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The Shakespeare Family History & Genealogy Site

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Welcome to the Shakespeare Family History & Genealogy Site

The Internet Resource for Shakespeare Genealogy, History & Ancestry

New visitors to the site may find the 'Sitemap' a useful aid to navigation.

Regular visitors will find updates listed on the 'Whats New' page.

 

The site now contains over 3000 pages, and hopefully contains information on all known Shakespeare families wherever they are in the world.

If you are a new visitor why not send an e-mail detailing your interest. A surprising number of contacts have waited many months, often until some specific information about their particular Shakespeare family appears on the site. If contact had been made sooner then more information may have been available earlier - there is a HUGE backlog of information waiting to appear on the site. Very often the initial contact provides the impetus for this information, together with further research, appearing. Pleasingly this often results in rapid progress being made.

If you are a regular, or periodic visitor, why not send an e-mail if we have not had contact for a while - there is now so much information, and so many Shakespeare researchers that it is difficult to keep track.....it might remind us of new discoveries. Additionally please do this if your e-mail address has changed: sadly a number of the e-mail addresses in the 'Researchers' section no longer work, meaning contact is lost.......in a number of instances this has meant that new discoveries cannot be passed on.

 

The inspiration for this site:

came from contact with other researchers tracing Shakespeare ancestors, and the realisation that prior to about the year 1600 there are few Shakespeares to be found outside the County of Warwickshire. In fact, at this time period there are only four continuous records of families outside this county:

1.     One family in Gloucestershire from about 1600, or possibly later.

2.     One family in Bedfordshire from about 1570.

3.     The ‘Black Country Shakespeares' (Staffs & Worcs) from about 1580.

4.     One well documented family in Stepney, London from about 1569. Odd other individuals occur in the London area and may or may not be members of the same family.

Of these the Gloucestershire family seems to have present day descendants although these have been the subject of little research. The Bedfordshire family seems to have become extinct by the early 1700's. The ‘Black Country’ Shakespeares have been the subject of much research and have numerous descendants scattered around the world. The London family is mentioned at length in George Russell French‘s ‘Shakespeareana Genealogica’ (1869).

Apart from the odd ‘stray’ (such as an individual recorded in Cumbria in the 14th Century) the only Shakespeares to be found before this are within the County of Warwickshire, mainly concentrated around the villages of Rowington, Wroxall etc. This leads to the not unreasonable conclusion that all bearers of the name may share common ancestry.

Another interesting discovery was the thought provoking suggestion by Peter Lee, the Chairman of the Warwickshire Family History Society, that the Poet, William Shakespeare, had one or more previously unrecorded older siblings who have living descendants alive today! If true this fact (and there is a lot of circumstantial evidence) has gone unnoticed by historians for nearly 400 years. You can read of this evidence and the arguments for and against it here.

On this site it is hoped to reconstruct the known genealogies for all Shakespeare families for the period prior to about 1650 (although later information will be included where known) and hopefully collect and present together all Shakespeare documents (eg Parish Registers, Wills, Manorial Records etc.) that can be found and hopefully in this way the various families may one day be linked.  (Research Notes)

Please note that the surname is spelled 'Shakespeare' throughout this site. No apologies are made for this as this seems to be the most common of very many variations. Should your branch consistently use a different spelling please let us know and we will amend the records accordingly. Occasional exceptions are made where the spelling might cause confusion eg 'Shakesboy' - later confirmed as being Shakespeare by subsequent entries in the parish register concerned, using the same, uncommon, christian name.

A small part of the content of this site requires the use of 'Adobe Reader' which is available as a FREE DOWNLOAD from http://www.adobe.com by clicking on the button below

Help Section

Submit your queries for help or information if it is not already available (or you cannot find it) on the site

 

Acknowledgements

Too numerous to mention everyone, as so many have contributed to the site and I have difficulty in remembering!

Prominent among contributors (in no particular order) are:

 
  • Peter Lee

  • Roy W Shakespeare

  • John Shakespear

  • Chris Brand

  • David Wingate

  • Bev Shakespeare

  • Julie Shakespeare

  • Mike Shakespeare

 

Contact details can be found on the 'Researchers' page

Thanks too must go to Emma and Kimberley Pearson for their diligent typing

 

All his successors gone before him have done 't; and all his ancestors that come after him may.

The Merry Wives of Windsor. Act i. Sc. 1.

July 2004

Shakespeare Family History & Genealogy Home

Shakespeare Family History & Genealogy Sitemap

Shakespeare Family History & Genealogy Researchers

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Shakespeare Family History & Genealogy Contact

 

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