meaning and origins
A farm or a place by a brook, from beck meaning brook and worth meaning farm. Beck is a Yorkshire word, (I have Yorkshire cousins called Beck) and indeed the family does seem to have originated in Yorkshire. Apparently there is also a village of the same name in Yorkshire in the Nidd Valley near Harrogate.
Or alternatively it is claimed it is from the old English, bece which means beech and old Norse vior which means wood. So beech wood. Sounds a bit more far fetched to me.
Beckworth, Bechwith, Bekwyth
distribution in England and Wales
In 1891 the Beckwiths were overwhelmingly centred on Yorkshire and London, which ties in with our research. Otherwise they are pretty evenly spread throughout England, with the next most populous counties being Lancashire, Durham and Essex.
Yorkshire?, America? Essex?, London
Of all the branches of our family tree, this line can be traced back the furthest (as far back as 1066), thanks to research done by one Paul Beckwith and published in 1891. The discovery of this online digitised text was very exciting, as it also showed that our ancestors were some of the first settlers in America, with our Jonah returning to England early in the eighteenth century. Or did he, for as one delved a little further into it, we discovered that there was some controversy as to the accuracy of its findings. So, for the moment, I have ceased claiming to know anything beyond ‘our’ first Jonah Beckwith, until I or one of my ‘new relatives’ proves whether The Beckwiths findings are relevant to our own line or not.
For this line has also introduced me to many ‘new’ relatives - fellow researchers of the same line, who share common ancestors - Joseph and the Jonahs. My thanks to all of them - Malcolm, Priscilla, Dawn, Katie and Gillian and to the knowledge that they have so freely shared.
Of those we know, Joseph is perhaps the most controversial - due to the discovery of his somewhat clandestine, but ultimately legitimate relationship.
The Beckwiths also had interesting professions - upholder (upholsterer), silversmith, engraver, coffee house keeper. Jane, the last Beckwith in my own line, having married into the Molletts, being a woman, is more difficult to assess, but my suspicion is that she too was a very remarkable person.