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2,397 study surnames with us
and a further 6,089 variant names.

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About the study

I am undertaking a One-Name Study for the name Waterfall worldwide and I am very keen to hear from anyone with this name. I have been undertaking this study since 2004, but I have been tracing my family history for the past 12 years mainly concentrating on my fathers side of the family. The reason that I started the One-Name Study was because someone once said to me that if I didn't register the name then someone else would!!!

Where possible I will try to provide information and in a number of instances I can probably assist people in their research on from the information I have already collected. I have started to assemble the various Waterfalls into pedigrees, but it is an ongoing process. Over the years I have collected a large amount of data, which includes BMD indexes, probate indexes and census indexes.

Variant names

Currently I have not come across any varients for the name Waterfall, but these are the devients which I have come across: Watterfall; Waterfaul; Watarfall.

Name origin

From and Reaney & Wilson

The surname Waterfall is a topographic name as it is derived from a distinctive geographical feature. The origin is Olde English 'Wœ“tergefeall' from the pre 7th Century. In Staffordshire the name originates from the point where the River Hamps disappears underground at the village of Waterfall. In the North Riding of Yorkshire there is a waterfall at Guisborough and a lost waterfall at Pontefract in the West Riding of Yorkshire. The earliest recorded date in which Waterfall is used as a surname is in the 12th Century with Herbert de Waterfale in 1168.

Historical occurrences of the name

Reaney & Wilson list the earliest occurances of the name Waterfall as Herbert de Waterfale 1168 in Derbyshire; Robert de Waterfalle 1242 AssSt; and Johanna Waterfall' 1379 in Yorkshire. The earliest I have come across so far in my research is Joan Waterfall, widow of William Waterfall of Coventry in a writ of Henry IV dated between 1407-1413.

More recent prominent Waterfalls are Sir Charles Francis Waterfall and his brother William Duncan Waterfall. Sir Charles Francis Waterfall was awarded a Knighthood in 1946 for his services as Chief Commissioner of the Islands in the Andaman's and Nicobar group. William Duncan Waterfall was the Director of Savings at the General Post Office and was awarded a C.B.E.

Name frequency

Waterfall is a fairly uncommon name. In 1841 there were approximatly 210 people with the name. By 1881 this had grown to approximatly 500 and in September 2002 ( there were 899 people and the surname was ranked 7262 in England, Wales and the Isle of Mann.

Distribution of the name

The Waterfall name is mainly found in Derbyshire, Yorkshire, Staffordshire and Warwickshire. The census shows that between 1851 - 1901 that the largest occurance of Waterfalls is in Derbyshire. In 1841 Yorkshire has the largest occurance.


I have currently collected the following data.

  •  Civil births in England and Wales, 1837 to 2005
  •  Civil marriages in England and Wales, 1837 to 2005
  •  Civil deaths in England and Wales, 1837 to 2005
  •  Civil probate in England and Wales, 1858 to 1992