The Ong family history

The Ong surname is the shortest and strangest of the surnames in my family tree. The earliest record of one of my Ong ancestors appears in 1757 when my maternal 7x Great Grandfather Thomas Ong married his first wife Martha Jennings in the Cambridgeshire village of Stuntney, which looks over the city of Ely.

Sadly, their marriage wasn't to last, and by 1766 he had been widowed and re-married to my 7x Great Grandmother Martha Feast in Ely.

The move from Stuntney to Ely

The newly-weds appear to set up home in nearby Ely when they married there in 1766. By the following year they've become parents - eventually doing so eight times, but sadly, like all three children from Thomas' first marriage, the children struggle to survive infancy - leaving only three (all daughters) to survive into adulthood. This lack of surviving children, and the fact that those who did survive are unlikely to have carried on the family name, therefore helped this unusual name to become uncommon in this part of England.

Their oldest surviving child, my 6x Great Grandmother Mary Ong went on to marry Philip Cross, have 15 children (including one set of twins), and live to the age of 85 years.

Ong surname variants

This unusual surname proved troublesome to spell - with the name evolving with interchangeable variations within the same parish registers. A mixture of illiteracy and fenland accents no doubt aided the range of variants which I've so far noted to include:

  • Eng
  • Ing
  • Ong
  • Onge
  • Tong
  • Young
  • Yong

An Ong surname discussion board shows that the surname was not unique to Cambridgeshire though, with many descendants discussing the surname's origins.

There have also been many Ong (and variants) in the neighbouring county of Suffolk, and some of these travel out to the USA. Researcher John F. H. Ong has been documenting these on his Ong Family History blog, which is well worth a read.

Ong family connections

My research has so far found two ancestral links for my Ong family: