Viking Ancestor? / You Betcha


I’m not that into genealogy, but my family actually has history that’s not difficult to trace, so whenever I’m bored, I have a look back for the fun of it. Today, it was the female side of my Anglo-Saxon people, (Garwood family), one of whom left Chelmondiston in Suffolk for New Jersey, in 1687. He was a Quaker, and brought his 2nd wife and two young sons from his first marriage. (Rowe)

His first wife’s surname was Rowe; another Chelmondistan family. Turns out they arrived with William the Conquerer, and one or more of them fought at the Battle of Hastings, 1066. Rowe means “red-haired” possibly from French “Le Rous”. Surnames weren’t used in England at this time: people were known by physical characteristics; it was the Normans who converted these “nicknames” into surnames. The “Redheads” were given land in Norfolk, where the Garwoods were already long-settled.

Despite being on “opposite sides” in the struggle for England’s Kingship, the two families did get together by the late 1600s, in Suffolk, and here I am, in Wyoming. Long journey!


Two red-haired Normans depicted in the Bayeaux Tapestry, commemorating the Battle of Hastings, 1066. Note the haircut: shaved back of the head, longer in front.


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