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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

I began to research my mother's family history seriously in about the year 2000 though I had been raised on mentions of her uncles and grandparents. Her maiden name was Whiteway and I became more and more interested in this family as I found many mariners involved in the Newfoundland trade, including a number of the same name who were not immediately related to our tree. It seemed a natural progression to follow up the name in all contexts as it's not frequently found and the likelihood of a common origin for them all might be a possibility. I registered the study in 2009.

Variant names

The main variant is Whiteaway, which probably arises from the way it sounds when spoken with a Devonshire accent, though Whitway and Whitaway are also found.

Name origin

Whiteway is a locative name originating from Whiteway Barton in Devon. It is a compound of the Old English 'huit' meaning white and 'weg', a track. A Barton is a big farm. The farm is situated beside the route that took salt from the saltpans on the Teign estuary up to the bishop’s palace at Exeter – the white way.  The surname is first recorded towards the end of the 13th Century.  

Historical occurrences of the name

The most famous Whiteway in history is Sir William Valance Whiteway, 1828-1908, who was premier of Newfoundland 3 times. He was born in Devon.
John Bennett Whiteway was the first mayor of Gosford in New South Wales, Australia and was born and buried in Totnes,Devon.
Captain George Whiteway, captain of the clipper 'Edith Byrne' made possibly the first recorded sighting of the aurora australis after his voyage in 1864 from New York to Sydney. 
Whiteway's cyder was founded by Henry Whiteway at Whimple, near Exeter, Devon.
Alfred Charles Whiteway was convicted of the Towpath Murders at the Old Bailey in 1953.
Dean Waldon Whiteway, b 1944, is a Canadian politician and Douglas Whiteway is a Canadian journalist & author.

Name frequency

According to the ONS database in September 2002 there were 9352 Whiteways, making it the 642nd most common surname in England & Wales. Whiteaway was rather less common with only 65 occurences, 43293rd in the rankings.
The 1881 British census recorded 442 people with the Whiteway/Whiteaway surname, about three-quarters of them born in Devon.

Distribution of the name

The Whiteways who were recorded in Devon in the 1851 census all lived south of Dartmoor, between Exeter and Kingsbridge.
Today there are many Whiteways in Canada and Australia as well as the UK and the USA


I am still in the process of data gathering but have a fairly complete set of UK BMDs, UK census listings, information from the IGI, an increasing number of PRs and some information from Canada, Australia and USA