Friday, 26 April 2013

April A to Z Challenge – Wardley One-Name Study


Earlier this year, I joined the Guild of One-Name Studies and registered my surname study of Wardley.

I had been aware of the Guild of One-Name Studies for a while, and had considered joining, but did not want to do that until I felt ready to commit to conducting a one-name study on at least one of my rarer surnames.

The Guild has been around for over three decades, and its members work hard to promote the research of the genealogy and family history of people with the same surname, and to facilitate the preservation and publication of the data collected.

If you haven’t already, I would urge you to see if a member of the Guild is studying any of your surnames – you can search for your surname from the home page. All members of the Guild are obligated to reply to your enquiry, and they may just be able to help you break down that brick wall you have. Perhaps even consider joining the Guild, you do not have to register a one-name study to be a member.

Origins of the surname Wardley


As far as I can gather, the surname Wardley is a local or topographical surname. According to the 1860 book ‘Patronymica Britannica: ADictionary of the Family Names of the United Kingdom’ by Mark Antony Lower, which is available in full on Google Books, the Wardley surname originates from a parish of that name in the county of Rutland. Further to that, according to Henry Harrison, author of ‘Surnames of the United Kingdom: A Concise Etymological Dictionary’, the name suggests a combination of ‘Ward’, i.e. a guard, watchman, or keeper, and ‘ley’, i.e. a meadow.

Frequency of the surname Wardley


According to the ‘Surnames of England and Wales’ website Wardley had a count 1,110 people in 2002. According to advice from the Guild, that means I can multiply that by a factor of 3.5 to estimate the total number of people who have held the surname since the mid-sixteenth century. This small number makes the Wardley One-Name Study relatively easy to manage.

At the time of the 1841 England and Wales Census, there were 394 Wardleys. By the time of the 1911 England and Wales Census, there were 1,008 Wardleys.

Distribution of the surname Wardley


There are still Wardleys living in the UK, as well as scattered around the world in smaller numbers, typically in Canada, the USA, New Zealand and Australia.

Progress of the Wardley One-Name Study


I have collected all of the data available in birth, marriage and death indexes for Australia and New Zealand, and I am in the process of reconstructing families with this data where possible. I have also been using articles found on Trove and records available on the NAA website to assist with the reconstruction.

I have also started collecting all of the data available from the English parish and civil registers, but the reconstruction of this data is still in its infancy, apart from the data I already had which pertains to my own Wardleys.


If you have any Wardleys in your family tree, please contact me. I’m happy to share what information I have, and would appreciate your input into the Wardley One-Name study.


This is a post for the April A-Z Challenge. This Challenge will cover each letter of the alphabet, one per day (except Sundays) for the month of April. I didn't register my blog with the organisers, but I'm going to follow along anyway. You can too! See www.a-zchallenge.com for more information.