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About the study
The definition of a One-Name Study is very simple: a collection of information about one particular surname (and it's variations). This Study is for the surname Westpfel.
Please note that this Study, like many others, is an ongoing project. For more details about the Westpfels or the Study, or if you just want an informal chat about the project or people, please do not hesitate to get in touch. Just join the Westpfel One-Name Study Facebook Group or contact the author Karen Bailey at email@example.com.
Origin of the study
After the death of a fairly distant relative, the author of this Study began looking into her family tree - although the relative had always been known to her as 'Uncle Ted', she was aware that he was sibling to neither parent. This prompted her to look into what relation he actually was to her. Asking the eldest living relative at the time lead to a quick first draft of a tree to demonstrate how 'Uncle' Ted was related (he turned out to be her first cousin, twice removed - suddenly 'uncle' seemed so much easier!). This sparked an interest and soon lead to an extremely complex tree being drawn out, and a lifelong hobby was born.
'Uncle' Ted turned out to be the son of a Westpfel, Rosina Elizabeth. Her father was Frederick Augustus Westpfel, a German immigrant to England who arrived in the late 1870's or early 1880's and settled in London.
About the author
The author of this Study and collector of the data is Karen Bailey, an amateur historian and genealogist with a Bachelors Degree in History with Drama. She lives in the North of England with her partner after growing up in the Midlands. She has been interested in all things history from a young age, and has been actively researching family trees both for herself and others for nearly 10 years.
Variations on any given surname over time can be expected; indeed, the further back through time you go, the more likely it is to discover an 'interesting' spelling of your name!
Within the Westpfel Study, there have been some 'different' spellings in the record. These have occurred due to a number of reasons, including:
a) Some dreadful spelling errors on the original documents;
b) Some errors in the transcriptions of the documents; and
c) Some extremely thick German accents!
Some variations discovered so far include:
- Westpeel (although this is suspected to be simply a handwriting reading error)
- and the author's personal favourite mis-spelling, courtesy of the 1881 census...
Due to large issues with immigration and racism/xenophobia, over the years a number of members of the family decided to Anglicize their names. These became:
The Westpfels came over to England from Germany somewhere between 1871 (as they do not appear on the census of that year) and 1880 (the first official record of them in the UK, the marriage certificate of Frederick Augustus Westpfel and Elizabeth AMEND, also a German immigrant). They quickly settled in the Deptford area of South London, and went on to have a total of nine children in England.
Both Frederick Westpfel and Elizabeth Amend are stated as being born in Germany in the censuses, although the 1881 Census notes that they are 'BS', or British Subjects. This implies naturalisation, but no records have been found for this yet (it is possible that they a. did it without getting proper certification, or b. just told the probably very worrying, official people from the government that came to ask who they were that they were British Subjects).
No information is known at the current time about where exactly in Germany they came from. Oral history from several relatives state that the Westpfels were in the margarine business - a new and exciting industry which originated in Germany at around this time. Again, no references have been found as yet confirming this, including the author reading a truly fascinating book on the history of margarine!
Historical occurrences of the name
As yet, none of the Westpfels currently in the Study have any historical fame, although it is possible that they were pioneers in the margarine industry!
A very simple tree diagram showing the first generation of Westpfels to be born in England can be found at the Facebook Group
Distribution of the name
The censuses record the WESTPFELs being based in London, particularly in the Deptford area. This is obviously where they settled when they emigrated.
From the original immigrants, Frederick Augustus WESTPFEL, there were 9 children. Most stayed in the London area.
One branch moved to the Birmingham (UK) area, and from there to Canada.
Two went out into Kent, but not far from Deptford.
One branch disappeared completely, and at the time of writing, the author still does not know what happened to him! (Otto Frederick James WESTPFEL)
Currently, the Study has information from a number of sources. These include:
- * 1881 Census data
- * 1891 Census data
- * 1901 Census data
- * 1911 Census data
- * Birth, marriage and death certificate copies
- * Photographs (Most are available on the Facebook Group)
- * Military data
- * Oral histories from various members of the family
The author is in contact with at least one person (where possible) from each branch of the tree at generation 2 (each of the children of Frederick Westpfel and Elizabeth Amend) except one.