My Writing Resolution for 2020

As we approach the New Year, like many people who have over-indulged during the Christmas period, I have resolved to eat less and exercise more. In addition, I have another New Year’s resolution for 2020. It is to post more regularly about my one-name research, both here and in the Tickle Trees Facebook Group.

I’m going to start by writing about some of the things I discovered during my recent research into the south-west counties of England, Devon and Cornwall. The names Tickle and Tickell are not uncommon there, despite the fact that “surname authorities” claim the name originated in Yorkshire – and these counties are about as far away from Yorkshire as you can get within England!

I’ve identified over 40 families bearing the surname living in the two counties in the mid 19th century. Using online census and birth, marriage, and death records, I’ve tried to re-construct partial family trees for as many of these as I can. I’m fairly confident in about 75% – 80% of what I’ve put together, but the rest is just intelligent guesswork. As I find out more I plan to update and refine the genealogies. This is a long-term project; it’s certainly not something that will be completed in a few months.

With many families I have drawn a blank fairly quickly. I’ve had to rely solely on online sources so far, and there are few early records available. During the 19th century, there was a lot of emigration from these counties. If the whole family emigrated, it may be possible to trace them in North America or Australia, but when just individuals or couples left it is very difficult to judge whether or not you’ve found them elsewhere. Traditional naming conventions meant that given names were frequently repeated within families. For example, if a man called James Tickle had four sons, and they each named their first-born son after their father, you can have four people all called James Tickle, born in the same area at around the same time – even more than one in the same year! And there were probably second and third cousins of a similar age with the name in their family too. To try to identify with any certainty exactly which of them has turned up in London or California is usually impossible,

If you find any of your ancestors in my database, do please get in touch with me. And, if there are facts that you believe to be incorrect or incomplete, let me know. I’m always delighted to hear from others researching the name. You can contact me through this link.

One of the other things I want to promote this year is the Tickle / Tickell DNA project. It would be amazing to be able to establish whether the Tickles in the far south-west are genetically linked to those in the north of England, for instance. The only way to find connections like this, going further back than paper records, is through Y-DNA testing of males with the same surname who are descended from those in different areas. Watch out for more news on this soon …

A Happy New Year to you when it comes.

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