By Don Taylor
According to Forebears, the surname “Beardsley” is a derivation of “Bardsley,” which was derived from being from a place, ‘of Bardsley.’ Bardsley is a parish between Ashton and Oldham, near Manchester. The American Bardsleys, and all the North English Bardsleys, and perhaps all the Beardsleys, hail from the Lancashire parish[i].
Ancestry suggests the name may be based upon an unidentified place, possibly in Nottinghamshire, where the surname is particularly common[ii].
Of course, I need to see things in order to understand the relationships of locations in England. Using Google Maps, I learned that Forebears puts the Beardsleys up near Manchester and Ancestry suggests a location 60 miles southeast of Manchester. Oddly enouth, my Beardsley are from Ilkeston and Stratford-upon-Avon (50 and 90 miles from Manchester).
Locations of Beardsleys based on Forebears and Ancestry are in Gray and the locations of my wife’s Beardsley ancestors births.
It seems odd to me that William and his son were born so far apart. It makes me wonder if my data regarding their birthplaces is incorrect. Additionally, I’m relying mostly upon the research of others for those specific locations (sources I’ve found only say they were born in England). In any event, I haven’t had a chance to research these individuals in depth yet. However, the Interregnum may explain the relocation.
Worldwide there are approximately 12,390 people who bear the Beardsley surname.
It is most prevalent in the United State where over three-quarters of the people with the Beardsley surname live. Little Montserrat (a small island in the Lesser Antilles has the highest density of Beardsleys with 1 in 1,220 people having the surname.
Earliest Beardsley Ancestors
My wife’s ninth-great-grandfather, William Beardsley was born about 1604 in Stratford-on-Avon, Warwickshire, England. I, of course, like to imagine that young William Beardsley was named for William Shakespheare, a contemporary of the town of Stratford on Avon. Likewise, little William was about 12-years-old when Shakespeare died, so I speculate that William had seen, or at least knew of Shakespeare. William moved to Ilkeston, Darbyshire, England sometime before 1630 where he married Marie Harvie.
There, he had a son, Joseph Beardsley, who was born in Ilkeston, Darbyshire, England in 1635.
It was sometime before 1665 that William, Marie, and Joseph located to the Colonies and settled in Stratford, Fairfield County, Connecticut.
The Interregnum of England took place from 1649 to 1660. (The between the execution of Charles I and the arrival of Charles II and the start of the Restoration[iii]. It was the time of Oliver Cromwell. More research is needed to know if they arrived in the Colonies before during, or after the Interregnum. In any event, it was a time of great upheaval in England and that chaos might have been the cause for leaving England for the new world.
So, both William and Joseph were immigrant ancestors from England.
Joseph married Abigail Phebe Dayton in Connecticut in 1665. They had a daughter, Hannah Beardsley, who is my wife’s seventh-great-grandmother.
My wife’s direct Beardsley ancestors:
- Grandfather: Robert Harry Darling (1905-1969)
- Great-grandfather: Rufus Harry Darling (1857-1917)
- 3nd Great-grandmother: Elizabeth Jane Swayze (1818-1896)
- 3rd Great-grandfather: David Swayze (1796-1850)
- 4rd Great-grandfather: David Swayze (1762-1838)
- 5th Great-grandfather: Amos Swayze (1739-1813)
- 6th Great-grandfather: Mathias Swayze (1699-1728)
- 7th Great-Grandmother: Hannah Beardsley (1671-1742)
- 8th Great-Grandfather: Joseph Beardsley (1634-1712)
- 9th Great-Grandfather: William Beardsley (1602-1661)
Although I only have 11 Beardsley in my data, my records have identified 271 direct-line descendants of William Beardsley.
- Ancestry Surname Page: http://www.ancestry.com/learn/facts
- Forebears Surnames Page: http://forebears.io/surnames
- Ancestry – Don Taylor’s Howell-Darling-2019 tree accessed 25 Mar 2019.
- [i] Forebears – Beardsley Surname Definition. https://forebears.io/surnames/beardsley
- [ii] Ancestry.Com – Beardsley Family History – Beardsley Name Meaning. https://www.ancestry.com/name-origin?surname=Beardsley
- [iii] Internet: Wikipedia – Interregnum (England) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Interregnum_(England)