The Babbage family of Devon

The Babbage family is one of few that allows me to research in other counties than Cambridgeshire.

The earliest ancestor that I can be sure of is my 4x Great Grandfather, John Babbage who first appears in records as a Labourer in Somerset, England in 1809 when he married my 4x Great Grandmother Ann Norman.

My most recent Babbage ancestor was my 3x Great Grandmother, Mary Babbage who was born in the village of Holcombe Rogus, Devon, but after her marriage to my 3x Great Grandfather Samuel Burnell, they moved to raise a family at Combe Florey, also in the county of Devon, United Kingdom.

At least one of Mary's siblings survived long enough to raise a family, but whilst these were not Babbage surname-holders, her oldest son John Babbage Saturley took the family name as his middle name.

There are plenty of other Babbages in the area though. One such group provided me with a temporary wrong turn - seeing a John Shore Babbage and his wife Rebecca Vodden give me a sudden rush of relatives - and a hefty set of Will documents. Sadly, my assumed link to this family group proved incorrect, and so the research remains on file just in case I find them lurking elsewhere in my tree whilst researching in the future.

Charles Babbage's family

My Babbage ancestors are living in the right county, and at the right time, for there to be a connection between Charles Babbage and my tree, but so far a connection to the pioneering mathematician and philosopher and his family, remains elusive.

In his life, Charles Babbage showed little interest in his family history, leaving little clues in his writings as to his origins. There are some conflicting reports as to his birthplace.

Variants of the Babbage surname

I've stumbled across several variants in the spelling of my Babbage ancestors through the years. In fact, my first discovery of the surname was on a birth certificate where it was spelt as Babbidge. Here's my list of variants so far:

  • Babbage
  • Bobbage
  • Babbidge
  • Babago
  • Babage

As you can see, there's a few interesting interpretations of the surname, and I wonder how much illiteracy and accent plays a role in adding or subtracting from this (the 'Babago' variant sounds particularly exotic).

Babbage family connections

The Babbage family provide me with links to a number of other ancestral families: