Posted by on 19 November 2012 in General, Guest Bloggers, What's in a name?

Authored by Vivienne Dunstan.  Vivienne is an independent academic historian, a long-time genealogist since the age of twelve too many decades ago, and a former computer scientist. She comes originally from Hawick, near where Cavers originates, and is a Cavers descendant.

CAVERS

Cavers is a surname that originates historically from Cavers parish near the town of Hawick in Roxburghshire in south-east Scotland. The place-name derives from an Old English word meaning enclosure. This might have led to multiple places called Cavers, throughout Britain, each potentially acting as an origin for the same surname. However research into Cavers people in old records, particularly early parish registers, indicates that the surname traces back solely to this one place in the Scottish Borders.

The Cavers surname is extremely rare. In 1881, out of an approximate total British population of 30 million, only 146 Cavers people can be traced. A third lived in Roxburghshire, with significant numbers in neighbouring counties. In England clusters of Cavers people in the nineteenth century can be found in London, Northumberland, Tyneside, Nottingham and Bedfordshire. Some can be traced back to known Scottish ancestors, and the others probably descended from Scots too. Elsewhere Cavers people emigrated, especially to Canada, but also to the United States of America, South America, and Australia and New Zealand.

Perhaps unusually for a one-name study the surname is spelled remarkably consistently, possibly due to it deriving from a parish place-name that officials nearby would know well. Occasionally it can be recorded as Caver or Covers, or even Caivers in the older records, but this happens only very rarely.

Researching the Cavers one-name study has allowed numerous Cavers lines to be pieced together. By acting as a central contact point it has been possible to pass the results of this research onto modern-day Cavers descendants, and to put cousins in touch with each other. The one-name study has gathered extensive information for Scotland, England, and Ontario (Canada). However it is a worldwide study, researching Cavers references all over the world.

A recent development was to start a blog for the study: This has provided a good place for sharing stories about Cavers people in the past, as well as writing up the different family lines, one blog post at a time. Another development was to start a Facebook group For more information about the Cavers one-name study see its profile page at the Guild of One-Name Studies website.

Vivienne Dunstan is an independent academic historian, a long-time genealogist since the age of twelve too many decades ago, and a former computer scientist. She comes originally from Hawick, near where Cavers originates, and is a Cavers descendant.

About Emma

Emma Pulman is a Social Media and digital Marketing Executive for Ancestry.co.uk. Based in Ancestry's London office in Hammersmith, Emma regularly tweets and posts on Ancestry's Facebook page.