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

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About the study

My maternal grandmother, Alice Spowage, died ten years before I was born. I grew up knowing that she had looked after a seriously ill husband and had seen four children to young adulthood. She imbued my mother and her siblings with a determination to do well and all achieved success in their chosen careers. (A Master Mariner/Chief Pilot (Sail and Steam), a Professional Singer who matriculated at 16, a Music Teacher (LRCM) although blind and a highly qualified Hospital Matron at the age of 34.)
After retiring I decided to discover more about the Spowages and it soon became clear that this was an unusual name. A chat to a friendly Guild Member at the Woking Family History Fair in late 2003 convinced me that a one name study was a good idea.
Research into the Spowage name started slowly near the end of 2004. The first task was to obtain relevant information from the Births Marriage and Death registers held at the Family History Centre (now closed) and as much Census information that was easily available. A systematic approach was taken to enter the observations into a database.

In 2007 a start was made on developing mini-trees. Considerable help was also obtained from contacts through Genes Reunited. The study will eventually evolve to include everyone who enjoyed the name.

Variant names

The main variant observed so far to the name of Spowage is Spouge. There are many other variants, misspellings and incorrect transcriptions that will be recorded as the study develops.

Name origin

The surname Spowage does not yet appear to have a clear origin. It has been suggested that it is derived from the plant €˜"spurge"€™. The 1841 Census lists John Spowage and family living at Spowage'€™s Hill, Blidworth' Nottinghamshire. As the study matures it may be possible to define the origin more accurately.

Historical occurrences of the name

There is the usual mix of agricultural labourers, miners, silk workers, shoe makers, framework knitters and domestic servants.

Only a few Spowages emigrated but two that are not directly related were transported to Australia as convicts.

Name frequency

Based on the United Kingdom census returns and the data extracted so far there were 248 with the surname Spowage resident in the UK in 1911, 310 in 1901, 167 in 1891, 192 in 1881, 128 in 1871, 81 in 1861, 96 in 1851 and 73 in 1841.
In an extract of the UK Office of National Statistics database for 2002, the name Spowage is ranked 14,758, with 349 instances.

Distribution of the name

Nearly all the Spowages in 1881 can be found in Nottinghamshire (54%), Derbyshire (20%) East Yorkshire (11%). West Yorkshire (9%) and Lincolnshire (6%).
A similar pattern occurs in 1911- Nottinghamshire (47%), Derbyshire (17%), Lincolnshire (10%), West Yorkshire (9%), and East Yorkshire (8%).


The registered births, marriages and deaths for the SPOWAGE surname have been extracted and transcribed from the General Register Offices indexes for England and Wales (from 1837). Census returns 1841-1911 have been analysed
Other details have started to be extracted from the International Geographical Index (IGI), parish registers and burial records. Information from contacts is being included as the project evolves.

A small amount of data on the Spouge population has been analysed, so far, as the name occasionally appears to morph into Spowage without a clear explanation.   

Although due care has been taken there is no guarantee that the information in this profile is accurate.