(member 1878)

The Lost Withells

WITHELL has always been a rare surname. With only 132 instances of Withell listed by the UK Office of National Statistics database for 2002, the surname is the 27,805th most common in the UK. There were 53 instances of WITHILL, which hence ranked 49,026.

The search for WITHELLS found that Withell families have lived not only in the United Kingdom, but in Canada, USA, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa.

My mother was Hannah Lillian WITHELL born in Stawell, a country town in Victoria, Australia, and I began to look for her Cornish ancestors in 1984. It was very exciting to discover that in 1259 a John de Withiel had been appointed cleric in St Merryn, the Cornish village where her ancestors lived.

A world-wide search for LOST WITHELLS was begun.

There are currently three completely unrelated Withell lines, which have developed from Cornwall, Yorkshire and Sunderland.

Although variations of the byname Withiel occurred in Cornwall from as early as 1200, by 1990 there was no-one with the surname Withell living in that county. Here was a surname with a history in one county of at least 700 years, which at that time had completely disappeared from Cornwall.

The Sunderland line has been traced back to early 17th century and the Yorkshire line to late 18th century.

This is a work in progress and I am planning to add further listings – particularly of other Cornish families. I am happy to let other researchers reference and include information from my database, as long as my work is cited. If you can assist with any details or corrections, please contact me. I may also be able to put you in touch with other researchers of the surname.

Please contact me by e-mail if you have any interest in these names.

Contact - withell@onename.org

Guild of One-Name Studies (Member No 1878).

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