The Etherden Clan

Branches of the Etherden Clan
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The Hammond – Etherden Letters

Dear Peter. I am tracing my family history and believe you may be able to help. My Grandmother was Ada Louisa Etherden, the daughter of William Oliver Etherden a chief fire officer in London around 1900. His father was Charles Etherden who came from a long line of Thames Barge owners in Harwich. As it is such an unusual surname I wonder whether our families are connected in any way. I would be grateful for any information you are willing to give me about your ancestors. Many thanks.

Dear Jane. Yes they are indeed. I’ve got piles of stuff on this. But I’m in Llangolman in Pembrokeshire and all the stuff is on CDs on my boat in Rye on the other side of the country and I won’t be back there until mid-February. I’ll get back to you when I’m back in Rye. Yell at me in four weeks if you haven’t heard. Meanwhile if curiosity is killing you contact my cousin Doreen Cook ne Etherden. Her father Jack and my father William Franklin were two of a family of eight that are in a direct line. Where are you emailing me from – Sydney, Toronto, Cardiff?

Dear Peter. Thanks for the reply. I am only in Nottingham. I have had a reply from William in Keswick as well and I am sure that between us we will have a lot on the Etherden family. I would love to see what information you have. I am back to the mid 1700’s in Harwich. My Dad is the youngest son of Ada Louisa Etherden who married Sydney Victor Rogers in 1913. Her father was William Oliver Etherden, a chief fire officer in London. I have photos of their wedding, and also William’s retirement from the fire brigade. There are so many Williams that I get confused as to which one is our first shared direct ancestor, but I have no doubt that when we get back to John and Elizabeth Etherden c 1770 we are on the same line. I will contact you again in about four weeks. Many thanks.

Dear Jane. My nephew, William Etherden, in Keswick is my younger brother David’s son. Sadly David (1953-2015) died earlier this year at the age of 62. I have been blogging for ten years under a variety of names with over one million visitors to show for it…see here.

Benjamin is our most illustrious clan member. Nicked a pair of shoes in Lamberhurst in Kent, sentenced to death, commuted (as these sentences usually were) to transportation and now the patriarch of a large Australian Etherden clan who are the epitome of respectability as local mayors, members of chambers of commerce etc. Benjamin must be turning in his grave.

Dear Peter. Thanks. I think I am getting it sorted now. It is your nephew William who I have contacted and I have also written to your cousin as you suggested. In order to work out which William our line goes back through I need approximate dates of birth. I believe your Grandfather was William Franklin Etherden. His birth date would be very useful. If his father was also called William then he could have been either my father’s uncle or Grandfather. I am so glad that my Grandmother had an unusual surname like Etherden. I would have no chance if I was trying to sort out generations of William Smiths! Regards.

Dear Jane. Here are some family reminiscences from a grey Welsh winter’s morning…and from the top of my head. Hope you find them helpful. Attached are pictures of me too from 1980 and 2005.

Peter Etherden in Bretagne in 2005

William Franklin Etherden, my father was born on 22nd March 1906. The siblings we knew and met up with when we were growing up in the 1950s were Jack, Perce, Doris…the last surviving sibling who died in 1991 and who my cousin Doreen knew very well…and Betty who married Arthur Standen and had two children, Ron…who married Margaret and has three daughters and lives in Surrey…and Joan who now lives in the Isle of Wight and is married for the second time; to Leslie Attrill…Joan would just love to hear from you as she has always been really interested in family things.

Jack, Perce and my father William all worked together at the Royal Mint at some time in the 1920s and Jack rose pretty close to the top job and almost got a knighthood…Doreen has much more background. The Etherden Brothers seem to have been implicated in some nefarious but unproven goings-on which put a blot on my Uncle Jack’s career prospects. This was apparently also the reason that my maternal grandfather…who was pretty high up in the London Docks and could find out things…was against my mother’s second marriage – to my father…my mother’s first husband Les Rash from Bow in East London was killed in the Hitler War in Churchill’s suicidal attack on Greece in 1941.

My paternal grandfather was called William and was killed when a wall fell on him while working as a fireman in the First World War when my father was 13…and it is possible that my father was born in 1905 and not 1906.

There is a family name Norris that keeps cropping up that I adopted when taking on the pen name of William Norris Shepherd…Shepherd from the German ett herde meaning Shepherd although I no longer think this is the root of the name…the other theory being that all we East-therdens are related to the West-therdens, South-therdens (there are several in Rye Harbour in East Sussex) and North-therdens.

Peter Etherden at Walden Pond in 1980

My elder brother is John Clive born 19th June 1944 and my younger brother is Clifford Roy born 24th September 1948. David James the youngest…he of Keswick and father of Douglas and William… was born on 8th May 1953 just in time for the Queen’s coronation. I was born on 17th July 1946 and started up a Swedish branch of the family when I married Ingrid Lundell of Bromma born 28th March 1947 and was blessed with two children Linda Helena born 8th January 1973 and Nicholas John born 18th June 1975.

There is significant distortion in geneology research because of the obvious tendency to trace through the male surname. I would love to see more family trees set up as if we had a matriarchal tradition (like the Jews) where the woman is followed. How about it?

If you think you are getting close…think again. There is another branch of the Etherden clan maurading around in the Chichester area of Sussex under the name Eatherden. Rosemary is doing the research and is well worth contacting. She has changed her e-mail address as mailing to the one I have from a couple of years back get returned.

I now expect an e-greeting for my 60th birthday from my Nottingham relatives. But for the time being I’ll be satisfied if you tell me everything about yourself.Your family can wait until next time. From Great (Great) Uncle Peter oka William of Salisbury…and then some…

Dear Peter. Thanks for all that information. I have lots to sort out now. I can tell you where the ‘Norris’ comes from though. Charles Etherden, born in Harwich c1819 married Sarah Norris in 1851 at Greenwich. Her father was Gregory Norris. Their 6th child was named Gregory Norris Etherden after him. He was born in Faversham Kent in 1870. I can’t remember without checking my records, but I believe he also had a son who carried the name on. My Great Grandfather William Oliver Etherden was the older brother of Gregory Norris Etherden. It makes more sense when it is written out as a family tree. I should be working really (tax return due in!!!). I will reply in detail later. I am 53 yrs old so I think you and I are of the same generation but 3rd or 4th cousins or something. As you can tell I am really excited by all this. Hope I am not making a nuisance of myself. Will send more later.

Dear Jane. No nuisance. Don’t be silly. Buzz me any time you have anything interesting. I got my tax returns in nine months early…they usually go in on 29th January – a day or so before the fines start clicking in. But I had an incentive for my 2004-5 returns as I wanted to get into the Working Tax Credit system…it worked as I had voted for Gordon Brown in May 2005. Maybe I’ll get a knighthood too?

Here is the next generation of the William Franklin Etherden – Ethel Land of Eltham. We grew up in Eltham on the London-Kent border (now in Greenwich).

John married Sue Turner of Winchelsea: Louise, Katy & Thomas; Peter married Ingrid Lundell of Sweden: Linda Helena (b. 8.1.73) & Nicholas John (b.18.6.75); Clifford married a Nottingham girl Kath Fiddick: Andrew & Alison; David married Janet Buehay of Eltham: Douglas & William.

Dear Jane. I have created a weblog for The Etherden Clan so that our research can be made more readily available for others over the web. Do you have any worries about having this weblog in the public domain? I have put up our exchange as Posting Number One by way of an example for you to react to. You will find it at I can pull it, or edit it, or change the access rules…but I rather like it as it is…it has a nice feel about it.

Dear Peter. The weblog is a good idea, although I am a novice with this sort of thing so I am not sure how it works. I have discovered today that there were two William F. Etherdens, one born in the spring of 1906 and one a year later. I believe my Dad’s Uncle would have been William Frederick who was born in 1907. If that is the case then we are not second cousins ie sharing the same Great Grandparents, but probably third or fourth cousins (apparently you add 1 to the amount of Greats). I am determined to work it all out. I agree with you that we should really follow the maternal line each time. I have always said that, but I am following each side of every generation. I am entering it all on a PDF file so I can keep track. Do you know which fire brigade your Grandfather belonged to and where he died? I will try to attach a photo of my Great Grandfather. I was not able to contact Rosemary, my e mail bounced back. I hope she sees the weblog.

Dear Jane. Doreen has quite a bit about the London Fire Brigade connections including several photographs which she showed me but I wasn’t really paying attention as we were at an inn in Guildford having lunch after my Aunty Doris’ funeral.

Dear Peter. I have made some more progress with my research. According to the GRO William Franklin Etherden b22nd March 1906 was the son of Charles James Norris Etherden a London Fireman. I am almost certain that this Charles is a brother of William Oliver Etherden b1860 (my Great Grandfather) who was a chief fire officer in London until 1913. Their parents were Charles Etherden and Sarah Norris who married in Greenwich in 1851. Charles was a mariner at Harwich. I am in contact with a Richard Norris who lives in new Zealand. He has a lot of information about Sarah Norris’s ancestors many of whom were missionarys. I have also discovered that Charles Etherden’s father was John Etherden b1791 in Harwich and his father was also John. If you look on the genesreunited site you should be able to view our family tree. You will see that your father must have been my Grandmothers cousin.

Dear Peter. I have been in contact with your cousin Doreen and she has kindly sent me the Etherden family tree prepared by Paul Digby. It is clear that we are both descendants of Charles Etherden and Sarah Norris. They had 9 children, one of which, William Oliver was my Great Grandfather. Another was Charles James Norris Etherden- your Grandfather. Although you and I are of similar age, my Grandmother Ada was your father’s cousin. Therefore you are my fathers second cousin. So I am your second cousin once removed. I am now tracing the Norris line and have a lot of leads to follow. I will keep you informed of any developments.
Best wishes Jane

Good Day Peter. Would like to see our family history and tree,I have some great stories of The Brothers Etherden (East End Lads) going back to early Fifties. My Nan and Grandad and Aunts. Once received an inheritance from Family member in Australia.
From Derrick James Benjamin Etherden (Named after my dad Benjamin “Jim” and a younger brother of dad’s Derrick who I believed died at a young age)

Dear Derrick. Paul Digby, who did all the research on our family tree, eventually sent me 43 Adobe pdf files of what he had collected about the Etherdens. They came in several different batches which I glanced at and then stored on my hard drive. Here is what I ended up with. 4 of the files are summaries to help me find my way around the other 39;10 are documents…newspaper clippings, copies from records etc;17 are preliminary outlines of the various branches of the family; 12 are detailed geneologies of some of these branches. It would be fun to hear your stories. If you ever feel inspired to sit yourself in front of a videocamera or a webcam, we could post the recordings onto YouTube and share them with others in the clan. Two or three of you together swapping yarns about The Brothers Etherden would be even better. We ought to do the same with everybody else’s stories. Why not?

Other Etherden Letters 2006-2009

Larry Schiller

2006-12-03 @ 23:06:07

Peter —
The Yank from CH (1964) here!! Let’s reconnect. Try or

Daniel Etherden

2007-02-15 @ 00:59:57

Hey, My name is Daniel Etherden from Hamilton, ontario Canada. I dont know too much about my family history but I know I go back atleast 7 generations.

Jennifer Tobin

2007-04-28 @ 00:57:16

Hello just stumbled on this blog I am descended from Benjamin Etherden in Australia how does he fit in to the family ?from what I understand apart from his actual trial info his line is a dead end no-one has been able to get any further back.

Peter Etherden

2007-04-28 @ 01:40:31

Sounds like you’ve got yourself a good excuse to visit the UK. I would certainly be happy to help if you wanted to see what you could find out about one of our clan’s more illustrious ancestors. Lamberhurst in Kent is where Benjamin got nicked for stealing a pair of shoes and there were many Etherdens (and Eatherdens) in Sussex around that time so Kent and Sussex would be the place to look. We know of one gainfully employed Etherden…a Chair Bodger (an honorable trade at the time)…from this area. However I am told that once you get back to the beginning of the 19th century tracing ancestors becomes relatively easy as it is all in the parish records. We have some hints suggesting that Faversham Church is the place to look…so why not go for it?


2007-04-28 @ 13:00:09

Thank you Peter for that info it is much appreciated Kind Regards Jennifer

Rob Eatherden 

2008-01-08 @ 10:11:49

This Makes very interesting reading, I am an Eatherden born in Woolwhich south London (1960), I was brought up and lived in Eltham until I was 21 , my parents Mary and John had moved to Derbyshire in 1979, once I had finished college I decided it seemed a nice place to live and have lived in the Peak District since 1981. Both my granparents, Fred and Flo lived in Eltham (Westmount Road) until they died (mid 1980s), I have two brothers one now in Kendal, Cumbria the other in Highgate, London Sean and Pat. We were all aware that most Eatherdens had come from Rye in Sussex, we also have relatives in the Bristol Area, al Eatherdens with the a. Interesting to hear more news. I currently work in the Nottingham Area.
regards Rob Eatherden

Galinda Wood

2008-02-29 @ 03:25:32

Hi, my husband is a direct descendent of Benjamin Etherden (the convict).Before Ben we have no information at all. I hope we’re from the same family.
Cheers Galinda Wood

Stewart Willis

2009-01-15 @ 23:21:21

My mother is Rose Etherden, daughter of Benjamin H Etherden, sister to Albert (Nunkie), Patric (Patsy,), Theodore(Dore), Benjamin (Jim).
Stewart Willis

Rhonda Gore Etherden

2010-06-02 @ 03:55:56

My husband is Graham Etherden and Paul Digby is married to his first cousin. His father was Ken Etherden who was the oldest of three children. His grandfather was Sid Etherden. Graham was born in Melton Mowbray–where his mother’s familiy lived. I am an American and we currently live in Conway, SC which is very close to Myrtle Beach. We know very little beyond what I have written. Any information would be most helpful and greatly appreciated. It is nice to know we aren’t the only Etherdens.

About peteretherden

Born in England on 17th July 1946, the second of four sons to William Franklin Etherden (born 22nd March 1906) and Ethel Winifred Land (born 15th July 1915).
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7 Responses to The Etherden Clan

  1. Mary Eatherden says:

    My name is Mary Eatherden, aged 78 years. I was married to John Eatherden, son of Frederick and Dora Eatherden and brother of Donald Eatherden for 46 years until his death in the year 2000. Frederick was the son of another Frederick who came from Rye to Hither Green, London, some time in the early 1900s. He was one of five brothers who worked in the shipyard at Rye when it was more of a seaport than it is now. He became head of Hither Green Railway Sidings and died in 1938. He had two children, Frederick and Florence, and my husband was a son of Frederick. John and I married in 1955 and lived in Eltham, southeast London, and had three children, Sean, Robert and Patrick. My husband was a commercial artist and worked for himself for over 36 years. There is a strong artistic streak in this line of the Eatherdens which has continued down through the generations. We moved to Tansley, Matlock, Derbyshire in 1979 to escape the huge cloud of despair that hung over London at that time and also because John and I loved the open countryside and he was a climber. My son, Sean and his wife Gill (also from Eltham), have lived in Endmoor, near Kendal, for the past 18 years and have a son, Jackson 19 (now doing a gap year – he has already journeyed to eastern Europe this Summer and next January will be going to Canada to do a snowboarding course in Alberta) and a daughter, Cassidy 17 (doing her A levels this year) My son Robert and his wife Lynn (also from Eltham) have lived in Matlock for the past 30 years and have a son, Joe, aged 19 and studying at Leeds University. My son Patrick and his wife, Sue (of Czechoslovakian descent) live in Highgate, north London, and have a daughter Isabella, aged 9, a son, Max, aged 7, and a son, Lucas, aged 4. All my sons are artistic and the youngest and eldest have had their own businesses in this field for many years and my middle son also works in display and design and runs his own small business in tandem with a four-day working week as a consultant. They are all highly adventurous and their exploits in every part of the World since their early days would make very interesting reading. There is a person living on the Isle of Wight who explored the line of Florence Woodward who married Frederick from Rye and that produced some very interesting facts.
    At a genealogy class I did a couple of years ago (researching my own side of the family) I saw on a CD the distribution of surnames in this country in 1851. The Eatherdens were nowhere else in the country apart from Rye in Sussex.

  2. William Hill says:

    I was very interested in the comments above regarding Gregory and Sarah Norris.
    I’ve been tracing my mother’s family history back thorough the Norris line. I have her father and her grandfather, Thomas K Norris and George Clarke Norris both resident in Edinburgh, Leith in the 1800s. George was married in Leith in 1867. According to the registry record George’s father was Gregory Norris, a baptist minister in Harwich
    and his mother was Sarah maiden name Clarke, hence George’s middle name I presume.
    I estimate Gregory’s birth in the 1810s. There are definite links with the sea and seamen and perhaps Poland. Does this ring any bells?

  3. Gary Etherden says:

    Great to see all these comments, we are a large Etherden family from the east end of London, my dads father was called Ben Etherden and his mum was Jess and he was Theodore and had brothers, Patrick ,Tim, Albert and a sister

  4. Gary Etherden says:

    We have relatives in canada as I remember as a child an uncle visiting us from canada.

  5. Excellent write-up. I absolutely love this site. Stick with it!

  6. Gary Etherden says:

    This all seems to have gone very quiet, I have been doing some more digging, there is a massive clan of Etherdens in Australia, in Blyth New South Wales, their is an Etherden Road.

    • Dear Gary, and other Etherdens reading this site. Sadly our father passed away a year ago on 13th of October 2015. Peter died in his home in Buckfastleigh. England and is buried at Sherpham memorial ground outside of Totnes. He was 69 years old. This post is updated by his daughter Linda Etherden living in Totness and his son Nicholas Etherden, living in Stockholm Sweden. Nicholas has three children Eira (born 2008) and Viktor and Johanna (born 2010) who we choose to give their mothers more native Swedish name of Eriksson. The Etherden name of this branch of the family will continue through the children of Peters brothers. Nicholas has a print out of Peters collected family tree for those looking for this information. Just make sure you contact the right Nicholas John Etherden, the one in Sweden and not the one in Australia (that once caused me troubles opening a bank account there in 1993, as the name was occupied and social security numbers for identification were not known at the time down-under).

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