their having been obtained from some newspaper cutting to
which the reference has not been attached.

The figures within parenthesis following a simple date relate to the
London Gazette. Before the year 17S5, the figures indicate the several
numbers of the Gazette itself; from that date onwards the Gazette is paged
consecutively for each year, and thenceforward these figures indicate the
page of the Gazette.

The dates following names indicate, as a general rule, the date of
the Royal licence; in irregular cases they refer to the date of the " Times '
in which the advertisement was first published : occasionally it may be
found that they indicate the date of the deed poll.

The following contractions have been made use of ; —

Betham = a list made by W. Betham, Ulster, about 1810.

con. = continue the name of

com. = commonly.

D.C. = Dublin Castle.

D.G. = Dublin Gazette.

d. p. = deed poll.

Lyon = Lyon Register, Edinburgh.

L.G. = London Gazette.

R.L. = Royal Licence.

St. J. = St. James.

W. Wll. or Whll. = Whitehall.

Various other contractions have also been adopted which will cause
the reader no difiiculty.

Finally, it is requisite to express our obligations for help given in
the compilation of this index, without which it would have been still less
complete than it is.

The late Garter King of Arms, Sir Albert Woods, K.C.B., had
formed a large colleccion of irregular changes of name which he courteously
placed at the Compilers' service, and aided in the work by his advice, whilst
his colleague, Mr. G. E. Cokayne, Clarenceux King of Arms, also allowed

viii. Note to the Reader.

his collection of changes to be made use of for this index. Sir James
Balfour Paul, Lord Lyon, supplied the references in Lyon's Register, and
Sir Arthur Vicars, Ulster King of Arms, supplied a list of Irish changes,
whilst both the last-named scanned many of the proof sheets as regards
other changes with which they are officially concerned. In Ireland too,
the help of Mr. Burtchael, of Ulster's Office, must be acknowledged ; and
thanks are due to others who have occasionally added some changes
which would otherwise have escaped notice.

This list of changes of name, large as it is, and it has proved far
larger than ths Editors ever anticipated, is by no means complete. Not
only is it certain that many changes, regular and irregular, are not recorded,
but no attempt has been made to deal with those made before the first
year of George III.

The Compilers' having in view the issue hereafter of a supplement,
will be glad to have note of any changes made before 1760, whether
regular or informal. In the latter case the fullest particulars should be
given, and the authority should be carefully stated. And in these changes
may be included the cases of aliases which are found in wills of the
sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, many of which seem to have been the
ancient equivalent of our modern " double-barrelled " names.

Lastly, as it is certain that in an index now for the first time
compiled, and dealing with so large a number of facts, there must of
necessity be eryors and omissions, any corrections will be specially valued,
and when received will be carefully noted for inclusion in the proposed

W. P. W. P.
E. A. F.


From early times various persons have found it necessary or
desirable to change the name or names by which they have been
known. Of recent years, that is during the past half -century,
the practice of thus altering the personal designation appears lo
have much increased. Ob^•iousl^• for this there is more than one
cause. Some are directed to change their names on succeeding
to property under a will or a settlement with the view of
perpetuating the memory of some family which has become
extinct in the male line, and for them it is compulsory. Others
assume a fresh surname on their own initiative for a similar
reason or as a mark of respect to some distinguished or favourite
ancestor. Yet another class adopt the same course in order to
escape the disadvantage of some frequent* or it may be offensive
appellation, while others effect such changes from mere whim.
Lastly there are those whose past history has been so evil that a
change of name becomes a necessity, either to enable them to
effect a reformation in their life's history, or, it may be more
frequently, to allow them to continue their evil course with less
risk of detection. With this last class it is unnecessary to deal
and further they do not willingly leave any record of their change
of name, and such record as there may be is preserved only in
the law courts.

It will be seen that changes of name, unless brought about
by mere whim or worse, are usually made for motives which can
only be regarded as praiseworthy, and it is perhaps to a
consciousness of this that the number of such changes has in
recent years somewhat increased.

During the last one hundred and fifty years several thousands
of families, principally in the upper and well-to-do classes of
society, have by one way or another changed their names, so that
the subject is obviously of very considerable importance from a
genealogical point of view. These changes indicate the existence
in very many cases of a pedigree registered at Heralds' College,
and not infrequently the grant of a coat of arms.

* Sometimes, as in Wales is very noticeable, an insufficient number and variety of
surnames may be a considerable inconvenience. This, in Denmark, was so
obvious that the Government of that country in 1903 proposed a law
empowering Danes to change their names. It was stated that in Copenhagen
one person in ten bore the name Hansen, while Petersen and Sorensen are
almost as common. In oup commune it was alleged that there are only
twenty diSerent surnames amongst some ?0,0OC inhabitants.

X. The Law and Practice of

Changes of name were formerly almost, if not entirely,
confined to the surname, but of recent years there have been very
many instances of attempting the change also of the Christian or
personal name. How such changes should be effected, if it is
possible to effect them, is a subject which has been very hotly
debated, but before considering the legality of any particular
view it may be as well to consider very briefly the origin and
nature of personal nomenclature in this Kingdom.

Anciently, but at very early date, individuals were
distinguished merely by the single name given to them in their
baptism, and to the present day the Church, in its catechism and
marriage service, entirely ignores the surname and recognizes
merely the name acquired in baptism. The inconvenience
of a single name and the obvious difhculty of distinguishing
individuals early led to the adoption of some surname
Ga soubriquet by which one man might be known from
another. How early such surnames were adopted it is not easy
to say, nor can we precisely fix the time when they became
hereditary. The convenience of the practice was obvious and for
a very long period surnames, in this country, have been
universal, with the sole exception of the present Royal family,
which possesses no permanent general family surname and uses
the name of baptism only.

It would be out of place here to enter into a long dissertation
of the etymology and origin of surnames. It will suffice to
indicate the principal classes into which they may be divided.
These are :—

I Patronymics. — Derived from the personal name of some
remote ancestor. These again may be sub-divided into : —

{a) Paleo-fatronymics. — Derived from personal names
chiefly in use before the Norman Conquest, e.g.,
Wigg, Froude, Orme, Finn, etc. They are mostly
monosyllabic in form.

{b) Neo-fatronymics. — These are later ^ than the
Conquest. They are distinguished in England by
the suffix son, often contracted into s, such as
Johnson and Jones, Williamson and Williams, or
represented in Norman-French by the prefix Fiiz
as in FitzGerald, FitzRoy, in Wales by ap or P as
in ap Rice and ap Owen, which become Price and
Bowen, in Scotland by the prefix Mac as in
MacDonald, also variously written as McDonald,
M 'Donald, or Macdonald, and in Ireland bv the
prefix O as in O'Brien.

Change of Name. xi.

2 Topographical . — Dhiding into : —

{a) Surnames from villages, towns and districts, as
Clifton, Buckingham, Wiltshire.

{b) Surnames from local features, as Wa:>d, Hill, Dale,
Combe, Atwood, Athill, Agate, Twells, Bythesea.

3 Occupational. — Such as Smith, Archdeacon, Priest,

Carpenter, Draper.

4 Nicknames.-— 'Snch. as Blount, Whitlock, Gifford, Strong-

ith'arm, Armstrong.
And contractions, diminutives and misspellings have further
produced an infinite variety of surnames, many of which even
by the experienced can scarcely be traced to their origin.

The nature of the change effected varies very considerably.
As regards those by Royal Licence there appear to be but three
forms, in the simplest the name taken is "in lieu and instead of"
the original patron\mic. Thus John Brown, who adopts the
name of Smith " z;/ lieu and insiead of' being John Brown,
becomes simply John Smith. In many of the earlier notices in
the London Gazette the license is simply expressed " to assume
the name of," thus leaving it uncertain whether it is in addition
to or in lieu of the original surname. If the license permits him
to adopt Smith in addition to and after his own he becomes John
Brown-Smith : if it be as a prefix then in such an instance he is
John Smith-Brown. It is usual when two names are adopted to
connect them by a hyphen, though for this custom there does not
appear to be anv distinct authority. When the surnames thus
conjoined are more than monosyllables the result is inconvenient,
and obviouslv in manv cases it becomes impossible to address the
individuals by their composite names, and in such cases the last
name to all practical purposes becomes the surname, and indeed
in heraldic practice becomes the principal surname, for when a
person bearing a double surname is entitled to arms in respect of
both names the arms of the last are always put in the first or
principal quarter of his shield. Sometimes the owner of a
double name assumes a third and even a fourth name, when the
result may become almost grotesque. Thus the Thurlow family
first became Hovel 1 -Thurlow and afterwards adopted two more
names, thus acquiring the cumbrous designation of Hovell-
Thurlow- Cumming-Bruce.

The fact that some surnames are so frequent as in some cases
to almost cease to be a means of identification is a very great
inducement to alter or add to a surname for distinction's sake,
and very often a man's neighbour will do this for him if he

xii. The Law and Practice of

possesses a distinctive Christian name which readily blends with
his surname. Thus John Stanley Brown will be addressed as
Mr. Stanley-Brown. Indeed some such change becomes from
reasons of convenience almost a necessity. Even on the judicial
bench the newspapers have made us familiar with Mr. Justice
Gorell Barnes and Mr. Justice Swinfen Eady, though neither
of those learned judges appear to be entitled to the distinction,
if such it be, of a " double-barrelled " name.

Thus again the possession of a grotesque or even offensive
surname is another inducement to change, as may be seen by
glancing through this index, for of such names there are
unfortunately too many. Such names are often a positive
detriment to their bearers and a man mav well be excused for
effecting a change by the best means available, even though the
formal and preferable method of a Royal licence for one reason
or another may not be open to him.

There are also name changes which are dictated by a mere
vanity and sometimes by vanity coupled with ignorance. Of
these the most common examples are the assumption of the prefix
de or le, or the sanctification of a name by prefixing to it St.
Except in the case of foreigners recently settled in England the
use of de as a prefix can only be regarded as a foolish affectation.
The assumption of de was perhaps more frequent in the first half
of last century and was no doubt a consequence of the so-called
medieval revival. Often too a change is effected by adopting
some obsolete or fanciful spelling of a name. Perhaps the most
remarkable instance of this is to be found amongst the Smiths.
An Essex baronet of that name adopted the grotesque form of
Smijth, presumably in ignorance of the fact that what he took
to be " ij " in old documents was merely the letter " y," which
at one time was written with two dots. A little knowledge
of paleography would have saved him from rendering his
family name permanentlv ridiculous. Of a similar nature
is the odd use of "ff" instead of the capital " F," on
which some people appear to pride themselves, in ignorance of
the fact that double " ff " is merely an obsolete form of writing
the capital. Such trivialities are much to be deprecated; they
are inaccurate and what is worse give needless trouble to other
people, who fear that they may cause offence if they address
a letter to Mrs. Foulkes instead of Mrs. ffoulkes.

It will be of interest to note the number of those who assume
or discard some of the more frequent surnames. Thus of those
bearing the surname Smith, some 73 entirely discarded it,
while 93 modified it by afiixing or prefixing some other surname

Change of Name. xiii.

to that patronymic. A prefix seems to be the more popular
method of differencing, as we find some 57 adopting prefixes
as against ^^6 who added other names. The total of those
who discarded or modified Smith is 166. In the case of
the next most common name, Jones — 115 discarded or modified
it, while only 6 assumed it, which may indicate that Smith,
though the commoner, is the more popular name. The
proportions in the case of Brown or Browne, which it is
needless to distinguish here, are very different ; 83, exactly
half that of the Smiths, discard or modify it, but in 19
instances it is assumed, though if the proportion found with the
Smiths were followed there would be but eight. Of Taylors,
37 discard or modify the name, whilst nine assume it. In the
case of the two Welsh names of frequent occurrence, Davies or
Davis and Williams, there are 40 in each instance who discard
their patronymic, whilst there are but three instances of
assumption of Davis and five of Williams. It is thus plain that
the desire of getting rid of common surnames leads to such
being discarded with a greater frequency than they are adopted.

The simple canons adopted for changes bv license are by no
means adhered to in irregular changes. Persons making these
irregular changes will without hesitation convert one of their
Christian names into the new surname, merely dropping their
proper surname, or conjoin them with a hyphen ; they will wholly
alter their Christian name, or it mav be, add a new Christian
name or change their positions ; occasionally a new name
is constructed out of the sam^ letters as the old one consists of.

A few examples may now be given : —

Sir Henry Hoghton becomes Sir Henry de Hoghton, 1863.

John Ely Fisher became St. John Ely Viviane, 1863.

Philip Lybbe Powys became Philip Lybbe Powys Lybbe, 1863.

David Richard Jones became David Richard St. Paul, 1862.

Abraham Solomans became Alfred Phillips, 1862.

Shirt became Hirst, 1820.

Henrv Hollingworth Wells Beman became Henrv Beman
Wells, 1862.

This gentleman advertized that he took the surname of
Wells in lieu of Beman, but made no remark as to his
Christian names, though it will be seen that he dropped two
of them and adopted his late surname as a Christian one.

xiv. The Law atid Practice of

Nathan Norton Laventhall became Norton Nathan Laventhal
Lonsdale, 1863.

Here the first names were transposed and a new
surname added but not hyphened. It may be assumed
that this family, presumably a foreign one, is now known
as Lonsdale only.

Vere Jones became Vere Jones Vere, 1863.

This was a singular case as Vere Jones was the infant
son of Thomas J. Jones, who apparently did not change
his own name.

John Joseph Deadman became John Joseph Dedman, 1864.

This is a change of spelling made for obvious reason.

Albert Henry Benson O'Fflahertie became Albert Henry
Benson de Vere, 1864.

Robert William Scoble became Robert William Scobell, 1864.

Here is a change of spelling in order to cast the accent
on the last syllable, for that method of pronunciation by
many is regarded as the more fashionable one.

Edward FitzGerald Galaher became Edward Fitzgerald, 1864.

Here the surname is simply dropped and the
Christian name became the new surname.

Henry Perkins Wolrige became Henry Gordon Wolrige, 1864.

Here, " by reason of succession to an estate." he
drops Perkins and assumes instead the surname of Gordon
— apparently he does not treat it as a " double " name.
He afterwards became Henry Wolrige Gordon by Roval
licence in 1873.

Charles Reed Driver became Charles Reed de la Bere, 1864.

He " resumes " his " ancient familv surname " — a
strange misuse of the the word " resume." It might be
imagined that he formerly bore (he name de la Bere, but
such was not the case.' ' Tt is evidently the name of some
remote (presumed) ancestor.

A desire to conceal racial origin produces many changes.
The motive in these cases doubtless varies. Some may be ashamed
of their origin ; others find it merely inconvenient in business to
appear as foreigners, or do not desire to appear singular amongst
their neighbours. By a few the process is reversed for ob\ious
purpose of deception, as when the Irish singer Foley called

Change of Name. xv.

himself Signer Foli with the evident object of inducing the public
to think that he was an Italian vocalist.

Jews, Germans, Russians and Irish* are especially prone to
this weakness, but it may be remarked that this is not so much the
case with Frenchmen and Italians. Genealogically it may be
noted that a certain prestige appears to attach to surnames of
French origin, which is not the case with others. Doubtless this is
due to the still existing influence of the Norman Conquest upon
our family history.