22 Oct

A GREAT DISCOVERY! - The chapter of this site now titled "From Wickendorf to Wickenden" was originally titled "From Wickenburg to Wickenden."  It was inspired by the realization that since the town of Wickenburg in Arizona was named after Henry Wickenburg who was, himself, named after a town in Germany, that town may, itself, have been named after the clan of Angles named Wick or (in Latin) Hwicce.   In searching for a place in Germany named Wickenburg (the mountain of the Wicks), I discovered a number of individuals named "von Wickenburg," and found one location on a map of Germany with that name.  However, never thinking that there might be other Hwicce-related names on the Continent, I inadvertently stumbled onto the German Wikipedia (not a relation but a reference source) and found that it listed a Wickendorf (village of the Hwicce) - and not just one but FIVE of them, ranging in location from Poland to Austria to central Germany to northern Germany.  These are all old names for ancient places, but there is no way of determining just how old and therefore just when and for how long the Hwicce may have settled in these locations.  Nevertheless, the proliferation of names appears to provide solid evidence that the Hwicce may have originated (with the Angles and other Germanic tribes) somewhere near southern or  central Germany and may have moved from there up to the North Sea before migrating down the coast and over to Britain.  This discovery has several important implications: (1) that the Hwicce are an ancient people, (2) that their name originated in the mists of history rather than, say, at the time they were first identified in Britain by Roman documents, (3) that the Hwicce were a substantial group of families or clan identified separately from the other Germanic tribes, (4) that they may have migrated to Kent with some of the earliest Anglo-Saxons and been granted or established settlements along the south shore of the Thames, and (5) that they may have traveled west from there, with some of the family group moving south into the Weald of Kent to establish the Wicken den.  WOW!

WRAPPING UP A CHAPTER - Having documented this discovery and added a map with the various Wickendorf locations, I finished work on the end of the chapter by adding information from the Study of the Weald of Kent by K. P. Witney.  I may need to add some information from Ewing's History of Cowden to the end of the chapter, but for all intents and purposes, this chapter on the prehistory of the Wickendens is finished.  Another piece of the puzzle in place! 

STRUGGLING TO CONNECT THE DOTS - While finishing up a chapter brings a sense of accomplishment, I have also take on  a challenge presented by Ken Watson, that has not been so easy to overcome.  Ken and I share the genealogical line of Wickendens leading through Thomas Rogers Wickenden back to his father, Thomas, and his father, Samuel, to his father and grandfather, both James Wickendens.  However there we have hit a wall - with James Wickenden, born around Rochester around 1738.   Using the International Genealogical Index (IGI) compiled by the LDS Church, I had previously located some Wickendens of about the right age born in Reading, Berkshire, but this is some 60 miles to the northwest of Cowden and 80 from Rochester, the other two dots that need to connect in the line, and seems an unusually long distance  I subsequently discovered that the IGI , even though it lists over 1,600 Wickendens born between 1550 and 1750, is known to be incomplete, and I could subsequently find only one Wickenden from the parish of Strood, near Rochester. Ken had warned me about these kinds of difficulties.  Since then I have read David Wright's book on Tracing your Kent Ancestors, and find that the IGI is "selective in ignoring burials, taking entries sometimes from transcripts and not originals, and requiring individual permissions so county coverage varies enormously.  Kent is poor but the index remains as a magisterial name finder" (p. 61.   Wright's book is most useful in describing basic sources, helpful resources, and ways to proceed.  However, the difficulties are clearly enumerated and more generally, Wright warns the reader that "for the majority of people the sober conclusion will soon be reached that a large proportion of ancestors cannot be traced with any certainty much before the Tudor period, or even the English Civil War" (p. 18).  Although family history is my main interest rather than genealogy, I would like to see our line moved back as far as possible toward Cowden, without devoting all my time to this one line - so what to do?  At this point I believe I will take the line one ancestor at a time, record what I can on each from all the major on-line sources, indexes as well as other family trees, and see what we can make of the weight of evidence.  If necessary, I am resolved to identify more than one (perhaps multiple), POSSIBLE pathways back to Cowden.  In addition, I have realized that it would be useful to develop a new Article in this website on Pathways to (and from) Cowden.  The three sections of the article could include (1) links to existing Wickenden famlly trees, (2) a description of these possible pathways to Cowden and (3) a listing (perhaps by decade) and analysis of the growth of the early Wickendens in England, along with a map (or maps) showing how the early Wickendens moved from Cowden to disperse  throughout the island and from where they emigrated to other countries. 

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