About the study
This One Name Study is designed to collect, organise and disseminate information about M-CH-MOREs (where '-' can be replaced by one or two or even no letters) all over the world and at all times. It was founded by Bob MUCHAMORE of Adelaide in the 1990s, and I have continued it since Bob's death in 2004.
Among contemporary variants the most frequent are MITCHELMORE and MICHELMORE, to which are related the rarer MITCHAMORE and MITCHMORE. The variants MUCHMORE, MUCHAMORE and MUCHEMORE are less obviously related, but their derivation from the MITCHELMORE surname is well documented. A final modern variant is MOUCHEMORE, now found only in Australia. I have collected over 100 other historical variants.
It has been suggested that the M-CH-MORE surname derives from the Anglo-Saxon word for 'Great Moor', referring to Dartmoor. The first part, M-CH, may come from *muckle*, meaning great, much or many, which occurs in various guises in several British surnames (e.g., Mickleburgh) and place names (e.g., Much Dewchurch in Herefordshire and Muckle Knowe in Northumberland).
Distribution of the name
The available 18th century records show that most MITCHELMOREs/MUCHAMOREs lived in the southern South Hams, Devon, England and were agricultural labourers, whereas the MICHELMOREs lived farther north and were gentlemen farmers. Both areas are just south of Dartmoor, a possible source of the surname (see above). The variant MUCHMORE was more common in Cornwall, and it is surmised that this line arose from a MICHELMORE who emigrated there in the 16th century. Separate lines have been traced to Connecticut and New Hampshire in the USA (MUCHMORE) and to London, England (MICHELMORE); it is likely that these also originated in the South Hams.
I hold a database of over 6000 M-CH-MOREs, most of which I have been able to organise into 20 family trees. The raw data and the reconstructed family trees are available at the study's web site, http://www.mitchelmore.info. Regular updates are announced on the MITCHELMORE-UK list (details on the web site).
A DNA project is in its infancy, with 5 members so far. Its web page is http://www.familytreedna.com/public/Mitchelmore. All M-CH-MOREs are encouraged to participate in the project.