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About the study
The voyage of discovery started with a round robin letter in 1991 from a then unknown 5th cousin Sue Kirby (nee Verrinder), and soon we became like Siamese twins. From an interest in just our branch it developed into our surname, and we joined the Guild of One-Name Studies in 1992. Since 1992 we have held annual clan gatherings at Cranham, Gloucestershire, our heartland, and commenced publishing in 1994 a family history quarterly of 12 A4 pages soon to celebrate its 50th issue.
The registered variants are Valender, Vallender, Vellender, Verinder, Verrender and Verrinder collectively known as V****nders. However, these are all present day variants, and in the past over 30 others have been found, including up to the 19th century the initial letter 'F'.
No satisfactory explanation of the origin or meaning of the surnames has been found. One suggestion that appeared in The Transactions of the Bristol and Gloucestershire Archaeological Society was an occupational origin of smith or ironworker. Another suggestion is a geographical root.
Historical occurrences of the name
There is not a trace of blue blood in our veins, not even from the wrong side of the blanket. We are of agricultural labourer stock with the occasional foray into yeoman farmer, clothworker, potter, and the like. A more than average percentage, especially on my branch, seemed to spend time in the local house of correction
Throughout the world we number about 1400 with Australia 200, Canada 30, New Zealand 50, South Africa 20, United Kingdom 800, and United States 300. The Vallenders at 550 number most, Valenders the lowest at 40, and Verrinders at 170 the largest number overseas.
Distribution of the name
There are 10 unconnected branches recorded, and of these 8 commence in the 18th century, and the others in the 17th. All branches commence in Gloucestershire, in either the City of Gloucester, or within a 15-mile radius of it. All present day V****nders in the UK are known, and assigned to their appropriate branch, and most in Australia, Canada, and New Zealand. Alas, in the US success is at about 75%, and South Africa even lower.
Most standard available records worldwide have been researched, but fresh information is constantly coming forward, especially with UK & US census data and newspaper indexes appearing on the Internet. The records we have are too numerous to list, and overseas ones have not been neglected. An ongoing programme is a search of the all the parish registers for Gloucestershire. We specialise in descent through female lines, with examples of 6 generations, also the use of our surname as a Christian name.