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Our 2,744 members have registered
2,397 study surnames with us
and a further 6,089 variant names.

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About the study

The study of the DRINKWATER family has been my main obsession for the last several decades. We seem to be spread all over the English speaking world, including: UK, Canada, United States, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Bermuda, India, and Gibraltar.

Variant names

In addition to Drinkwater, in all its spellings, including Drinkwaters, Drinkwatter, Drinckwater I am also studying DeWater, Boileau and Trinkwasser. These last two are the French and German versions of Drinkwater.

Name origin

There is some confusion over the origin of the name DRINKWATER. There are those who think it is a corruption of Derentwater. This would make it a topographic name. While this may be correct, I much prefer the idea that it is a nickname. Drinkwater is variously said to be either a teetotaler or a tippler. Or perhaps he was the innkeeper and couldn't afford to imbibe, else his clientele might take advantage. This is my favorite.

Historical occurrences of the name

Probably the most famous bearer of the DRINKWATER surname is John Drinkwater (1882-1937). Born in Leytonstone, England , John was a poet, author, playwright and thespian. Probably his most famous work was his play, Abraham Lincoln (1918).

Another famous author is Carol Drinkwater. She was born in London in 1948. She is known for her Olive Series and various children's books. She is also an actress, starring on both the small and large screens.

I would be remiss if I did not mention Colonel John Drinkwater Bethune (1762-1844), he was an Army officer and military historian. He is best known for the journal he kept during the 'Great Siege of Gibraltar', which he later published.

Distribution of the name

The surname DRINKWATER, according to The National Trust website, was most common (in 1881) in the counties of Warrington and Worcester, in England. shows that DRINKWATER is most heavily concentrated in the UK, followed by Canada and Australia.


I have quite a bit of data I've collected over the years. I have the index for all years of the UK Census, many obituaries and births and marriages. If you have an inquiry, please contact me and I will see if I can find what you need.