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Our 2,768 members have registered
2,405 study surnames with us
and a further 6,120 variant names.

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About the study

As a child I was always fascinated by a portrait which hung in my Grandfather's damp, dark hall in his tenanted farmhouse. This portrait was of my great, great grandfather John Gossage and was painted by an art student who lodged with the family when John was 19 years old in 1856 in lieu of board and lodging fees. Encouraged by some family stories and this portrait I began to trace my family history in 1976. In 1982 my Grandfather died and the portrait was left to my Father, the eldest son. The family was traced back to inner Birmingham and then moved outto Kings Heath in Birmingham and finally to Lodge Farm, Monkspath, Shirley, Solihull in 1915. The Gossages were always to be found within easy reach of an extended family but they seem to have disappeared from Birmingham around the end of the 18th Century. Enter the One-Name Study.
I am afraid that I have had to shelve my ONS and DNA studies as my health has deteriorated.  In addition, I have been fully immersed in administering the estates of my late parents.

Variant names

I have taken two variants from Steve Archer's Surname Atlas as being the closest variants to Gossage. They are Gossedge and Gossidge. Of course, things may change as the study progresses.

Name origin

Charles Bardsley the Victorian etymologist stated that the surname 'Gossage' is English and originates from a hamlet called Gorsuch in the parish of Ormskirk in the county of Lancashire.

Historical occurrences of the name

There was a character called 'Miss Gossage' played by Joyce Grenfell in the St Trinian films. I have a children's book entitled 'The Black Knight' whose author is Peter Gossage and who is a New Zealander. The US has, by far the greatest Gossages, ie 'Goose' Gossage the baseball player. Another American is Gene Gossage, a retired NFL player.

Name frequency

In England, the 1881 Census (from figures produced by shows that there was a total of 78 Gossages in Warwickshire (frequency 0.0106), 74 in Worcestershire (0.0194), 29 in Northamptonshire (0.0106) and 12 in Lancashire (0.0003).

In Wales the numbers rose from 1 in 1841 to 7 in 1911. In Scotland it was 1 in 1841, which rose to 3 in 1851 gently declined to 1 in 1881 but then rose again to 8 in 1881.

In Australia there were 6 Gossages in 1901 and in Canada it varied between 10 in 1861, 6 in 1871, 16 in 1881, 11 in 1891, 9 in 1901 and 17 in 1911.

In the USA, the 1790 Federal Census showed 11 which then rose steadily to 672 in 1930.

Distribution of the name

The greatest concentration of Gossages in the 1881 Census was to be found in Warwickshire, Worcestershire and then Northamptonshire.

According to the ONS database there were 537 Gossages in September 2002 distributed in England, Wales and the Isle of Man. In 2012, there were 499.


A DNA Project as been registered for 'Gossage/Gorsuch Project' names. However, my variants are different. This study has been halted due to my declining health and current family circumstances.  I have instead joined several DNA projects for my father's haplogroup (recently confirmed as E-L17 a sub-clade of E-M35 which he had been predicted for - which is rare in the UK - but this could change as more people test) which related to the British Isles and for his particular haplogroup.