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Ennever & Enever family history & ancestry. Click here to return to the home page WJ Ennever (1869-1947). From the portrait by J Seymour R.A., exhibited in the Royal Academy.



December 2011

About this newsletter

This family history newsletter is published three or four times a year usually when some interesting family items have been added to the website.  An email including a link to it is sent to all my family history contacts.  Please feel free to forward the email or a link to this page on to family members who may not have seen the website.


Origins of the name En(n)ever

Social unrest - has anything really changed in 200 years?

The founders of Willisville, Ontario

Ashes to Ashes (an example of intrigue and how our ancestors can make life difficult for family historians)

Ted Enever (author)


Origins of the name En(n)ever

The bust of Nefertiti from the Ägyptisches Museum Berlin collection, presently in the Neues Museum.
The bust of Nefertiti from the Ägyptisches Museum Berlin collection, presently in the Neues Museum.

As I mentioned in the previous newsletter, Ennever and its variants don't fit naturally into any of the usual surname categories and are often attributed to being of early medieval English origin, derived from the female given names of Guinevere or Guenever or even Jen(n)ifer. These are predominantly Welsh or west country names while all the early history of the Ennevers points to our English origins being in Kent or Essex, making a link to these names highly unlikely.

Almost all branches of the family, most with no obvious links for many generations, have had stories passed down that the family are of French descendancy and one of the earliest records in England of a name that may have been a variant of Ennever supports this version of the name's origins.

If you visit Egypt, however, you will find a hieroglyph or character 'nfr', pronounced 'nefer' as in Nefertiti and this will be one country where people don't say "what an unusual name"! The term nefer was very popular with the ancient Egyptians and it appears with a dozen different meanings in their literature and was incorporated into many personal names. 

If we then look at possible variations of the name across Europe we will find Enevoldsen in Scandinavia (the 'sen' meaning son of), Enever from Cyprus, Enver from Turkey and Hennevere and even Enneveu in France.  The very early reference is to a Raymond de Enevill and although its relevance may never be established this was a petition to the King dated 1306 in which Raymond, a merchant from Toulouse, was seeking payment of debts.  This document can be found at the National Archives website and is written in French.

With so many similarities it seems likely that the name originated from medieval traders and this would also explain why the name first occurs in the port areas of south-east England.  So, could the family have originally come from the Middle East?

Sources: Wikipedia, Egyptian Myths and The National Archives. I would like to thank Frankie Enever, Trevor Enever and Patricia Hill for their contributions.


Social unrest - has anything really changed in 200 years?

Rawfords Mill near Huddersfield, was attacked after being the first of its kind to introduce mechanisation
Rawfords Mill near Huddersfield, was attacked after being the first of its kind to introduce mechanisation

The British Newspaper Archive has recently added several million pages of historical newspapers dating back three centuries.  These newspapers are a wonderful resource for family historians and they also give us many insights into what our literate ancestors may have been preoccupied with 200 years ago, in 1811.

2011 has been marked by large-scale protest, public sector strikes, the "occupy" movements on Wall Street and at St Paul's Cathedral in London and the social unrest associated with this summer's riots.

Back in 1811, textile workers began organising themselves into a resistance force against the march towards capitalism. Skilled artisans, "stockingers" and "croppers", who came to be known collectively as the Luddites saw their livelihoods being threatened by a new class of manufacturer who was driving the Industrial Revolution with the introduction of industrial machines.

Early outbreaks of dissatisfaction and the government's response is recorded in the Liverpool Mercury of the 27th December.

"By the latest letters from Nottingham, Derby, and Leicester, we learn, that in the neighbourhood of Loughborough, three frames had been destroyed, but that during the middle of the week, the counties were tolerably tranquil... Government are adopting more effectual measures to suppress these riots. The Gazette on Saturday night contains a proclamation directed to the Magistrates, and all civil officers in the towns... where any riotous proceedings have taken place, directing the apprehension of any person concerned, and offering £50 to be paid upon the conviction of each and every offender."

Sources: The British Newspaper Archive & BBC website


The founders of Willisville, Ontario

The Willis family at Willisville
The Willis family at Willisville

The picturesque village of Willisville is located on Frood Lake in the heart of the La Cloche Mountains in Ontario, Canada.

The village derives its name from the first family, Ernest and Ada Willis, who settled on the northwest shore of Frood Lake in 1910. Mr. Willis became the first area postmaster on April 14, 1919 and continued until his death on December 24, 1928. He was also inspector of railway construction for the rail line connecting McKerrow and Little Current. On May 21, 1912 the line was opened. Ada Willis was postmaster from February 25, 1929 until April 27, 1932 and was reappointed on May 13, 1932 after her marriage to Henry Bennett. She remained as postmaster until her death on November 13, 1943 at which time Henry Bennett assumed the position of acting postmaster until January 14, 1944.

The area prospered with the development of the Bousquet Gold Mine and Howry Creek Mining Camp until their close in the early 20's. The highway to Manitoulin was completed in 1926 as a relief project and up to that time the rail line was used extensively. The quartzite mountains, crystal clear lakes, windswept pines and abundant wildlife draw many visitors to the area to canoe, hike, camp, fish, snowmobile, hunt, photograph and paint the landscape. Many of Canada's famous Group of Seven; including A.J. Casson, Franklin Carmichael, A.Y. Jackson, Lawren Harris and Arthur Lismer painted and camped in this area for numerous years. Franklin Carmichael's summer cabin was built in 1934 and Willisville residents help construct the log building.

Sources: The Willisville website & Dawn Hicks, granddaughter of Ernest who kindly gave me permission to publish this information and added many more descendants of George Humphrey & Elizabeth nee Enever.  George & Elizabeth were the parents of Ada, who married Ernest in 1896 in Assiginack and it was George & Elizabeth who emigrated to Canada in 1874, having been born in Northamptonshire.


Ashes to Ashes (an example of intrigue and how our ancestors can make life difficult for family historians)

The marriage of Joseph James Ash to Frances Enever. 21st Dec 1896
The marriage of Joseph James Ash to Frances Enever.  21st Dec 1896

Frances Enever married Joseph James Ash in Forest Gate, Essex in December 1896 and they had a son, Arthur E Ash, in about July 1900.  Frances then married again, using her maiden name, to Joseph's half brother, Alfred George Ash, in December 1904.  Bizarrely, this marriage took place on the anniversary of her first marriage, the 21st December, to Joseph.  Just five days later Joseph James Ash married Annie Blanche Bell, both marriages being bigamous with Joseph and Frances being recorded as bachelor and spinster respectively on their second marriages to try to hide the fact. 

There were two children apparently born to Alfred George Ash & Frances; Albert William Ash and Alfred Gordon Ash.  Albert was born in 1897 and is recorded as Alfred & Frances's child in the 1901 census when the three of them were living in Newington in south London.  This was the year after Frances had married Alfred's half-brother and 5 years before she and Alfred were to marry and so at this stage it is unclear whose child Albert actually was.  By 1911 Alfred and Frances were in Canning Town, north London, and recorded as having been married 15 years with 2 children, Albert and Alfred.  Meanwhile, back in 1901 and also in 1911, Arthur Ash was living with his grandparents making it appear that Frances had had a child with Joseph in 1900 between her 2 children with Alfred!

To further complicate the relationships Joseph James Ash's father, also Joseph Ash, had married Matilda Bunton in 1877 and both were previously married. I'm sure Matilda had married John Whittaker in Bethnal Green in 1869 and that Joseph Ash had married a Hannah Whittaker.  Coincidence?  Well possibly, but although I haven't found all the evidence I believe we will find a link exists between John & Hannah Whittaker.

It also seems possible that Ash is not the original family name as Joseph Ash, who married Hannah Whittaker and Matilda Bunton, consistently records his birthplace as Bethnal Green after his marriages but there's no trace of him, nor of his father, before then and no matching birth registration can be found for Joseph. 

Sometimes, our ancestors just don't make it easy for us!


Ted Enever (1934-2009)

Changing Faces, Changing Places by Ted Enever
Changing Faces, Changing Places by Ted Enever

The six-year old Edward James (Ted) Enever and his family were victims of the heavy bombing by the German Luftwaffe that became known as the Blitz.  Ted and his family lost their home and possessions in September 1940 and so left London to find safety, shelter and a new way of life in the villages of Woburn Sands and Aspley Guise in Bedfordshire.

Ted wrote about his experiences in several of the books he wrote including 'Cockney Kid & Countrymen' and 'Changing Faces, Changing Places'.  Ted was a journalist by occupation and was also the author of 'Britain's Best Kept Secret', the story of the Bletchley Park organisation that was to have a profound impact on the course of the Second World War.  It was at Bletchley Park that a small team eventually broke the German 'Enigma' codes and hence shortened the war by several years saving countless lives.  Ted sadly died in 2009.


In addition to these items I have added many hundreds of new people, events and documents to our families so it is always worth a regular look at the 'What's new' page.

I hope there’s been something of interest for you and as always if you have any family information or old family photos you are happy to share please do let me know.  If you prefer not to receive future notifications of newsletters please click here and ask to be removed.

Season's greetings.

Barry Ennever

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