May 2014 Sadly Michael Debenham, who wrote and maintained this site for
many years, passed away at the end of May 2014. The site will be preserved by his family, but new
content will not now be added. Over the years Michael had contact with many interested in the subject
of Debenham family history. Donations in his memory in aid of St Nicholas Hospice, Bury St Edmunds
may be made by following this link to Just Giving. The text given below is that written by Michael himself.
Welcome to this website, which is run by Michael Debenham. I have long had an absorbing interest in the history and genealogy of the Debenham family, both my own branch and other branches of the family worldwide. This site draws together the history of the various lines of the Debenham and Debnam families, and provides genealogical information that is specific to the Debenham and Debnam names.
This website provides information in three areas: the Genealogy of the Debenham and Debnam names, the various Family Histories so far as they are currently known, and the One-Name Study that I am presently conducting. The navigation bar at the top of each page will help you find your way around the site.
Genealogical research involves reference to the ancestors of living people, in many cases to recent ancestors. To respect the privacy and security of all concerned a 100-year rule has been applied, and in general no information is given relating to events more recent than 1912. Exceptions have been made for the United States census returns which are now available up to 1930, and for Australian Birth, Marriage and Death listings which conform to Australian government restrictions. The United States census for 1940 is currently being indexed, and the relevant information will be made available on this site when indexing is complete.
Research is an ongoing process, and the site will be updated on a regular basis. Input from other researchers will always be most welcome, and as Webmaster I shall be delighted to act as a clearing house for information. You can send me an e-mail.
Genealogical researchers commonly spend a great deal of time, frequently unproductive, searching archives such as those of the General Registry of Births, Marriages and Deaths, the Census Returns, Will Calendars, Parish Registers and other sources. I have certainly done my share of this, and I have more to do ahead of me. A primary purpose of this site is to make available to others the results of research so far and hence avoid duplication of effort. There is more information in the Genealogy Section of the site. [Note added by Margaret Debenham 17 November 2016: I have discovered that some of the links from the Genealogy pages of this site to the searchable databases relating to Debenham family members on the Guild of One Name Studies website have not been working correctly. This fault has now been rectified, with the kind assistance of the Guild's technical team]
Genealogical research is fascinating in its own right, and can be very rewarding. However, it tells us little about the people concerned - what kind of people were they, what were their occupations, their achievements in life, their successes and inevitably, their failures? Family history is an attempt to put flesh on the bones of pure genealogical research, and add the human interest that is the ultimate purpose of genealogical study. It is family history that tells us "who we think we are". Some of the history of the Debenham family is told in the History Section of the site.
A One-Name Study is a particular form of genealogical research which endeavours to record all occurrences of a name wherever they may be found. The objectives of such a study will vary depending upon such things as the frequency of the name and the wishes of the individual carrying out the study, but will typically include the construction of family trees for all known branches and in particular, tracing the origins of the name to determine the lines of descent since the original use of surnames in the middle ages. In the case of the Debenham name it appears that there are at least three lines of descent; two of these have been comprehensively researched already, while the remaining line or lines are a prime objective of the present study.
The Debnam name appears to have originated as a shortened form of Debenham in the days when only a minority of the population were literate. During the 19th Century the spelling was largely standardised to Debenham, but several lines of descent continued to use the name Debnam. These include firstly, a line originating from an area near the Essex and Hertfordshire border, including the towns of Bishops Stortford, Newport and Saffron Walden, and secondly, a line originating from an area around the Wiltshire and Somerset border, including the towns of Warminster and Frome.
Click on the following link to access the retained Study Profile for the Debenham one-name study or visit the home page of the Guild of One-Name Studies and input the term Debenham into the search box there.
This site has been a 'labour of love' extending over a number of years and we hope you enjoy the fruits of our labours! If you have found the site useful, a donation to one of our favourite charities will be greatly appreciated. They are listed on our Charities page, and each month we will highlight one of them here as our chosen 'Charity of the Month'. This month it is:-
This is one of our suite of websites, selected for archiving by the British Library.
Site last updated November 2016. Permission is granted for the use of information from this site for the purpose of individual private research only.