meaning and origins
An anglo-saxon nickname taken from the bird, to indicate someone with a sweet singing voice. The Olde English nihtegal is from niht meaning night and galan meaning to sing. Apparently bird nicknames were common as surnames in the middle ages - think jay, finch, hawk, lark, sparrow.
Florence is, of course, the most famous bearer of the surname. Not related to our lot though!
distribution in England and Wales
In 1891 the Nightingales were concentrated in the far north - specifically Lancashire and to a lesser extent, Yorkshire. The other most populous areas were Surrey and Middlesex, including London.
Enfield and Hertfordshire?
This is one of those lines about which I know virtually nothing at this stage. I’m sure there are interesting stories to tell, and an intricate pattern of relationships, and I am beginning to pursue this through the Ancestry message boards. So hopefully the bare tree above shows the promise of greater things to come.
So far I have three names, a few baptisms and burials (though these are less certain than the baptisms). The marriages are either potentially wrong, or missing. Sophia Anne, the entry point into this line led a short and probably tragic life, considering what ultimately happened to her husband. About her father I know nothing other than the names of his children and the first name of his wife (although even this is a changeable thing).
Enfield is their home, but then some of the Nightingales encountered on the message boards, and I think they must all be connected because of the name Newman which is often used, have Hertfordshire connections (like the Dearmans).