Sometimes you just don’t know what you don’t know. If I were to guess, I would have guessed that “Evans” was a patronymic name. That is to say, it was derived from a personal name such as “son of Evan.” And I’d be right. What I wouldn’t have known is that it is a Welsh name.
Today, the Evans name is the fifth most common name in Wales with one in 77 people having the surname.[i] Here in the United States, one in 47 people have the surname; worldwide there are about 795,000 people with the surname.[ii]
My Earliest Ancestors
My earliest known Evans ancestor is my 2nd great-grandmother, Malinda Evans. Malinda was born about 1828 in Ohio. According to Ancestry.Com, the 1840 Census reported there were 440 families in Ohio with the Evans surname. I haven’t had a chance to investigate Malinda’s life in depth yet, but she is number 4 on my Roberts-Barnes research list.
Malinda Evans (1828-c.1905) married Nimrod Lister (1824-?) in 1859.[iii] They had eight children, including my great-grandmother, Maranda (1867-1932).
[iii] Wolfe, Thomas J., History of Sullivan County, Indiana, A, Files (Personal), Pages 234-236. A history of Sullivan County, Indiana, closing of the first century’s history of the county, and showing the growth of its people, institutions, industries and wealth. New York: The Lewis Pub. Co.
I don’t really know much about my Collins ancestors, but they are among my earliest ancestors, 8th 9th and 10th great grandparents. They were part of the “Great Migration” of the early 1600s arriving in Massachusetts then locating to Connecticut.
Ancestry.Com suggests that the Collins surname is an Anglicized for of the Gaelic names Ó Coileáin and Mac Coileáin. It also suggests that it is a form of “Coll” a shortened form of Nicholas.[i]
Similarly, Forbears suggests that Collins is derived from and ancestor, “the son of Nicholas” – Coll or Cole – and put into a diminutive form: “Col-in” like “Rob-in.”[ii]
Collins is the 698th most Common surname in the world; Approximately ¾ of a million people have the Collins surname in the world and about ½ of them are in the United States where the surname ranks 50th. In terms of density, (percentage of population and rank within a nation) the number one place for the “Collins” surname is Ireland.
Although often thought of as an Irish name, there are more people with the Collins surname in England (and Nigeria) than in Ireland.[iii]
My Earliest Ancestors
I believe that my Collins ancestors came from England. That is to say, I understand that my 8th great-grandmother’s grandfather was Deacon Edward Collins of Bramford, Suffolk, England.[iv] It appears that he came to the Massachusetts Bay Colony about 1637.
His son, Deacon Nathaniel Collins, was probably born in Massachusetts Bay Colony about 1643.[v]
His daughter, Abigail Collins, was likely born in Connecticut Colony about 1682 and married Samuel Wolcott on 27 Dec 1705. I say “understand,” “appears,” “probably,” and “likely” because I have not had the chance to independently verify and confirm the source document from several authored sources individual trees that suggest this information. I have not confirmed with original source documents.
My third great-grandmother is Fanny Taylor who married Stephen Blackhurst. So the Taylor surname jumped five generations to me. Likewise, I have a niece whose surname is Collins having jumped 12 generations to another descendant being a “Collins.”
Abigail Collins married Samuel Wolcott (1679-1734) in 1705.[vi] They had six children (that I know of); their third child, Samuel (1713-1800) is my 7th great grandfather.
My Direct Collins Ancestors
#6564 – Edward Collins – (1603-1689) – Generation 13
#3282 – Nathaniel Collins (1653-1741) – Generation 12 #1641- Abigail Collins (1681-1758) # 820 – Samuel Wolcott (1713-1800)
# 410 – Samuel Wolcott (1736-1802)
# 205 – Mary Wolcott (1767-1857)
# 102 – Chester Parsons (1799-1887)
# 51 – Mary Electa Parsons (1828-1888)
# 25 – Marion Sanford (1846-Unk)
# 12 – Arthur Durwood Brown (1869-1928)
# 6 – Richard Earl Brown (1903-1990)
# 3 – My mother – Living
# 1 – me – Living
My known relatives.
My records only have six known Collins, however, I have identified 703 direct-line descendants of Abigail Collins, including my niece over 14 generations, which is almost 1/8 of my known genealogical database.
Montran, Barber, Blackhurst, Cochran Line
By Don Taylor
Sometimes it is necessary to just put the brakes on. So, is the case with Surname Saturday for Cochran. My fourth great-grandmother, Lydia Ellen Cochran, supposedly, is the wife of Stephen Blackhurst (1775-1845), and the mother of Stephen Blackhurst (1801-1849). She supposedly was born in 1754 and died in 1827. Oh my…. That would have made her 21 years older than her husband Stephen and 47 years-old when she gave birth to Stephen the son. Humm…. Possible, but not very likely. Also, I looked for a source document that would have shown these facts and have been unable to find one definitively tying Stephen Blackhurst (b. 1801) to Lyndia Ellen (Cochran) Blackhurst.
So, I probably have something incorrect; as such, I need to do more research to either confirm or correct my current information. Luckily, the next person I have on my Brown/Montran Research list to do an ancestry biography for is Stephen Blackhurst (1801-1869). In researching him, I should be able to identify his parents conclusively.
In the meantime, I’m going to skip Cochran in my Surname Saturday reports for now and hold it for a later investigation. Cochran might be one of my ancestral surnames, maybe it is not. We’ll see.
The Chamberlin surname derives from an official title, “the chamberlain,” literally one who takes care of a chamber. The chamberlain often had charge of his lord’s receipts and payments.[i] Chamberlin is an English variant of Chamberlain.
My one known ancestor with the surname Chamberlin is fourth great-grandmother Almira Chamberlin, She married Ezra Sanford about 1819. She was born on 21 August 1804 in Bennington County, Vermont.[ii]
The 1840 Census indicated the greatest number of households with the Chamberlin surname were in Vermont with 122 families[iii]. New York State had 115 Chamberlin families in 1840 as well. The 1810 Census, the first census after Almira’s birth, indicated there were 74 families in Vermont with the Chamberlin surname.
My Earliest Ancestors
Further research showed that only one family lived in Bennington County during the 1810 Census with the surname of Chamberlain. That was Benjamin Chamberlain. His household consisted of a woman over 45 (presumed to be his wife), one girl from 16 to 25, two boys from 10 to 15, and a female under 10, who could easily be our Almira. My initial presumption is that these were the children of Benjamin and his wife, although more research is needed to confirm this.
Almira Chamberlin married Ezra Sanford (1792-1855) in 1819. They had nine children. Their second child, William (1822-11915) is my 3rd great grandfather.
Almira (Chamberlin) Sanford died July 7, 1845, and is buried in Benton Cemetery, Saline, Washtenaw County, Michigan.[iv]
My Direct Chamberlin Ancestors
#202 – Benj. Chamberlain (Conjecture based on 1810 Census.)
I was recently asked, “Are there any people left on Earth with the surname Hopfe?” As far as the asker knew, her Hopfe line had daughtered out with her.
Certainly, surnames go extinct. I’ve read how Hugh Bonneville’s (famous for playing Robert Crawley in Downton Abbey) surname is on the “near extinction” list, while surnames like Bread and Chips are supposedly extinct.[i]
My go-to site for looking at surnames is forebears.io. It provides lots of really interesting information about any surname and, in particular, the approximate number of people who have that particular surname. Worldwide, there are approximately 1,118 people with the surname Hopfe, which makes it the 275,936th most common surname. According to the site, there are approximately 841 people with the surname in Germany and 179 in the United States. (in 2014).
Forbears also allows you to drill down into the US and see the distribution by state. There are no Hopfes in Maine and only seven people with the surname in Massachusetts. Interestingly, the largest number of people with the Hopfe surname are in Hawaii. They have twice the number – 46 – of Hopfe surnamed people than the 2nd most common Hopfe state, Texas, with only 23. I know if it were me, I’d like to figure out how those Hawaiian Hopfe’s were related so that I could visit them. (Ha ha – just kidding.)
There are a couple surnames similar to Hopfe that may be variations of the name, including Hopf, which has more than 10,000 individuals worldwide, and Hoepf.
Another site I like regarding surnames is Ancestry.Com; they have a name origin page. It is really cool because it shows the distribution of a surname during three different US Censuses. In the case of Hopfe, the 1920 Census shows there were 7 Hopfe families in New York (including some of her ancestors).
The bottom line is that there are many more Hopfes in the United States and the world but, none left in Maine.