The Gothard family of Cambridgeshire

The Gothard family have origins in Cambridgeshire dating back to at least 1814, when my 5x Great Grandparents Richard Gothard and his first wife Elizabeth Butcher of Witcham, Cambridgeshire, England became parents to their third child, my 4x Great Grandfather, William Gothard.

William worked as a shepherd for at least 40 years, during which time he married my 3x Great Grandmother Sarah Hawkins and the couple became parents nine times between 1841 and 1863, including to my 2x Great Grandmother Mary Gothard.

Gothard family move to Wilburton

By 1861, the Gothard family had moved from Witcham to the nearby village of Wilburton, where they set up home at The Black Horse public house for at least 20 years.

Whilst William's grandson Benjamin William Gothard emigrated to California, USA by the summer of 1900, most of the Gothard family stayed close to home.

William and Sarah's penultimate child, Joseph Gothard went to live at Histon, close to Cambridge, where he and a number of his children worked for the long-running family food business, Chivers during the late 19th and early 20th century.

Their daughter Jane Elizabeth Gothard married and moved to nearby Littleport, where she and some her children worked for the Hope Brothers Ltd shirt factory before leaving for Macclesfield, Cheshire.

Other Gothard families nearby

A number of Gothard family groups can be found in the records and cemetery at nearby Haddenham - the neighbouring village of Witcham and Wilburton. As yet, I've not located the ancestral connection between these branches, despite them being only a couple of miles apart.

Albert Gothard - Headteacher

One of these includes Albert William Gothard who had a long and successful career as teacher, including 21 years as the headteacher at Wilburton village primary school before his retirement in 1971.

Warner Gothard - Royal Photographer

Another as-yet unconnected Gothard family groups comes from Littleport, which included Warner Gothard who was born in 1835. He became a highly successful photographer whose work was so popular that he opened 4 'Day and Electric Light Studios' in Barnsley, Dewsbury, Leeds and Halifax. He pioneered the 'Montage Postcard' style, which often documented newsworthy disasters on railways or in the coal industry. These have since become highly collectable. He also became a photographer for the British Royal Family.

A commemorative blue plaque has been placed in Barnsley on the shops and offices that he erected in the 1920s to acknowledge his achievements and his gift of "Seckar Woods for the benefit of the people of Barnsley and Wakefield".

Mr. Ken Keen has been researching Warner's work for some time and has kindly given me this information, but his connection to my Gothards from just a few miles away, remains elusive.

Variants of the Gothard surname

So far, I have found the following variants of the Gothard surname whilst researching this family:

  • Goatherd
  • Gothard
  • Gotherd

Gothard family connections

Through my research, I've found that my Gothard family are linked to three of my other ancestral families so far: