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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.



August 2011

About this newsletter

This family history newsletter is published three or four times a year usually when some interesting family items have been added to the website.  An email including a link to it is sent to all my family history contacts.  Please feel free to forward the email or a link to this page on to family members who may not have seen the website.

Churchill & Enever coincidences

Australia's 'First Fleeters'

En(n)evers & Smiths and Middle Eastern origins?

Ruskin Bond


Churchill & Enever coincidences

Jennie Churchill (nee Jerome) with sons John and Winston
Jennie Churchill (nee Jerome) with sons John and Winston
A previous newsletter highlighted some family connections to both Sir Winston Churchill and Edward 'Ned' Kelly and with the help of another researcher we have spotted some other items which are interesting little historical coincidences.  They may lack any obvious objective significance  but are appealing nonetheless:

  • we already knew that Augustus Joseph Enever & Cleopatra Cecilia Burgoyne were married by the father of Lily Langtry, the celebrated society lady who became the mistress of Albert Edward, prince of Wales, later King Edward VII but...
  • we now discover that Cleopatra's second son from her marriage to William Taylor Power bought his Hampshire house from the son of Mary 'Patsy' Cornwallis-West, wife of William Cornwallis Cornwallis-West.  According to Antony Camp's research,  William & Mary's daughter, who became Daisy, Princess of Pless, was one of the mistresses of the future King George V although other researchers claim that she too was a mistress of his father, Edward VII. 
  • ...and William & Patsy's son, George Cornwallis-West, was the second husband of ┬áLady Randolph Churchill (Jennie Jerome), mother of Winston Churchill and that Augustus's great niece, Barbara Yvonne Enever, married Lionel Leslie, nephew of Lady Randolph Churchill in 1942.

Famiy history is rarely dull if you dig deep enough!

Australia's 'First Fleeters'

The Charlotte at Portsmouth before departure in May 1787
The Charlotte at Portsmouth before departure in May 1787

Between 1787 and 1850 the English sent more than 160,000 convicts to Australia. The first eleven of these ships are known today as the 'First Fleet' and contained the convicts and marines who are now generally acknowledged as the founders of Australia.

The First Fleet sailed from Great Britain on 13 May 1787 with about 1,487 people, including 778 convicts (192 women and 586 men), to establish the first European colony in Australia, in New South Wales. The fleet was led by Captain (later Admiral) Arthur Phillip. The ships arrived at Botany Bay between 18th and 20th January 1788. HMS Supply arrived on 18 January, The Alexander, Scarborough and Friendship arrived on 19 January and the remaining ships on 20 January 1788.

Many of the convicts were skilled tradesmen who had committed trivial crimes and sentenced to seven years, the time required to set up the infrastructure for the new colony. Convicts were often given pardons prior to or on completion of their sentences and were allocated parcels of land to farm.

The story of the 'First Fleet' is told in more detail here and there is a table at the end of the page giving details of family members who are 'First Fleeters'.

En(n)evers & Smiths and Middle Eastern origins?

One of the reasons I began my family history research was, not unnaturally, my family's unusual surname. I had spent most of my business life spelling the name to many contacts and there was no shortage of the question 'Where does that originate from?'. I never really knew and so maybe I had hoped to try to find the answer at some stage.  As many of you will know surnames became common in England between the twelfth and fourteenth centuries when governments introduced personal taxation and they are generally derived from four sources:

  1. Patronymic: the given (first) name of the father eg Williamson, or its abbreviated form Williams, meaning son of William, Richardson etc.  Different forms of these hereditary names occur in many countries eg Mac (Gaelic), O' (Irish) etc.
  2. Locative: local surnames derived from the place of residence of its owner eg Hill, Wood, Lane, Ashford etc.
  3. Descriptive: names derived from personal attributes such as Long, Short, Little, Good, Wise etc.
  4. Occupational: names derived from occupations eg Farmer, Miller, Cooper, Fletcher, Collier (a coal miner) etc.

Ennever and its variants don't fit naturally into any of these categories but are often attributed to being of early medieval English origin, derived from the female given names of Guinevere or Guenever or even Jen(n)ifer.  These are predominantly Welsh or west country names while all the early history of the Ennevers points to our origins being in Kent or Essex, making a link to these names highly unlikely.  It does seem possible that the name Ennever/Enever may even have Middle Eastern origins and this is a subject that I hope to return to in a later newsletter.

Many family historians concentrate on their paternal line but I also wanted to include my maternal line and there probably isn't a much bigger contrast to be found, my mother being a Smith, by far the most popular surname in the English-speaking world.  The assumption that Smith derived from the occupation of being a Smith is an obvious one while some historians will point out that the earliest records of the name pre-date the occupation and suggest that the name derives from the action of a soldier (to smite) and that the occupation was a later derivation.

Both names have advantages and disadvantages, though.  Ennever or Enever is unusual enough that when I find it I can be almost certain that I have found a family member while the disadvantage is that it is very often mis-spelt and therefore hard to find.  Smith by contrast is almost never mis-spelt but the sheer volume is daunting and the number who will turn out to be direct family is very small.

There are about 2,000 Ennever and Enever birth records in England & Wales from 1837 onwards while there are more than 2,000,000 Smiths!

Ruskin Bond

The India I Love by Ruskin Bond
The India I Love by Ruskin Bond

Ruskin Bond is an Indian author of British descent and is considered to be an icon among Indian writers and children's authors and a top novelist although he is largely unknown in the UK. In 1992 he received the Sahitya Akademi award for English writing for his collection of short stories, "Our Trees Still Grow in Dehra", by the Sahitya Akademi, India's National Academy of Letters. He was awarded the Padma Shri in 1999 for contributions to children's literature. He now lives with his adopted family in Landour near Mussoorie in India.

Ruskin is the grandson of Herbert William Bond & Gloriana Enever and his father, Aubrey Alexander Bond, chose the name Ruskin after the famous Victorian author because he appreciated the aesthetic, imaginative and contemplative life. Ruskin was christened Owen Ruskin Bond but has chosen not to use the name Owen. 

Sources: 'The life and works of Ruskin Bond' by Meena Khorana, 'Scenes from a Writer's Life', an autobiography of Bond's early life & Wikipedia


In addition to these items I have added many hundreds of new people, events and documents to our families so it is always worth a regular look at the 'What's new' page.

I hope there’s been something of interest for you and as always if you have any family information or old family photos you are willing to share please do let me know.  If you prefer not to receive future notifications of newsletters please click here and ask to be removed.

Barry Ennever

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