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About the study

My name is Pamela Lydford; I have been researching family history since 1991 and have now decided to do a one-name study of the name LYDFORD, and have registered the name with the Guild of One-Name Studies. My aim at this stage is concentrating on a DNA study to find relatives in England, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and America. I am from New Zealand, now living in Australia, and have begun collating names from all these countries. It is very much a work-in-progress.

Variant names

I have included only the variants  LIDFORD, LUDFORD and LEDFORD at this time.

Name origin

Lydford is derived from a ford on the river Lyd in Devon, originally known as Hyldeford by the Saxons. In the 9th century it was one of the four Hundreds of Alfred the Great, and a silver-minting town. Ludford and Ledford also lay claim to being an early form of the name which I haven'€™t yet checked out.

Historical occurrences of the name

I have found Lydford/Lidford names as far back as the Oxford Press for 1465, and have copies of documents from The National Archives in England dated 1699, 1742 and later.  The most famous one I have found so far is Sir Harold Thomas Lydford who joined the Royal Flying Corps in 1916 at age 18, stayed in after WWI, and went on to become Air Marshall England.  He spent 2 years of WWII in Washington as part of the England delegation there at that time.  You can see his story in two articles I wrote on him in  Between the Lines, my family history society's quarterly newsletter.  Just google  One John Lidford was killed in the American War of Independence, another served in the Crimea and India, and several killed in WWI.

Name frequency

The name Lydford does not seem to be very prevalent, with limited numbers in the countries mentioned. In the 1881 Census the name occurs 103 times per 100,000 and Lidford 31 times.  The ethnicity of the name is 50% English, 28% West and Central Europe, 12% East European with only 4% Scandinavian and 2 very minor areas making up the rest.

Distribution of the name

I believe that most people with the surname Lydford originate from the Devon placename, although all will probably not be from one ancestor. When surnames first came into fashion, several families would have taken a name connected with where they lived at the time or had come from previously. There are now Lydfords in England, United States of America, New Zealand, Australia and Canada.


England Births and Christenings 1538-1975

English Census records for 1881 and 1911

Forces War Records (from Napoleonic Wars-World War II)

Australian BDMs- Historical Index

New Zealand BDMs, Census Records, historical documents

Australian White Pages

New Zealand White Pages

Family History Online

U.S.A. White Pages

Billion Graves


I have so far had my brother'€™s DNA tested, and hope to arrange for Lydfords in England and America to be tested. One person in Ontario, Canada has had his DNA tested and proves to be a direct descendant, with no steps between us.  I visited him in 2015 and he was pleased to meet another Lydford.