Linking the Growdens

I spent another few hours in the LDS family history centre in Johannesburg yesterday looking at marriage registers for St Neot, Cornwall.

I knew that some Growdens came from there through my third cousin once removed, Monica Louise Deragowski of New Orleans, USA.

When we started researching our family history we didn’t know anything about the Growdens (though ours all used the spelling Growdon) beyond the fact that my great grandfather William Matthew Growden came to the Cape Colony from Cornwall and worked on the railways, first as a platelayer, and then as a permanent way inspector.

I found some British phone books in the Durban public library, made a list of the Growdons in Cornwall and Devon, and wrote to them. I got a reply from a Mrs K. Growdon in Brixham, Devon, and she said that she had had a letter from Monica Louise Deragowski asking about the Growdon family. So I wrote to her, and we corresponded for about 15 years until she died in 1993. She had written to Growdons all over the world, and sent me some information from a Sylvia Reebel in Pennsylvania, who had traced her Growden ancestors to the St Neot and Warleggan parishes in Cornwall.

Sylvia Reebel was connected to them, but her family didn’t seem to be connected to ours. What was interesting was that they had the same names, almost.

On Sylvia Reebel’s side there was a William Growden who married Ann Cocker and had children

William born 1784
Joseph born 1789
Jane born 1790
Matthew born 1792
Elizabeth born 1795
John born 1797
Thomas born 1800

On our side there was William Growden who married Elizabeth Saundercock at Cardinham, and had children:

Jennifer born 1793
William born 1794 (Monica Deragowski’s great grandfather)
Joseph born 1796
Thomas born 1798
Matthew born 1800 (my great great grandfather)
Ann born 1802
Joanna born 1804
Jenifer born 1806
Elizabeth born 1807
John born 1811

The boys’ names match — there was

William, Joseph, Matthew, John and Thomas in one family
William, Joseph, Thomas, Matthew John in the other

There are similarities in the girls’ names too, though not as great. The similarity might, of course, indicate nothing more than that those were popular names at the time, but it could also indicate that they were family names perpetuated down the generations.

There might have been difficulty telling them apart in later life had the first lot not emigrated to Pennsylvania and married and died there.

What I’m trying to do is put all the Growdens and Growdons I find into one Growdon file, and gradually link them up. I’ve got a long way to go yet, but if we collect all the snippets of information together, eventually we might join together different parts of the jigsaw puzzle.

If you’re a Growden or a Growdon or have Growden relatives, please consider joining our Growden forum, and trying to make the links.

4 Responses

  1. I am related to Matthew Growden, son of William and Ann Cocker. My Great-grandfather was Jeremiah Growden, son of Matthew and Elizabeth Fyock. Jeremiah married Barbara Ebersole. – Many of William Growden’s and Ann Cocker’s family died shortly after arriving in America. They arrived in Baltimore, MD and contracted yellow fever. I believe Ann Cocker is buried in Harper’s Ferry, WV. Elizabeth Fyock, Jeremiah, and Barbara Ebersole are buried in Salemville, PA at the Seventh Day Baptist Cemetary there. I have more info, too.


  2. Bernice,

    Thanks very much.

    I’ll try to send you what I already have on that branch of the Growdens, and perhaps you could fill in some of the gaps.

  3. Hello,
    My mother, Karen Simpson Fulton’s great-great-grandfather is Jeremiah Growden (married to Barbara Ebersole) and great-grandmother was his daughter Emma Growden. I would love to hear what information you have on this family, if you are still connected to this site, seeing that the last posts were in 2008.

    • Hello Leslie, I do not check this site often — as you can see from my last posting, hmm, 7 years ago. — My tree is on and I have lots of information. The neat thing is that I remember talking to my grandmother, Nancy, Emma’s sister, so some is anecdotal. Would love to share my information. Please send me a message on

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