British Ancestry

Question: Firstly, I must say how much I enjoyed your Radio Kent programme this afternoon. I found it very interesting and informative. I have two questions I would really like answers to please.

1. Can you tell me the origin of the surname LAZELL. I'm told it may have originated from the Huguenot line, but would like your comments please.

2. My father (PEARCE) maintained that he was conceived in Canada and was born November 1908, which was two or three months after the family arrived back in England. My problem is this. I do not know which part of Canada they sailed from, or which port they arrived at in England. This could possibly have been London as they settled in Plumstead.

Where do I look for passenger lists of ships arriving from Canada in 1908 please? If I were to find the family on a ship's lists, then it could open up a brick wall for me.

Answer: You may well be right in suggesting that your ancestors on the LAZELL line may have been Huguenots, but they could equally well have been a long-established family in England, derived from the same root as LASCELLES, family which settled in Yorkshire (from LACELLE in the Orne province of Normandy)in the 12th century, or even before.

You will remember what I said on the programme about spellings deriving from the way in which people write down the word they think they have heard. This may be a unique spelling and, again, it would be worthwhile looking at census evidence and surname distribution.

I would think that the best answer to tracing your father's origins in Canada is to approach the Passport Office with details of the names of his parents. It would be an enormous task to start looking for passenger lists. In any event, these would not tell you where in Canada the individual came from. There are a number of family history societies in Canada that might help you with further research. For the addresses, you might try the Federation of Family History Societies at P.O Box 2425, Coventry, CV5 6YX, or one of the web-sites like Cindi's list.

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