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About the study
This One Name Study arose out of my interest derived from a grandmother whose father was a MIMMACK, but whose name was changed for reasons linked to the Poor Law.
I owe a debt of gratitude to a previous researcher, Rosemary Ash, who sadly passed away in 2012. Rosemary had accumulated a vast amount of data on MIMMACK FAMILY HISTORY and MIMMACK FAMILY TREES, mostly obtained during the pre-internet era, and corresponded with many MIMMACKS around the world, but unfortunately did not manage to summarise her findings in a book, as she had planned. This study is dedicated to her memory; however, as much research passed away with Rosemary, the present ONS will take some time to become at all comprehensive and is something of a catch-up exercise.
Conventional 'paper chase' research has enabled most MIMMACKS living (2017) in the UK to be linked to a single tree. However, those living outside the UK, in particular North America and New Zealand, have been harder to link with the UK lines, though they are undoubtedly derived from the same common ancestor
The MIMMACK One name Study includes only the one spelling extant today, as above, although other spellings e.g. Mimmock, Mymack, have occurred in the past. One American family has opted for the spelling Mim Mack, i.e. splitting the name Mimmack into its component syllables to form two separate words; it is not clear why this has been decided on; possibly for reasons of pronunciation or else distinctiveness. The name Mimmack may be pronounced by those other than the name-bearers with a neutral "schwa" vowel in the unstressed second syllable, which may result in something like "Mimmuck". The two-word form may be intended to avoid that, by giving a full "a" proununciation to the final syllable.
The earliest record of the name MIMMACK which I have found so far is a reference dated 1574 to a Thomas Mimmack who occupied land at Cromwell, Nottinghamshire, and also a slightly earlier record from the 1550s of a case reported in the Star Chamber of a man with a similar name who may have been the same person, in a neighbouring village.
There are few clues to the origin of the name. One possibility is that it arose as a variant of MINNITT, which has a similar geographical distribution in early records – the East Midlands.
This theory is lent support by the finding of instances of hybrid name forms, e.g. Minnock, Mimmot, etc. during the 16th and 17th century in Nottinghamshire and Lincolnshire. Some of these may have been just scribal miscopyings, but others may have reflected genuine indecision on the part of the name-bearers. A DNA study might throw light on this hypothesized relationship. This ONS excludes MINNITT, however, as the names, whether related or not, have followed separate paths for at least 400 years.
Historical occurrences of the name
The earliest records of MIMMACK are concentrated around the middle and lower course of the river Trent in Nottinghamshire and LINCOLNSHIRE, during the period 1550-1750. A pivotal role appears to have been played by a family in Laneham, Nottinghamshire, during this time, who may just possibly have given rise to all modern bearers of the name (though this is not certain). From about 1680 to 1800 there was also an outlying colony in Epworth, in the northwest corner of Lincolnshire, and various BMDs may be found in the parish registers of Newark, Lincoln, Gainsborough, Doncaster and Grantham. In the latter town, an Augustine Mimmack fell foul of his fellow burgesses for leaving smelly refuse from his tanning business in the street, for which heinous crime he was presented in 1637.
The oldest surviving will that has come to light is that of Elizabeth Mimmack, widow, of North Muskham, Notts, dated 1585. Unfortunately, being a widow, it appears that any children had already been provided for by her husband, as she mentions no male heirs who might have linked her and her husband to later bearers of the name. The only other early will is that of Edward MIMMOCK (MIMMOCKE) of Southwell, labourer, dated 1624, who also mentions no children.
MIMMACKS have a strong military tradition. Several figure in British and US ARMY records. Typical is the following:
“Cornet, 6th February, 1812, Dragoon Guards; retired, 1815; drowned in the Don, March, 1860. Enlisted in the 11th Light Dragoons; served in Flanders, present at Valenciennes, Dunkirk, and Fremont; led the advance guard against a French column that was approaching attack the British encampment, and they were driven back to the walls of Cambray. At Tournay, as was stated by his late companion in arms, the late Mr Cherriman (of Doncaster), 18 of the enemy fell under Mimmack's sword. An instance of daring was narrated by Captain Childers:—in an engagement where the captain's horse was killed, Mimmack offered his own, which was declined, when the brave fellow dashed at a party of the enemy, cut down one of the soldiers, and brought away his horse to his officer. Present in all the battles in Holland, Flanders, and Germany, to engagements ; appointed quarter-master in 1796; retired h. p., and was appointed adjutant the South West York Yeomanry, 15th Aug., 1803. Mr Mimmack had three sons, who all joined his old regiment, the 11th Light Dragoons”
(Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer - Saturday 11 April 1868)
Other MIMMACK military men include:
BARNETT MIMMACK who died at Balaclava in 1854 fighting the Russians in the Crimean War, three days before the Charge of the Light Brigade.
BERNARD PRENTIS MIMMACK, who was cited for bravery in the US Civil War, fighting with the Union army at the Battle of Gettysburg, helping to defeat Lee’s Confederate army in 1863. Bernard's son Oliver Mimmack drowned in Nicaragua in 1899, on an expedition to survey a possible alternative route for a canal from the Atlantic to the Pacific (instead of Panama)
GEORGE HENRY MIMMACK, who was killed at Fredericksburg, another Civil War battle.
STANLEY CRESSWELL MIMMACK, who flew with the RFC (World War One) in which he had some narrow escapes, and also, despite being by then turned 40, joined up again at the start of World War Two, in which he was wounded in a crash; he died of pleurisy in 1941.
BARNETT ASHBY MIMMACK, born in Rhodesia (Zimbabwe) who fought against Rommel at El Alamein.
Between them, these six and others appear to have accounted for a lot of Frenchmen, Americans, Russians and Germans.
By way of contrast, the only MIMMACK with a Wikipedia article at the moment is Leila Mimmack, from Leamington, Warwickshire, who is a promising young actress who has had a number of roles in TV soaps and mini-series.
The most recent full UK electoral roll figure (2003) lists 72 MIMMACKS. The addition of about 20 children of these adults, plus known omissions from the roll, brings the total for 2003 to about 100, which appears to have remained static until now (2017)
Outside Britain, the equivalent figures for MIMMACK are: USA about 90, NEW ZEALAND, about 10; AUSTRALIA about 6, GERMANY 3, SOUTH AFRICA possibly 1. This translates into a world total for MIMMACK of about 200.
Distribution of the name
Within the UK, the original concentration of MIMMACKS in the East Midlands is no longer evident, as the name-bearers are now scattered throughout the country, with one family in Jersey.
In the USA, MIMMACKS are widely distributed, with even a couple in Alaska recently; the largest concentration seems to be in California, though with a significant colony in Colorado since the 1850s. There were formerly MIMMACKS in Canada, but they have moved to the USA.
At present it appears that all the world's living Mimmacks can be traced back to a Gervase Mimmack (c. 1588 - 1669) of Laneham, Notts. We know little about Gervase apart from the fact that he was the Parish Clerk, and so must have been literate to some degree. Gervase had two sons who survived to maturity:
BRANCH 1: The "BERNARDIAN" BRANCH, which starts with BERNARD MIMMACK 1629-1728, son of Gervase (above), who was a yeoman of Laneham. He lived to 99, an age which has yet to be exceeded by a male Mimmack to this day. The vicar wrote "OLD" in bold letters against his burial entry, adding that "he was blind" (by then). He had many descendants, most of whose branches have died out or "daughtered out" apart from those of his 2 x great grandson, a farmer, Barnett Mimmack of Doddington, Lincolnshire, who died in 1823. These may be called “Dove-Mimmacks” from Barnett’s wife, Ann Dove. The Dove-Mimmacks appear to include all living UK-based Mimmacks. They may be further subdivided into Dove-Rawood-Mimmacks, Dove-Horton-Mimmacks, and Dove-Prentis-Mimmacks, according to the maiden names of the wives of the three of Barnett’s sons who left progeny.
Only one well-established US Mimmack branch has so far been conclusively linked to the above tree. These are the Colorado group, who are Dove-Horton Mimmacks, descended from Thomas Mimmack, a miller, who emigrated in 1857. Much more recently, one young couple of the Dove-Rawood branch has settled in Dallas directly from the UK. The other US name-bearers are all believed to be “non-Dove Mimmacks” , from the second main branch (described below). New Zealand has one family of Dove-Horton-Mimmacks, who are, confusingly, only distantly related to the others in that country (see below)
(II) BRANCH 2: The "JOHNIAN" Mimmacks. These are derived from John Mimmack, 1645 - 1710, the younger brother of Bernard (of Branch 1). Like his father, John performed the duties of Parish Clerk. His only living descendants bearing the Mimmack name derive from John's great-grandson William Mimmack, 1764-1840, of Lincoln, who was a "letter-carrier". His line, whom we may call the "postman Mimmacks" include most United States Mimmacks, and also one of the two New Zealand families, with a very recent offshoot in Queensland, Australia. There is also one descendant who now lives in Germany.
Collection of BMDs is at a relatively advanced stage, as is listing of Census records for Britain and the USA. However, much work remains to be done, and help from especially US-based Mimmack-descendants would be most welcome.
It is hoped that a DNA project may eventually be set up, both to confirm relationships among living Mimmacks, and also to investigate a possible link to the name Minnitt.
A fellow Guild member, June Bird, has found interesting though at present unproved evidence of a possible link between MAMMATT and similar names, and MIMMACK. This will be found on the MAMMATT profile page: MAMMATT@one-name.org
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