Do you or your ancestors have a surname spelt like one of the names above?
Whether you do or don't, welcome to my Bodimeade One-Name Study webpages. This is the place where I am making some of my genealogical information available to the world. Please browse and let me know if you are interested in the Bodimeades documented here.
About this website
These webpages provide access to information that I have been collecting about people with the surname Bodimeade for about 20 years (on and off). My research started with the history of my grandmother's family, but I rapidly discovered that there were very few Bodimeade's. Soon I came across a difficulty in tracing the parents of my great-great-great-grandfather, Joseph Bodimeade, as he does not appear to have been christened, so I started to collect as much information as I could about possible collateral relatives. Even after I solved the problem of Joseph's parents I continued collecting information, and it grew into a one-name study. I hope to present the majority of the data and family reconstructions I have made, and continue to make, here.
The primary resource here is the database of linked family information, but lists of transcribed information are slowly coming as well. Be warned! Although most of the data is correct, the database will contain errors in transcription and in association of events to a person. If you find any please let me know. The publically accessible part of the database limits access to information about people known to be alive, and those without an identified death record who are less than 100 years since the first known event in their life. Access to this information is password protected, and will be made available only to Bodimeade descendants, who will then have access to the names of all living people and more detailed information about their own relatives up to their second cousins. Please contact me if you need such access.
The family groups page gives very brief information about the family groups listed in the database and outlines some of the outstanding questions and research tasks for each one.
Some notes on the surname
Throughout the website I adopt the spelling Bodimeade as it is the majority spelling today and has been the majority spelling used by literate bearers of the name since the early 18th century. The ONS Database of extant surnames with more than five bearers, shows that in September 2003 as well as Bodimeade (223 people) the other variants in Britain today are Bodimead (18 people) and Bodemeaid (18 people). That makes the spelling Bodimeade the 19,870th most common of the 270,000 surnames in Britain today. A search I made of the British telephone directories in 1985 gives a similar picture, but adds a few more spellings: Bodemead 1; Bodemeaid 3; Bodimead 2; Bodimeade 46; Bodymede 1. However, the spelling has varied widely in the past and the title bar gives a selection of spellings I have come across, although some of them are merely transcription errors. In the late 16th to early 18th centuries it was not uncommon for people who wrote their own name as Bodimeade, Bodymead or Bodimead to appear in church and manorial records as Bodyman or Bodiment.
There are two questions usually posed about a rare surname's origins:
- Does it have a single geographical origin?
- What is its derivation?
Before the mid-nineteenth century the surname Bodimeade and its variants are largely confined to northern parts of Middlesex and southern parts of Hertfordshire. The major concentration is in the parishes of Harrow, Great and Little Stanmore, Bushey and Watford, though there are Bodimeades resident in Barnet and Lewisham, and they appear from time to time in City of London parishes and elsewhere in Hertfordshire. The earliest entry in the Harrow Parish register is the burial of "A child of William Bodymede of Weald" in 1664 (though the registers only start in 1653), and their first appearance in the Court Rolls for Harrow Manor is the admission of William Bodyman and Mary Moale (probably just before their marriage) in 1652 (these Court Rolls begin in the 14th century). There are Bodimeades documented in Watford parish registers from about 1648 (the registers start in 1539)
The few pre-1650 parish register records I have in my database are rather scattered, and mostly to Bodiman (in Kent: Canterbury (1); in Buckinghamshire: Aylesbury (1), Upton-cum-Chalvey (4), and Iver (1); in Middlesex: Harefield (1), and Westminster (1)) rather than Bodimeade (in Middlesex: Uxbridge (2); in Bedfordshire: Oakley (1)). There does not seem to be any strong pattern in these though a west Middlesex to southeast Buckinghamshire concentration is possible. I recently discovered some other, earlier records mentioning Bodimeades: in the 1522 Muster Rolls for Buckinghamshire in Clifton Reynes (Bodymeade) and Iver (Bodeman); and in 1309 and 1332 Lay Subsidies for Bedfordshire in Marston Moretaine, Cranfield, and Lidlington (Botemede, Bodymade, Botemund). However, matters are complicated by the patchy survival of records. At the moment the best hypothesis seems to be that the surname Bodiman originates in southern Buckinghamshire, whilst Bodimeade coes from northern Buckinghamshire and west-central Bedfordshire. Whether one or both gave rise to the later Bodimeades we do not know, but it is interesting to note that the Cranfield area has a strong tradition of brickmaking, and the earliest documented Bodimeades in the Harrow and Watford area are brickmakers.
Finding the derivation of the name is also difficult. Being so rare it does not appear in any standard dictionary of surnames. Cecil Humphrey-Smith suggested to me at a course I attended in 1984 that it is 'presumably a place-name but unidentified. Probably O[ld] E[nglish] personal name Bud(d)a and mæd "meadow".' Buda or Boda is an Anglo-Saxon forename meaning a messenger. I have searched the volumes on Place-Names of Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Hertfordshire, and Middlesex but found no reference to a similar name, though it might be just a field name which was not significant enough for these volumes. The field name Bodemead or Bode Mead does appear in Brasted, Kent, according to papers of the Streatfeild family catalogued in Access to Archives. This demonstrates that such a field name can exist, though given the other geographical information discussed above, it is unlikely to be the one from which the family derives their name. The 1309 and 1322 forms from the Bedfordshire Lay Subsidy are Bodymade, Botymade, Botimade, Bodmede, Botemede, and Botemund. The preponderance of forms with 't' rather than 'd' suggests that the personal name could originally have been Old English Bota rather than Boda.