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Delderfield

 

About the study

In 1968 I began investigating my family history. The late R.F.Delderfield, the author, was my first correspondent, between 1970 and 1972. We discovered we were 3rd cousins 1 x removed. This correspondence fanned my enthusiasm for not only my own family history but for an investigation of the Delderfield name both at home and abroad. By the time I registered the study in 1996 I had already compiled a very large quantity of data.

Variant names

The variants registered with this study are Delifield, Dollifield and Dorrifield.

I have also collected a large amount of Delafield data. This has been essential in order to track back the Delderfield ancestors before the 1750s.

People would appear to have always found Delderfield a difficult name to spell. Quite a number of known Delderfields have been recorded as Delafield in at least one document. One known Delderfield family changed to Delafield in the late 19th century. Therefore I have also a large amount of post-1750s Delafield data gathered for elimination purposes.

Name origin

My researches and those of others have shown that Delderfield, in its current spelling, is not an ancient name. It can be proved that all those people who today lay claim to inheriting the Delderfield surname had ancestors in either the town of Tring or the village of Aldbury, both in Hertfordshire.

The name Delderfield first appears in Tring records in 1774 following on from versions of Delifield and Dollofield.

At Aldbury the name is not recorded until 1851 and not used regularly until the 1860s. Here the Delderfield immediate ancestors were mainly versions of Dorfield, Dorrifield and Dorafield.

In the parish records of Princes Risborough, Buckinghamshire, Delderfield appears in 1798 but this family had moved to Tring by 1801.

All descendants from the Aldbury branch can trace their lineage to a Robert Dorfield who settled in Aldbury in the 1750s. Various researchers have tracked this Robert back to a De La Field in the 13th century via a good number of Delafields and variants of the name.

For the Delderfields who emerged from Tring the tracing of origins grinds to a halt in the 1750s although Anne McDonald and I are still slogging away at this problem. Even though Tring and Aldbury are only a couple of miles apart there is as yet no evidence to link the two branches.

History of the name

If you are descended from the Aldbury branch you should try to see the following book.

`Delafield: The Family History` by Brigadier General John Ross Delafield 1944. There are copies at the Society of Genealogists in London, The British Museum Lending Library, Boston Spa, Yorkshire and, of course at the Bodelian Library, Oxford. I understand it is slightly easier to come across in the USA.

Name frequency

The 1881 Census for England and Wales recorded 169 Delderfields and 46 Dorrifields. This represents a frequency of occurrence of the combined surnames of a mere 0.0007%.

In 2002 the ONS data revealed 345 Delderfields and 31 Dorrifields.

Distribution of the name

No Delderfields have been discovered outside Hertfordshire and Buckinghamshire before about 1820. By 1881 only 50% of Delderfields were still living in those counties and all of them in Hertfordshire.

The pre-1881 dispersal inevitably included many to London and especially to the Bermondsey leather industry. Another group of two closely related families left Hertfordshire in the 1850s for Derbyshire, Cheshire and Manchester where most were employed in the thriving cotton industry.

From the second half of the 19th century onward Delderfields have emigrated to the USA and Canada in particular and also to Australia. I have had correspondence with a number of the descendants of these emigrants.

Data

All Delderfield entries from the GRO Indexes for England and Wales (1837 to date) have been recorded. I also have indexes for the PCC Probate records to date, extracts from parish register entries and from an array of other sources both at home and abroad.

Correspondence over a period of nearly 40 years has produced a number of pedigrees, stories, photos, ideas and scraps of family trees.

My attempt to put all recorded Delderfields into family trees is a work in progress and is now almost complete.

I am always happy to share my data, to receive information and assist those who require it with their family research.

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