Guild of One-Name Studies
One-name studies, Genealogy
This One-Name Study is the next step for me in finding the origins of my family name which is ANCOCK. As a child in the 1960s I looked in the library for some clues and couldn’t find our name anywhere, apart from a standard genealogy reference of the time (Bardsley) which held that ANCOCK was a variant of HANCOCK. This made sense, our name was always being mis-heard as a badly pronounced HANCOCK, it was boring and awkward to keep spelling it out to people. The comedian Tony Hancock was big in Radio & TV comedy at the time and in the school playground I was greeted with shouts of ‘Ancock’s ‘Alf ‘Our, the name of the popular Radio series.
I discovered from my aunt that my grandfather had been an orphan and that the family name was originally AUKETT. This seemed a weird alternative and I started to seriously investigate the family history.
I soon discovered via Birth Marriage & Death records, following a clear line of descent back to the early 1800s in the village of Alfriston in East Sussex, that the family name was actually AUCOCK, although some individuals used AUKETT as well as AUCOCK, on BMDs and census returns. I'm guessing that this was the Sussex dialect pronunciation and had been in use for some time.
The ANCOCK spelling seems to have resulted from a misreading of my grandfather's birth certificate of the U for an N when went into the Brighton Workhouse at the age of two, and he had grown up accepting that as his family name.
Using the Parish Registers I discovered that my branch of the family had moved to Alfriston from nearby Eastbourne in the 1780s. Another branch had moved to London at about the same time, while the family had been in Eastbourne from 1642 right down to the 20th century.
Looking at the Eastbourne parish registers of the 1600s & 1700s, the spelling is quite variable as might be expected. There is AUCOCK, AUCOTT, AUCUTT, AUCOKE, ACOCKE, ALCOCK, AULCOCK, and AWCOCK.
The earliest direct ancestor I have found is Thomas AUCOCK who married Mary COOPER in Willingdon (immediately north of Eastbourne parish) in 1641, then died 10 years later after having 5 children - all but the first christened in Eastbourne. I've spent a lot of time trying to find Thomas's birthplace, so far without success, but I'm convinced he's ultimately related to the large family of AWCOCKs further north in Sussex around Fletching and Horsted Keynes. There are parish records of them around that area well back into the 1500s and the AUCOCK/AWCOCK name appears in various Sussex documents back to the 1200s.
I have constructed trees for the three main branches of the family showing descent from the Thomas AUCOCK who married in 1641 comprising several hundred individuals, plus a number of other trees of people bearing one of the variant names.
I also have an archive of over a thousand records of people who may or not be related, but whom I have come across in the General Registers, Parish Records or elsewhere.
I hope to be able to publish much of this material on a One-Name study website soon but in the meanwhile I would invite anyone who has, or is seeking information about AUCOCK AWCOCK etc. ancestors/relatives to get in touch.
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