Colchester reports


January 2020 - One Name Studies by David Eniffer

At the first meeting at our new venue, member David began his presentation by defining a ‘One-Name Study’ as a project researching all occurrences of a surname, to be distinguished from pedigree of the ancestors or descendants of one person or couple. A one name study would look at the variant spellings of the chosen surname.

Quoting his own surname, Eniffer, as an example he listed 14 alternative spellings – Enifer, Enever, Inifer, Ennifer, Ennever, Innifer, Enefer, Eniver, Henefer, Ennefer, Enniverm Hennefer, Eneffer and Ennyvere. He went on to examine the origin of the surname was it German, Dutch or Flemish, French, Cornish? Where they Huguenots or from Essex?

David mentioned two marriages into German families which led to the family myth that the surname was of German origin. This was reinforced by two present day holders of the name one of which was German, the other an Australian who spoke with a German-Australian accent. However other evidence points to Dutch or Flemish origins - Jenever Dutch for Gin, Cornish or Welsh origins are suggested by the possible derivation from female name Guinevere.

As a method of resolving this quandary David suggested looking at charts of surname distributions both ancient and modern. Some surnames have a tendency to be more frequent in their home county. This method can be misleading due to Anglicisation of surnames such as Lukey for Lukij for immigrants passing through Ellis Island. Another hazard for this method is the disproportional influence of a single male moving county or country resulting in a high number of surviving descendants. DNA Y-chromosome testing can be useful for male line tracing – only men have the Y chromosome. However a child may not carry the father's birth surname. This might be for a variety of reasons including non-paternity events.

David mentioned the Guild of One-Name Studies  ( and The Surname Society  ( The Guild has a number of useful publications including quarterly journals and the 'Seven Pillars of Wisdom' guide to One Name Studies. Evidently one name study researchers are made particularly happy with lists of compiled names e.g. indexes of births, marriages and deaths, census returns, the 1939 Register, telephone directories, electoral registers etc.

Keen researchers establish One Name Study groups which may set up reunions and gatherings, have their own website or publish books such as “The Jephcott Family”. Two useful books mentioned were “Forming a One-Name Group” by Derek A Palgrave and “Surnames and Genealogy” by George Redmonds

David concluded by mentioning some famous holders of the Eniffer surname or its variants. Douglas Enefer ( ITV show Coronation St), William Joseph Ennever (Pelmanism), Albert Sydney Enever (inspiration of the MGA and MGB cars) as well as some notorious forgers Joseph and George Ennever. The first was hanged and the latter transported to Australia where he became very wealthy. Also Ted Enever author of “Britain's Best Kept Secret” (Bletchley Park) and David Enever one time captain of the Greenpeace vessel 'Rainbow Warrior’.
David Cooper

December 2019 - Christmas Social with a Quiz (actually four quizzes)

This month was our Christmas social. Paul Stirland and David Enifer presented us with four quizzes. The first one from David was pictures of Essex towns and villages with letters missing from the name. Some were easy but one or two very hard. After that Paul gave us pictures of places in Colchester, you know you’ve seen them but where is it? He followed that with, “Who are these?” pictures of Colchester Branch Chairmen. We found that difficult as it depended on the how long you had been attending the branch meetings!

David then challenged us with a fourth quiz covering the 1911 census entries of a selection of famous people, this was very interesting as some names were easily identified and the entry of others not so obvious.

After that we were able to sample the Christmas delicacies displayed on the festive table and of course, there was time to talk. This was a relaxing and entertaining afternoon.
Gill Peregrine

October 2019 - An Ancestor I would have liked to Meet by Members

Before starting the main programme of the afternoon Paul Stirling gave a presentation, with photos, of a new prospective venue for our meetings, the Hythe Community Centre, Colchester. All present agreed we should hold our meetings there from January 2020.

Six members gave a talk detailing “An Ancestor I would have liked to Meet” here is a summary of four of them.

1. Angela Clark spoke about her great grandfather Josiah Metcalf, (1832-1932) whose photo had been hanging in the dining room when she was a child. He joined the railways as booking clerk working his way up to become Station Master at Sleaford Lincolnshire. He helped form the Retired Railways Officers Society being the first Chairman. Angela found him, and details of his career, in the index of the book “Railway Ancestors” by David Hawkins. Josiah also wrote a book about Lincolnshire worthies. Unfortunately he died on his 100th birthday on 28th September, having been taken ill shortly before. A telegram on his birthday from the then King and Queen stated “their Majesties hope he may yet recover”. Alas he did not.

2. David Cooper spoke about his great great grandfather, Peter McKinnes who was born in Glasgow about 1840, lying about his age to join up, he spent the next twenty one years in the military serving in the Northumberland Fusiliers. David had traced his ancestor's career using the Muster Rolls held at the National Archives, this revealed the ups and downs of his service. At one point he was posted to the Channel Isles, where he returned one year later, on a month's furlough to marry on the 10 February 1876 a lady he had previously met there.

3. David Ennifer spoke about Charles Lukey (1831-1874). He was Second Mate on the Duke of Hamilton's steam yacht ‘Thistle’ and married Jane Reynolds a servant at Nicholas Haley's School in Kimberley Place, Falmouth. David believes they met in Falmouth prior to moving to Jersey. They married at the town church in St Helier Jersey. Charles died suddenly when about to enter his house – the verdict of the subsequent inquest was “Died by the Visitation of God”

4. Pauline Adlem spoke about Thomas Walcot(t) her 8th great grandfather on her paternal side. He was convicted of treason for being part of the Rye House Plot in 1683 to prevent a Catholic from taking the throne. They were going to ambush King Charles II and his brother James (Duke of York) on a lonely stretch of road near Rye House in Hoddeson, Hertfordshire. As it happened King Charles came back earlier than was expected. Information about the plot was leaked and Thomas, along with all the other plotters, was arrested around about the 10th July 1683. He was sentenced to be hung, drawn and quartered. The sentence was carried out at Tyburn Hill (Marble Arch) on 20th July 1683. His head was displayed at Aldgate. All his estates were confiscated, however his son John cleared his father's name and reclaimed the estates.
David Cooper

September 2019 - A.G.M. followed by Computer Problems with David Cooper

This meeting was our A.G.M. The committee was re-elected en bloc, with one alteration which is that Gill Peregrine and David Cooper have swapped roles.

So Pauline Adlem is Chairman, Paul Stirland is Treasurer, David Cooper is Secretary, Roger Stirland is Librarian, Gill Peregrine is Registrar, David Eniffer and Christine Chatfield are committee members.

After a cup of tea, David Cooper talked to us about computer problems, answering questions from the members. He talked about using wild cards in order to find surname variants; also the need to back up your work. There is nothing worse than working all day and finding that you have lost it.

Roger Stirland suggested a useful programme called ‘Parish Locator,’. The program will show you the parishes around the one you are working on, very useful if you don’t know the area. It can be downloaded from

We all enjoyed an interesting afternoon.
Gill Peregrine

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