Oxfordshire Surname Project


DNA Project FAQ — — — Surname project FAQ  — — — Full Surname list

The Oxfordshire surname project aims to build a comprehensive database of Oxfordshire surnames, tracing their whereabouts in different parishes over time, their origins, hotspots, DNA connections and many other facets of Oxfordshire surnames. The project will take about 2 years to complete.

The project is progressing well. We are working on a priority list of the top 400 names in Oxfordshire and starting to document them individually. We are also busy transcribing a number of older sources of surnames in the county and have an active team of transcribers working hard in 2018.

Our key needs for this year are:

  • More males with Oxfordshire surnames to have a Y-DNA test
  • More transcribers

DNA testing

  • We are keen to have more males who have Oxfordshire ancestry before 1875 on their pure male (father’s father’s father’s….) line to come forward and have a Y-37 or even better a Y-67 DNA test.
  • People who have been DNA tested and are not yet part of the Oxfordshire DNA project on FamilyTreeDNA are welcome to join the project.
  • The team also welcomes help with publicity to encourage more people with good Oxfordshire ancestry to be DNA tested, so do contact your neighbours/friends and try to persuade them to be tested.

Contact the DNA team at dna@ofhs.org.uk to discuss your family history and to see if you are eligible to join the Oxfordshire DNA project www.familytreedna.com/public/oxfordshire


If you are keen to help, there are a number of pan-Oxfordshire resources the team needs help in transcribing. Many can be done remotely without being located in Oxfordshire. If you possess electronic versions of any early documents listing Oxfordshire names (for which you have obtained the original author or publisher’s permission for use), or want to help transcribe, please contact the surname team at surname-project@ofhs.org.uk

Family Histories

Those who have a good recorded family history in Oxfordshire or who manage a one-name study would be welcome to contact the surname team with a brief description and their contact details, so that when their surname is analysed they may be able to participate in submitting content for that name. All significant contributors will be acknowledged.

If you have any queries, please contact Sue Honore via surname-project@ofhs.org.uk

See also the original launch post and the follow-up comments.

  28 Responses to “Oxfordshire Surname Project”

  1. Hi from Albany Western Australia , i have been researching the Harris family from Charlbury , other names are Hutt from Finstock , Clary from Charlbury , French from Willcott and Trotman from Stonsfield .

    Allan Harris

  2. Families researched: Rimell from Sibford Gower; Fardon from Woodstock, Adderbury, Deddington, North Newington; Malings/Malins from Deddington; Churchill from Deddington; Bazeley from Deddington; Wellman from Deddington; Franklin from Deddington; Browne from Deddington

    Elaine Ward

    • Elaine,

      Thank you for getting in touch. We have noted your surnames being researched for the surname project. It would be great if you or (even more useful) male relative(s) with these surnames could be DNA tested. If you know of a male with RIMELL surname do contact us via dna@ofhs.org.uk as we may be able to get a susbidised test for him.

      Sue Honore
      Oxfordshire DNA & Surname Projects

  3. Hi

    Happy to have a DNA test if you are interested in the Crutch family from Woodstock, Doubt if it is in the top 200 Oxfordshire names though!.


  4. Hi Sue

    Joined and ordered the kit

    What do I do now (apart from wait for it to arrive?)

    • Alan,

      All new users are encouraged to set up their profiles to help us and others who might be cousins to you to understand your ancestry. You can get started even before your test kit arrives.
      Log in to your account. On your dashboard towards the upper left side will be some words to ‘manage your profile’. There are security and access levels (as project co-ordinators we’d love to have the highest access available to us – but that is up to you). Check all your other details and needs in this profile area to make sure everything is correct.

      Most importantly go into the genealogy tab and enter the surnames you are researching (with place names in Oxfordshire or elsewhere & dates if known) and your oldest known male ancestor on your pure male line (again try & fit in name, place and dates if possible). If you have had an autosomal or mtDNA test do put in your oldest known female ancestor on your pure female line too.

      Then if you want to, you can upload a GEDCOM family tree (with living people marked as private) or build your own mini tree using the FTDNA software.

      By having a list of surnames and places and a tree, it not only helps us as administrators to do our surname research, but it also means those people who are genetic cousins can see that list. It makes it easier for people to find those people they really might have a connection to – by linking surnames and places of common interest.

      As you have been Y-DNA tested, you are a valuable person to other projects too. I would wait for your results to come back before acting, but go through the list of projects. There may be a surname project that contains your surname variant or others that are of interest. Joining any project once you have a kit is free.


  5. Thanks Sue.

    Back in Oxfordshire for a few days but will get started when I get back.

    All the best


  6. I tracing my Wade/Gleaton/Hawke/Hardin ancestors. Also Belchers are big on my list of surnames. I’m hitting a brick wall with my Wades. The last Wade was Zachariah Wade married to Mary Hatton in the 1600s in Maryland, USA. I have run across Wades in Oxfordshire, but haven’t been able to make any connection to them. If anyone can help me, I’d be most appreciative.
    Irene Wade Belcher

    • Irene – I hope you find success in your search and if it connects to Wades in Oxfordshire then we’d happily have you on our DNA project (we accept people with a documented connection to the county). However, have you tried a DNA test anyway, as some of the people that you may connect to might end up being on the Wade line? Within FamilyTreeDNA,the company that we work with, there is a project for people with the surname Wade. You need to be a male with a Y-DNA test to join that project so if you have a male Wade relative who is prepared to test then you could see if that finds you/him some connections. https://www.familytreedna.com/groups/wade


  7. Hi Sue,
    I’m trying to get in on the Y-DNA sale before the year end but I have so many questions. I’m researching the John Whiting/Martha Turfrey family, mid 1700s in Hailey. I have a male Whiting cousin who is willing to have the test to help me in my research. However he lives in a different town than me, and has no interest in doing the research. Can I oversee/manage his test results? and is there a paper for him to sign to give me that authority?

    Thanks for any help you can offer.


    • Shelley,
      Apolgies I didn’t get to this yesterday. Yes you can administer a DNA account for someone else. You can put your name & address in as purchaser, and your contact email address as the email used for the account. This email address is the critical part. All correspondence will then go to you. Put the tester’s name and address in the ‘ship to’ data. I always recommend that you get a written statement from the tester saying that they agree to you administering the account and give you formal access to all the data. It can be in a written letter or email, but you keep it safe in case it is needed. Make sure the tester signs the release form included with the DNA test kit to give access to their data for others too, otherwise testing really has no meaning. You can then adjust the access levels online within the account for different people – the adminstrators of projects, the public etc.

  8. 1/21/19
    Hi Sue,
    I am working on the Smart family. Right now my direct relatives (3 great, 2 great and my great grandfather) were all from Abingdon. My great-grandfather moved eventually to the USA, where his family continues to live.
    I am coming to Oxford/Abingdon in June 2019 to see what I can dig up.
    I plan to stop at the Oxfordshire History Centre.
    If there is any help that I can give you let me know. If there is anywhere or anyone I should speak to while I’m in town please let me know that, as well.
    Krissy Iverson Valk

    • Krissy,

      Do stop by at the Oxfordshire History Centre when you come to the UK. We have advisors there on a Tuesday and Thursday – no booking needed – and one of us can have a discussion with you and see if there is anything we can help with. Do also check the OHC archives catalogue – called Heritage Search – to see if there are any specific documents you might want to see on the day of your visit and make sure you book them in advance. Heritage Search
      You will need to bring 2 passport type photos and some ID like a passport to get a card to access original documents. This History Centre itself is open Tuesday to Saturday inclusive but do make sure you check the website as they do have closure days now and again, especially on a Saturday. As Abingdon was once in Berkshire, you might want to check if there is anything at the Berkshire Record Office in Reading that is of interest too.

      If you have any specific questions you want answered which require local knowledge or some preparation then do tell us.

      Other than that do send me further details on your Smart family in Abingdon and we can add you to the list of people researching specific surnames and get in touch when we get to those names. Contact us via surname-project@ofhs.org.uk

      Sue (apologies for the later reply – your message slipped through the net)

  9. I am related to the Tripp’s in Henley, Oxfordshire and have already taken a ancestry dna test, if it helps also im happy to help transcribe

  10. Hi,
    I have researched my family tree for many years and have the following Oxfordshire family named in my tree (mostly from the Ploughley hundred) :
    Hope, Busby, Grubb, Billingham, Cleaver, Hawkes, Timms, Cockins, Vennimore/Fennimore, Watts, Jenkins, Hutt, Steptoe, Gardner, Broom, Fairbrother, Cullum, Wiggins, Needle, Cox, Alder, Cook, Townsend. They are all direct line.
    I have had my autosomal DNA tested and can send you a Gedcom. Sadly there are no males alive that I can ask for DNA from.
    If any of this is of interest then I look forward to hearing from you.
    Best wishes and I wish you much success with your project.

    • Emma,

      Thank you for your information and list of names. We are now getting to the stage in the project where some names are being written up and we may contact you to ask for your help on your specific lines. You may be able to transfer your autosomal test to our Oxfordshire project – depending on who you tested with initially. Although we desperately want males, we do take autosomal tests into the Oxfordshire project, especially those with good multiple Oxfordshire lines like yours, and as we get better at evaluating autosomal DNA it will become useful to Oxfordshire as a whole as well as the individuals. See


      If you have successfully transferred your test and have a FamilyTreeDNA ID and password, you can then join any voluntary groups you like – for example for your surname(s) and if you have Oxfordshire ancestry, our Oxfordshire project. To join the Oxfordshire project:

      Sign on, and on your dashboard click on ‘MyProjects’, then ‘Join a Project’. There will be a list at the bottom of categories. Select DUAL (Y-DNA AND MTDNA) GEOGRAPHICAL PROJECTS then select the letter ‘O’ and from there select ‘Oxfordshire’ and join.

      We appreciate you going into ‘manage personal information’, selecting the genealogy tab and filling in your oldest known male and female ancestors (including dates if known and place in Oxfordshire where appropriate) and any surnames in your family tree. That helps us manage the results.

      In the future if you ever want to find our project it is at http://www.familytreedna.com/groups/oxfordshire

      Thank you for getting in touch.


  11. My family and I are coming for a visit. We are Bartholomew with roots in Burford and Warborough. I have done a DNA test. I have been in contact with the Historical Centre but is there any where else we can go to do additional family research?

    • Caleb,

      I suggest your first port of call should be the Oxfordshire History Centre as you mentioned. If you go on a Tuesday or a Thursday, not only are the archives available but we have an OFHS advisor there who can provide you with additional help and ideas on searches. Before you come over you might want to check the History Centre catalogue at Heritage Search https://www.oxfordshire.gov.uk/heritagesearch to see if there are any specific documents you might want to order to be available to you. You will need some ID and 2 photos to look at original documents. The OFHS person on duty (we sit in the glass cave near the front door) can help you look at all the Bartholemews (and variant spellings) in Oxfordshire parish records from 1837 and also suggest other options. Burford has a small museum (Tolsey Museum) which you might want to check out. If you can look at maps in the History Centre you may be able to find more exact locations of where your family lived and visit them. I’m sure others have additional suggestions for you….

      Sue Honore

  12. Hi Sue

    A family story for my husband’s earliest Thompson ancestor – Joseph Thompson who migrated to the Colony of New South Wales (Australia) in 1828 with his wife Eleanor Page – is that he came from Woodstock in England [thought to be Woodstock, Oxfordshire].

    My husband has done the FTDNA Y-DNA test. If you have any Thompson men from Woodstock who do the Y-DNA test we would be very interested to see if there is a match. He has joined the Thompson DNA Project https://www.familytreedna.com/public/thompson.

    We are visiting Oxfordshire in January. I have ordered some Woodstock parish register transcripts on CD from the OFHS to see if we can find any reference to his Thompson family ancestors.


    • Helen,

      I hope you find some connection with Woodstock in Oxfordshire. If you do, then do get your husband to join the Oxfordshire DNA project http://www.familytreedna.com/groups/oxfordshire
      We can’t send you details of any connection if we find any in the project until he is part of the project, for security reasons. However he should get matches himself; if he connects to someone else anyewhere on the FTDNA DNA database and that person has Thompsons in Oxfordshire then you will automatically get a match in his account and you can join the Oxfordshire project (and persuade the matching person to join if he hasn’t already). That would be great for everyone and boost our project.

      If you are in England in January then do come and visit one of our advisors at the Oxfordshire History Centre, Oxfordshire Central Library or various other libraries around the county. It’s free and we might be able to help you go deeper. Availability of advisors will be on our website http://www.ofhs.org.uk. Do look out for library closures though as January can sometimes be a month when some do stocktaking etc.


  13. Sue, Am researching the Greenway name in Oxfordshire. Have an Ancestry DNA test and would like to get involved. Although I am a USA resident, I am a British Citizen and visit my family yearly. Had the pleasure of visiting the Oxfordshire History Center right before the Covid crisis this year and joined the Oxfordshire Family History Society.
    I do have an extensive family Tree in Family Tree Maker that I am still building that seems to be expanding all the time.
    My dear Aunt Rosemary Belgrove, (Spinster) has a generational presence in Old Woodstock and the palace.
    Some guidance would be appreciated in what is the best way to approach this?

    Thanks Richard W. Greenway (not Greenaway)

    • Thank you, Richard, for your message. It would be interesting to see the Greenway/Greenaway differences. I know of Greenaways but have not seen so many Greenways. Greenaway is nearly 4x more common in our Oxfordshire baptisms. Also we have found that people may or may not pronounce letters such as ‘e’ in the middle of names. It would be great to get some Y-DNA (male surname line) of Oxfordshire Greenways and Greenaways to compare and see if we can find a genetic similarity or difference between these names. Reany & Wilson (Oxford Dictionary of English Surnames) seem to lump them together. Do transfer your DNA to our Oxfordshire project (I will send instructions) and if you can afford to upgrade to add a Y-DNA test when your Ancestry test is transferred across, that would really help. If you encounter any other male Greenway/Greenaways in your travels do encourage them to test too!

      If you are very keen you could start a Greenway one name study – see https://one-name.org/ but meanwhile I will record your interest and add you to the surname project list. I will send transfer instructiosn separately.


  14. Good morning,

    I am researching my family tree on my fathers side – Silvester – I have traced the family back to 1679 to Hinton Waldrist which I appreciate was in Berkshire at that time but in now in Oxfordshire where I grew up. I have hit a brick wall. The only information I have is are dates of birth for him and my GMx7 along with the date of their marriage 1704 in Oxford.

    Does anyone know where to start looking for the records or has anyone found any details of the following please.

    Henry Silvester b: 1679 Hinton Waldrist
    Alice Blanders: b. 1683 Sunningwell

    I am planning at trip home once the lockdown restrictions have been lifted but until then I will keep looking. Have also posted this on the Berkshire Family History page

    I look forward to any replies

    Many thanks


  15. This is one of many potential starting points :-


    Good luck !


  16. Currently researching the Hester family and Belson family from Aston Rowant. We have records dating back to 1400’s but good direct family tree back to 1585. Being a male descendant I would be interested in the DNA test and further information regarding both families who are on your top 350 list.

    • Owen, I will contact you offline with details of joining the DNA project, but you are very welcome – we would love to have another male with long Oxfordshire history.

      We are making use of input from those who have researched their families to document individual sheets on surnames. I will add you to our contact list.

      Currently the surnames are being written up and a select few will start to be available from later this year. Keep your eyes on the OFHS website for details.


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