• Sarah von Allmen

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks: Week 29.

Week 29 – Fun facts.


Short and sweet this week!

  • My 8x grandmother was called Grizagon (or Crissagon).

  • My ancestral surnames include Onions and Corns.

  • The earliest marriage among my direct ancestors was between Edward Hagar and Alicia Theme, who married in Bridgnorth, Shropshire in 1591.

  • My 3x great-grandfather John Goodwin’s three wives were called Maria, Maria and Mary; my 4x great-uncle William Sorton’s were called Elizabeth, Eliza and Eliza.

  • Between 1700-1900, members of my husband’s extended Swiss family emigrated to Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, England, France, Germany, Holland, Mexico, Peru, Portugal, Russia, Tanzania and the US.

  • And finally, one from my ongoing research into WWI service personnel from the Heatons and Reddish districts of Stockport: a man who served in the unfortunately-named 71st Field Butchery section.


Chrysogon is a Greek girl’s name meaning “gold-born”, while St Chrysogonus was a little-known 4th century Italian martyr. It made a refreshing change from Mary, Elizabeth and so on!


Neither Onions nor Corns has any relation to food, alas, but finding them together in Shropshire amused me. Onions is derived from the Welsh forename Einion (“anvil”), and Corns in this area is likely to be either a nickname from the Old English word “corn” (“crane”) or an occupational surname from the Old English “cweorn” (“hand mill”).


The family lines I can trace back the furthest are nearly all in Shropshire and Cheshire – a combination of reasonably uncommon surnames, small towns and villages, and surviving parish registers. Looking for this earliest marriage made me realise I’ve done very little with statistics in my tree, and I’m making a mental note to follow up on this.


Not quite the six wives of Henry VIII, but these couples gave me a few problems to sort out, as at first glance it seemed like the same wife on all the records!


I’ve written a little about emigration already in these blogs, with more to come. Our family website has an overview of emigration from Switzerland in general and the canton of Neuchâtel in particular, with details of some individual emigrants.


Charles Edwin Bennett of Heaton Moor was a butcher in civilian life and served in the field butchery section of the Army Service Corps, providing rations to the frontline troops in France. Although his role was logistic rather than belligerent it was not without risk, as for all those close to the front, but “butchery” was unfortunately an accurate description of so much of the fighting.

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