Most of us will be interested in our roots. Our ancestors may have come to Nuneaton for one of many reasons, whether it was for the mineral wealth or as new industries established. They may have come here to learn new skills or find manual work or in search of better living conditions.
This account of the local family surnames, compiled by Alan F Cook, presents to the residents of Nuneaton, particularly future generations, a comprehensive account of the genealogical beginnings surnames in the area. This record will be of great value to old Nuneatonians spread throughout the world, giving them the feeling of belonging to the town we call our own.
Without modern information processing it is hard to imagine how it could have been accomplished. Alan is a well known and regionally respected author and compiler of historical books, he is also a resourceful collector of information. He presents facts accurately and has searched far and wide into various sources where records have never been fully investigated and compiled it for this project.
Alan's profession as a geologist has equipped him with fundamental principles for understanding history, he has dedicated himself to collecting thousands of items of information in his quest for accurate accounts of the past events of his town and area. He has already written accounts of our local history, Weddington, Park House, Teddy Kem and Bramcote - to name but a few dealing with historical data and characters from the past generations, as have other writers to whose valuable contributions Alan pays tribute in his acknowledgement.
It is interesting to note that another Nuneaton historian had a geological background, namely Dennis Milburn, whom I knew who wrote in 1963: Nuneaton. The Growth of a Town. I do not think anyone has attempted the mammoth task of investing over 30 years of research to establish such a complete work for present and future generations. As he collected the vast amount of information and started to computerise the results, Alan sorted his findings into chronological order, making a record of our past, including all the eventful periods in our history. This is Volume 8 of 9 for the Nuneaton Millennium Project and deals with Surname-Types for the Nuneaton area.
The Trent valley, with large areas prone to flooding, seemed an unlikely place for a settlement. There was another side to that coin however; water was valuable both for irrigation and for the keeping of livestock. In addition there were local hardwood forests providing early building materials and fuel for domestic and industrial use. This was soon supplemented by the discovery of local sandstone, coal, clay and limestones.
Soon waterwheels and windmills gave added value to the townscape, encouraging early Christian foundations to establish nunneries, priories and monasteries. As the art of building progressed, masons, carpenters and other tradesmen settled in the area near to these respective resources. Each newly discovered mineral enticed families to the area and a steady stream of workers settled ever after, reaching a climax in the early 20thC.
During this period many of our ancestors came, from all parts of Britain and even abroad to work and live in our community. They brought new trades and ideas, gradually turning a village into a town of importance. Railways, canals and highways were linked to our economy, transporting raw materials and importing goods and capital to sustain growth and stability. Our French, Flemish, Scottish, Welsh, Irish and English ancestors came together over the centuries to populate Nuneaton as it is today.
As a Nuneatonian, born and bred, I have great affection for our town. The past is part of us, our values and present characters being moulded in past generations by our genes and family traits. Nuneaton provided me with a good education which enabled me to work and teach for the National Coal Board and also teach at colleges in Coventry and Nuneaton. At the end of the Second World War I was fortunate enough to be accepted by the British Horological Institute to be trained in the arts of watch and clock making, working in two well known establishments in the town. I saw this trade as the ultimate in excellence in engineering and so began an enduring interest in time and the history of it - the use of it by past and present generations becoming of importance to me. I also had a business for 30 years in my home town, settling here for my retirement. I found in both my work and business that Nuneaton people are generous and resourceful, I am proud and happy to be one of them.
The author of this work is a friend of many years. His consultant expertise has been sought by leading civil and mining engineering companies. Historians and librarians also welcome his knowledge on local past events and I greatly admire him for making this contribution to the millennium which both enriches our knowledge and puts the facts on record for future generations.
ëNuneaton Surname Project Page
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Revised: 12 July 2004
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