Is your Surname registered?

Our 2,765 members have registered
2,405 study surnames with us
and a further 6,120 variant names.

2,213 total views, 2 views today




About the study

This Pullum One-Name study is still in its infancy and so this profile will be updated frequently to reflect progress. The decision to carry out the study arose while talking to some people on the Guild of One-Name Studies stand at the 2014 Who Do You Think You Are? live! show. They supplied me with the information that there were only 57 Pullums on the UK 1881 census (I have found 70 Pullums) , thereby making this a small study, with the possibility that the individuals were a single family.
Although new to one-name studies, like many, I have been researching my family tree for many years. Pullum is my paternal grandmother's maiden name (My surname, Brown, would be a very different prospect for a one-name study!). I started my family tree research with the help of my first cousin twice removed Maisie, an experienced family historian and whose mother's maiden name was Pullum. I have since reviewed the sources and added to the tree.
My family tree already had over 400 Pullums and so I was fairly sure that I had information for the 57 on the 1881 UK Census that I was told about, so I registered the name with The Guild of One-Name Studies a few days after the show (Feb 2014)

Variant names

I initially registered the variant Pullen but have now found out that this is probably not a variant. However Pullum may be a variant of Pulham. The origins for these names seem to be different, Pullum being in Middlesex and Surrey (some places are the same but boundaries moved) and Pulham in Dorset & Norfolk. Other possible variants are Pullam and Pullom.
My grandmother was particular about the spelling of her name and said that her father taught the children a rhyme about it 'Two Ls, two Us, a P and an M'.
I will concentrate on Pullum initially and note the variations for later.
Pullum family c.1910

Name origin

As is normally the way, I have found no proof to support the family legend, that the name is of French origin. The only link I have is that a Joseph Pullum (recorded as Pullam in the marriage record) married a Huguenot.
So far, the evidence suggests that the UK Pullums originated from the Shoreditch area. This could mean it is a variant of the locative surnames Fulham/Fullum. The other variants considered are also locative, Pulham in Norfolk and Dorset, and Pelham in Hertfordshire, Lincolnshire, and Hampshire, so the distance from Shoreditch suggests that they are not connected. The earliest Pullum I have found so far is Richard Pullum who was born in Shoreditch in 1635. I have recently found that these 'early' Pullums may have sometimes been Pulham or Pullam. One theory I am considering is that, they are one family of Pulhams/Pullams that moved to Shoreditch and then altered their name to Pullum.
I have recently found a significant number of Pullums in the USA in the 1880s. The number of Pullums in the US is greater than in the UK. Initially I thought that the UK Pullums emigrated rather than vice versa. But the early US records include Pullums born in the US as early 1870, of various races (e.g.native american Sioux, black and a slave owner). I have found two immigration records for Virginia U.S. A.  For Edward Pullum and Edmund Pullum in 1636. The sponsor was the same for both, William Clark, and it is likely that they travelled for the purpose of indentured servitude. This would therefore fit with my first thoughts.

Historical occurrences of the name

William Arthur Pullum (1887 - 1960) Possibly the most successful Pullum historically is William Arthur Pullum. (8 Apr 1887 - 29 Aug 1960). Despite being a sickly child, suffering 'brain fever' (meningitis) and tuberculosis of the jaw bone aged12, right lung tuberculosis aged 15 and then peritonitis, he became a weightlifting champion aged 17, although he weighed less than 9 stone. Two years later he founded The Lothian Club, Camberwell, the first school of physical culture. He coached for the 1924 and 1948 Olympic games and published several books including 'How to use a Barbell' and 'Weightlifting Made Easy'. In 1948, his nephew Walter Pullum (1931 - ) joined him at the first Pullum Sports shop. Wally branched out into equipment manufacture and Pullum Sports is still a successful business today.
William Pullum Professor Hundreds
Another sportsman of sufficient note to have his obituary in The Sporting Life was pugilist William Banner Pullum (27 May 1844 - 07 Dec 1889). He was a butcher before becoming 'Professor Hundreds' and seems to have had reasonable success until he succumbed to tuberculosis and died at The Consumption Hospital, Bonner Road, Victoria Park, London aged 45.
Catastrophe In Regents Park
Although not historically notable in the same way, Edmund Pullum is interesting from a social history viewpoint. He died aged 25, when he was involved in 'The Catastrophe in The Regents Park' on the 15th of January 1867. About 200 skaters fell trough the ice of the lake and approximately 40 died. He had been married 5 months and his widow, Jane, gave birth to their daughter, Edith, the following May. She later married his brother Charles, who also died young, 3 years after marrying Jane.
Darling Ulysses PullumReviewing U.S. newspapers, I came across another interesting Pullum, who had been attacked on Christmas Eve 1959. D. Ulysses Pullum was not only a prosperous landowner, but was president of The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) in "Terrible"€ Terrell County, Dawson, Georgia, so called because it had one of the worst records of race repression and violence in the South. Despite economic reprisals and other harassment, he continued to campaign against the denial of registration and voting rights for black people.
Other examples can be found on my website under Pullums of Interest

Name frequency

The number of Pullums on the UK 1881 Census varies between sources (Family Search and Find my Past have 57 & UK Census on-line and Ancestry have 64) Combining the results gives a total of 74 individuals. 9 were excluded following further research. Additionally, according to my family tree there were an additional 20 known to be alive in 1881, but 4 were women who were now married and so no longer Pullums and I had been unable to trace 15 on the 1881 census (maybe not in the UK) but one had been mis-transcribed and so was added to the total. Hence the frequency = 0.00025% or 1 in 393,547.
I have analysed and compared the 1851 and 1881 census. There was a 18.8% increase in Pullums found but less were excluded (e.g. due to mis-transcription) for the 1881 census so there was a 37.2% increase in those analysed. I have also analysed the 1861 census and 1871 census and will later add to the comparison.
The number of births found for 1837 - 2006 was 609. I have analysed how birth rates have changed over time.
According to the Office of National Statistics database, in England, Wales and the Isle of Mann in September 2002 there were 179 Pullums. Giving a frequency = 0.00033% or 1 in 304,434.
Although not examined yet in detail, There are 492 Pullums on the 1880 United States Federal Census Which would be a frequency = 0.00098% or 1 in 102,209.

Distribution of the name

For the distribution in England & Wales, I have and found that it appears that there was a common ancestor, Joseph Pullum (1757 - 1846) who marrried Marie Le Franc (1760 -€“ 1843). Looking across the censuses 1851 - 1891 inc. 80 - 100% were in areas that are now London, the majority in Shoreditch.
From records other than the censuses, I have found a handful of Pullums in Norfolk in the 17th & 18th century
and a group in Somerset in the 16th and 17th century and also a few in Gloucestershire, Dorset and Kent.
As I have not found any in these areas later on, the families probably changed the spelling of their names to Pullam, Pullom, Pulham or similar. Alternatively, they may have moved or emigrated.
I have found 2 births in Scotland (one because his father was staioned there while in the RAF) and one birth in Ireland.
Any Pullums that I found in Australia and New Zealand were realted to the same family in England.
As mentioned above I have recently found a significant number of Pullums in the USA, which I have yet to look at.
I had found no Pullums in countries other than the UK & USA until the 20th century, so clearly emigrants. One exception is Germany, where I have discovered some records from the 17th/18th century. The records I have seen are indexes only and there are other records that are similar with a variety of alternative spellings. The number of individuals, their dates of birth and names would suggest that they were a single family (2 generations).


At present, most of the data I have is related to my family tree. However the censuses reviewed so far suggest that the Pullum name may relate to one family. I have a large amount of the data i.e. BMD (since 1837); 1841 - 1911 Census (E&W); parish baptism and burial records and probate records (where they exist). I also have photographs, newspaper extracts and other miscellanea. All of this will be reviewed and included in the one-name study. The 1851, 1861, 1871 and 1881 UK Census have been analysed for gender, age, residence (with maps), place of birth and occupation. Another element that needs adding is data collection from outside the UK.  I have collected all the documents I can find relating to Australia and have published this on my website
A Grand Concert for Harry Pullum


I have a website at which I add to as I analyse data or find items of interest. Information for individuals can also be found on my tree on



updated 18.03.18