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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

I became a Cullingworth by marriage over 40 years ago and have nine descendants with the name.

After initial attempts to research their paternal ancestry, collecting ALL references to Cullingworth families and working out their connections evolved after teaming up with two of their cousins in 2002 - Rita Savage and Patricia Hall.

Patricia (Pat) Hall (now a member of the Guild) is a first cousin of my husband and their common ancestor with Rita was born way back in 1689. Between us we have gathered a great deal of data on Cullingworth families worldwide and have helped numerous people with their Cullingworth family history. Further enquiries are welcome!

Variant names

CULLINGSWORTH: It is a quirk of human nature that people unfamiliar with the name Cullingworth, even after having it spelled out to them, will often put that 's' into it. However that spelling is only an established variant in some American families who are descended from Cullingworth immigrants from England.

In early English records the surname has been written various ways such as Colynworth, Colyngworth, Culingworth, Cullenworth, Callingworth etc, and the surname has often been transcribed incorrectly in various records. There are numerous Collingworth families in the USA but they do not appear to be connected to us.

Name origin

The surname derives from the village of Cullingworth near Bingley in West Yorkshire.

Dictionary of British Place-Names: Cullingworth W. Yorks: Colingauuorde 1086 (Domesday Book): '€˜Enclosure of the family or followers of a man called Cula (Old English personal name + -inga + worth). Several other publications give the same origins. At some point both the village name and the surname became Cullingworth.

Historical occurrences of the name

The earliest references to the family found so far are in the 1330s when Hugh de Colyngworth appears in Subsidy Rolls. In 1379 Thomas Cullingworth and his wife were paying Poll Tax at Bingley, as were Johannes (John) Cullingworth and his wife. Thomas was a tailor, and this is the earliest record found to an occupation.

The Will of another Hugh Colyngworth of '€˜Byngley'€™ was written in 1433. He left a pack of hounds to his son John, and the residue after several small bequests was left to his wife Margaret, sons Richard, William and Brian, and daughters Margaret, Joan and Alice.

Three Cullingworth men whose achievements are of particular note are listed below followed by a link to details of their published biographies:

Charles James Cullingworth MD, DCL (Hon.) Durham; LLD (Hon.) Aberdeen; FRCP, MRCS (1841-1908). An eminent Obstetric Physician.

Sydney Cullingworth (1865-unknown). Inspector of Mines, Mount Margaret goldfield, Australia.

Professor John Barry Cullingworth (1929-2005) also known as Barry, world renowned expert in Town and Country planning and a prolific author of books on the subject. (Shortly before he died, he rang me out of the blue and I had the pleasure of a long conversation with him - such a lovely friendly man!)

Name frequency

According to a survey by the Office of National Statistics in 2002, there were then about 348 people with the surname Cullingworth in England and Wales.

English Birth Registrations (1837-2011) = 1250

English Marriages (1837-2006) = 897

English Death registrations (1837-2008) = 1029

Distribution of the name

In the United Kingdom, Yorkshire is still where the majority of Cullingworth families live although a few have moved to other areas.

South Africa: Jeremiah Cullingworth, one of Rita's ancestors, was a printer from Leeds who settled in South Africa with his wife Betsy and family in 1849. A large number of their descendants live there, many with the Cullingworth name.

Canada: Richard Cullingworth (1806-1886) and his wife Elizabeth emigrated from England and had settled in Ontario by 1846. Many descendants still live there.

Australia and New Zealand: Several Cullingworth families have settled there.

USA 1940 Census: Cullingworth: A total of 29 in the 1940 US Census were living in Rhode Island, New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, California, and Chicago.
USA 1940 Census: Cullingsworth: A total of 12, all in Virginia


Some of the records from which we have gathered information:

  • Birth, marriage and death registrations
  • Censuses
  • Directories
  • Emigration & Immigration records
  • International Genealogical Index (IGI)
  • International ships'€™ passenger lists
  • London Metropolitan archives
  • Monumental inscriptions
  • National Archives
  • National Probate Indices
  • Newspapers
  • Obituaries
  • Parish Registers (Baptisms, marriage and burial records)
  • Printed Biographies
  • SSDI entries (USA)
  • South African Records
  • Wills (including transcripts and summaries)
  • Yorkshire pre 1838 baptisms, marriages & burials
  • and much more...

Information has also been gathered from social networks such as Friends Reunited, Genes Reunited, Facebook etc. Many online family trees have also been checked, sometimes being helpful although sadly there are many that are incorrect.

There has also been a useful exchange of information with people who have enquired about their Cullingworth family history although we do not disclose any details of living persons.