Yardy One-Name Study


This page will publish occasional updates on the progress on the study of Yardys around the world. The timeline further down the page gives a sequence of how the research evolved before the launch of this website in February 2013.

November 2017 - More Questions than Answers

As I've mentioned before, I haven't done much further research on Yardys over the last year or so, since I have been working on my Skyrme study, which is where most interest is shown from others. You know the apocryphal anecdote about London busses - you wait for ages, then three come along at once. It has been a bit like that with enquiries about Yardy to this website. Having not had a single enquiry for just short of a year, I got three during one week in October. Each raised interesting issues, so below is a summary.

Knottingly War Memorial. As is happening in many localities, there is a project to find out more about the people whose names appear on the war memorial in these centenary years following WW1. The one at Knottingly, Yorkshire - see details at 'Roll of Honour' lists two people who appear in my Yardy database - Thomas William Yardy and Samuel Bugg (the son of Charles Bugg and Margaret Yardy and a cousin of Thomas).

Thomas (a descendant of the Yardys of Walpole St. Peter, Norfolk) worked on the Lancs and Yorkshire railway as a locmotive cleaner before joining the war effort. He served in the Royal Engineers in Egypt and received the Distinguished Conduct Medal (DCM). The citation reads: "Spr T.W.Yardy, 96th Lt. Rly. Coy., R.E. (Knottingley) EGPYT. For devotion to duty at advanced railhead, and being very frequently under shell fire and working excessively long hours." He was killed very near the end of the war on 16th October 1918.

The puzzle that was brought to my attention, is that in the new GRO register Thomas's grandmother's maiden name is listed as Wallis, yet I have it as Pearce. Rechecking various records, his grandparents moved from Long Sutton to New Bolinbroke in Lincolnshire and then back to Walpole St Peter, where his grandfather Robert was born. Various censuses identify 9 or 10 children, yet only three of these have mother's maiden name Pearce; the rest have Wallis (or Wallace). There are no death or marriage records that indicate that Robert married again, nor any Wallis's in the area in the 1851 and 1861 censuses that might suggest that the children might have been adopted. Intriguing....


The Brickmakers of Whittlesey. A descendant of John Yardy (1840-1910) and Elizabeth (née Stallebrass) got in touch to say that he only found out about how Elizabeth died through this website (see April 2013 news). John was a farmer at Stonaldfield, an area to the west of the main village. Much of it today is a modern housing estate. However, there are fields and what is visible today reaching upwards are wind turbines and chimneys - see photo. The chimneys are on the site of a brickworks.In fact, several brickworks were in these parts for many years, although now only the one remains. British History Online notes that Whittlesey is on an island: "The 'island' is composed of a thin capping of gravel on a subsoil of Oxford Clay, which here reaches its farthest extension to the north-east. This fact has led to the development of important brickworks, whose forty chimney-stacks render Whittlesey conspicuous from a great distance."

One of John and Elizabeth's sons was a labourer in the brickworks (others were coachmen and farmers), but you don't need to look far into relatives to find many listed in 19th century censuses as "brickmakers". For example, John's grandfather Thomas (also known as John) has this as his occupation in the 1841 census. You can read about some of them in The Yardys of the Fens - Chapter 4 (PDF: 0.8Mb)


Hardy not Yardy. My third enquirer was trying to find more about a Jane Yardy who married Matthew Deacon. They were living in Tynemouth and Middlesborough in 1871 and 1881 respectively. I could not find her in my database, and a day later my correspondent said he he discovered that it was Hardy, not Yardy. I checked by looking for Mathhew's marriage, and also for his children in the new GRO index (which gives mother's maiden name). Sure enough it was Hardy.

But what led us on the wild goose chase? It was an official GRO certified copy (dated 1998) of the birth registration for their daughter Annie Deacon in 1866. So either the original registrar heard it wrong, or it was copied wrong. Yardy is often mistranscribed on the subscription websites as Yordy or Gardy, but rarely Hardy. It just goes to show how much you need to use multiple sources, and check and double check originals as far as you are able.

As I noted, the furthest north I have found any Yardys is Acomb in Yorkshire, which is still quite a way south from Tyneside!

August 2016 - Background Data Collection and Enquiry Handling

As noted in the workplan section, work on the Yardy ONS has taken a back seat owing to ongoing research on the Skyrme ONS. However, when I receive an enquiry, it does mean I investigate a particularly branch of the Yardy family. So the database continuse to grow. Also, as new records come online, I do trawl them for Yardy entries. Some of the interesting ones I have captured in recent months include:

Walpole St Peter church

From criminal to constable. We noted earlier (scroll to very bottom of this page) how Richard Yardy, born around 1815 in Walpole St Peter (photo of church right) was transported for larceny to New South Wales. In the NSW Gazette and various newspaper reports I came across various references to Alexander McLennan Yardy, a police constable. In April 1929 there was this text in the Gazette: "Notice is hereby given that Sergeant 3rd Class Alexander McLennan Yardy has been appointed Inspector of Slaughter-houses for that part of the Barham Police Patrol situated within the Shire of Wakool." On tracing his ancestors I find that he is the great grandson of Richard.

An untimely death. During the last year or so, many new World War I records have come online. Browsing through my unprocessed Yardy military records I found one that was not on the usual formal record forms, and is a series of eye witness accounts. This was a document produced by The Australian Red Cross Society (Wounded and Missing Enquiry Files 1DRL/0428) of the death of Richard Alfred Yardy of the 30th Battalion of the Australian Imperial Force. The report by informant Private Henry Hodgson reads: "On 19th July 1916, at Armentieres, we took the first line at 6pm and were waiting to advance. Two shells came and then a third shell struck me, injuring me and killing Yardy. He was just behind me. I saw him dead." Other witness reports saying "shot in the head and body and killed instantly", "shot through the shoulder", "killed by shrapnel", "killed by shell fire". I also found the record on his embarkation, initially to Egypt and then to France. It was on HMAT (His Majesty's Australian Transport) Beltana (A72) on 9th November 2015. (For more information on the ship go to Flotilla Australia (John E Hoskin). On researching Richard's ancestors, it turns out that he was the cousin of Alexander.

pow card

Captured by the Japanese. Also now online are images of Japanese prisoner of war cards. One is for Lance Sergeant David Charles Yardy, whose next of kin were living in Norwich at the time. He was in the 6th battalion of the Royal Norfolk Regiment and captured in the fall of Singapore on 15th May 1942. Also captured was Lance Sergeant John Yardy of 2nd Battalion, Cambridgeshire Regiment. His parents lived in Wimblington near March. Both were interred in Thailand and released on 2nd September 1945. I've yet to work out their ancestry and how they were related.

So that's just a flavour of the kind of material I have been discovering. There is still a lot of transcribing of Huntingdonshire records to do on the Yeardyes of Glatton, and then ongoing construction of the Yeardye family trees. It will therefore most likely be next year before there is a further news update, unless somebody comes up with an enquiry that results in some interesting finds.


October 2014 - Fenland Visit

I have to confess that my work on the Yardy's has taken a bit of a back seat, while I have concentrated on the other One-Name Study that I have recently taken over, that of my family name Skyrme (see www.Skyrme.info). However, at the end of August I did spend a few days in Fenland looking out the locations where the Yardys lived. Fenland is still mainly agricultural with highly fertile soil, and (apart from the many wind turbines that are visible in the landscape) probably don't look too much different today than they did 100 years ago. The picture on the right is near Flood's Ferry, home of William Yarday (b1829) whose family originally came from Wisbech. For my base I used Stilton (the home of Mary Yeardye nee Johnson and daughter Hannah Yeardey in 1861 after husband Charles Yeardye of Glatton died). In two and a half days I visited:

I am currently working on the variant Yeardye, found initially in Glatton. I made some interesting finds at the archives including the 4-page will of Enderbye Yeardye (c1720-1763) who actually wrote his name "Yardye", and an even earlier one of William Yeardye dated 1661. I have photos of leases, transcripts of parish records, workhouse removal orders, probate records - altogether some 125 pages of old records, so it will take some time to scrutinise these and extract useful information! Here is a flavour (part of a document transcribed to the best of my ability):

"The Account Between Mr Robt. Roe and Jas. Yeardye

To the purchase of 7acres 3 roods in Glatton Field£113:19
Mortgage to Mr Goodman dated 28th May 1771}£ 100
Interest for one year at 5pc }£5
Do. for 10 months and 14 days at 4:18pc up to April 1773}£ 3:10:9
Paid in part }£ 1:1 -
Balance to Mr Yeardye£3:19:3
March 10th 1773 Settled the above account£113:19:0

I'll leave you to check if the maths is correct!

May 2014 - 7 Year Old Migrates to the USA

Doesn't family history research always take much longer than you anticipate? I am still working through the Yeardyes of Huntingdonshire and have followed them as they migrated to throughout the county and beyond to places like Boston (Lincolnshire) but mostly London (Kentish Town, Hampstead, Bayswater etc.). There are now over 120 individuals and counting, so it might be some time yet before this chapter of the Yardy book is published on this website. One of the reasons for the delays is that as you come across a new record set with a One Name Study (as opposed to researching a tree), you check out all the entries for the name and its variants. Recently I've downloaded many first world war military records (more about which in a later post), and also various USA records.

One newpaper report that caught my eye was headlined "Lad of 7 Makes Way Alone Across Ocean". This referred to 7-year old Gerald Yardy, who arrived in Philadephia in September 1911 on the liner Merlon from Liverpool. He is reported as "rushing down the gangway to be warmly clasped in the arms of his mother, whom he had not seen for two years." He was apparently the passengers' favourite, and "had won the heart of every one on board, including bluff old Capt. Hill." One of the passengers had given him a Teddy bear, so he was known for most of the voyage as "Little Teddy". Gerald had been living with his grandmother in Yorkshire (Sarah Yardy nee Foster) in Manningham Yorkshire. His parents John York Yardy and Florence (nee Whitehead) had emigrated around 1906 to Nicetown, Philadelphia, but brought Gerald over after John's mother died. Gerald is listed as a photographer in the 1940 census while his father was a car inspector. Gerald died in Bronx, New York, 1972. His ancestor Yardy's are part of my tree, the furthest back of whom I have traced is John William Yardy, born around 1785 in Wisbech.

March 2014 - A Tale of Two Architects

It's been a while since I reported progress, and since October I've now joined Ancestry.co.uk as well as keeping up my subscription to FindMyPast. Ancestry has some collections that are not on FindMyPast such as probate indexes and ship passenger records. My main focus though is the continuing work on the Yeardyes and there are now over 100 individuals in the database (the Yardy count is now close to 500). In the late 1800s many Yeardyes dispersed from Huntingdonshire to London and further afield, including Australia. One interesting contrast is that of William Yeardye (born 1857) and his younger brother Joseph (born 1862).

Sons of shoemaker William (1829-1884) they both became architects. William junior moved to Gosport in his early 20s and became something of a respected figure in the community. He practiced at both Gosport and Fareham and was for a while Alverstoke's (Gosport) Deputy Surveyor. Several tender requests, e.g. for school buildings, were issued in his name. He was also a member of the district council. He died while in his prime at age 38. The funeral report in the Hampshire Telegraph of 8th June 1895 said: "The funeral cortege was a long one, there being no fewer than 23 carriages." He left an estate worth £1,576, a sizeable sum in those days.

In contrast Joseph decamped in the other direction to Ilfracombe in Devon, where at age 25 he married a Devon girl Emily Brooks. However, his business was not successful and in 1904 he became bankrupt. He applied for discharge in October where the Western Times reports that he admitted receiving 12 shillings from the will of his uncle James after he became bankrupt and that "the application was adjourned for a month to see what arrangement could be made with regard to paying the £72 12s he owed to the Official Receiver". The London Gazzette of 3rd February 1905 reports his discharge by Barnstaple court on 8th November 1904. We don't know what happened to him afterwards in that his wherabouts in the 1911 census has not been found and his wife Emily was then a lodging house keeper living with her three children and widowed mother in Ilfracombe. Joseph died in early 1936 aged 74.

A fascinating contrast and we hope that some new 20th century records or recollections from relatives will come to light and shed more light on the two brothers.

October 2013 - The Yeardyes from Glatton

For the last few months, I've mostly concetrated on the Skyrme side of my family. This is a result of visiting Pembrokeshire in June. However, in September I took advantage of Ancestry.co.uk's offer of free access to the 1911 census. There were some 250 Yardys recorded, and it was a painstaking job to click on each one to check that I had it correctly recorded in my database. In fact, I probably only found 10-20 facts that were missing or wrong. The most usual problem was a transcription error which means that I cannot find a Yardy in Findmypast (my main online source). From the Ancestry record I was able to find the address, do a 1911 address search on Findmypast, see what the error was, download the printer friendly format (not available on Ancestry) and report to Findmypast a transcription error! One intriguing thing has emerged. A family who variously called themselves Yeardyes instead of Yardys. I first came across these in early records on FamilySearch, 1700s in Huntingdonshire. If you look on the individuals report (PDF: 2.6Mb), you'll see I've just listed one. That's because as they changed their name to Yardy, that's the way I entered it in the database, even if sometimes it appeared as Yeardye. However, with a solicitors clerk Charles Endersby Yeardye being prominent in the 1911 census (the family had moved from Huntingdonshire to Hulme and Ardwick in Manchester), I am now going through all the Yeardye sources and changing their surname for some family groups. Watch this space...

As part of my policy of publishing work in progress, warts and all, I have published two new extracts from the database:

If your a Yardy or Yardy follower, you'll no doubt find some errors and report them back to me.

May 2013 - Servants to the Great and Good

I'm now nearly half way through my research into the Yardys of March and surrounds. In the mid 19th century most of the men were agricultural labourers or brickmakers. Many of the girls, however, went into domestic service. Although several of them started as servants in the March area, quite a few found their way to London. One such trio were Susanna, Sarah and Ann, born from 1853 to 1862 who seem to have moved to the same area of Marylebone between the censuses of 1871 and 1881. They were the descendants of John Yardy (b1780) and Mary Uffindell.

Susanna's story is interesting. In 1871 at the age of 17 she was an under housemaid to George Walker, the rector of Doddington, and his family. Through some connection her next master was William James Russell of 34 Upper Hamilton Terrace, St. John's Wood Road, Marylebone. She remained a spinster and stayed with him and his household for about 30 years. I noted this fact, but was intrigued by the notation "FRS" after his name in the 1881 census. It so happens that William James Russell was an eminent professor of chemistry who in 1872 was elected a Fellow of The Royal Society (FRS) as "author of a new method of estimating sulphur" and a "researcher on the analysis of gases". He later did interesting work on the fogs of London and also gave his name to the "Russel Effect" in which agents other than light can make an impression on a photographic emulsion. Even after Russell's death in 1909, his executors or family must have valued Susanna's experience since the 1991 census finds her still at his 14 room house, along with one other person, another middle-aged spinster servant from Doddington.

It is this exploration of the context behind the raw census data that makes genealogy studies so interesting.

April 2013 - Yardys in the News (100+ years ago)

One of the resources that has come online during the last year is the British Newspaper Archive. However if you do a search on 'Yardy' you get over 3,000 hits. Many of these are spurious, being errors introduced by OCRing the original scans, and finding the word Yard. The quality of transcript is also much worse than another newspaper resource I use (though not for Yardys) which is Welsh Newspapers OnLine (Beta). Nevertheless I have started working through stories systematically starting with The Stamford Mercury which covers much of the area of The Fens. Most are to do with criminality or untimely deaths. The Yardys were both perpetrators and victims as this selection shows:

As I unearth more of these stories I will start a new section specifically devoted to them. Also where positive identification is made, the details will be added to the notes of the respective individuals in the family trees.

12 March 2013 - Intriguing Links

Since an ONS is meant to be world-wide, I've started recording Yardys world-wide, alongside my delving into the trees of the Yardys of March of Cambridgeshire. So far I have recorded about a dozen USA family groups from the 1940 census. Two of these are from Okmulgee, Oklahoma of Indian ethnicity. This makes me wonder how they acquired the Yardy name. Elsewhere there are groups in Illinois, Philadelphia, New York, Seattle and California. The heads of two families were born in England. One is that of George Joseph Yardy, residing in Turlock, California. He is the person mentioned below as facing deportation on arrival in New York. So whether the authorities relented and let him stay, or whether he returned later and was allowed in, is an unresolved question - unless, of course, you know better! I've also been able to link a naval Ltn Commander from Wellington, New Zealand to ancestors in Walpole St. Peter, Norfolk. But there's still a lot to do in finding the English ancestors of those 1940 families I've already recorded.

3 March 2013 - Software and Ships

I've spent the last week or so deciding on what software to use as I get into the ONS in earnest. For several years I've used RootsMagic and it has held both my own family tree and my studies into the Skyrmes (see www.skyrme.info) and the Yardys. I looked at software that other ONSers and tried them out. Custodian 3 is based on Microsoft Access and has customised tables for entering data from a wide range of records. Frequently recommended is The Master Genealogist (TMG). It has lots of features and customisation. However although I could happily explore their sample database, every way I tried to import my own data it came up with OLE errors. I uninstalled it and reinstalled it several times and tried fixes others had suggested (in the absence of any support response from the company) to no avail. It did work OK on my desktop PC but this is not the one I do my genealogy on. Further investigation showed that my problems were not unique and that TMG is based on a 1990s database and seems to be unstable on certain computer configurations. Someon then pointed me to a pacakage I did no know - Family Historian 5. While not having the functionality out of the box as TMG or some of the standard reports of RootsMagic, it has a lot going for it. I particularly like the following:

So this is now the primary software for this study.

While doing this investigation and migrating files I did not want to make changes to my current database, so I looked at sources which more readily lent themselves to data collection into Excel. This got me started on US records, including SSDI (Social Security Death Index) and Ellis Island Records of arrivals by ship into New York. There were only 10 Yardy entries in the latter but some of these were very interesting. It showed a couple of Yardys already living in Pennsylvania and another in a ship's company who lived in Canada. There was a Jan Yardy who was Polish but who had recently lived in Austria. I cannot believe this is related to the Yardys in the ONS, but most likely the result of an immigration official anglicising a difficult to write name. I have therefore excluded this person. Perhaps the most distressing was the entry of a George Yardy in 1924 travelling with his friend from The Fens. He failed the medical, being blind in one eye and limited sight in the other and was immediately deported.

February 2013 - March is Coming

Work is now well underway on the Yardys of March and Doddington in Cambridgeshire. At the 1841 census there were eight family groups and an individual. One thing that warranted further investigation was the death of two members of one family within 3 days of each other in 1849. It turned out that they had died of cholera and March was one of the places most badly hit in the country becuase of its poor sanitary conditions. Several families lived in The Sumps, near today's High Street and by the river, which was renowned for its wetness and stagnant water. Researching more into such contextual information will I hope make the unfolding story of the Yardys more interesting to readers.

January 2013 - The Yardys of Whittlesey

Work was completed (at least for a first pass) on the Yardys of Whittlesea. Rather than wait until the complete Yardys of The Fens document to be completed, I may well clean up what I have and publish it as a chapter on this website before Easter (Update: Now uploaded - see publications). As the 19th century came to a close, descendants of the original Whittlesey families can be found in London, Lincolnshire, Leicestershire and Sussexr among aother places. Here are a few snippets to whet your appetite:



Details of all instances of Yardy found in all published UK censuses (1841-1911) were recorded from searchas at findmypast.co.uk. After using both Ancestry and FindMyPast, I found that transcriptions were often better at the former. There are still gaps, as several Yardys had to be hunted down by locations since transcript errors included spellings such as Gardy and Yordy which are not easily picked up when looking for variants.

At the end of the year there were 409 Yardys in my database (221 male, 188 female). There are undoubtedly many duplicates since common names like John and William appear in different records with different birth years, though further research may identify them as one and the same. Also as the geographic scope is expanded (to other parts of the UK, Australia and the USA) more will be added.

Towards the end of the year, work started on the publication The Yardys of The Fens. Just like the Skyrme project of 2011-12, this is probably a 12-15 month project, so it may (or may not!) be completed by the end of 2013. The first family groups covered were the Yeardyes of Glatton in Huntingdonshire and the first generation descendants of the Yardys of Walpole St. Peter (my ancestors). Attention then turned to the Yardys of Whittlesea of which three family groups are to be found in England's 1841 census.


Work started in earnest on my own family tree (see www.skyrme.info). This included my maternal grandmother's line Sarah Yardy. My branch of the family was based for most of the 19th century at Walpole St. Peter near Wisbech on the Norfolk, Cambridgeshire border. With some help from correspondents on ancestry.co.uk this was traced back to John William Yardy (c1795-1858). His descendants are shown in the Yardys of Walpole tree.

One of the interesting surprises that came out of this was the discovery of Yardy descendants in New South Wales, Australia. This can be traced back to the deportation of Richard Yardy, one of John Yardy's sons, after several thefts in the Walpole area in 1834-35. He obtained his certificate of freedom on 30th April 1842 and died in 1892 at Dugong, NSW. His descendants live on.

This page last updated 3rd November 2017