A tale of two halves? An introduction to my One Name Study

I have been registered with the Guild of One-Name Studies for about three years now, although I have been researching my family’s past for much longer.

Just a brief post this to act as an introduction to the name ‘Walne’ and it’s distribution in 1911. I have always been a fan of maps, so I decided to combine my written results with a map free to download from Ordnance Survey. Granted, this outline map does not have perfect boundaries for the 1911 counties, but it does show what I am trying to demonstrate – that a century ago (and for a long while before) there has been a north/south divide in those using the surname.

At this point the map includes those that were recorded on at least one census with the spelling Walne. On others they may variously be transcribed as Wohne, Woan, Waln or other spellings. Warne does appear sometimes, but less frequently; Warne and Warnes are – usually at least – fairly distinct surnames, at least in the last few centuries, perhaps because they are generally pronounced ‘WAR-ne’ rather than ‘WOL-ne’. My numbers will be different to other maps on the web as each result on the genealogist has been followed up and each individual born prior to 1911 noted in my database. (I do not routinely investigate anyone later than the end of the First World War). This does not mean the numbers are perfect or that I have yet found every individual. It only includes people holding the surname in 1911, not, for example, married daughters who had changed their names prior to the census.

‘Walne’ distribution in 1911. 

I would love to start a DNA study one day to discover whether these two ‘halves’ (although in reality the northern contingent is much larger) are descended from the same line, or whether the surname arose separately in more than one place. My Norfolk research is naturally far more advanced at the moment and I can prove a paper trail as far as the first parish registers for Shelton, Norfolk. I suspect (but so far cannot prove) that almost every ‘eastern’ Walne up until 1911 can ultimately trace their lineage to the rector there, Revd Thomas Walne, who died in 1606. 

Where Rev Thomas was born is up for debate. There are many unsubstantiated family tales, and some intriguing register entries in Norwich that could relate to his forebears.

There is still much to discover.  

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