Guild of One-Name Studies
One-name studies, Genealogy
Variants: Yea, Yeah, Yoe, Yow
Category: 3 - A study where research using core genealogical datasets and transcriptions is well under way on a global basis.
Contact: Martyn Yeo
I am pleased to accept the role of hosting the Yeo study, having taken over from Sheila Yeo in October 2019. I have been researching my family since 1985 and my direct Yeo line descends from Yeos at Woolfardisworthy, Poughill, Kilkhampton, Bradworthy, Bradford and Holsworthy.
Sheila started researching her husband's Yeo family in 1991. His branch of the Yeo family descends from South Tawton, near Okehampton, Devon and the progenitor of this branch was a Robert Yeo who married a Joane Arscott in 1719. The problem then was where was Robert born? Fortunately, when he was buried in South Tawton on the 28th January, 1772 his age was recorded as 80. The only IGI entry available for this was a Robert son of Robert and Margaret Brown, baptised in Merton on the 16th March, 1692 but proof was needed. Over several years Sheila worked through all the Devon parish registers that had not been transcribed for the IGI, extracting Yeo baptisms. This was the start of the Yeo One Name Study.
It soon became apparent that many Yeo branches had experienced the same problems, and that it was only by collecting all Yeo baptisms and other events plus sharing information that we would be able to solve some of the problems. Many Yeo descendants have joined together and shared their research and Sheila has acted as a caretaker of much of their information. Following Sheila’s death in May 2020, her web site www.yeosociety.com remains in place but the content has not been developed since 2016 and emails to the site will not be answered. So for up-to-date information and a line of contact please use the details above.
John Prince, in the 1810 edition of Worthies of Devon, writes on pages 773 to 775: "There was a fair dwelling named Yeo, in the parish of Alwington, in the north-west part this county, which gave its name to its inhabitants, which, as 'tis supposed, it took from a fair stream of water near by, in the old Saxon language called ey or e'a, and in the French eau, and hence corruptly yeau, and at last Yeo."
Certainly the first mention of the name is when William became Sheriff of Devon in 1359 and was referred to as William atte Yeo. It is of interest that before the Norman invasion many rivers in Devon and Cornwall were named Nymet, yet after 1066 they changed to Yeo, which would suggest the name was of French origin. Most people with the sur name Yeo, Yea, Yew, Yawe or Yaw appear to descend from this source.
The pedigree of Yeo of Heanton Sachvile commences with the name of William Yeo, who was sheriff of Devon in 1359 and inherited Heanton Sachville through his marriage to Anne Esse. From this marriage descend the various branches of Yeo of Huish, Yeo of Hatherleigh, Yeo of Shebbear, and Yeo of Bradworthy; the main line of Yeo of Heanton Sachvile running out in the 10th descent, in the person of a female heir, into the family of Rolle. William was witness to a deed of John Holland for land in Sheepwash in the 24th year of the reign of King Edward III, using the name of William at Yeo; as he had been the year before to a deed of Richard Hody to John de Chelsharn, in Torrington. He married Anne, the daughter and heir of John Esse, or Ashe, of Devon, by whom he had a son, Robert Yeo of Heanton Sachvile, living 1410, who married possibly a Brightley, by whom he had issue Robert Yeo, who died in 1409, having married Joan, the daughter and heir of William Pyne, of Bradwell, by whom he had a son, John Yeo, of Heanton Sachvile, son and heir, aged nineteen years and more at the death of lis father, and who married Alice, the daughter and co-heir of William Jewe, of Cotleigh, by whom he had a son, William Yeo, of Heanton Sachvile, who married a daughter of William Grenville of Stowe and his wife Phillipa Bonville.
The recorded issue of this marriage is as follows: Helen, married to John Holland; Alice, married to Philip Stafford; and five sons Robert, Nicholas, Edward, Leonard, and Robert. These sons and their offspring married into many prominent Devon families such as the Fortescues, Walronds, Carys, Fulfords, Loveys, Honeychurchs, Monks, Bassetts, Crockers and Rolles. From the latter marriage between Margaret Yeo & Henry Rolle came the branch of Rolle of Titherleigh, and in direct succession, Robert Rolle, of Heanton Sachvile; Sir Samuel Rolle, Robert Rolle, ancestor of the Lords Clinton through his marriage with Lady Arabella, the daughter of the Earl of Lincoln; Samuel Rolle, Margaret Baroness Clinton; and George, 3rd Earl of Orford, (Walpole family). The estate of Heanton Sachvile is now the property of Trefusis, Baron Clinton, through the foregoing line.
Through these various marriages of heiresses and co-heiresses of Sachvile, Esse, Pyne, Jewe, and Brightley, the family of Yeo became entitled to quarter the respective female coats of arms. There are numerous Yeo descendants who have left their mark for prosterity and we have collected some of their biographies.
Searchable resources include baptisms, marriages and burials (England and Wales); births, marriages and deaths (Australia, Canada, England and Wales, New Zealand); wills, administrations and inquisitions post mortem (England and Wales); emigration; military service; censuses (Canada, England and Wales, United States); name distribution maps; contact details for researchers; and links to online pedigrees.
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