We are pleased to be able to devote part of this new site to research by genealogists Mike Darch and David Yaw. The fruits of Mike’s early research were first published on Sheila’s site in 2008, followed by a significant revision in 2015. We are pleased to present the results of their latest findings.
Mike and David have explored a loosely connected group of families that can be traced back to the early 16th Century in the areas around Tiverton, Taunton and Bridgwater. They were not exclusively located there, as one line can be documented through Bickington to the Totnes area in the mid 16th Century. Besides Yea, Yaw and Yeaw, in early records of this branch, surnames were often written Yeo and as other variants. This would have reflected the levels of literacy of the time, especially in small rural parishes where only the cleric could read and write and simply wrote down the name he heard; anyone familiar with the nuances of West Country accents will readily understand how that could give rise to such variations.
So, while it is possible to identify a group of families with these surnames – which became more distinct as certain members grew wealthier and needed to execute important legal documents with a consistency in spelling of the name – nothing in the Mike and David’s research should be interpreted as implying they were necessarily separate from the Yeos of Devon and Cornwall documented elsewhere.
The research represents a comprehensive update of their earlier work. It contains significant new material, much of it not previously in the public domain. The files are subject to copyright as indicated. Users of some operating systems might need Adobe Acrobat to view the PDF files; those that show charts should be viewed at a high magnification.
The PDF files linked from this page exclude birth and marriage dates of people who might still be living. For researchers who can demonstrate a direct family connection, David and Mike might be able to provide further information – please contact them by email as above.
In his previously published research, acknowledging and referencing Alfred Monday’s work, Mike proposed that his own ancestor Robert Yea of Kingston St Mary (died 1710) was directly descended from Richard Yea who died in 1548. From his and David’s latest research, including transcribing records of court cases only recently available, it is now evident that this was not so. The histories of a number of lines of this branch can now be documented with a high level of confidence.
Mike and David will be pleased to hear by email from anyone interested in these branches. Details and transcripts of some unpublished marriage settlements, wills, deeds of property transactions, court cases and other records may be available. Please do not use the Contact Us page on this site to get in touch with them – instead use the email addresses shown clearly in the PDF files linked from the pages in this menu.