This was not a wise way to do things as I have a lot of sorting, deleting and re-entering to do. The information is all there but in a shambles.
Part of the reason for this is that when I started searching into my family and its roots, I had little instruction and just searched willy-nilly for facts and figures.
There were people who gave me information that I took as gospel and at a certain point confusion set in. If I had it to do all over again, I hope I would be more organized.
I was fortunate to family who also had an interest in the history and they helped along the way. One cousin on my paternal side had been researching the Ryder’s for a number of years when I started. She also had the opportunity of living in the area that the family originally settled. With her help I was able to find many interesting tidbits not available through the census or other government sites. Such things as newspaper clippings, marriage, birth and death announcements, that while did not always give the exact date it did narrow it down tremendously and help me come to a final destination.
Another cousin, on my husband’s side spent over 10 years composing a genealogical dictionary of the family of Vincent Nicolas Boissonneau dit Saint-Onge. She has produced two volumes that trace the family back to its ancestral routes in France.
All that to say, that perhaps one of the best approaches when starting, is to work with one name and one line until you have exhausted it. Gather the information on that name and verify everthing as you go along. Things that you cannot prove put into a file away from the factual data and deal with as you find more on the family and can prove or disprove the data.
This is where I come to the name part. When I started I looked for the surname, I began with how it is spelled today and some variances that were easy to imagine. Things like McEwan and McEwen. Ostrom and Ostrum. While that is not bad for a start, we must delve deeper and use our imagination.
The original name was most certainly very different in its form and many spelling errors and interpretations can change a name drastically over time. McEwan, for instance originated in Scotland and was MacEoghainn. In Gaelic this means son of Ewen. The clan was initially from the area of Argyll. Over the years once translated to English the names Ewing, McEwen, McEwan and other variants appeared. My family was McEwan and came from in the Glascow area, from the research I have gathered.
Should I delve farther (and I might), there is evidence of the name being McEwen before that. Pre 1870, I have found a possible relative by the name of McEwen living in Derry, Ireland and as far back as 1699, McKewn in Renfrew, Scotland. Depending on the extent you want to research a name there are few boundaries.
Later, when dealing with census, there were often mistakes made. Many of our ancestors that settled in Canada were of a poorer class. They came to Canada for a better life and a large percentage of them did not know how to read or write. Census takers could misinterpret a name given to them by someone or just not know how to spell it.
In recent years we have been transcribing old documents, ie: census and marriage registrations and again some of the handwriting has to be interpreted due to the poor quality documents, the document takers handwriting etc. My family McEwan in Toronto was misspelled in the census of 1911 as McKewan. Another time it appeared as McCowan. We must definitely think outside of the box. To examine the McEwan clan in great depth see http://mcewanjc.org/maceoghainnclan.htm
McKeon, McKeowen, McEwan, McKeown, McKeowon, McEwyn and many other forms using either Mc or Mac for the prefix.
My Ostrom line proved to be very elusive for many years due to misinformation. My mother was raised by her paternal grandparents after her mother died when she was just an infant. Her father remarried and it was felt according to my mother’s information that a young child would hamper the new relationship. Her elder sister and brother did remain with their father for a while but were eventually shipped out to Saskatchewan to live with the maternal grandmother.
My mother always spoke well of her grandparents but really knew little about her mother’s family. The first mistake was that I was told they were Swedish. When trying to research the name as Swedish origin I came up empty.
It was only when I concluded that they were actually Dutch that I started to make some progress. The rest of that I will save for another day when I talk about how not to give up too soon and keep digging even if you think there is no hope.
Ostrom in my case can be traced back to Hendrik Jan (Zen) Oosterom from Ultrecht, Netherlands about 1625. From there they migrated to Dutchess County, New York around the mid-1700’s until they eventually settled in Ontario as U.E.L. My particular line was from Northumberland County.
Ostrum, Ostrom. Ostram, Ostrem, Ostron, Ostrome, Oustram, Ostroom, Oostrom
The name Bell or Belle is a simple one and very hard to misspell intentionally. However consider that someone could when transcribing the name write Bull or Ball, not impossible. That will keep us on our toes, just considering the possiblility. Another problem with what seems to be easy to research is that anytime we put Bell into a search we can arrive at a destination that gives us not only the name Bell but also anything with bell in it.
The name dates back to the mid 12th Century. Robert de la Belle, (1222), London. This could be interpreted as Robert son of the Belle (or beauty) of the area.
There are church recordings that show a christening of Mary Bell in August of 1551 at St. Peter’s, Cornhill, London and a marriage of Margarett Bell to Wylliam Traford in September of the same year at St. Mary’s of Westminster.
There is also a Charles Bell, aged 23 yrs., and Irish famine emigrant who sailed from Liverpool to New York aboard the “Henry Clay” on April 15th of 1846.
Recently while searching a local newspaper for articles with the name Bell in it my query returned also stories about Bell Canada, the bell at the local church and so on. This then shows us that researching such and easy name also comes with challenges.
Bell, Bill, Belle, Ball, Bull
This by far gave me the least trouble of my family names. The only problems I had was an “i” in place of a “y”.
When looking up the name I found an interesting site that mentioned two possibilities. The name is of Anglo-Saxon origin. The first dates back to a pre 7th Century tern “ridere” meaning to ride. The name was given to a mounted warrior or messenger.
The second, also Olde English “ried, ryd”, def: clearing in a wood, using the suffix “er” would then refer to a residence in, or by a clearing.
Ritter, Riter, Ryter, Rader, Reader, Raader, Raeder, Ridder
Boissonneau dit Saint-Onge
Once I arrived at the French side of the family, I met new challenges. Double names was one of them.
My husband’s family arrived in Québec in 1665 as a soldier in the Carignan-Saliéres Regiment. Many of the soldiers, Vincent among them, brought with them not only their family name but the “dit” as well. This usually referred to where in France they originated. Vincent Boissonneau was from Saint-Seurin, France. This was an historic area know as Saintonge or Saint-Onge. It is situated in the Bordeaux region.
Once in Canada, over time the “dit” was dropped and families kept either the former or the latter of the names. Hence the family name Saint-Onge is a branch of the Boissonneau name.
Boissonneau, (Boissonneault, Boissonnault, Boissoneau, Boisoneau, Boissonneaux, Boissonnault, Boissoneault, Boisseneau, Boissennault, Boissenneault, Boissineau, Busseno, Bussino, Busseneau and Bussoneau, Saintonge, St-Onge, Saint-Onge, St. Onge and St-Ange
This was by far the most changed name of all my family lines that I have encountered. The name Côté in Canada is believed to originate from the Venetian form of the French surname Coste which is Olde French. The Latin term costa means rib, side or flank, also referring to someone who might live by the water (flanking the river or sea).
Surnames in every country have continued to develop often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
Additional variations over the years have been recorded as: Caudy, Cauta, Caute, Cete, Cole, Coste, Costey, Costez, Cota, Cote, Cotta, Cotte, Cottez, Coty, Delacoste, Gaudy, Lefrise, Lacoste, Side and Sides. Not to mention all the names that use the French accents.
The name Auger is actually an English name not derived from the agricultural tool, the auger. The actual surname comes from the popular personal name Alger or Algernon.
It has a complicated origin in that it is from a fused form of a combination of names all sharing a common final element of “gar” meaning spear.
Two of those name Aelgar and Elgar appear in the famous Domesday Book of 1080, while Alger and Algar are found in the register of the abbey of Bury St. Edmunds, Suffolk and date 1195.
The regions in England controlled by the Vikings descend from the Anglo-Saxon Aelfgar. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown as William Algar in 1221 in Worcestershire, during the reign of King Henry 111rd of England.
Algar, Augar, Auger, Auge, Agar, Aujer, Augur, Angers, Elgar,