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Ennever & Enever family history & ancestry. Click here to return to the home page WJ Ennever (1869-1947). From the portrait by J Seymour R.A., exhibited in the Royal Academy.

Name changes in the Ennever and related families

Name change logo

Many family surnames have been corrupted over centuries by the efforts of vicars and ministers of the 17th and 18th centuries and even the registrars of the 19th century. This is because most families were illiterate and the registrars or ministers of the day would attempt to spell the names they heard, often phonetically.   It is therefore often impossible to tell the original form of a name and its true origins.

Changes of name in England have not required any legal formalities and although some have been formalised by deed-poll most name changes have not been formally recorded.   The main reasons for families or individuals to have changed their surnames, other than the more modern phenomena of divorce, are:

  1. Illegitimacy (eg taking the natural father's name)
  2. Adoption (taking the adoptive parents' name)
  3. Foreign names (to show or avoid association with a nation or nationality)
  4. Cumbersome names (difficult to spell or pronounce)
  5. Dissatisfaction (simply do not like current name!)
  6. Fleeing authority (ie to avoid detection)
  7. Mis-spelling (a result of illiteracy or a preference for an alternative)

Several examples of name changes exist within the Ennever family and include many of the reasons shown above.  Some of the following are the most interesting.


Name Details
Barnard to Sewell
Ethel Grace Barnard, who was born in 1908 in Lambeth, London changed her name and married as Ethel Grace Sewell. Ethel was the illegitimate daughter of Annie Emily Barnard, Annie being the granddaughter of Daniel Barnard and Ellen Enever who married in 1861. Annie Emily Barnard later married William Frederick James Sewell in 1910 when Ethel was about two years old, Ethel assuming her step-father's name on marriage.
Beadle to Rudge
Mr. Bumble, a beadle in Oliver Twist, by Kyd (Joseph Clayton Clarke) Source: wikipedia
Mr. Bumble, a beadle in Oliver Twist, by Kyd (Joseph Clayton Clarke)
Cyril Edwin Rudge married Annie Maria Sherwood on 12th July 1910 in St Barnabas Church, Battersea and his father is recorded as George Frederick Rudge.  This information is confirmed in the 1901 census, the family consisting of George, his wife Emily (nee Davis) and four children, Percy George Rudge, Cyril Edwin Rudge, Archibald Victor Rudge and Kate Dora Rudge.  No birth registrations nor earlier census traces of them could be found of them until a family of Beadles found in earlier censuses matched their names, dates and birthplaces.

In 1891 and earlier the family is recorded as Beadle, and consisted of George Frederick Beadle, his wife Emily and four children, Percy George Beadle, Cyril Edwin Beadle, Archibald Victor Beadle and Kate Dora Beadle.  The birth registrations are also found using the name Beadle.  No reason is known for the name change although there are believed to be several marriages between the Beadle, Martin and Rudge families in the 19th century.  Examples are Henry William Martin to Eliza Beadle (1848), Edward Atkinson Rudge to Sarah Harrison Martin (1848), Henry and Sarah being siblings.

One family member suggests that the characters from Charles Dickens books, which would have been popular at the time, may provide the answer.  Bumble the Beadle was a bad character in Oliver Twist & Barnaby Rudge was a better person in the book of the same name.
Bennett to Enever
Lillie Langtry, depicted with a Jersey lily in her hair. Source: wikipedia
The regally-soundng Cleopatra Cecilia Burgoyne married William Taylor Power in 1867, William apparently deserting her in about 1870 after they had had three children, one of whom went on to become an MP and a 1st baronet.  Cleopatra then became the housekeeper to a Samuel Bennett with whom she later had a child, Samuel James Bennett for whom she was to seek maintenance through the courts.  She then married Augustus Joseph Enever, a 'Master of British Commerce' according to his somewhat exaggerated and occasionally inaccurate obituary.  The marriage took place in 1878 in Jersey, a ceremony conducted by the Dean of Jersey, William Corbet Le Breton, the father of the Edwardian beauty and mistress to the future Edward VII, Lillie Langtry, who was born Emilie Charlotte Le Breton.

Samuel Bennett became known as James Bennett and later assumed the name Enever and used this name until his death in 1943.
Chapman to Fulcher Arthur Chapman was born in Southend-on-Sea, Essex in 1867/8 and changes his name to Fulcher, his step-father's name, from the 1881 census onwards.
Common to Commons
Jane Ennever married two Common brothers, James in 1884 and, in what was an illegal marriage, Simon Robert a year later.  More detail on this story is available here.  Many of the Common family progressively added an 's' from around the 1870s, becoming Commons with some of their children being registered as Common and some as Commons.
Edward Enever
It seems probable that Edward was born in Hornchurch, Essex but as his christening hasn't yet been found and he didn't survive until the 1851 census his birthplace isn't known for certain. Edward is not unusual in that he was almost certainly unable to write and wouldn't have known for certain how his surname was spelt. Priests and vicars of the 19th century would have spelt his name as they heard it and the following variants have been found on various family documents: Inever, Inefer, Enefer, Enever and Ennever - an unusual collection of family surnames.
Harriet Hennever
A variety of spellings is not uncommon in families until most people became literate in the late 20th century and Edward Enever, above, is a good example. Harriet, is almost unique though in that her birth to Henry Enever and Ann Burbidge in 1851 in Peakirk, Northamptonshire was recorded as Hennever. Unfortunately, I can find no trace of Harriet after the 1851 census to see how she might have spelt her name in later life.
Enever to Curtis
Charles Enever was born in 1833 or 1834 and christened in 1842 in the City of London, the son of John Enever and Eliza Mott. He is understood by his family to have been transported to Australia for stealing a chicken and changing his name to Harry Curtis, although to date no evidence has been found of his crime or transportation. He married in Victoria, Australia in 1861 in Kew near Melbourne as Harry Curtis to Fanny Hines who, coincidentally, was born in Melbourn, Cambridgeshire. His marriage records his father as John, a painter, and his mother as Mott, christian name unknown.

He is believed to have returned to England on two occasions to visit family and a great nephew was named Sydney Curtis Brown after him.
Enever to Edwards
Elizabeth Ennever or Enever was the mother of triplets in 1879 according to her family although only two children were registered suggesting that a third may have been stillborn (it was not until 1927 that stillbirths were required to be registered in the UK).  The father of her children remains something of a mystery as he is variously recorded as Harry George Edwards, George Edwards or William John Edwards and with several conflicting occupations, including that of (the highly improbable) surgeon and doctor of medicine.  There is no record of a marriage and he cannot be found living with Elizabeth or his children in any census which makes identifying him correctly very difficult.  Three of Elizabeth's children with 'Dr' Edwards were registered as Enever while the youngest child, Winifred Mabel, was registered as Edwards.  All the children later went on to use the name of their natural father, Edwards.
Enever to Heneby, Enervy etc
Elizabeth Enever was born in 1849 in Peakirk, Northamptonshire to Henry Enever & Ann nee Burbidge.  Little is known of this family as they cannot be found in the 1861 and 1871 censuses although Henry had remarried in 1868 to Jane Smith.  Elizabeth emigrated to Canada in 1874 and various documents record her maiden name as Heneby, Henerby & Enervy possibly as a result of Elizabeth's separation from her father and never knowing exactly how to spell her name.
Enever to Penfold In his military attestation a Jack Penfold attests that he 'will in future be known as John Edward Enever' although we have established that that was his birth name.  It appears that the family may have used the name 'Penfold' and that John was reverting to his natural name. John's uncle, William Thomas Enever, had married Margaret Penfold in 1899, the likely origin of the use of the name.
Ennever to Collins
The family of Mary Stothart Ennever have adopted the name of the natural father, even though it would appear that this was an illicit or bigamous relationship.  Read this fascinating story here.
Ennever to Enever
William James Ennever's children were all christened as Enever, one of the later known changes of spelling.  He was born in 1834/5, before the national birth, marriage and death registration came into effect, and his marriage to Mary Elizabeth Briner was registered, presumably incorrectly, as Evener.
Ennever to Eniver
Sydney Charles Ennever was born in 1902 and married Ethel Rose Richardson in 1925.  Their ten children were all registered as Eniver and this was the spelling that was passed down to his children and has been in use ever since.
Devine to Gardner
Henry Richard Devine was born in 1864 in Bethnal Green or Whitechapel and married Selina Jane Tyrrell (nee Holder) in 1891. On his marriage certificate his father is recorded as Henry Richard Devine and deceased although he appears to live until after the 1901 census. Henry himself is always recorded as general dealer but by 1901 he assumes the surname Gardner, using both Richard and Henry as christian names.

A number of queries surround this family as although Henry senior and his wife, Elizabeth, can be found in censuses from 1871 to 1901 Henry's occupation changes from gun-maker to labourer, there is a gap of 10 years between 2 children and his son changes his name.
Ennever to Ennevor
The Jamaican Ennevers and Ennevors are believed to be descended from one of the Somerset Ennevers who travelled to Jamaica, probably from Bristol, in the early 1800s.

A family dispute, believed to be between the cousins, Allan Featherstone Ennever & Reginald V Ennever led to Allan Featherstone Ennever's branch of the family revising the spelling of their name from Ennever to Ennevor. The earliest reference to the revised spelling appears to be in 1901 when Allan Featherstone Ennever's first child, Maurice Alexandre Joseph Ennevor, is born.  All Ennevers and Ennevors in Jamaica appear to be descended from a single family.
Ennever to Hannaway
One branch of the Ennever family changed their name to Hannaway in the late 19th century.  This is covered in detail here and although the reason for the namechange had been unclear for some time, it is now believed to relate to what turned out to be a bigamous marriage.
Ennever to Lee
Ernest William Ennever, born 1880 in Bromley Middlesex, enlisted for Short Service in the Essex regiment of the Army in 1898 where he gave his name as Ernest William Lee alias Ernest William Ennever, the name "Lee" being his mother's maiden name.

He later enlisted for 4 years service in the 4th Battalion Manchester Regiment when he had reverted to using the name "Ennever".
Ennever to Morris
This is the story of George Ennever who was involved with his brother in forgery and was subsequently transported to Australia, where he started a successful new life as George Ennever Morris.  This is the subject of a book written by Kevin Lewis Smith, a descendant of his, and a brief summary from the book is available here. I am indebted to Glenda Smith, Kevin's widow, for her permission to use Kevin's material.
Ennever to Tadman
Charles Ennever was born in the St George in the East district of Stepney in 1828 and during his lifetime was married twice and had two common law spouses, having a total of seven children and also adopting one other.  Sadly, but not unusually for the period, we believe three of his children died in infancy, another before marrying and we lose trace of another at age 17.  One of the remaining children, Jane Ennever, illegally married two Common brothers and the details of this story are available here.

Charles married Elizabeth Tadman in 1884, months before she died, and they had had a son, Charles, in 1875/6 whose birth was apparently never registered.  Charles was living with his father and mother in 1881 and with his step-sister, Jane, in 1891 but is not found in censuses or marriage or death registrations after that date.

In fact, he had changed his name to that of his mother and had married Florence Hill in 1899 as Charles Tadman, a fact that might have gone undetected without the research of his grand-daughter, Molly Craven (nee Tadman), who finally solved the mystery in 2007.  I am indebted to Molly and her daughter, Jane Mills for their help.

Charles Ennever/Tadman became an East End florist while his uncle, Thomas Tadman, was a successful Undertaker.  The story of Thomas's business is available here.  See also Long to Tadman below.
Ennever to Williamson
Charles Williamson Ennever was born in 1873 to Elizabeth Ennever out of wedlock and although no father's name was recorded on his birth certificate his name suggested that a Charles Williamson would have been the father.  Until Charles Williamson Ennever's marriage was located and he had used the name Charles Ennever Williamson it had not been certain that his father was indeed a Williamson.  Charles retained his natural father's name, being known as Charles Ennever Williamson, until his death in 1955.
Grandi to Grandy
Oriano Grandi was born in Italy in about 1811 and married Mary Ann Harnwell of Bressingham, Norfolk in London in 1849 after the birth of two of their children, the eldest of whom married Maria Ennever.  The three children were all registered as Grandy, an anglicised form of Grandi.

The three children were Oriano Grandy, who married Maria as Oriano Grandi, Mary Ann and John James. John James Grandi emigrated in 1864 and later became the mayor of Timaru, New Zealand.
Haskell to Askew
When Samuel Frederick Haskell married Sarah Freeman in Stepney, London in 1898 his marriage certificate shows the name and signature of Samuel Askew. The couple had the certificate corrected to Samuel Frederick Haskell on 4/5/1900 although it is not known why he would have signed as Askew and does not appear to use the name at any other time.
Klenker to Klinker and Clinker
Diederich Klinker and his wife, Katharina, arrived in London in the 1850s from Hanover, Germany and the family begins to anglicise their names from about the 1880s.  The surname becomes Klinker and then after the 1890s the preferred spelling is Clinker and their son's name changes from Diederich to David.  Diederich senior is also recorded as Richard Klenker when his son Frederick married Ann Ada Tadman in 1886.

Anti-German feeling was running high in the East End of London by the mid 1890s with mobs breaking windows of shops owned by both Germans and Jews and a number of East End German clubs had closed for fear of attack.  There were also a number of disturbances between the English and Dutch and German sailors in the docks in which the English were often the aggressors.
Long to Tadman
Thomas Tadman married Phoebe Southgate in 1862 and there are no known children from the marriage which ended with Phoebe's death in 1889.  Meanwhile, Thomas had 3 children with Dorcas Elvina Long between 1881 and 1888, at least two of the children being registered as Longs (one registration has not been found).  The youngest child, Richard Long, married as Richard Tadman in 1918 while the eldest, Alfred William Long, married as Long in 1901 and registered the children as Long although later many of them became known as Tadman.

See also Ennever to Tadman above.
Lubnow to Ludnow
John Herman Lubnow was born in London in 1894, his father having been born in Germany and immigrated to England in the 1870s.  At the time of John's marriage to Rachel Eckett he was known as John Herman Ludnow and their three children were all registered as Ludnow.  As anti-German feelings were running high in London by the mid-1890s (see Klenker above) it is possible that the name change was designed to hide their national origins.  John had been adopted by John and Elizabeth Julia Ennever (nee Junor) probably as a result of John's mother's death almost certainly as a result of childbirth.
Lynch to Lensh
Daniel Peter Joseph Aloysius Lynch was born about 1826 in St Pancras, then in Middlesex. He married Frances Ann Ennever in 1850 at Lady Chapel, Marylebone and they had ten children between 1850 and 1869.  The first five children were registered as Lynch and the latter five, from 1861 onwards, as Lensh. Frances Ann Ennever was the niece of William Joseph Ennever, the founder of the pianoforte manufacturers, whose story can be found here.  Although it is not known for certain that Daniel Lynch worked for the Ennever pianoforte makers both he and William Joseph were made bankrupt in the 1850s and 1860s. Daniel is, however, known to have continued in the business of making piano strings and tuning pianos.

While it is possible that the subtle name change was to disguise the family's Irish background, it may also have been as a result of the business's financial difficulties or it may simply have been an interpretation of the English pronunciation of Lynch. See also Lynch to Lensh and Dench below.
Lynch to Lensh to Dench
Joseph Edward Lynch was the eldest son of Daniel and Frances Ann, above, and was registered as Lynch.  On his marriage to Eliza Symes in 1873 he had become Joseph Edward Lensh and like his father he was in the pianoforte business and is recorded as a stringmaker and a piano action maker.  The couple's first two children were registered as Lensh but Agnes born 1881 and Rosina born 1885 and their parents had become Dench. The children can be traced as follows:
  1. Joseph Edward Lensh b St Pancras 1874, living in St Pancras in 1881 but no further trace
  2. William Lensh b St Pancras about 1880, registration not found.  Living with his parents and Joseph in 1881 and with Joseph & "Ophelia" in Islington in 1891
  3. Agnes Eleanor Dench b St Pancras 1881 and living with the family in Islington in 1891.  I believe she married in Islington in 1909 indicating that the family remained in the area.
  4. Lilian Dench b St Pancras about 1883, registration not found.  Living with the family in Islington in 1891.  No trace after 1891.
  5. Rosina Dench b St Pancras 1885 and living with the family in Islington in 1891. I believe she married in St Pancras in 1908.
  6. Henry James Dench b Islington 1889 and living with the family in Islington in 1891.  No further trace.
A second marriage hasn't been found for Joseph so it appears that not only did he alter his surname twice but Eliza also used the name Ophelia. See also Lynch to Lensh above and the Questions page.
Mapp to Ennever
Charles Pineger Mapp was born in Plaistow, Essex in 1900 and was apparently serving in India in the British Army with his brother.  He did not wish to return to England and "jumped ship" and travelled to Australia in about 1922 where he changed his name to that of his brother-in-law, Alfred Charles Ennever, presumably to avoid being traced by the army, becoming known as Charles Pinegar Ennever.  His family were unaware of his change of name only discovering this a few years after his death in 1968.

My thanks to Peter Ennever, Charles's son, for his help with this story.
Rigglesford or Rigelsford to Newman
George Newman Rigglesford was born in Guestling, Sussex in about 1838 and married Caroline Monk in Sussex in 1864, having six children that I know of.  By the 1891 census the family appear to have dropped the Rigglesford name and became known as Newman, although George's death in 1906 was recorded as George N Rigelsford.  Louisa, the eldest child, married as Louisa Kate Newman Rigglesford in 1892 but she cannot be traced after 1901 (see 'Questions').  The dropping of the Rigglesford name, which can be found with many different spellings, may have been to simplify life for the census enumerator but there is also evidence that another branch of the family also chose to be known as Newman.
Weidig to Ennever and Thompson
Rose Ennever married William Weidig who was of German descent in 1905, William being the eldest of 10 Weidig children who survived into the 1900s.  William was the son of Heinrich Weidig, who was born in Germany and married Louisa Green in London in 1882.  William changed his name to his wife's name of Ennever in about 1915, at the time of the 1st World War, and this was formalised in the London Gazette in 1919.  The remainder of the family changed their names to Thompson, after Louisa's stepfather, James Thompson.

My thanks to John Thompson for his help on this story.
Wright to Barratt
James Wright was born in the St Pancras area of London in about 1862, various censuses giving his birthplace as Pancras as well as Hampstead and Somers Town. He was adopted by a Joseph Barratt and was living with Joseph and Joseph's mother in Pancras in 1871.  He can be found as James Wright until 1901 when he, and all his family, are using the name Barratt.  His daughter, Rose Ethel Wright, married in 1928 as Wright and James is also recorded at the time as Wright.

You can also read about the origins of some of the surnames in the family here.

Author:  Barry Ennever

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