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Adamthwaite Archive

"The website IS the one-name study!"



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Newsletter December 2011

Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.  

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History of the Adamthwaites

For the final assessment of the course in One-Name Studies which I recently completed with Pharos Tutors, I had to write an article about the origins of the surname I was studying.  This involved extensive research into the earliest holders of the Adamthwaite surname which confirmed our theory that all the Adamthwaites living today are descended from a small group of families that lived at Adamthwaite, a hamlet near Ravenstonedale in Westmorland.  The article will be published sometime in 2012 in the Journal of the Guild of One-Name Studies - but if anyone would like to read it, just let me know and I can send you an electronic copy.


In order to include the new information which I discovered whilst researching the article on this website, I have rearranged the pages about the History of the Adamthwaites, and added a new section about the early occupants of the four farmsteads at Adamthwaite, which I hope you will find interesting.  I'll be adding more to the History section over the coming months.

Latest updates

As well as updating all the BMD spreadsheets for the UK, I have recently added a couple more Wills:

  • John Adamthwaite, schoolmaster of Bowes who died in 1817.  I am still puzzled by this man - his memorial stone records that he was 'a native of Adamthwaite' however, there are no likely baptisms recorded in Ravenstonedale (or indeed anywhere else) at the time that he would have been born.  He also seems to have been either very vague - although he names his wife Margaret in the will, his three children remain unnamed - just being referred to as 'every the child or children lawfully begotten I may leave at the time of my decease'.

  • Frances Adamthwaite, widow of St Giles without Cripplegate, London, whose will was proved in 1684.  Frances was the widow of Richard Adamthwaite, plaisterer.

Apprentice records

Some apprentice records which have recently come to light have provided some clues as to the origins of at least one of the families of Adamthwaites that appear on early records in London. I have added them to the list of Adamthwaites in Historical Directories, Trade records etc.


I had previously found records which showed that Richard Adamthwaite mentioned above was a plaisterer - but the discovery of his own apprenticeship record in 1633 was a breakthrough.  He is recorded as the son of John Adamthwaite, husbandman - which means that he is very probably the Richard christened in Ravenstonedale in 1616, son of John.


The apprentice record for William Adamthwaite to John Fothergill of Webb Street, London as a carpenter in 1668 is even more explicit - naming his father as Thomas Adamthwaite of Ravenstonedale, yeoman.  So William is almost certainly the son of Thomas and Elizabeth (Fothergill) who was christened in Ravenstonedale in 1648.


I am planning a visit to the Guildhall Library in the near future to see if I can find out any more.


If you have any apprenticeship records for your Adamthwaites, I would be very grateful if you could send me details.

A warning about public member trees

Recently, I discovered that there are LOTS of public member trees displayed on the Ancestry website that include Adamthwaites.   Some are properly sourced, look very accurate, and may even belong to members of this mailing list.  


BUT some of those I looked at where there are early Adamthwaites featured, contain substantial errors, or what appear to be wild stabs in the dark.  One of the owners of these trees has downloaded material from the Adamthwaite Archive (she could at least have included a link to our website as an acknowledgement!). This has subsequently been copied to several other members’ trees.  


Because it seems to be common practice for people creating their family trees on Ancestry to copy whole chunks from other people’s trees on the site, any errors are reproduced over and over again.  (A button is provided which you just have to click to add anything you find to your own tree!)  One error I spotted now appears on more than 20 different public trees (and goodness knows how many private ones!)  So, if any of you discover details about your own family members amongst entries from these trees on Ancestry, please do your own checks before assuming they are correct!  I have even been told horror stories of people finding THEMSELVES on a total stranger's tree. My main concern is that the incorrect data from this source will proliferate far more quickly than those ‘member submitted’ entries on family search that we have all learned to be so wary of.


I did write to Ancestry about this – their response was that they had no control over what members choose to put on their trees, and that I should take legal action if I held the relevant legal paperwork to prove that I held the copyright (in other words ... its not our problem!)

On the subject of websites ...

In the last Newsletter I promised to put together a page of links to useful websites.  I have made a start on this, and you will find the page here.  I will continue to add more links, but I would be very pleased if some of you would send me details of any websites YOU have found useful in your own family history research.


Don't forget, I would love to hear from you with ideas about new content for the website.



With best wishes

Sue Mastel