In my quest for my beginnings and family history I have learned that it is one huge puzzle, forming a fuzzy picture with many of the pieces missing. I have had the best luck in tracing my father's people who are Combs and Stufflebeam.
I have been researching my family lines for a few of years now. I started doing this because of some medical problems I have acquired in my over the hill years. My thoughts were that what I could find out might help the future lines of this family. My family lines include COMBS, HESTER, NUTT, ODLE, STOPPELBEIN, and STUFFLEBEAM.
Thanks in a large part too the genealogists who have came before me I now know that the names can change through the years, due to poor English pronunciation and, spelling along with hard to read writing. Also being illiterate and having to depend on someone else to do the writing for you didn't help.
In order locate the earliest known-recorded surnames, we must check all forms of spelling and pronunciation of the name. So let us look into my surnames.
The Combs name could have originated in either Wale or England.The Welsh name for a small Valley is "cwm", pronounced "coom". "John y cwm" in Welsh would mean "John of the valley", it would be very easy in the course of time to drop the "y" and make it John Coom. An old English Corn measure containing four bushels was called a "comb" or "coomb", probably because of its large size. In England, from where the Welsh were driven, the name remain, for in many places hollows or valleys`are called "combs" or "coombs".
The name as a surname became rather common in England, whence it spread to other countries. We find McCombs in Scotland and Ireland, Kooms in German countries, and Combes in France. The French, as is common in French pronunciation, drop the final letter and call it, "Comb".
It is England where we find the first known-recorded Combs, he is John Combe Citizen, Draper, Merchant & Adventurer. The first record of John's existence is not until 15 Jul 1583, when he was "admitted to freedom" of the City of London by the Court of Common Council by virtue of completion of his apprenticeship as a Draper to one Thomas PULLISON. It is this record that provides the basis for John's estimated year of birth of 1560, based on the usual age for apprenticeship to the Drapers being about 15 years, with the usual length of apprenticeship being about eight years. Only two earlier COMBE drapers have been located in the records of the Drapers Company, Thomas COMBES, gent, who was admitted to freedom in 1506, and Robert COMBES who was apprenticed in 1558 to Agnes (a.k.a. Agnet) ROBARDES (a.k.a. Robert AGUELT), and admitted to freedom in Oct 1567.