The Would Family of Lincolnshire

May 16, 2010
As I have mentioned in previous posts, Sandra and I are planning on visiting Lincolnshire this summer.  We plan to visit Horncastle and Hogsthorpe where the Stephensons lived and see the cemeteries where the family is buried.  We will be visiting there with Pat Stephenson, my fourth cousin, and his wife Eve from Essex, England. 

View of the Lincolnshire Wolds.

We were happy that Pat and Eve spent a few days there last week and scouted out the area, but his report on the cemeteries was not encouraging.  The local graveyards are poorly maintained and the grave markers are mostly illegible.  They reported finding one marker with the Stephenson name but it was otherwise unreadable.  Pat and Eve did find some Would graves in Kirkby-Upon-Bain but were not sure whether these people were relatives.  Elizabeth Would, who married George Stephenson in 1797 was my 3rd great-grandmother.

In order to gather more information on the Woulds before we travel, we have been conducting some research.  Sandra started a project similar to what she had done in the past and it quickly got out of hand.  We ended up tracking all the Would/Wold/Woulds births and marriages on the IGI Index of England from 1568-1785.    This became an all day two-computer project, with me accessing the records and Sandra entering data into a spreadsheet.  We are now the proud owners of a monster Woulds data base.  In Lincolnshire alone, there were at least 75 family groups with children.  This does not count households without children.  The task now is to organize all this data and make sense of it.  This is the opposite of how we usually do genealogical research.  We usually begin with known family members and try to expand our lines.   While organizing these files is daunting, we are already finding things that we wouldn’t have seen in the normal way and are exciting about exploring further.  In the worst case, when we find Woulds buried in Kirby-Upon-Bain, we should be able to identify their families and how we connect to them.  In the next several posts, I will try to share our findings about this branch of the family.

It is interesting to note that about 90% of the Woulds in England settled in Lincolnshire.  The largest concentration was in and around Kirkby-Upon-Bain.  I have to believe that the name Would has something to do with the term Wold, meaning hills.  The Lincolnshire Wolds have been declared an Area Of Natural Beauty (AONB) and Horncastle bills itself as “The Gateway to the Lincolnshire Wolds.”  Some of the earliest Woulds settled in Alford, which is located within the Lincolnshire Wolds. Most of the rest of the family settled nearby to this region.


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