Saturday, 28 May 2011

Starting to Build a Baseline

Unfortunately I've not had as much free time as I'd hoped for this week but I did manage to get a couple of things done.

The first was identifying how many STEERS and STEARS births, marriages and deaths were registered. I did this using FreeBMD's "download" function. Once I downloaded the data I moved it into a spreadsheet and tidied it up by separating the data into the following headings

  • Year 
  • Quarter 
  • Surname 
  • Forename 
  • Mother's Maiden Name (births after 1911), Spouses Surname (Marriage), Age at Death / Date of Birth 
  • Registration District 
  • Volume 
  • Number 

The thing I have to do next is double check each entry against the images of the GRO register. I am using Ancestry to do this, but you are able to view images from FreeBMD.

I am going to use the Births extraction to create a "Master Spreadsheet". Each person will be given an ID number and this will be used to track the individual through the different records.

For STEERS births there are 1689 individuals, for STEARS there are 513.

I've decided against extracting the STEER and STEERE entries for the moment as the numbers are considerably larger and I don't want to spend all my time double-checking GRO details.

The other thing I have done is look at the entries for STEERS and STEARS in the UK and Ireland Census returns. The websites used were Family Search, Find My Past, Ancestry, Scotlands People, and the National Archives of Ireland (1901 and 1911). Each website gave different numbers and I believe this is due to the transcriptions so to demonstrate numbers I'll be using the highest number.


  • 1841 England & Wales Census - 359 (FMP) 
  • 1851 England & Wales Census - 361 (Ancestry) 
  • 1861 England & Wales Census - 429 (Ancestry) 
  • 1861 Scotland Census - 1 (Scotlands People) 
  • 1871 England & Wales Census - 451 (Ancestry) 
  • 1871 Scotland Census - 6 (Scotlands People) 
  • 1881 England & Wales Census - 571 (Ancestry) 
  • 1881 Scotland Census - 4 (Scotlands People) 
  • 1891 England & Wales Census - 626 (Ancestry) 
  • 1901 England & Wales Census - 687 (Family Search & FMP) 
  • 1901 Scotland Census - 2 (Scotlands People) 
  • 1901 Ireland Census - 17 (Nat. Arc. Ireland) 
  • 1911 England & Wales Census - 755 (FMP) 
  • 1911 Scotland Census - 4 (Scotlands People) 
  • 1911 Ireland Census - 4 (Nat. Arc. Ireland) 


  • 1841 England & Wales Census - 138 (Ancestry) 
  • 1841 Scotland Census - 5 (Scotlands People) 
  • 1851 England & Wales Census - 205 (Ancestry) 
  • 1861 England & Wales Census - 200 (FMP) 
  • 1871 England & Wales Census - 170 (Ancestry) 
  • 1871 Scotland Census - 1 (Scotlands People) 
  • 1881 England & Wales Census - 212 (Ancestry, Family Search & FMP) 
  • 1891 England & Wales Census - 208 (Family Search & FMP) 
  • 1901 England & Wales Census - 350 (Ancestry) 
  • 1911 England & Wales Census - 289 (FMP) 
  • 1911 Scotland Census - 4 (Scotlands People) 
  • 1911 Ireland Census - 4 (Nat. Arc. Ireland) 

The plan is that after I've identified all the individuals from the GRO index I'll look for them in the census after they were born. This will enable me to start building trees.

The final thing I managed to do this week was get myself a Mentor at the Guild. So I'll not be bumbling along so much alone; I just hope I don't drive her nuts!

Saturday, 21 May 2011

Origin of the Surname

This week I’ve mostly been looking at the origin of the name STEERS.

The following sources have been used:

1.     Oxford Dictionary of Surnames 3rd Edition. Reaney and Wilson. Oxford University Press. 1995. Page 426

2.     The Origin of English Surnames 5th Edition. Reaney. Routledge, Champman & Hall. 1979. Page 263

3.     A Dictionary of English Surnames 2nd Edition. Reaney and Wilson. Oxford University of Press. 1976. Page 332

4.     Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames With Special American Instances. Bardsley. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. 1967 (Originally Published London 1901). Page 715

5. (Accessed 20 May 2011)

It must be mentioned that in all the dictionaries STEERS is not given its own entry, instead it sits alongside STEER. The only source that mentions STEERS independently is the Surname Database5, however this links back to STEER.

The addition of the S to the end of STEER would suggest that the first STEERS was the ‘son of a STEER’ but until this is evidenced I won’t be presuming!

As for the name STEER all agree that it has its origins in the Old English, and comes from the word Stēor “a steers / young ox”.  Reaney1,2,3 tells us that STEER is also Nickname Surname and would have been given to person’s whose characterises resemble that of a steer, as for Robert LE STEER who was mentioned in the Subsidy Rolls of the County of Sussex, in the year 1296.

The variations of the name from these sources are given as


The Surname Database5 also mentions the following variations; STEAMAN, STERMAN, STEERSON but it does not provided source citations for these. Until I find more reliable citations for these three names I’ll not be following them up.

So it looks like I’ll be recording instances of the above as well as STEERS. This project is getting bigger and bigger.

Sunday, 15 May 2011


For those of you who are not aware of the concept of a One Name Study may I suggest that you head over to the Guild of One Name Studies homepage for a breakdown of what they do.

I had dealings with Guild Members long before I joined myself, indeed I had some very useful advice regarding my PARRY problem from the member researching this particular surname. I joined the Guild at Who Do You Think You Are this year but I wasn't overly sure about registering a surname. It's a daunting task, especially when you consider it is a WORLD WIDE study. I've been collecting information about the STEERS family, trying to find out how they appeared in Hull in the late 1830's whilst living in London. In order to try to do this I was collecting all the information I could about STEERS around that time frame, so in my wisdom (?) I gave serious consideration to undertaking this study.

Then last week, whilst on holiday my OH proposed. So STEERS will be my name soon enough and I decided that yes, I did want to do this. So I've registered the surname with the Guild. I've set up my Guild Profile (although it is a little sparse) and I've started this blog to chart my journey. I won't however be neglecting my own parental ancestry and I'll still be posting about this on my other blog but I thought it best to separate the two.

So welcome to my new blog & my new adventure (in more ways than one!)