"Each has his own tree of ancestors, but at the top of all sits Probably Arboreal." - Robert Louis Stevenson

Thursday, 4 October 2012

Clifford: connection or coincidence?

So, I’ve set to work on the family of Sarah Jane Newby, and this time I’ve started as I mean to go on, trying my best to get a handle on all siblings and relevant parties in a methodical manner rather than getting sidetracked. I’m hoping that tracking down as many relatives as possible might lead me to where Sarah Jane and Walter are hiding on the 1911 census, but no luck so far.
However, my searches have revealed something else rather interesting – the recurrence of the name Clifford.
In 1896, Sarah Jane’s older sister Clara Newby marries a man with the surname Clifford. In 1911, Sarah Jane’s father Henry is living with the Clifford family.
Occurrence number two of the name is in 1895, when Sarah Jane’s mother Elizabeth’s brother, Mark Lockwood, christens his son Clifford Lockwood. My first thought was that this was a sort of family tribute, as I have started to notice a few reuses of names in the family. However, Clifford is baptised a year before Clara marries into the Clifford family. And Clifford definitely isn’t Mark’s wife’s surname, which was my other thought – so where did it come from?
Only two possibly unconnected occurrences in the immediate family so far. However, during my searches for the Newbys I have also come across a family of Clifford Newbys not too far away.
Strangely, though this is most likely a coincidence, I also note that Clifford has been used as a middle name for one of the Semleys – Charles Clifford Semley, nephew of my direct ancestor Sarah Ann Semley. And it is Sarah Ann’s granddaughter, Margaret Thompson, who goes on to marry Walter Newby in 1929.
Am I now facing one giant Newby/Lockwood/Clifford/Semley/Thompson knot? Or is it all just a big coincidence? Only genealogy will tell!
L x

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