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Our 2,768 members have registered
2,405 study surnames with us
and a further 6,120 variant names.

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About the study

My one-name study arose from the research carried out by my wife into my immediate family. I had gained some experience of researching family history through helping my wife in the research of her family at Bedford Record Office. Just before retirement in late 1998, I decided to pick up from where my wife had reached and to carry out a one-name study, registering my surname with the Guild in that year.

Variant names

I have not registered any variants of SADGROVE because I am not yet found any other spelling that is used consistently. A number of mis-spellings and incorrect transcriptions of the name do occur, over 60 of the latter in the 1841 - 1901 Censuses provided by

Name origin

The surname is probably of locational origin. 'Sad' could mean grey or dark while 'grove' almost certainly refers to a small wood or copse. Thus the name might have been given to a family who lived near a somewhat sombre copse. Place names ending in 'grove' seem to be particularly common in southern England.

The earliest christenings found to date occur in the late 16th Century in the Thames Valley, in both Oxfordshire and Berkshire.

Name frequency

The number of people born with the surname SADGROVE in the UK has been estimated by two methods proposed by a member of the Guild in the Journal of One-Name Studies. Nominally, these methods cover the period 1541 to 1996.

The first method relies on the numbers born per year in England and Wales from 1837, when civil registration of births began. The maximum estimated population size by this method is 1563.

The second method relies on the numbers recorded in UK censuses. Using the 1881 Census gives an estimated population size of 1316.

In the 1881 of England & Wales, the number of people then bearing the surname was 196 and this increased to 210 in the 1901 Census. In 2001, the number estimated from ONS data had fallen to 186.

Whilst the surname cannot be said to be extremely rare, where extinction is a real possibility, the surname is certainly uncommon.

Distribution of the name

In the UK, the primary movement of Sadgrove families from 1600 was towards London. Some seem to have gone directly from Berkshire or Oxfordshire into London but tracing the family links is proving difficult. Other families moved in stages either to central London or to what are now the southern boroughs of Greater London. More recently, there has been a trend for families to move away from central London.

The other significant cause of movement has been emigration. The earliest instance was that of two brothers who went to Tasmania in the 1830s: most of their descendants remain in Australia. Slightly later, in the 1840s, a Sadgrove went with his family to New Zealand as a soldier. He took his discharge there and founded a sizeable dynasty.

Perhaps the last main emigration was to Canada later in the 1800s but this has yet to be fully researched.


Data collected to date includes:

  • Christening, marriage and burial records from transcribed or filmed registers of churches, mainly in Oxon and Berks
  • Christening, marriage and burial records from the International Genealogical Index
  • Birth, marriage and death entries from the Indexes of the General Register Office of England & Wales
  • Birth, marriage and death entries from the Indexes of the General Register Office of New Zealand
  • Birth, marriage and death entries from various Australian Indexes
  • Entries from the Probate Index, England & Wales
  • Entries from passenger indexes and newspaper records of passenger lists
  • Armed forces and Metropolitan Police Service records
  • Details from Censuses of England & Wales, 1841 to 1901 inclusive
  • Significant items from a database of The Times of London, 1785 to 1985 (search continues)
  • Notices from the London Gazette from 1755 to 2006


The Sadgrove DNA Project was set up in 2007 with the guidance of the Chairman of the GOONS DNA Advisory Group, and is using a well-established testing service in the USA. The primary objectives of the project are:

  • To confirm that males believed to be cousins (1st, 2nd, etc.) are related and thus to define the representative male DNA for their family tree
  • To compare this male DNA for two or more family trees to determine whether some families have a common ancestor
  • To define possible lines of further research into Sadgrove family trees
  • To learn about our probable ethnic background.

For further details see the link below.