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About the study

Initial research began in 1978 - our family had always been curious to know what link if any there was between the name in several variants which existed in the small Wiltshire town of Wootton Bassett where we lived, and the three Ogbourne villages which lay about 8 miles away. Rapid progress was able to be made in tracing our family tree, as 12 generations could be found in the Parish Registers for Wootton Bassett, going back to Peter Ogbourne who died in 1607.

In the 1990s contact was made with several people in the USA named Ogbourne and Ogburn and this revealed significant research existing there, many descended from a very early settler in Virginia, Simon Ogbourne who arrived there in 1652. Other Ogbournes had arrived in New Jersey in the late 17th century, some with links to Quakers coming from Northamptonshire. The name was also found to have been adopted by African American emancipated slaves taking the names of their 'owners'.  An organisation was formed of descendants of two such people in 1947 which is still active with bi-annual reunions named The House of Ogburn

This led to the family tree research developing into a wider world wide study with much assistance from new found friends in the USA Also included in this widening study was the links to the Ogbourne villages in Wiltshire. The history of the villages themselves (Ogbourne St George, St Andrew and Maisey) proved very rich, The Bailiwick of Ogbourne being the representative in the UK of the Normandy Abbey of Bec-Hellouin in the period 1149 to 1414 when closed by King Henry V under his suppression of the 'alien priories'.

In England more branches of Ogbornes have become evident, e.g The Ogborne Ploughmen of Somerset whose origins in Somerset go back there to the 16th century.

Variant names

The principal variants now found are Ogbourne, Ogburn, Ogborne, Ogborn. In the USA the 'morphing'€ of the name from Ogbourne to Ogburn is most pronounced.

Though today others often want to interpret the name as 'Osborne' no trace has been found of confusion with this name amongst ancestors.

Name origin

In very early records the name is found as Ocheburne, Okebourne, de Okebourne, and de Ockeburn. E.g. 1277 William de Ockeburn is listed as a juror, 1322 Margery de Okebourne is included in the tax lists for North Marston, Wilts.

The representatives of the Bailiwick of Ogbourne were required to travel over much of southern England in their duties, and it seems likely that they were known as 'de Okeburn or Ockeburn'€ as the villages were then known.

Historical occurrences of the name

1305 Assignment of dower to Alice late the wife of Ingelram le Waleys, In Wilts. - a tenament with a little garden in Okebourne, worth 3s. a year; and rent of £4.6.10½d from other lands that Ingelram demised to Alexander de Okebourn, clerk, for his life, in the town of Okebourn. Calendar of Close Rolls 1302-1307 p339.

William de Okebourn was pardoned by King Edward III on 12 October 1346, dated at Calais, of all homicides, felonies, robberies etc.' (Calendar of Patent Rolls 1345-1348).

12 Aug 1370 William Okeburne and Henry Gilbert appointed to repair defects in the paling of the park, & in houses and buildings of the manor of Claryndon (Wilts); [Royal Palace] taking carpenters, hewers of stone and other workmen, to stay at the said work, at the King'€s wages, as long as need be, with power to commit to prison any that are contrariant in the matter. Calendar of Patent Rolls 1367-1370 p459.

The history of the African American branch of Ogburns in the USA begins with John and Irena (Rena ) Ogburn; they were the first generation. John could be the 'Negro man John' named in the estate inventory of Charles Ogburn in 1839 Will of Charles Ogburn 1836.

Name frequency

There were 58 instances of the name Ogbourne in the 1881 census, mainly in Wiltshire, whilst in 1998 the Swindon area was the top area for the name, whilst for Ogburn there were 109 instances in 1881, and the area around Portsmouth, and the Isle of Wight were the top areas.

In the USA there would be larger numbers in the name of Ogburn with spread across many States, though statistics have not yet been found.