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About the study
My one-name study began some years ago when interviewing an elderly relative on my paternal side. She remarked that 'granny had such a funny name' and went on to speculate that she might be Russian. Since her 'granny' was also my great-grandmother I felt this needed investigation and gradually the name Eltoft (not Russian) took over my genealogical studies.
The name dates back to at least the thirteenth century and has never been very plentiful but is now at an all-time low although numbers may be boosted by the contemporary practice of children taking their mother's name. For this reason I follow female lines for at least one generation and sometimes further and also have a supplementary study titled 'No-0ne Is Called Eltoft By Accident' which investigates those with Eltoft as a personal name.
Historical occurrences of the name
Distribution of the name
Eltoft is definitely a north-eastern name in England, from Durham down to Lincoln. It can be seen during the nineteenth century moving south and west down the country from North Yorkshire into the Leeds/Bradford area then into Lancashire and down to Manchester until the changing life-styles and increased mobility of the twentieth century dissipated the shrinking numbers. Eltofts are found briefly in other areas through the cennturies but rarely settle, mostly returning 'home' after a year or two; when I have been able to trace their ancestors, families in London and the Welsh borders are of Yorkshire origin.
The name is found separately in Scandinavia and, of course, in North America descended from both Scandinavian and English immigrants. Australian Eltofts seem to be descended from one Burnley family who emigrated early in the twentieth century and there are Eltoft descendants in New Zealand, although the name itself may have died out.
I have extracted all England and Wales Civil Registrations' bmd 1837 to date, census entries from 1841 to 1911 and probate indices of wills from 1858. There are two Scottish births and two occurrences of northern families in Scottish censuses, but these are transient. I have also extracted names from the IGI, NBI and various emigration lists. Pre 1837 bmd from many Lancashire parish register focussing on Burnley and Manchester areas from about 1780 have been collected and checked and collection of the same data but beginning from the earliest parish registers is under way for Yorkshire. Occurrences and references in historical documents from websites such as A2A are noted and filed for checking and connecting to known family members.
Family trees from the late eighteenth century to mid-twentieth century for the Lancashire branches and some of the Yorkshire ones are reasonably certain but before this connections have been difficult to make, partly because of the patchiness of record-keeping during the Interregnum.