Willingale Genealogy

The Willingale Family Society

Another history of the name states it originated from the Village of Willingale, which is located in Essex, between Ongar and Chelmsford.

The ancient surname of Willingale was of the locational group of surnames from ‘Willingale Doe’ and ‘Willingale Spain’ the name of two places in the County of Essex. The name was derived from the Old English word WILLINGHALA, literally meaning the dweller at the dale of Willa’s people.

The placename Willingale Doe was from Hugh de Ou, a Norman family name, perhaps from Eu in Seine-Inferieure, brought into England in the wake of the Norman Invasion of 1066. SPAIN was held by William de Hyspania in 1236. The family name is stated to have been derived from Epaignes in Eure, Normandy.

WILLINGHEHALA (without surname) was listed as a tenant in the Domesday Book of 1086, and appears to be the first of the name on record. Surnames derived from placenames are divided into two broad categories: topographic names and habitation names. Topographic names are derived from general descriptive references to someone who lived near a physical feature such as an oak tree, a hill stream or a church. Habitation names are derived from pre-existing names denoting towns, villages and farmsteads. Other classes of local names include those derived from the names of rivers individual houses with signs on them, regions and whole countries.

WILLINGEHALE (without surname) appears in Essex in 1198 and WYLLIGGEHALEDO (without surname) was recorded in 1271. Richard deWylynghale was documented at Hornchurch Priory in 1356. As a general rule, the further someone had travelled from his place of origin, the broaders the designation. Someone who stayed at home might be known by the name of his farm or locality in the parish; someone moved to another town might be known by the name of his village; while somone who moved to another country could acquire the name of the country or region from which he originated.

We often get asked about the history of the Willingale name, yet it is something we have done little research on. One commercially produced history of the name is as follows

The origin of this name is medieval German, the derivation being either Villinger, a name found recorded heraldically from the former province of Winter Thur or Willinger, a Bavarian name which also has heraldic and noble ancestry. Over a quarter of a million European emigrees fled to the British Isles between the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes in 1685 and the formation of the German Empire in 1852, and in most cases their names became completely anglicized. In this case the near original spelling has been retained.

Family names as hereditary surnames did not come into general use until after the Norman Conquest of 1066. The Normans introduced National Taxation to England which they called the POLL TAX (Poll = Head), in consequence the need for surnames for identification purposes.

The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Edle Von Willinger, which was dated c.1680 The Kingdom of Bavaria, during the reign of Emperor Leopold I of the Holy Roman Empire 1668-1705.

All surnames of every country have been subject to changes owing to dialect, Civil War, and plain poor spelling.

However we have records that show the Willingale name, or derivations of it, existed in England long before 1680

We received Thomas’s DNA test results back yesterday. These we supposed to confirm if the Charles Willingale branch was distinct from the other Willingale branches; William our original tester from this branch has very different DNA to mine & Peter’s DNA. We therefore needed Thomas’s DNA to confirm if Williams DNA difference was the result of a ‘non paternity event’ or not. William and Thomas are 3rd Cousins, once removed.

Unfortunately Thomas’s results are very different to Williams and also very different to mine & Peters! The latest DNA results grid can be found here and more details are available to members here.

We are now awaiting Owen’s results, due some time in September, which will hopefully allows us to confirm the DNA profile for the Thomas, John, William and Samuel branches of the Willingale family.

Sophie organises motor rallies to Tajikistan to support a charity. This year’s has just finished and been a great success – see http://roofoftheworld.charityrallies.org/

Here’s todays email:

Hello everyone
I think this will be my one and only update this year as internet access has been hard to come by.  I’m writing this whilst waiting for the 4x4s to be loaded for the eco tourism trip – we were supposed to leave at 8am and it is about noon so it is Tajik time
The Roof of the World Rally is coming to a close.  We’ve had most of the teams camping in the Sworde teppa gardens and every night we are waving some off in taxis for their flights.  There is one bunch left who cant make up their minds what they want to do but are going to try and get to the Pamirs although they have only left themselves a couple of days.
The highpoints this year for us have been the accommodation – we have had a bed to sleep in, air con and also far more food than usual and less sickness (touchwood)! The finish of the Rally was even bigger and better than last year.  There was a police escort for all teams down to the centre of the city and the ambulance put on it’s sirens – completely drowning out the police lada sirens!  After the speeches there was a feast and musical programme setup – with students and also the Tajik rappers – who are suprisingly good!
The   ambulance was a test run this year and it has really worked!  The Education minister contacted the Mayor, who invited us to his office and I had to do a very diplomatic chat with him whilst being filmed for the city tv channel – at the same time wearing a Tajik hat he had put on my head that was threatening to fall off.  At the meeting they also had the head doctor of the city and he came back to Sworde Teppa so that Ricky the Irish chap who drove it hear could show him and the driver all its bells and whistles.  The doctor was pretty chuffed with the stretcher particularly and ended up hugging Ricky at the end of it all.  K-T has somewhere between 70,000-100,000 people and has a total of 4 chinese minibus’s – which are tiny and break down a lot – that is the sum of their amblances.  They also don’t have capibilities like giving oxygen or oxygen masks – so this ambulance is pretty special for them.
Yesterday we took all remaining teams on a picnic – as there is not much to do in KT whilst they wait for their flights.  It was a beautiful day and the picnic sight was beautiful as always – we went swimming in the river and watched the shooting stars before coming back.  By the end of yesterday I was beyond knackered.  Generally I’ve been an intermediary between teams and Sworde as it generally works best that way – but with so many teams, juggling flights, food, taxis and general demands has been quite exhausting and to be hones I’m glad they are all going home and we’ve got some time for ourselves!
So now it is time for the next adventure.  We go to Sary Khorsor / korsorski nature reserve – which doesn’t normally even exist in the guidebooks but can be spotted on the odd map.  It is truely the middle of nowhere and we have a 10 hours river drive down the valleys as there are no roads there.  Hopefully I’ll get some nice photos and get to see a bear.
So that is it from me.  I’ll see if I can attach a few photos.
Hope all is well!
she can be contacted at sophie@gohelp.org.uk

Just a reminder that all membership to the Willingale Family Society expires on 31st July. If you have not recently joined or recently renewed your membership then your access to the members’ area of the website will shortly be removed. Please see the membership page for joining/renewal information.

Photo found in frame of a painting

Photo found in frame of a painting

Some time ago we were contacted by a Peter Boylan, who has in his possession ten watercolour paintings by a Thomas Willingale of Huddersfield. (Not the same Thomas who saved Epping Forest). These paintings date from the 1880’s and 1890’s. One of Thomas paintings shows a woman walking down a country lane in front of a large ramshackle cottage, the detail in the painting is extraordinary. On the back of one of the paintings was this picture, which we assume is either Thomas Willingale or his son Robert. Can anyone confirm who is in this picture? We would also like to know if Thomas painted any other pictures?

In an example of you cannot believe everything you see on the internet, this photo is used to illustrate an article on the Hills Amenity Society website regarding Thomas Willingale, the lopper. We believe this photo was taken from our website and used in the article, despite our stating on this website we don’t know who it is, but we are sure it’s not Thomas!

We have received another offer of a photo for our archives. This one is from Richard Smith in Scotland, who has a photo of his mother Marie Louisa Willingale taken in 1946. Marie Louisa was adopted at birth by Arthur & Florence Bancroft and her name was changed to Olive Bancroft. Richard contacted the WFS a year or so ago to see if we had any data on his mother. He now writes “I have a picture of my mother Marie Louisa when she was 20 years old, would you like me to forward it to you, she never did find any of her family but I know she would be pleased to know that the family has found her”

Today we received the final batch of postcards and photos from Stephen Cook; 23 postcards and one photo. These postcards give a snapshot of what life was like in the early part of the last century. These will be added to the member’s area over the coming days

We are pleased that another Willingale has agreed to join the DNA Surname Project. Owen Willingale, who is a descendant of Thomas the Lopper, is from the ‘John’ branch of the main Willingale family tree. Hopefully we should have his results back in a couple of months. We are expecting the DNA results of another new member of the project, Thomas Paul Willingale, back from the lab shortly within a couple of weeks.

Click to see current DNA results

Thomas Paul Willingale is from the unconnected ‘Charles’ branch, the same branch as William Willingale, whose earlier results did not match my or Peter Leslie’s results. Thus, Thomas results should help confirm if the ‘Charles’ branch is distinct or whether it does link into the main connected Willingale line. Owens test should help confirm the base DNA profile of those people from the main Willingale family tree.

Thomas and Owen are the 5th & 6th participants in the project.

Following on from the Car Boot Sale find, Peter Willingale has helped to identify some of the individuals in these photos, those that we can’t identify are still listed in the Most Wanted section of the members area. Peter has also kindly contributed a number of additional photos of Lizzies family, all are now listed in the members area, an example of which is shown here.