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About the study
My Grandfather ( RLA 1853-1942 ) researched the family history in the 1920s and published the results in 1929 in “Antrobus Pedigrees – The story of a Cheshire Family.” This was a small private publication (100 copies I think) which he distributed to friends, those who had helped in the research and interested professional bodies. It was in a sense a prototype One Name Study. As far as I know there are copies in the Cheshire Records Office and the Library of the Society of Genealogists and it can be accessed on line at Ancestry. The sources were mainly Parish Records (then held in the Parish), Wills and a variety of documents in Public Libraries. Inevitably there were large gaps due to the difficulties of knowing where to look for data and also accessing it. For instance, in the 1929 Pedigree Edward Antrobus of Tarvin, who married Eleanor Roberts in 1735, is described as having many descendants living in the Frodsham/Tarvin areas, but none were recorded. To date I have identified 659 such descendants in Cheshire/Lancashire and a further 238 in the South of England!
Over the past 10 years using data now available on line I have been able to confirm most of the details in the 1929 Pedigree, fill in many of the gaps and Largely bring it up to date. My Grandfather believed that every Antrobus living in 1929 was descended from a Ralph Antrobus who was living in Over Peover, Cheshire in the latter part of the 15th Century. While I think this is probably correct more work is needed for 100% certainty. Future development lies in researching the Family in USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa and establishing how they got there and where they came from.
The Study is recorded in a series of individual pedigree trees on sheets (A4 landscape) with each sheet generally covering 3 to 4 generations (Microsoft Word). These Pedigree Trees are grouped by location with a further linked Group being set up when an individual moves to a different area. There now some 80 Groups and 380 individual Pedigree sheets, all of which are coded and linked sequentially. All individuals are summarised in a common Data Base (Excel) which currently stands over 5000.
A commonly accepted spelling of the name was ANTROBUSS, but this gradually died out during the latter part of the 19th century.
Other variants have been Anterbus, Antobes, Antobus, Antsobus, Antrabus, Antrebus, Antribus(s), Antrobas(s), Antrobos(s), Antrolus Antropus and Antrowbus all of which are, I think, either spelling errors or mistakes in recording and transcription. Unlike ANTROBUSS they are not generally reproduced between generations or with any consistency.
I have only recorded ANTROBIUS a few times in the UK where it is probably a mistake, but it does appear as a small but well established family group in USA and Which has derived from German immigrants who left Alcase Lorraine in 1850’s and settled in St Louis, Missouri. This variant has been slightly complicated by a fairly well known Judge in Virginia, who shortly before his death in 2007, decided to drop the i in his name and change it by deed poll to Antrobus.
In the 1841 Census the total variances were 26% but had dropped to 3% by 1911.
The name is locational, Antrobus being a small township or village in Cheshire some 5 miles NW of Northwich. It was originally part of Lower Whitley in the parish of Great Budworth but in 1848 it became a parish in its own right. In the Domesday Book it is mentioned twice as Entrebus which suggests a Norman – French origin (entre bois) especially as there was an adjacent wood. A more recent suggestion has been that it is of Norse origin dating from the Viking era being derived from “Eindrithi” or “Andrithi” plus “buski” for bush or thicket. With no documentary evidence to support this view I think it is unlikely and I prefer the Norman – French explanation.
Historical occurrences of the name
The history of the first six generations of the family is largely contained in early 17th century pedigrees based on Visitations of St Albans and London by the College Of Heralds. These show the earliest Antrobus to be a William Antrobus who married Felix daughter of ? Constantyne of Whitchurch and was probably the William de Anterbus who bought land in Rushton in the parish of Tarporley, Cheshire in 1360. These early pedigrees are notable for the absence of any dates, a fact conveniently ignored in a number of published family pedigrees in which birth , marriage and death dates have been ascribed incorrectly to these early individuals. In my pedigrees I have given them estimated dates which is convenient and used only for reference purposes but which is clearly indicated by the use of italics and a different colour.
Sir Edmund Antrobus (1752-1826), a partner in Thomas Coutts Bank, was created a baronet after the Napoleonic Wars in 1816, for services in respect of the Government and Prince Regents Loans. His nephew bought an estate in Wiltshire that included Stonehenge and his grandson (the 4th baronet) achieved some notoriety by attempting to enclose the stones and charge admission. It was eventually sold in 1915 after his son and heir was killed in France in 1914 and given to the nation.
Sir Reginald Antrobus (1853-1942), my grandfather who produced the 1929 Pedigree, was a noted Colonial Administrator, Crown Agent for the Colonies and some time Governor of St Helena.
Others of fame or notoriety will eventually be recorded in the Study.
Published data on the frequency of the name is: UK 1: 39,074 USA 1 : 495,000
Distribution of the name
Earliest records show the family developing around the Cheshire towns of Knutsford and Northwich and particularly in Over Peover, a village a few miles SE of Knutsford. Quite early there were small branches spreading to London and to Cumberland. With the onset of the Industrial Revolution, what was essentially a rural community, spread rapidly into the the towns of Lancashire and North Cheshire – Liverpool, Manchester, Runcorn, Warrington, Widnes and Wigan. Employment was, among other things, largely in Cotton Weaving, Mining, Chemical Works, The Salt Industry around Northwich, Railways and Construction. Before the Rail system developed many were also employed on the Canals.
There was sporadic emigration to N America from the UK in 17th century, followed by rapid development in the latter half of the 19th. There was similar though much smaller spread to Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
UK Distribution 1841 Census 1911 Census
Cheshire 161 316
Lancashire 99 296
London/Middlesex 31 148
Staffordshire 14 41
Others 24 108
Total 329 909
This shows, not only a rapid overall increase, but also a shift from the rural areas and occupations of mid Cheshire to the Industrial heart of the North West.
Data has been recorded from all available sources:
Cheshire Parish Records & Bishops Transcripts, BMD & Wills
Lancashire Parish Clerks & BMD
Censuses 1841 – 1911 & 1939 Record
Published Family Trees (Ancestry)
Misc On Line records : Ancestry, Find my Past, Genealogist & Family Search
No DNA work has been carried so far. As it is fairly clear that the family grew out of one small area in Cheshire I am not sure how valuable DNA data would be at present.
The stage has now been reached where a significant proportion of the available data has been allocated to individual pedigree trees. Nearly 98% of Census entries (1841 – 1911) and GRO Births from 1837 have been allocated. The rate for Parish Records (and Bishops Transcripts) is less good, particularly for female marriages where there is no corresponding Birth entry. I suspect that many of the female marriage entries may be widows so a corresponding birth entry does not exist or may be very difficult to find.
About ¾ of all individuals have been linked back to a common origin. With many of the rest the link back is suggested but not confirmed and needs further elucidation.
More work is also needed on branches of the family in USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand where significant numbers of individuals now reside.
The other main developments now needed are a Website, to make the data available to those interested and to promote discussion and feedback around problem areas in the Pedigree, and possibly a DNA Project.