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Our 2,766 members have registered
2,405 study surnames with us
and a further 6,120 variant names.

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About the study

The Bulfield One-Name-Study started in 2008, when three distant Bulfield cousins: Grahame Bulfield, Ted Molenkamp and William Norman Bulfield, started to cooperate to assemble our family ancestry. Together we have tracked our Bulfield family tree, by far the largest, back to 1746 and have information on several other Bulfield families, accounting for most Bulfields in the 19thC and probably all in the 20thC.

Variant names

The most common form of the name, since the early 19thC, has been 'Bulfield' with a few spelt as 'Bullfield'. In and before the 18thC, 'Bullfell' was also common and this seems to have been the original form of the name. From the 16thC to 18thC, other spellings/variants were found especially 'Bullfall' and 'Bullfill'.

There is another set of families called Bousfield and variants; this appears to be a completely separate group of families, originating around Bousfield, 16 miles NW of Kendal.

Name origin

The earliest record we have found, is of an Elizabeth Bulfell, baptised at St Kentigan's Church, Crosthwaite, Keswick, Cumberland, in 1546. In the 16thC most registrations were at Crosthwaite and there is a Bullfell Beck in Mungrisdale 9 miles NE of Keswick, so the name could be a locational one. Of these 16thC Crosthwaite registrations, 57 were of Bullfell, 43 of Bullfill, 20 of Bullfull; others included Bulfall, Boofell, Bulfeilde and Bullifaule; these still need to be checked against the original Parish records.

Historical occurrences of the name

Although the Bullfeilde variant only appeared in Crosthwaite from 1615 and the first Bulfield only occured there in 1673, there were 12 recordings of Bulfield outside Cumberland in the 16thC, including in Kidwick, Yorkshire in 1570 and Tamworth, Staffs in 1587. By the 17thC, there were about equal registrations of Bullfell, Bullfill and Bullfield within the Lake District, although Bullfield was the major variant outside the Lake District. There was a substantial group, 41, of a mixture of Bulfield, 22, and Bulfeld, 19, registrations in Sheffield from 1608 to 1720; the family relationships amongst this group have not yet been investigated.

In the 18thC, there were no longer any registrations of any variant in Crosthwaite, although there were substantial registrations elsewhere in the Lake District ... in Kendal, Heversham and Cartmel Parishes and, Bulfield started to appear in the rest of Lancashire, especially in Lancaster and Liverpool. Bullfell had almost disssappeared with only 8 registrations; the most common variant had become Bulfield, with 199 registrations, together with a smaller number of Bullfield 33, Bullfill 51 and 46 of other variants. Bullfill had, in fact, died out in the Lake District and almost everywhere else, except in the Rochester area of N Kent where there were 47 Bullfill registrations between 1679 and 1815, and, although the relationships of these people has not yet been investigated, at least one family had individuals with both the Bullfill and Bullfield varaints.

By the 19thC, Bulfield had become the dominant name, with only only a small number of misspellings, mainly Bullfield, and this has remained the situation throughout the 20thC. The largest group of Bulfields was in and around Liverpool throughout the 19thC [and remains so today] with other groups in the Southern Lakes, around Cartmel, and in Lancaster.

Name frequency

The name has always been extremely uncommon; the various commercial transriptions of the Censuses available, give quite different numbers of Bulfields; 1841: 30 - 46; 1851: 22-56; 1861: 69-89; 1871: 61-65; 1881: 82-83; 1891:40-52; 1901: 46-67; 1911: 54 plus 2 Bullfield. Because of transcription errors, the original documents have to be checked.


We have transcribed all the Birth, Marriage and Deaths indexes, for both Bulfield and Bullfield, from 1837 to 2005, as well as a few other variants; since this information has recently become available on the FreeBMD and Ancestry websites, we have cross-checked with these datasets for errors; we also have a substantial collection of BMD certificates, as well as, listings from the IGI index of the LDS Church.

We have lists of Bulfield and variants, from the 1841 to 1911 Censuses and checked the original record in most cases. We have transcriptions of Bulfield and variants for registrations of, Christenings, Marriages and Burials, from the Parish records of : Cartmel, Cartmel Fell, Heversham, Kendal, Allithwaite, Witherslack, Hawkshead and Ulverston and some others, from elsewhere in Lancashire; we intend to complete these for other Parishes such as Millom and Crosthwaite-Keswick. We also have a small number of Wills..

We have used these data to construct family trees; all individuals in the 1911 Census and most in the 1901 Census, have also been allocated to one of the trees, as follows ...

[A; M]. This is by far the largest tree and is divided, for curation purposes, into three sectors: M-G; M-T; M-W. The tree accounts for the vaste majority of the Bulfields born in the 20thC and those on Facebook; the largest concentration being in and around Liverpool. Tree A, consists of 468 individuals in 159 families, going back to William Bulfield born c1746 and Dorothy Roper born c1750, in Cartmel. Parts of this family are today in: Australia, France and New Zealand.

[B; LN]. This is the only other Bulfield family, where we have traced live indivduals with the Bulfield surname. It derives from Lancaster in the 19thC and probably from the South Lakes, back to Thomas Bulfield born c1801 in Heversham or Lancaster and Agnes Stephenson born c1801 Beathwaite Green/Levens and probably to Thomas's father William born c 1770; this family consists of 59 individuals in 22 families.

[C; HY]. This family lived around Huyton/Roby in the 19thC and the tree goes back to James Bulfield born c1781 and Jane Anderton born c1782; it has 83 individuals in 25 families. No link to the Lake District has yet been found and, although there are some descendents in this tree alive today, none have the Bulfield surname. Some members of this family, including a young male, did, however, emigrate to Canada in the 1920s, but no trace of them has yet been found.

[D; BG]. This tree originated in Beathwaite Green-Levens in the South Lakes and has been been traced back to William Bulfield born c1789 and Agnes Phillipson born c1789, through the 19thC: 28 individuals, 8 families; the last male in this family died in 1939, the last female married in 1935.

[19thC orphan families]. We have other small familes from Natland near Kendal and, the Lancaster area, from the late 18th to late 19thC.

[18thC and earlier orphan families]. From Parish records, we have constructed trees for several small families in Beathwaite Green/Levens in the Parish of Heversham and, from Natland and Sedgwick in the Parish of Kendal, but we have not, so far, been able to link them to families A, B, C or D.


We do not have a DNA project at present.