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About the study
WOOLGAR, or rather the original spellings of Wulfgar, Wlgar and Vlgar, is a Saxon name meaning 'wolf-spear'.
According to "A Dictionary of English Surnames" by P. H. Reaney & R. M. Wilson (Pub Routledge 1991 ISBN 041505737X), the earliest references to WOOLGAR are:
- Domesday 1086 in Sussex and Hampshire
- Wlfgarus de Cokesale 1252 in Colchester, Essex (Cartularium Monasterii S. Joh. Bapt. de Colecestria)
- Brixi Wulgar 1188 (Pipe Rolls, Norfolk)
- Teobald Wolgar 1250 Cambridge (Cartularium Monasterii Rameseia)
There are also several much earlier references to the surname in 'The Anglo-Saxon Chronicles' (translated and collated by Anne Savage pub Tiger Books 1995 ISBN 1855016869):
- 981 AD: '..... archbishop Ælfstan of Winchester passed away, and his body lies in the monastery in Abingdon: Wulfgar received the episcopal see.'
- 990 AD: 'Sigeric was hallowed archbishop, and after went to Rome for his pallium. Abbot Edwin passed away, and Wulfgar succeeded him.'
- 1016 AD: '....abbot Wulfgar passed away in Abingdon, and Æthelsige succeeded him.'
Distribution of the name
I have collected the relevant entries for WOOLGAR and variants from:
- IGI & BVRI v2.
- England & Wales BMD index entries to 1999.
- All the post-1858 English Probate index entries to 1996.
- Copies of most of the post-1858 wills to 1939.
- Most of the pre-1858 English Probate index entries.
- Copies (or extracts) of most of the pre-1858 wills & administrations.
- A large, and still growing, collection of UK Census Index entries 1841 to 1911.
- A collection of parish register extracts, principally from Sussex, Surrey, Hampshire (incl IOW) and Kent
- Some USA Census entries
- Newspaper extracts, notably from 'The Times' and 'The London Gazette'
- National Burial Index