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Home: Surnames: Troughear Family Genealogy Forum

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Re: troughear family everywhere
Posted by: Richard Troughear (ID *****4424) Date: April 05, 2002 at 02:19:26
In Reply to: Re: troughear family anywhere by Heather Bowles of 17

To all the Troughears out there...

I'm a bit reluctant to sign up to list servers like this, but have made an exception here. I did send an extensive message a year or so ago, but because I had no account, it wasn't posted.

The Troughear family.

I'm one, and I've been family treeing since the early 1980's. I am distantly related to Lel Hanking in the US - the only living link I have come across!

The name is peculiar to Cumberland, England, with a small consistent presence in Durham where the spelling is typically TROUGHAIR. Of the 75 spellings that I have on historical documents (wills, BDM certificates, parish registers and bishops transcripts) the two most common are TROUGHEAR and TROHEAR. The earliest documents are wills that date to the late 1500's where the name is spelt something like TROUGHWHERE or TROUGHWIRE.

This gives a clue to the origin of the name. The Durham spelling, the early wills, the proximitry of Cumberland to Scotland, as well as linguistic and and other factors, all point to the name being a Cumbrian corruption of the word TRAQUAIR. (Important to note here: there is NO connection with Cornwall and Cornish names other than the general similarity of some Celtic spellings eg. TREGEAR. TREGEAR has no connection to TROUGHEAR.).

The parish of Traquair in Scotland is very close to the border with Cumberland, and it is probable that in the early 1500's a single person move from Traquair to somewhere near Crosscannonby in Cumberland, and the local vicar wrote down the barbarian pronunciation as best he could, coming up with something like TROUGHEAR. This would be prior to King Henry's abolition of the monastries, and before parish records started.

TRAQUAIR itself is a contraction of the old Celtic words "Tref y Quair", which means "the people who live near the Quair River" (which runs through the parish). If this is the case, and even though there have never been more than 1000 Troughears in total since 1500, the name is one of the most common in the world. It is in the same class as the names that end with "...ton"; "...ville", ",,,ham" etc. All of those "The people near the [some geographic feature]" names. It is not a nick-name-type name about a person with big ears.

Traquair House in Scotland is the ancient seat of the royal Stuart line. There is no STUART connection (at least through the name) with the Troughear family - the appearance of an individual in Cumberland, from Scotland may have just been recorded as "Jim (or Gawaine) from Traquair".

Despite diligent searches in the Carlisle and Preston County Records Offices I have found no evidence for the name prior to about 1550. This supports the "single person from Scotland" theory. The very localised grouping in Cumberland since then also supports a small or single person starting number. The name first seems to be grouped in the Crosscannoby/Crosby/Dearham area of Cumberland, and in about the 1700's became more common around Aspatria ("Patrick's Ash - St. Pat was supposed to have stayed there). Untill the late 1800's, and with the exception of the small Durham population, all Troughears were contained in the area bounded by St. Bee's in the south and Carlisle in the north, and west of the fells, or the hill district. ie. we were always a coastal lowland people, and still are in Cumbria. This is an area about 35 miles north-south, and 20 miles east-west.

There is no wealth or prestige in the family. With one exception Troughears have always been working folk, mostly on the land, but with a sprinkling of blacksmiths, hoteliers, some tailors, coal miners, and foundry workers in the 1800's. The earliest actual record is of a Sir Thomas Trowghere, Vicar of Gilcrux. (I don't think the "sir" meant that he was knighted by the Queen). As it happened, my father was born in the little village of Gilcrux (1 pub, no shop), and his name was also Thomas. Thomas is the most common male name.

The exception is Leonard Troughear, Lord Holmes, Baron of Killmallock in Ireland. His line died out before it got to me, and the Barony is now extinct. His father Thomas, a poor but bright boy from Cumberland, was given a scholarship to Oxford University in the early 1700's where he gained a Doctorate of Divinity degree and became Vicar of Caresbrooke in the Isle of Wight (the other end of the country). In Northwood Church in IoW there is a marble plaque on the wall with the family genealogy. One of Thomas' sons, Leonard, married Elizabeth, daughter of Baronet Holmes. He was created full Baron and took on the name Holmes. They had three sons, all of whom dies in naval engagments off Cuba (of all places), so the Barony died out. An interesting side light (for Australian and South African readers) is that one of Leonard and Elizabeth Holmes daughters subsequently married a poor but well connected man called A'Court. Because Holmes had the money, he took that name and became Holmes-A'Court. This name is unusual enough that I feel confident that this was the start of the Holmes-A'Court dynasty of South Africa and Australia - now one of the most wealthy families in Australia. Perhaps I should drop in for a visit ....

That's the Troughear family. You may find a long list of TROUGHEAR names published on the net by a gentleman from Cumbria. This list dates to the late 1980's when sent it to him. It is a good starting point for researches, and is compiled from searches in St. Catherine's House in London, Parish registers etc. and other sources from County Records office. BUT DON'T BELIEVE IT ABSOLUTELY. It has a lot of my own speculations about linkages, and numerous outright errors. I have spent the subsequent ten years adding and correcting. Confirm with corroborating evidence.

So good luck to all. AND, just in case there is someone out there with a 16th century Bible full of names, my own line goes back to Thomas Troughear (1779 - 1846) m. Mary Burney (1781-1847) in 1799. I think Thomas must have come from Mars, because he just appears from nowhere.

Richard Troughear
Paddington, NSW Australia

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