News and Blog

The latest news and information from the Achievements team.

  1. The meaning of a Badger

    Names can have many origins and meanings. One example of this is a Badger.

    “Badgers” was a term used in Tudor times to refer to a licensed beggar. It is thought that the origin of the surname Badger derived from this occupation or from those whose who made bags.

    Another possible origin of the surname was as a habitation name taken from a  small parish in Shropshire.

    So if you are a Badger one of your earliest ancestors were either a peddle, a bag maker or from Shopshire. What is certain was they were not named after the animal!

    Just to complicate things further part of the Old Poor Law Settlement Act of 1697 required those receiving poor relief to wear a badge on their right shoulder bearing the letter “P” and as a results paupers became know as “badgers”. However this was long after surnames were established. This act stayed in force until 1810.

    The term badger was not used for the animal until the 16th Century. The earliest recorded use was in 1523. Before that, it was called a “brock” or “bauson”. National Badger day is the 6th October every year.


  2. New study on the origins of names

    The Guardian has an interesting article on a four-year study by linguists and historians which analysed family names by looking at British and Irish records back to the 11th century . Whilst the theory of the origin of many names, such as Smith, has not changed some have been reassessed. The work, The Oxford Dictionary of Family Names in Britain and Ireland, has been published in four volumes and will be available in public libraries with a subscription. The original article can be viewed

    Tags: ,
  3. Do you have a Happy Woddle in your family tree?!

    Genealogy can uncover all kinds of odd forenames and surnames.  Children named after battles, maternal surnames or even train stations  can make a change from the usual line of Johns, Marys and Williams.

    Whilst researching a family in Kent this week, one of our genealogists unearthed a gem of a name: Happy Woddle (or Waddle in some sources) was baptised at Hawkhurst in 1833, and married in Kent in 1857.  We wonder whose chose her interesting name!  She appears on the 1851 census, as below.

    happy woddle

    Do you have an interesting name in your family history you would like to research?  Contact us today to find out more.

  4. An ancestor called “New Year”?!

    Following on our festive names theme, our searchers have found the use of “New Year” as a forename exists from at least the seventeenth century.

    For example, New Year Carlile was baptised in Cumberland in 1690.  New Year Studlin married in Gosport, Hampshire, in 1746, whilst a New Year Maw lived in Yorkshire in the later eighteenth century.

    It was perhaps more common as a middle name in later years: John New Year Holley is just one doubly festive example, baptised in Norfolk in 1814.

    What festive names will you find in your family tree?



December 2018
« Nov