The name game: family history fun with Family Tree columnist Dear Tom


14 September 2018
Screen-Shot-2018-09-13-at-12.36.44-19880.png © Ellie Keeble for Family Tree
Do you have naming traditions in your family tree? When stalwart family history researcher Tom Wood, who pens Family Tree's popular Dear Tom column, asked to hear your stories, he was amazed by the wonderful response...

Doing your family tree can be a real eye-opener when it comes to traditions. Some can go back centuries – and often without us even realising, until we start researching our trees. Take naming traditions, for example. When stalwart family historian Tom Wood, who pens our popular Dear Tom genealogical gems column in Family Tree magazine, asked readers to write in with details of their families who repeated Christian names through the generations, he had a huge response.


Emails flew across cyberspace into Family Tree HQ for Tom, including one from reader Gill Moody, whose tale began with her 7x grandfather Daniel Garwood, born around 1674 in Brockley in Stafford. It seems he married twice, and had four children with his first wife Christian Pain, including a son called Daniel in 1696 who appears to have died in infancy as Gill’s 6x great-grandfather, also called Daniel, was christened in 1707 at Hartest in Suffolk.


This Daniel married Elizabeth (possibly an Elizabeth Root) in 1735 and they produced a family of nine children, the eldest being our writer Gill’s 5x great-grandfather, yet another Daniel Garwood, in 1735 in Hartest. In 1738 he married Catherine Pawsey and together they produced six children, the second of which was yet another Daniel Garwood, born in 1761, although sadly he died as a young boy and was buried in 1766.


Catch up with more fun family history tales from Family Tree's Dear Tom:

A house of Maxwells

Twin trouble!


Needless to say, the same couple’s fourth child, also christened Daniel (and Gill’s 4x great-grandfather) was born in 1767, less than a year after the death of his elder brother Daniel.In 1796 at Brockley, Daniel married Alice Rosbrooke and they had 10 children together, the eldest being Daniel Garwood in 1795, who went on to marry Judith Havers in 1822. Their seventh child was christened in 1837 and was also called (wait for it!) Daniel!


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Gill goes on to say that her direct ancestor was the couple’s fifth child, George Garwood. Christened in 1804, he married Ann Rolfe in 1827 in Lawshall, Suffolk. Their second child of nine, again another Daniel, was born in 1829 but only survived for two months. As Gill notes: ‘They did not name subsequent children Daniel.’ With an incredible 15 Daniel Garwoods in this tree, we can’t help wondering why.


• Have you got a genealogical gem for Dear Tom? Email us at [email protected] or comment on our Facebook or Twitter pages and we'll pass your snippets on for Tom's consideration.


Read the full version of this Dear Tom column in the November 2018 issue of Family Tree on sale from 25 September 2018 in our online store and in all good newsagents.


Illustration © Ellie Keeble for Family Tree.