Sunday, 16 November 2008

Beginning of Study

The Vicary One-Name Study was started by myself, Ian Vicary back in 1988 when I was trying to trace my own family tree. My daughter was visiting Brighton University and I had a few hours free time there. I remembered that several years earlier my father had shown me where his Grandfather was buried, in a church yard on the Brighton Hove boarder. I found the church - alas no graves, just a brand new church hall. But some kind soul had recorded all the headstones and deposited the details in the local library.

After searching all my own family records and speaking to as many relatives as I could, I set everything down on paper, paid for some research but eventually got stuck in 1799. I began to write to all the Vicary's in the telephone directory. This brought a flood of replies, letters, family trees, documents, and recollections. None, however, helped me with my own tree.

All of this, together with the information collected by extracting data from public records and indexes has been compiled into some sort of order. It comprises over one hundred separate trees and many thousands of individuals. Some of the trees are very large and span several continents, others are small with just two or three generations. The further back I can research, the more data that is added, I am sure that many of the smaller trees will link into one of the larger ones. It is inevitable that some will never be, the information needed lost in the mists of time

Sources and Indexes
During the last twenty years I have extracted data from many sources, the main ones being:-

St Catherine's House Indexes of births, deaths and marriages covering the years 1837 to date. This gives name, month or quarter event registered and the registration district. From approx. 1920 it also gives - for births, mothers maiden names - for marriages, spouses maiden names - for deaths, date of birth instead of age,

The ten yearly UK census indexes from 1841 to 1901.

The 1992 edition of the International Genealogical Index (IGI) for all counties in UK

Commonwealth War Graves listings.

I also have a variety of other, smaller indexes and lists such as monumental inscriptions and Kelly's Trade directories covering specific counties.

The other, and most interesting source of information is that sent in to me by hundred of Vicarys and related people from across the UK and around the World.

The process of gathering data is ongoing and if you have not yet written to me with your own tree I would be extremely interested to hear from you and to receive all the Vicary information that you have. If I make a connection I will write and let you know.

Overseas Research
In addition to all the research and information I have from UK sources I am also building up a collection from Australia, Canada, New Zealand and USA. Most of this has been sent to me by Vicarys living in these countries.

Currently I have most of Australia and New Zealand covered and am now in the process of piecing together the American and Canadian information onto family trees.

By far the most common variant of the name is VICKERY, at least two thirds, perhaps close to three quarters are spelt this way. The VICARY spelling is the next most common.

Other modern variants include VICKARY, VICCARY and VICAREY. However, the further back you go the greater number of variants. In the Middle Ages the name would have been spelt Vicarie, Viccarie, Vicarye or even Vycarie. Remember in those days few could spell their own name, even fewer write it, and it was left to the parish priest or clerk to write down the name as he thought it should be spelt.

The Origins of the name
There are a number of theories as to the origins of the name, Spanish sailors shipwrecked after the Armada and French Huguenots fleeing the Revolution are two of the more romantic ones. It is more likely to have come as someone associated with the church - the vicar, who carried out the pastoral duties on behalf of the absentee holder of a benefice. The derivation is from the Anglo French 'Vicare' or 'Vicaire', perhaps this originally from the Latin 'Vicarius', the word used for a deputy or substitute minor official in Roman times. Thus back to the medieval, one acting as Parish priest in place of the parson or rector.

The earliest known record of the name is that of Henrie Vicarie in 1249. Roberto Vicario de Acford (now called Oakford) was witness to a deed in 1260. Also a William Vikery was noted on the 1319 Rolls of London.

One noble bearer of the name was Thomas Vicary, surgeon to King Henry VIII about 1528 and for several years master of the Barber Surgeons Company. He was also a Governor of St Bartholomews Hospital, London. There is a painting by Holbein in the Barber-Surgeons Hall showing Thomas receiving the Royal Charter from the King.
In the Guildhall library is a lease bearing his signature.

A coat of arms was granted to the Vicary family of Warminster in Wiltshire in 1558 comprising a black shield with two red cinuefoils on a silver chief, the crest being a gold peacock close.

Keeping up to date
If you are interested in receiving updates on the progress of this One-Name Study by way of email newsletters please let me know by sending me your email address. If there is sufficient interest I will try and produce something on a regular basis.

You too can help
I am always adding to my data by indexing public records myself and by acquiring indexes extracted by other family historians. Every so often I also check the telephone directories and write to any new entries to try and place them on the Vicary 'jig saw'.

I have registered my interest with the Guild of One-Name Studies (member number 2185) and am bound by their constitution which includes the obligation to reply to any query relating to the Vicary name that I receive, providing a SAE (UK) or three IRC's (International Reply Coupons) are enclosed.

If I am writing for information I will enclose a SAE myself.

I am also presently a member of the Devon, the Sussex, and the Gwent Family History Societies.

Make Contact

E Mail: ian @
Or: vicary @