Merriman / Merryman surname (Parish Records)

by Jefff @, West London, Middlesex, Friday, July 29, 2016, 14:20 (2908 days ago) @ Debbielakin

I'm trying to trace my family tree, Ann Jane Merriman is my 2nd great grandmother and I wondered how common the name Merriman is ? I'm new to this so would welcome any help and advice. Many thanks

Hi Debbie, welcome to the forum, as you've already seen we're a helpful & friendly bunch !

Personally I don't think the Merriman/Merryman name is particularly common in the Forest, can't say I recall coming across it very often altho I did know a few Merrys in my Cinderford schooldays. Searching this site's Parish Records (aka PRs) for the Merriman and Merryman (always look out for possible spelling variations) gives a total of 218 + 74 = 292 Records. As these are Births, Marriages and Death Records, clearly there will be less actual individual people. It's important to allow for possible spelling variations, as people's literacy wasn't so good in the past, also people recorded what they heard, or thought they heard... There are also 2 records of Merrimann, for example, both the same person.

So total of 294 "Merriman" records, which is tiny compared to my surname, Jones, which has 27,852 PRs !
Jones is statistically the most common surname in the Forest, which surprised me when I found out, it didnt seem the case in my days in Cinderford but Lydbrook etc to the west would have been different. So yes, you're searching for quite a rare surname, which should help your researches considerably.

Earlier Graham mentioned the Gloucestershire BMD records in which he found Ann Jane's birth record. This is the site he used, their records include Registry Office marriages which can be helpful, whereas the FoD PRs only include Church aka Parish Records. It's also good at automatically offering spelling variants of the name being searched, unlike FreeBMD for example, both are free to access.

That site aka GlosBMD has 254 Merrimans etc listed in the "Forest" District, but it's also worth looking under "Gloucester" District as this includes Newent etc just to our East, which has a further 200, the County as a whole gives 1393 Merriman records, compared to 67,000 Jones...

Statistically across the UK, this is a good site for getting an idea where a surname is most common, so perhaps originated from. In the 1881 Census Merriman was most common in the far tip of Scotland, but that may be influenced by a small overall population generally, also the southwest tip of Wales and then our general area. The 1998 map confirms it's strongest in SW Wales and Herefordshire (hence Lea Bailey area as per Mike's post). This link works best if opened into a new tab or window.

If you're interested in the likely origins of the name, I like this site, it seems more believable and less "commercial" than some of it's competitors. Interestingly it suggests one of the earliest references to the name was recorded in Gloucester, in 1359.

Finally, you say you're new to this, don't worry we all were once, and are still learning !. Please have a good look around this whole site, perhaps by searching your surname, there's a huge amount of interesting documents, old photos, newspaper clippings, etc etc etc. This page has several pointers and helpful links to start you in your researches;

Searching this forum itself is a great source of info on almost any subject, as most questions have been asked or researched in the past. Indeed, please see this prior thread which includes several posts about the Merrimans of Littledean, which would appear to be in your line as shown by Mike's post this morning. It includes the 1861 Census for Ann and her family. In case you're not familiar with the Forest, Littledean is very close indeed to Cinderford, as mentioned in your original post.

Good luck !

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