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About the study

As my own name was already being researched by someone else, I chose to study the name of my son's fiancée, who later became his wife. I then surprised her with her own family history before continuing to research all the OSCROFTS, worldwide but the overwhelming bulk of persons with that name came from the central midlands area of England, particularly Nottinghamshire and its surrounding area.

Variant names

There are no variant spellings although transcriptions of poorly written original documents have frequently been mis-transcribed as ASCROFT and vice versa. ASCROFT may be a possible variant or a distinct name in its own right as there are many examples occurring in the Liverpool area so for this reason I have discounted it from my study. Oscraft has occurred but is very rare.

Name origin

Most authorities give the origin of the name as OXCROFT, or the dweller in the croft with an ox as opposed to one without, a croft being a small cultivated plot with a cottage to live in. The county of Cheshire has a small village named Oscroft but as a few 17th century Oscrofts lived in the Tarvin area, which is a village adjacent to Oscroft it seems likely that they gave their name to the small hamlet where they lived. In the 1951 census, the name was only a locality, being included within the Civil Parish of Tarvin so it had never expanded to become a village prior to that date. The county of Nottinghamshire has been the epicentre of the Oscroft domain since records of individuals have existed and was centred in the area of Sutton in Ashfield and Kirkby in Ashfield, an area of ash trees (hence the name) and later coal mines.

Historical occurrences of the name

Early occurances of the name:

* Thomas de Oxcroft 1327 shown in Reaney & Wilson's origin of surnames.
* Thomas Oscroft shown in the Subsidy Rolls of Derbyshire in 1727, the first recorded spelling of the name in Derbyshire.
* Henry Wainwright and Jane Oscroft were married at Ormskirk, Lancashire in 1624.
* Margretta Oscroft married Thomas Lee at Kirkby in Ashfield, Nottinghamshire in 1630.

Name frequency


Distribution of the name

In the British Isles the name has predominated in the county of Nottinghamshire which surely indicates its origin and the majority of families with that name have continued to live in that county and the counties surrounding it right until the present day. This was quite logical in an agricultural area and when the later mining and hosiery knitting industries were introduced, surplus labourers became miners and framework knitters (fwk on census forms), who then had no need to move away from the area for employment. Only with the demise of these two industries did workers start to move away and the great railway building boom facilitated this making travel possible and cheap. Several of those who moved away started new lives elsewhere in new industries, including a few who went to London who probably used the canal network to relocate and one family who, for religious reasons took up the challenge to venture to Salt Lake City in America but no Oscrofts appeared in the 1940 US census.


Sources of information I have used include:

* Lists of the births, marriages and deaths taken from the General Register Office indexes between 1837 and 2005.
* Census Details from the individual page images produced by FindmyPast, 1841 to 1911.
* Parish register information held by the International Genealogical Index (which is not complete for the whole country) and some other parish register details.
* The deaths of service personnel as recorded on the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website.
* Personal information willingly supplied by many individuals which includes that instigated online by Merry Warden during the last decade, my thanks to her and all who have contributed information since.

I have based my study on marriages and now have a database of 450 marriages of male OSCROFTS beginning around 1700 and they continue until 2005 and from these I hope to construct family groups from the early records onwards. There are still more marriages to find and I am adding them daily. Female marriages are difficult to identify unless I know who her parents are and so I hope that enquirers can submit the information from certificates to me when available. Copies of certificates are very welcome (by e-mail if possible, if not, the information contained within it).

Information sought and information given on any aspect of OSCROFT history, preferably by e-mail or by snail mail if stamped addressed envelope supplied. I do not pass on details of living persons to anyone else and when I '€˜pass on'€™ I hope to leave my research with the Guild in the hope that someone else will be able to continue it./p>

I have created a file of OSCROFT biographies for well known individuals and this includes:

Samuel William Oscroft (1834-1924) - painter (I have now bought one of his pictures).
Byron George & Charlotte Housley -€“ American Pioneers.
Alfred Oscroft, son of Reuben and Charlotte, nee Hogg – Soldier re-enlisted.
Oscroft Cricketers - William, James, Joseph, John, Samuel, Thomas, William John Thomas, Percy William, Donald Straker and Eric (nearly enough for a team).
George Oscroft (1806-) of Westfield House, Sutton in Ashfield.
Claude A Oscroft, pilot.
Harold Oscroft, footballer.
Garnett S. Oscroft, car dealer.
Thomas Oscroft, cycle dealer.
Obituaries for Edwin Oscroft, Mrs P. A.Oscroft and Robert H. Oscroft.

If you would like a copy of any of the above, please ask. I also have a comprehensive study for my own surname which is parallel to but separate from the Guilds representative, Mrs Margaret Spiller, which may be of use to anyone researching my surname.