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Bob Valder (my first cousin, once removed) began the VALDER One-Name Study in about 1985. My interest began in 1994 when I realised how rare my maternal grandmother's maiden name was in the UK. I soon discovered that her father, Albert Edmund Valder (1877-1938) had been born in Kent, I had no prior knowledge of this, my grandmother had more romantic ideas about her father's origins.
Bob and I compared notes in 1995 after a chance meeting between our mothers. They discovered that we were both interested in researching the name and Bob and I eventually met up, not having seen each other since childhood.
Bob and I had taken slightly different approaches to our research. He had contacted many of the living UK Valders and had been sent snippets of information. I had concentrated on the 19th century Valders and made extensive use of the censuses and wills. Combining our research gave us a much broader picture than either of us had achieved independently.
Bob has not been actively researching for about 20 years so I hold the more up-to-date information.
This rest of this page covers:
Origins       Research       Distribution       UK Ancestral Groups
The Valder name is very uncommon in the UK and it is probable that all Valders in this country are descended from the original small group in Sandwich, Kent in the late 17th century. It is quite likely that they came over from Europe at that time. It is possibly a Low Countries name, with a Belgian origin perhaps favoured over Dutch. This theory was developed due to the occurrence of Flemish sounding first names in some of the early UK Valder families. A rumour in the family of a newly acquired contact is that a Valder was captain of the ship which brought William of Orange to England in 1688. This rumour has not yet been investigated but the date fits extremely well with the arrival of the first Valders in Sandwich as does the country they left from.
Valder is also a surname in Germany and many of the Valders in North America probably have German ancestry. The pronunciation in Germany may be different to that in the UK so it is not known whether the UK Valders are connected to the German Valders.
A variant, VALDAR, exists in the UK but is not connected to the Valders. The Valdar surname was adopted by a journalist, Lionel Germany (Jermey), in 1910. He took the name from the title of a science fiction book "Valdar the Oft-born" by George Griffiths (1895). Lionel subsequently used the surname for all purposes and about 25 Valdars now live in southern England, mostly in London. I was in contact with one of Lionel's sons and he sent me any Valder information he came across. So thanks to him I have more knowledge than I would have, sadly he is no longer with us.
Bob and I have used many sources to find our Valder information. The most productive are listed here.
General Record Office indexes
I have collected all the Valder GRO birth, marriage and death entries to 1996. Bob also collected the entries to varying end dates. Both of us selectively obtained certificates which have helped us determine family relationships.
International Genealogical Index
Bob and I both collected all the IGI entries for each county in England, Wales and Scotland. Bob used the 1988 fiche version and I used that for 1992, they are basically in agreement except that the 1992 version has more entries for Sandwich. The Sandwich entries are probably not official entries but have been inserted by an individual. In England and Wales the Valders are unhelpfully included under Walter. In Scotland they have their own surname grouping, Valdor.
Census returns
I have searched the censuses for England and Wales for 1841-1901 and have found most of the entries for all the Valders alive during the census years. A few people have proved elusive and the searching continues. I have been greatly assisted by the many census surname indexes now available and I thank all those volunteers who have worked hard to produce them.
Parish Registers
Only a few of the Parish Registers for the Kent parishes that Valders lived in have been searched to-date. Bob did a brief search of the Sandwich registers and I have been sent a copy of some research for those parishes which was conducted for one of my contacts. I have searched the registers of the churches in Brighton, Sussex which Valders are known to have used. Bob searched the Brighton crematoria records and found the burial dates of most of the Brighton people. I have conducted some parish register research into the Valders who moved to London in the early 19th century. I have also collected the few entries for the parishes used in Buckinghamshire.
National Probate indexes
I have searched the probate indexes from 1858-1996 and looked at most of the 19th century wills. My direct ancestors did not leave wills but some of the other Valders left a few which were quite helpful in determining relationships.
Earlier wills
I recently discovered that several of the 18th century Valders left wills. Preparations are in hand to obtain copies of these wills from the Kent Record Offices.
Other sources
Bob and I have examined a few of the Electoral Registers for Brighton and discovered where the 20th century Brighton Valders lived. We have looked at the UK telephone directories but this source is becoming less useful as more people go ex-directory. I have also examined various trade directories, Kelly's and Pikes for example. These directories are not fully comprehensive and the early ones only tend to list larger tradesmen and members of the upper classes.
Personal contacts
Bob made several contacts during his early research who sent him information about their own families. This included a tree of the Australian Valders. I have made a few contacts through the members' surname interest lists of the Kent and Sussex family history societies. These have mostly been rather distant, both relationship and distance-wise. One of them supplied me with more of the Sandwich parish register entries than are on the IGI. I am also in contact with an Australian Valder via e-mail.
I estimate that there are about 100 people (adults and children) with the surname of Valder in England and Wales today (includes wives).
In the 18th century Valders seem to have been confined to Kent but one man appears to have moved to Banff, Scotland. It is not known whether Valders still exist in Scotland today. None have been found in the telephone directories searched but that does not mean there aren't any. Please E-mail me if you know of any. One person who did contact me about the Scottish Valders didn't know about current ones but gave me some extra information about those in the 19th century. My contact is not descended from any of these Valders.
Towns were a great magnet for Valders, many went to the eastern parts of London in the early 19th century and spread out from there.
Valders in the 19th century performed a wide variety of different occupations. I have noted various Clerks, Mariner, Hair Dresser, Shipping Agent, Taxman, Brewery Manager, Coal Merchant and Railway Station Master. Notable by their absence are any Agricultural Labourers, these have always been found in every other family I have investigated. This would seem to confirm that Valders do not have any long-standing links with the UK.
A few Valders emigrated from England to Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and Canada. The Australian Valders are fairly well documented to about 1920 but the later ones and those in New Zealand are almost unknown. It is believed that no Valder children were born in South Africa and none are known in Canada. The USA has a lot of Valders but so far none are known to be descended from the English ones. It is believed that the American ones are of German origin.
Today there are virtually no Valders in Kent, the only ones there now are descended from the ones that went to Sussex. There are none to be found in the original area around Sandwich. Sussex has the most Valders, Surrey has the next largest number. A few Valders live in other counties such as Buckinghamshire, Devon, Dorset and Essex.
UK Ancestral Groups
Sandwich, Kent
The earliest Valder found on the IGI at Sandwich (St Peter) was in 1691. This was the baptism of James, son of Sarah and John. A slightly older entry appears at Ellesborough, Buckinghamshire, the marriage of Frederic and Sarah COCKAY in 1689. A later Frederic married a Dorcas COCKEY at Sandwich in 1738 so it is believed that the 1689 marriage is probably also connected with Kent. The next oldest entry at Sandwich, St Peter, is the baptism of Jane in 1703, daughter of Peter and Jane Dennis. A Daniel married Esther (or Elizabeth) PRICE in 1719 at Sandwich St Mary. This completes the male first names used by these early Valders: Daniel, Frederic, James, John, Peter.
So far it has not been possible to determine the exact lines of these early Valders due to the repeated first names. The lines become clearer from the 1740s but there is still confusion with multiple Peters and Daniels. The clearer lines which have known descendants for more than two generations are described below. I have not named people born in the 20th century as that can be seen as an invasion of privacy to them and their descendants. If you would like any more details please E-mail me.
Daniel and Mary [PYLES/DENNIS]
A Daniel and Mary had Richard in 1749. Richard very surprisingly married in Carmarthen, Wales in 1773. His wife was called Florinda JULL. As Jull is also a Kent surname this suggested that Richard was a sailor and Florinda travelled with him. A helpful non-relative found some newspaper adverts which indicate that a Jull family owned a coal-yard at Stonar docks near Sandwich, perhaps Richard was employed by them to fetch supplies from Wales. Richard and Florinda's first known child, Florinda, was baptised at Sandwich in 1775. Florinda junior married William BEDO; Alison Watts of Vancouver, Canada is a descendant.
Richard and Florinda had two known sons, Daniel and George Jones. They both eventually moved to Deal, then most of Daniel and George's children moved to London. The men mainly worked in the Docks and life expectancy was very low. It appears that only one of George's boys, John (born Sandwich 1819) and one of Daniel's grandsons, also John (born 1846) managed to continue the Valder name.
The 1819 John worked as a Hairdresser in Camden High Street. He produced six daughters, only two of whom married. John's will made extensive provision for the unmarried quartet. This John died in 1906.
The 1846 John married Louisa VOUSDEN in 1871. He worked as a Corn Miller and they gradually moved eastwards out of London, eventually settling in Romford, Essex. His occupation and the move to healthier areas probably contributed to the higher survival rate of their children. Five of their sons married and three of these couples are known to have had children. There are at least two living male descendants of John and Louisa who are married with children.
Peter and Susanne [SAXTY]
Peter and Susanne had my great-great-great-great-grandfather, John, at Sandwich in 1780. John (1780-1866) moved to Lyminge where he started a boys' school, my cousin Bob Valder found a copy of the advertisement for John's school. For more details about Bob's and my ancestors see the Kent Valders page. John's grandson, Alfred Peter Valder (1846-1904), moved to Brighton, Sussex in about 1882.
James and Isabel [PETERKIN]
James and Isabel married at Banff, Scotland in 1798. James probably came from Kent but this has not yet been proven. If he obeyed Scottish naming conventions he was probably the son of another James. James and Isabel had 10 children in Gamrie, Banffshire. Three of their sons: William, James and Robert married in Scotland. Two of Robert's children moved back south, a daughter, Isabella Jane, married in Liverpool and a son, also Robert, married in London. Isabella and her family moved to London, Robert junior later moved to south Wales.
The fate of the Valders in Scotland is not known after 1871 except for the death in 1890 of Ann, daughter of James and Isabel.
John and Catherine [ROLFE]
This couple married at Folkestone in 1827. John was born in about 1805 but it is not known who his parents were. At three of the censuses he said he was born at Sandwich but in 1861 he claimed to have been born at Kennington (near Ashford). There is no baptism for him at Sandwich; the Kennington register has not yet been examined. A substantial number of Valders are descended from him so I would very much like to know how he fits into the tree.
John worked as an Inland Revenue Officer in many different offices in the country, only two of his eight children were born in the same place. He did however spend at least 18 years in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire after his last son was born there. The earlier children were born at Elham, Kent; Welford, Northants; Sellindge, Kent; Shuckburgh, Warkwickshire (2); Dartford, Kent and Uxbridge, Middlesex. After retiring John probably moved to Richmond, Surrey, he died in London in 1887 at the home of his son John.
John and Catherine's descendants
Three of John's sons married and had children. The eldest, Henry John (1828-1904), married Ann BLENCOWE in 1857. Like his father Henry worked as a taxman and his 11 children were also born in many places in the UK. The first was born in Dunstable, Bedfordshire, the next was in Ann's birthplace, Towcester (or Northampton?), the third was born in Builth, Wales. The next seven were born in London, one at Pimlico and the others at Hammersmith. The family then moved north again and their last son was born at Diss, Norfolk. They were only there briefly before settling in Stone, Staffordshire. Five of Henry's sons married, two lived in London, one in Liverpool, one in North Yorkshire and the last remained in Stone.
John's second son, George, also worked as a taxman for a few years. He married Mary COLLINGRIDGE at Olney, Buckinghamshire in 1857. They had two children at Northiam, Sussex before moving to Southampton, Hampshire, where they had five more. In Southampton George worked as a Corn and Coal Merchant. Mary died in 1871 at the age of 41 and George married again, they had one son at Southampton then emigrated to New Zealand sometime between 1884 and 1891. Two of George's sons, Henry and Alfred Robert, married and had children in New Zealand. Another of George's sons, George junior, moved to Australia. It is believed that all the Valders in Australia are descended from George junior. The other two sons of George senior, Arthur and William, remained in England. They both married and became successful businessmen.
John's fourth son, John, married Emma WOOD in 1876. John junior had four children at Gravesend, Kent. He may have had others in London but it is difficult to assign children born between 1901 and 1912 to their families without buying expensive certificates.

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