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Our 2,744 members have registered
2,397 study surnames with us
and a further 6,089 variant names.

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About the study

This is an ongoing, indepth, world-wide study.

It has a Guild archive containing genealogical data.

There are a number of reconstructed trees as well as those provided by members.

This study has a nominated next-of-kin.

It now produces a free annual newsletter available electronically to anyone interested.   For 25 years it was a subscription 'Society' with a tri-annual magazine, ending in 2012 with 45 members worldwide. 

Variant names

Strach, Stratch, Strech, Stretch, Strich, Stritch
All variants may have an 'e' as the last letter.

Name origin

Worcester: Richard Estrech or Le Strech Pipe Rolls 1176

Hampshire: Adam Strecche Pipe Rolls 1210

Devon: Walter Stretch 1219

Cheshire, Lancashire: Chartuary of Whalley Abbey between 1178 and 1279 (the foundation of the Abbey and move to Blackburn). The Charter of William of Costello (lawyer) for the nine shillings paid yearly from Eton Streche.

Devon: The Witheridge Historical Archive quotes from the 1233 Catalogue of Ancient Deeds no. 4438 '€˜A grant by Richard Stretch of Wasford for his soul and the souls of his wife and parents to the prior and monks of St. Mary Magdalene of Barnstaple of ½ mark rent from his lands in Wasford in pure alms for increase of half a mark which he owed before, so that he and his heirs pay one mark therefrom forever, with right of distraint both in his lands of Derte and in his lands of Wasford.   It will be noted that these lands are still called Wasford.   Did Richard Strech give his surname to Streccton and Streccderta or did he receive his name from them?   If he gave his name to them either he was already holding when Henry son of Alwold made his gift, or else the names Strecheston and Streccederta were introduced for purposes of identification into the confirmation of 1358 and had not appeared in the original decayed charter of Henry son of Alwold.   The name has now gone from the holdings.   Strecheston being now called Mill or Myll and the name only appears in the form Stretchdown, the name given to the hamlet near Witheridge

Limerick: According to Edward MacLysaght in '€˜The Surnames of Ireland'€™ Stritch is '€˜An old English name meaning Street, now quite hibernicized. It is closely identified with the city of Limerick'€™,

Historical occurrences of the name

Nicholas Stritch: A mayor of Limerick in 1472 whose later descendants, especially in South Africa, use the spelling Stretch.

Peter Stretch 1670-1746: Peter was born in Leek, Staffordshire the son of blacksmith, John Stretch and his wife Hester Fallowfield.   Peter'€™s father, father-in-law and grandfather were imprisoned for being Quakers which may have been the reason Peter emigrated in 1702.   He, his wife Margery Hall and four children went to Philadelphia, USA, where he set up as a clockmaker.   A Peter Stretch Long Case Clock set a new world record when it was bought in 2004 for $1,688,000 by the trustees of the du Pont antiques collection at Winterthur in Delaware, USA.   'It is recognized as one of the most important and remarkably preserved Philadelphia tall clocks ever to come to market.   Peter'€™s brother James is ancestor to Bishop John F. Stretch and Archdeacon Theodore C.B. Stretch.

Theodore Carlos Benoni Stretch 1817-1899: Theodore C.B. Stretch was of a Quaker family.   His father was John Cliffe Stretch and his mother Elizabeth Long.   Born in Worcester, England, he obtained his B.A. from Worcester College, Oxford, and was ordained in 1842.   He left England with his wife Martha Butler and five children and arrived in Geelong, Victoria in 1852.   In 1854 he became Archdeacon of Geelong and founded the See of Ballarat.   Archdeacon Stretch founded Geelong Grammar School, his sons being the first pupils. He died in Melbourne.   He was uncle to Bishop John Francis Stretch and is descended from James, a brother of Peter Stretch, clockmaker.

John Francis Stretch 1855-1919: Bishop Stretch was born in Malden, Victoria, Australia the son of the Rev. John C.T. Stretch, a native of Worcester, England and Frances Heath from Kent, England.   He was educated at Geelong Grammar School, and enrolled in 1872 as the first student of Trinity College, Melbourne.   John Francis was said to have given up law in favour of the priesthood in response to the dying wish of his mother.   Ordained in 1879 he was Dean of Ballarat, Victoria in 1894, Bishop of Brisbane in 1895 and Bishop of Newcastle, New South Wales in 1900 until his death there in 1919.   He was granted an honorary D.D. from Oxford in 1897.   He married Amelia Weekes and they had five sons and two daughters.   His uncle was Archdeacon Theodore C.B. Stretch.

Samuel Alphonsus Stritch 1857-1958: Cardinal Stritch was the seventh of the eight children of Garrett Stritch a native of County Kerry, Ireland, and Katherine Malley. Born in Nashville Tennessee, he graduated from High School aged fourteen.   He attended St. Gregory'€™s Minor Seminary in Cincinnati, the American College in Rome and the Urban College of Propaganda where he was awarded his D.Phil. in 1906 and D.D. in 1910.   He was ordained in Rome, returned to the USA in 1921 and later became Bishop of Toledo.   In 1939 he was Bishop of Chicago, the most populous diocese in the U.S.A..   Pius XII named him as cardinal and bestowed the red hat on him in 1946.   At his request St. Agnes Outside the Walls was designated his titular church.   In 1958 he was asked by Pius XII to accept the office of pro-prefect of the Congregation for the Propagation of the Roman Curia, only the third non-Italian named to the Propaganda since its founding in 1662.   Reluctantly he accepted but, while en route to Rome, an occlusion of the major artery of his right arm necessitated amputation on his arrival.   He suffered a stroke and died within a week. After obsequies in Rome his body was flown back to Chicago and interred on 3 June 1958 at Mount Carmel Cemetery, Hillside, Illinois.

Elaine Stritch: Actress and singer.   She was born in Detroit, Michigan in 1926 the daughter of George Joseph Stritch and Mildred Jobe, who was Welsh with a touch of French.  

Gary Stretch: Boxer, model and actor born in 1958 in St. Helens, Lancashire

Name frequency


England and Wales - 1851 = 480 Stretch entries (including variants)
England and Wales - 1881 = 706
England and Wales - 1911 = 1025
Ireland - 1901 = 245
Ireland - 1911 = 263
Canada - 1871 = 34
Canada - 1901 = 80 USA - 1860 = 313 Stretch; 18 Stritch
USA - 1930 = 880 Stretch; 125 Stritch


England and Wales GRO - 1837-2004 = 3,838
Australia - 1800-1990 = 180
New Zealand - 1823-1980 = 129

Distribution of the name

The early Stretch families appear mainly in the English counties of Cheshire, Lancashire and Wiltshire and, notably, in Dorset, Hampshire, London and Staffordshire.

Today outside the UK the name is most frequently found in the USA, Australia, Canada and New Zealand.

Stritch with its origins in Ireland is now mostly found in the USA.


We hold many entries for the following:

Births, marriages and deaths:

  • England and Wales GRO 1837-2006
  • Non-conformist registers
  • Worldwide - from various sources


  • From 1557 including those from the PCC and County Archives
  • Probate entries 1858-1900
  • An index of wills proved between 1900 and 2004
  • 25 from Pennsylvania and New Jersey between 1732 and 1819


  • England and Wales 1841-1911
  • Ireland 1901 & 1911
  • Scotland 1851-1901
  • Canada 1851-1911 
  • USA 1790-1940

Family Search Historical Records (ongoing)

Monumental Inscriptions (ongoing)

  • Commonwealth War Graves Commission 
  • 'Find a Grave'  (ongoing)

Miscellaneous including

  • Alumni
  • Bernau Index
  • Lancashire Parish Clerks
  • Newspapers 
  • Passenger lists
  • School records
  • and others



Please contact Jo Stritch at