Amy Johnson Crow introduced the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks challenge on her No Story Too Small blog in 2014. This year she continued the challenge, but also added a weekly theme. This week, the theme is What is the most unusual record you’ve ever found? Or, who is the most unusual of your ancestors? (You can take that any way you want to!)
I couldn’t think of an unusual record, or an unusual ancestor, so I decided to look at the most unusual surname in my family tree.
Probably the most unusual surname in my family tree is the name Docwra. Although this is an unusual surname, this is the most common surname in my family tree. I have used the spelling Docwra for consistency in my tree, although the spelling on various records has been quite varied.
The Docwra surname first comes up in my family tree with my grandmother, Edith Meriden Docwra. Edith was one of four children to Harry Docwra and Emily Alice Oliver. Harry was one of 10 children born to Alfred Docwra and Mary Scott.
Alfred came to Australia from Bassingbourn in Cambridgeshire. He was the illegitimate son of Jane Docwra and Tempest Sell. Tempest had been married to Jane’s sister Sarah.
Jane and Sarah were the daughters of William Docwra and Elizabeth Quy. There were 3 other children born to William and Elizabeth: Susannah, William and Stephen.
William Docwra and Elizabeth Quy were married 16 October 1793 in Bassingbourn.
The Docwra surname (and variations) can be found on the Bassingbourn parish registers for as far back as Parish registers have been kept. The first baptism found is:
1560 Mar 28 Dockerell Robert of William
One branch of the Docwra family who settled in Bassingbourn has been traced back to a Thomas De Docwra who appears in the Feet of Fines for Cumberland in 1278. Although I believe that my branch is linked to this family, I have not been able to trace my line back further than a James/Jacobus Docwra and his wife Grace who baptised a daughter Susan in 1649 in Bassinbourn.
One of the main resources I have used to find information on the Docwra family has been the Docwra Family Research Project.