Sweetingham Name Study

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Surname/tag: Sweetingham
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This is a One Name Study to collect together in one place everything about one surname and the variants of that name. The hope is that other researchers like you will join our study to help make it a valuable reference point for people studying lines that cross or intersect.

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Distribution of the name.

According to the 1881 census, all 171 'two e' Sweetinghams are found on the coast or river estuaries. By this date, there is a distinction between those with the 'ing'and those with the 'en'. Sweetenhams predominate in Alverstoke and Portsea Island, either side of Portsmouth Harbour, in Hampshire. The, more numerous, Sweetinghams, on the other hand, are mostly found further west towards Southampton, between the rivers Itchen & Hamble. By 1881 there is also a notable enclave of Sweetinghams on the banks of the River Thames. Like almost every family, Sweetinghams made their way to the colonies and the name can be found in Australia, the United States and elsewhere.

posted 14 Jul 2017 by Norm Gray   [thank Norm]
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The surname Sweetingham and its variants Sweetenham and Sweetenam, do not appear to be related to any one area named Swetingham/Swettenham. The latter is rooted in Cheshire and is said to have "been seated at Swettenham in Cheshire, before the Conquest, and there the male succession continued till 1788. The name is still borne by a descendant of the female line who is (in 1860) the owner of Swettenham." (Lower, Mark Antony, A Dictionary of Surnames Wordsworth Editions, Ware (1988) p. 336.) This hamlet of Swettenham lies between Macclesfield & Crewe. When one considers how the pronunciation is altered by the addition of the extra 'e', it becomes clearer that the two names are likely to be distinct, rather than variants of the same name.

Despite this and the completely different geographical distribution, surname dictionaries group Sweetingham and Swetingham together and appear not to be able to establish a meaning.

posted by Norm Gray