I’m not sure what you mean exactly by ‘late period for this type of research’.. also your
reference to location.. ? The parish Records sometimes record area within North Meols, so
I can sometimes work out which family is which.
The Parish of North Meols, is an ancient parish ‘between the Ribble and the Mersey’
according to Doomsday, though we know from Records that it was already in existence by
then, settled by Scandinavians but including many Saxons .. so presumably they lived in
relative peace together, though we will never know exactly.
The families I’m referring to include Robinson as that’s my maiden name, but there are
Johnson, Robertsons, Richardsons, Gilbertsons, Petersons... and several more. Their names
appear in the parish register from the earliest in existence 1594, but we know that John
Christopherson at least was around from well before that. The burial registers indicate
that many more were too.
I have dozens of Wills from this time, all preserved at the Probate Registry in Chester,
though they do get thin by 1700. They tell me that they were Husbandmen and Yeomen.. not
You’re absolutely right about gathering evidence. I’ve been doing that anyway as part of
background research for the area for some years. I have a number of local history books.
The local FHS is a mine of information. I have not yet seen the Manor Rolls, but there is
an excellent early 20th century history which uses the Manor Rolls and a great deal more,
(court records, hearth taxes, muster rolls etc) to build a picture of the parish from
King Alfred’s time. The above names did not appear in that history before the 19th
century. It is largely concerned with disputes being the main landowners (French Norman
mainly) which had been taken from five Saxon thanes. Many of t he names do refer to
places, as in William de Aughton or John de Lyverpull (Liverpool).
The Poll Tax returns of 1381 list an Alan Robynson as well as other -son surname endings.
Of course that suffix is not always patronymic but I have several generations in the
families I am referring to which clearly demonstration the use of this system for those
families at that time.
Written records of the Viking settlements are few, but there is permanent legacy left in
the place names . Meols itself is Old Norse for meir, sand hills or dunes... a very apt
description of the area even today. But Birkdale, Ainsdale, Formby, Altcar, Crosby,
Litherland and so on are all Norse in origin.
Of course, the Norman invasion largely swept away existing land owners and replace them
with French. So if you mean it’s late to research the earlier period then you are
completely right. I’m not expecting that Records will have survived from that date linking
my names to that period.
But those family names which began with patronymic naming have survived in Southport
(originally just North Meols). In quick check of a phone directory from 1982 I found
23,000 Robinsons and 27,000 Johnsons for instance.
In a lifeboat disaster of 1886 27 men were killed, all lifeboat men. Of those 27 at least
one third of them are descended from John Christopherson directly and most of the others
are cousins as far as I can tell.
Sorry, I seem to have written an essay! It’s just that despite all my research, I haven’t
come across any detailed study of this naming system, though there are plenty of scholarly
articles about Viking settlement. I’d hoped someone on the list might know something.
On 9 Sep 2018, at 08:26, Phil Marsden <philmarsden(a)btopenworld.com> wrote:
I would suggest this is a very late period for this type of research, particularly with
the name you have which doesn’t provide any evidence of location. You mention the use of
wills, but these are running thin at this period.