Guild of One-Name Studies
One-name studies, Genealogy
Variants: Costard, Costerd
Category: 1 - A study where research using core genealogical datasets and transcriptions is in its early stages.
Contact: Mrs Caroline Custard
ABOUT THE CUSTARD ONE-NAME STUDY
I began researching my husband's family in 1978. My newborn son was the first of his generation who would carry on the name. I soon registered it as a One Name Study as it was so unusual. I thought it would be confined to Dorset and the South-West where we originated from but it soon became clear there were pockets throughout the England, including the Channel Islands. There are many CUSTARDs in the USA and I am trying to link them back to ancestors who emigrated there but they mainly seem to be derivations of German emigrants.
The aims of my study are:
The registered variants of the name are Custard, Costard and Costerd
The name CUSTARD is of medieval English origin and derives from the Middle-English and Anglo-French "costard", a large, popular apple but also a nickname for someone who was 'round-headed'. The ultimate origin of the word lies in the Old French Coste - 'rib' with the suffix 'ard', indicating a person or thing characterised by a certain quality. It was therefore given to a grower or seller of the apple and the word 'costermonger' developed from it. A quotation from Shakespeare's 'King Lear' reads: "'I'd try whither your Costard or my Ballow (baton, stick) be the harder". The various spellings include Custard, Costard, Costerd, Custed.
Custard was known in English cuisine at least as early as the fourteenth century. The first reference is as almond milk or almond cream. It contained almonds, thick milk, water, salt and sugar. Custard tarts, popular in the Middle Ages, are the origin of the English word "custard". "Croustade" referred to the crust of the tart. They also contained meat, fish and fruit.
Mr Alfred Bird, chemist, pirated the word custard nearly 170 years ago, as until then custard was always made with eggs. Nowadays custard is synonymous with Birds!
Please note General George Custer is not related, though there is evidence that many German families called KUSTER anglicised their names to CUSTARD on immigrating to the USA.
The 1901 census index, produced by Find My Past, registers 58 CUSTARDs and 12 COSTARDs out of a population of approx. 33 million for England, Wales, Scotland and other islands (including Jersey).
A ONS study, carried out by the Guild in 2002, registered 67 CUSTARDs and 12 COSTARDs out of a population of approx. 55 million. Though the name is unusual and infrequent, it was still ranked the 42,509 most common name out of 270,000 registered.
The 1841 census has 32 CUSTARD entries, the majority in the South of England, ie Dorset, Somerset and Hampshire but odd ones in Buckinghamshire and London and a definite cluster in the North-East, ie Durham/Northumberland and one in Midlothian, Scotland. By 1911 there were only 51 entered, still in the same areas but a big increase in London.
In 1841 there were 21 COSTARD entries, comprising 4 families from Jersey, Hertfordshire, Middlesex and Bucks. By 1911 there were only 21 entered, living in Jersey, London, Middlesex, Kent and Wiltshire.
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