The Newman family of Cambridgeshire

My paternal Newman family has seen me reach back to my 7x Great Grandparents, Thomas Newman and his wife Ann Lee who lived in the riverside town of St. Ives, Huntingdonshire (now a district of Cambridgeshire), England.

The earliest appearance I have located for them so far, is in March 1725, when they marry at All Saint's parish church in St. Ives.

By 1741, the couple had become parents at least six times, with my 6x Great Grandfather John Newman born as the third child (and oldest son) in 1732.

Tragedy Strikes Four Times

John's son Philip Newman married Lydia Ingle and the couple had at least two children, but Lydia sadly died aged 22 and was buried on 10th September 1781 at Somersham, Huntingdonshire along with her infant son also named Philip. It is possible that either complications during birth or a sickness brought tragedy to this young family.

Philip does goes on to re-marry, this time to Elizabeth Whitehead of Haddenham and this eventually brings six children to the family although at most, only three survive into adulthood.

By the early 1786, Philip has set up home in Haddenham, Cambridgeshire with his new family and wife. Philip and Elizabeth's son William Newman, born in 1791, remains here to raise a family that stays for several generations.

However, in 1809, Philip, who is now working as a corn miller, is tragically killed in an accident at a Haddenham Mill, Aldreth Road, belonging to local landowners, Messrs. William and Robert Pate.

Widow Elizabeth continues to raise their family, and their youngest child (my 4x Great Grandmother) Rebecca Newman, who gives birth to her son in 1820 when she's about 16 years old. The father is seemingly accepted as Elias Dann of the nearby village of Wilburton (and is freely noted in church records and the child's marriage certificate). Rebecca and Elias do not marry but instead, Rebecca marries John Seymore. Elias' name is then repeated through the Newman family offspring.

Sadly, not long after Rebecca and John's second child was born, Rebecca died. A few weeks later, the child followed her to the grave. They were 26yrs and 9 weeks respectively.

A new start in Swaffham Bulbeck

Having lost his mother by the time he was just six years old, my 3x Great Grandfather Charles Newman takes the family off to Swaffham Bulbeck - a village a few miles North East of Cambridge and South East of Ely. Here he marries Emma Levitt and he sets up 'shop' as a blacksmith, and the family soon grows.

A number of their sons work as Coprolite Diggers (PDF/9.9Kb). The fenland of Cambridgeshire was found to contain a high amount of coprolites (fossilised dung) which caused a rush to dig them out. Coprolites were used in fertiliser for the agricultural industry.

As the family grew up and married, one of Charles and Emma's sons, Alfred Newman, moved the family to Ely, where the family has lived since the latter part of the 1800s.

Newman family connections

The Newman family are linked to a number of my ancestral families including:

Origins of the Newman surname

Whilst I've yet to find any records before 1725, and very few spelling variations (namely Numan and Neuman), some sources suggest that the name may have come from Germany, Switzerland or Austria, and has Anglo-Saxon origins from the 7th Century.

In 2016, I returned as a paid member of Newman Name Society, of which I had been a member of in the early part of my research. Maybe they can help me find a few steps closer to my possible Saxon roots, or even just a few more modern relatives?