|About Peter Wood & Alison Craw's tree from Staffordshire and East Scotland
Please sign in to see more.
I was inspired to start this website by Hazel Mills's excellent and comprehensive Tribal Pages website which includes many Burtons, Woods and Farmers and with her permission I have taken some data from there. I have also taken some Hammersley data from Barbara Longley's website, again with her permission. I remain on the lookout for any new information about any of the names in this website, but particularly about the Woods, Burtons, Hammersleys and Farmers. Thanks to DNA testing in the National Geographic Genographic study, into which Andrew enrolled both Alison and me, we have established that the deep ancestors on both of our male lines were living in north-east Africa, Ethiopia, Kenya or Tanzania, about 50,000 years ago when the total world population was about 10,000 people. They moved into the Middle East about 45,000 years ago because the Ice Age brought drought to Africa. After a further 5000 years, again because of climate changes, they migrated into Iran and Central Asia and by 35,000 years ago were hunters in Central Asia. About 30,000 years ago they started to head west, following the herds of the Asian and East European steppe lands. 20-30,000 years ago my ancestors migrated to southern Europe and this is where this Genographic study currently stops. Coming much more up to date the main families that I have been able to identify in my direct line are Wood, Burton, Farmer, Hammersley, Hodgkinson, Holmes, Williamson, Hough, Hackett, Stevenson, Jackson, Horn, Alcock, Mycock, Elks, Sutton. These are all fairly common names around the areas of east Staffordshire and west Derbyshire. On my mother’s side the ancestry is based around Alton, Uttoxeter and Cauldon Low in Staffordshire and Winster and Doveholes in Derbyshire. My father’s ancestors come from Mayfield and Ellastone in Staffordshire and Clifton, Ashbourne, Kniveton and Carsington in Derbyshire. However the main villages that I have always associated with my family are Mayfield on my father’s side and where I lived for the first 18 years of my life, and Alton on my mother’s side. Before about 1730 in Ellastone, which must have been a small village, there were lots of Woods going back to a Margerye, daughter of Rauffe Wood born in 1547, but I have so far been unable to make any definite connections. Alison's father did a huge amount of research of the Craw, Romanes, Grant and Rennie families of the Borders, Edinburgh and further north. His notes record: 'The earliest records of the Berwickshire family of Craw date from about 1200 AD, when the name is variously spelled as Aldencraw, Aldengrave, Auchencraw, and from about 1500 as Craw. The senior branch owned lands at the village now known as Auchencrow near Reston, and over the years Craws were in possession of much of the Eye Valley from Reston down to Eyemouth. Landowners in those days were generally distinguished by the name of their residence, for example Laured Robert about 1200 AD was 'Robert de Aldengrave'. This place-name is believed to be a corruption of the Gaelic "Alld an Craoibhe", "the Burn with the Trees". In the Scottish Borders many names of natural features such as this are derived from the Gaelic. There is however a legend that the family is descended from a Danish chief named Alden, who settled in the area centuries earlier and cut a ditch to drain the Billie Mire, this being called Alden's ditch - Aldengrav - from which the family name is derived. But it would be most unusual for a family to acquire its name in this way.' The Romanes ancestors are primarily from the Borders (particularly Lauder) and Edinburgh. The Rennies are from Aberdeenshire and Bill Craw's notes say that the tradition is that the family changed its name after the 1745 Rebellion from Forbes to Rainey(Rennie).