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Clafton Name Study

Privacy Level: Open (White)
Date: 8 Sep 2020
Location: Worldwidemap
Surnames/tags: Clafton Clafton_Name_Study
This page has been accessed 451 times.


About the Project

Hello! Please don’t go away if you have Clafton surnames in your family tree and/or an interest in the Clafton surname, regardless of whether or not you are active on Wikitree. I need your help with the Clafton Name Study.

The Clafton Name Study project serves as a collaborative platform to collect information on the Clafton surname to help make it a valuable reference point for other genealogists who are researching or have an interest in the Clafton name.

If you are active on Wikitree, I hope that researchers like you will:

  • join the study; and/or
  • Help research new and existing Clafton profiles.

If you are not active on Wikitree, I will gladly accept family tree information and associated research material and create the profiles myself, for which I will give credit to you (or not, if you prefer). Please contact me via steve (at) clafton (dot) net

As a One Name Study, this project is not limited to persons who are related biologically. Individual studies can be used to branch out the research into specific methods and areas of interest, such as geographically (England Claftons), by time period (18th Century Claftons), or by topic (Clafton DNA, Clafton Occupations, Clafton Statistics). These studies may also include a number of family branches which have no immediate link with each other. Some researchers may even be motivated to go beyond the profile identification and research stage to compile fully sourced, single-family histories of some of the families they discover through this name study project.

Also see the related surnames and surname variants.


  1. Collect all people who used the surname Clafton at some point in their lives and create Wikitree profiles for them. This includes spouses who married into the Clafton surname and people who adopted or abandoned the surname.
  2. Connect Clafton profiles to each other and to the greater Wikitree, including merging duplicates.
  3. Gain insight into Clafton population centres, migration patterns and name evolution.


The project is currently in the collection phase and is following this general strategy, which will be reviewed and changed as and when necessary:

  1. Focussing on the period from 1800 to now
    1. Scanning censuses in turn from oldest to most recent
      1. Scanning each major region in turn - US, UK and Australia
    2. Scanning marriage, birth & death records (separately) from oldest to most recent in 10 year blocks
      1. Scanning each major region in turn - US, UK and Australia
    3. Scanning all except the above records in turn from oldest to most recent in 10 year blocks
      1. Scanning each major region in turn - US, UK and Australia
  2. Focussing on the pre-1800 period
    1. Following a more careful approach appropriate to pre-census times
      1. Scanning each major region in turn - US, UK and Australia
  3. Focussing on other regions depending on language barriers

A series of templates have been created for recording the different events in peoples lives. These are undergoing a process of continuous improvement, so a final pass through all profiles is envisaged to bring earlier profiles up to the current specifications for:

  1. Templates
  2. National and regional project requirements

How to Join

To join the Clafton Name Study, first start out by browsing our current research pages to see if there is a specific study ongoing that fits your interests. If so, feel free to add your name to the Membership list below, post an introduction comment on the specific team page, and then dive right in!

If a research page does not yet exist for your particular area of interest, please contact the Name Study Coordinator: Steve Clafton for assistance.

... ... ... is a member of the Clafton Name Study Project.

Once you are ready to go, you can also show your project affiliation with the ONS Member Sticker:


Clafton Name Study Template and Category

To include a profile in the project, add the One Name Study template to the Biography section, immediately below the ==Biography== heading, which will add the category and sticker automatically:

This profile is part of the Clafton Name Study.
{{One Name Study|name=Clafton}}

If known you can add a country of birth subcategory, eg:

This profile is part of the Clafton Name Study.
{{One Name Study|name=Clafton|category=Australia, Clafton Name Study}}

I expect it is only worth setting up a specific state or locality if there is a concentration of Claftons in that area that you intend to make a study of. Examples of how to structure can be found at the Categorization section of the One Name Study Project.

Emigration Template and Sticker

To indicate emigration, add the Migrating Ancestor template to the Biography section, immediately preceding a paragraph describing the emigration (who emigrated, origin & destination localities, departing & arriving dates, ship name if appropriate, etc.) which will add the sticker automatically:

Flag of Yorkshire
... ... ... migrated from Yorkshire to New South Wales.
Flag of New South Wales
{{Migrating Ancestor|origin=Yorkshire|destination=New South Wales|origin-flag=Flags-8.jpg|destination-flag=Flags-5.png}}

Country flags can be found at Space:Flags. No need to ensure flags historically match emigration dates.

What You Can Do

  1. Add Clafton to your list of followed tags. That way you'll see all our discussions in G2G and current activity on Clafton profiles.
  2. Add the Clafton Name Study template (with/without country of birth subcategory) to any Clafton profiles you manage, including spouses who married into the Clafton name.
  3. Add migration templates to the profiles of Claftons who emigrated to another country and maintain the Space:Emigration, Clafton Name Study page to match.
  4. Identify families and individuals (other than through marriage) who adopted the Clafton surname in place of their birth name, or vice versa, and record them in the Families Adopting/Abandoning Clafton Surname section.
  5. Work cooperatively together with other Clafton profile managers to create the best Clafton tree possible.
  6. Search out original rather than derivative documentation and add in-line sources to Clafton profiles.
  7. Write comprehensive, well-sourced biographies.
  8. Check for duplicates and request merges.
  9. Look for opportunities to connect Clafton profiles to each other and the greater Wikitree.


Research Pages

Here are some of the current research pages included in the study. I'll be working on them, and could use your help!

Related Surnames and Surname Variants

This study is primarily about the Clafton surname, and includes people who have changed their surname to Clafton, whether by marriage or just by adopting the name.

There are a number of surnames similar to Clafton:

And even:

In my experience with transcribed records so far, Clafton is most likely to be mistranscribed as Clapton, Clayton and Clifton, most likely as these are the most common and best known variations. Claston is more likely as a misheard version due to the similarity of f and s sound, plus the propensity for old document writers to use “f” to represent “s”.

In USA records, Claflin is prominent, but is regularly mistranscribed as Claftin and Clafton. When encountering Claftons in search indexes, it is necessary to check the original document image (if available) to ensure it is not a mistranscribed Claflin or similar.

Records Incorrectly Showing Clafton Surname

The following people have appeared in original records (note: not modern transcriptions of original records) using the Clafton surname, but have not appeared to use the surname in any other records, thus the spelling is either obscured or assumed to be accidental on the part of the original documentor:

  • Family of Isabella Clafton (abt 1801-) and 10 children in the 1841 England Census (mistranscribed as Clalton) - may be Claughton[1]
  • Family of George Clafton (abt 1831- son of Isabella above), spouse Emma A. and 2 children in the 1861 England Census - may be Claughton[2]
  • Family of James Byren Clafton (abt 1826-), spouse Betsy and 1 child in the 1861 England Census - may be Claftin[3]
  • Family of Abraham Clafton (abt 1819-), spouse Elizabeth and mother Ellen in the 1871 England Census - may be Clifton[4]
  • Lydia Clafton (abt 1875-) and Isabel Clafton (abt 1888-), living with Malcolm family in the 1901 England Census - may be Clayton[5]
  • Fanny Clafton (abt 1865-), living with Manor House staff in the 1891 England Census - appears to be Fanny Violette Clapton (1864-)[6]
  • Thomas Clafton (abt 1865-), born in Castleford, Yorkshire, boarding with the family of Henry & Mary Sutcliffe in the 1911 England Census - appears to be Thomas Claughton (1865-)[7]
  • Charles F. Clafton (30th Jan 1895-) and Ada Clafton (19 Sep 1894-), and possibly two offspring in the 1939 England Register - appears to be Clapton[8]
  • William H. Clafton (7 Dec 1892-), Mary A. E. Clafton (13 Jul 1896-), Joan G. (Clafton) Cressell, Iris (Clafton) Hodgson and possibly two more offspring in the 1939 England Register - appears to be Clapton[9]
  • Henry Charles Clafton (abt 1851-) and Maud Leonora Sanderson (abt 1879-) marriage banns 23 Jan 1898 - appears to be Clifton[10]

Families Adopting/Abandoning Clafton Surname

Spouses adopting Clafton surnames through marriage are included in the study (as previously stated), but a special place is reserved for those people who were born with a different surname and changed their surname to Clafton for reasons other than marriage. These people are included in the study, and their dual naming acknowledged:

Claughton to Clafton:
Claughton temporary use:
    • Joseph Clafton only around the time of the 1871 England Census, an attempt to hide?
Claughton use as a middle name:
Clafton use as middle name:
Clafton interpreted as Claughton, most likely due to illiteracy:

Clafton Known Distributions

These are the locations of significant numbers of Clafton families:

  • Yorkshire, England, UK and especially the towns of Ossett and Hanging Heaton appear to be the main origin of the Clafton surname.
  • US and especially Grand Rapids, Minnesota, with some immigration via New York. There seems to have been a number of border crossings to and from Canada in the late 1800s.
  • Australia holds at least two families of Clafton, that likely immigrated from the UK in the 1800s. To date no genealogical connection has been established between the families.
  • Russia, especially Archangel in the high North West appears to have had a British expat community of Clafton families in the 1800s.

See the Clafton Name Study category page for lists of profiles involved in the regions, plus the many profiles not yet assigned a country of birth.

Clafton Statistics

Search Provider Wikitree FamilySearch Ancestry FindAGrave
9 Sep 20201384,0487,12465
It is important to note that the numbers provided are estimations only and do not reflect unique records for unique individuals; a single person may be reflected in multiple records. In the case of Ancestry, these numbers also include the number of images and family trees in which the name appears. In the case of Wikitree, it is a profile count that includes only those born as Clafton, not those that married into the name.


  1. 1841 England Census, Class: HO107; Piece: 1313; Book: 4; Civil Parish: Guiseley; County: Yorkshire; Enumeration District: 30; Folio: 36; Page: 18; Line: 10; GSU roll: 464269, via Ancestry
  2. 1861 England Census, Class: RG 9; Piece: 3421; Folio: 23; Page: 6; GSU roll: 543129, via Ancestry
  3. 1861 England Census, Class: RG 9; Piece: 2453; Folio: 16; Page: 26; GSU roll: 542973, via Ancestry
  4. 1871 England Census, The National Archives; Kew, London, England; 1871 England Census; Class: RG10; Piece: 1862; Folio: 74; Page: 5; GSU roll: 830849, via Ancestry
  5. 1901 England Census, Class: RG13; Piece: 4300; Folio: 33; Page: 22, via Ancestry
  6. 1891 England Census, The National Archives of the UK (TNA); Kew, Surrey, England; Census Returns of England and Wales, 1891; Class: RG12; Piece: 615; Folio: 91; Page: 38; GSU roll: 6095725, via Ancestry
  7. 1911 England Census, Census Returns of England and Wales, 1911. Kew, Surrey, England: The National Archives of the UK (TNA) Series RG14, 1911, Piece: 28338, Schedule: 88, via Ancestry
  8. 1939 England and Wales Register, The National Archives; Kew, London, England; 1939 Register; Reference: RG 101/5086J, via Ancestry
  9. 1939 England and Wales Register, The National Archives; Kew, London, England; 1939 Register; Reference: RG 101/6050C, via Ancestry
  10. London, England, Church of England Marriages and Banns, 1754-1932, London Metropolitan Archives; London, England; Reference Number: p70/mrk/022

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Categories: Clafton Name Study