ABOUT THE PROJECT
I began by trying to bring together all records about people named Docwra (and its many variant spellings) into one database so I can do lookups to help supply information to anyone who has an interest in the surname or its variant and related spellings. I have been fortunate in having received information and photographs from many people, some are Docwra researchers themselves who wanted to share their lines and add to the global Docwra story, others are genealogists who noticed a Docwra mention in a document, a record, or even a churchyard, and kindly forwarded the details to me for the Project. There are also a number of transcribers who have supplied me with transcriptions of various data sets, all of which have added value to the website as a resource for ancestor hunters with Docwras in their lines.
My database currently holds over 2250 entries drawn mainly from the IGI [International Genealogical Index of the Church of Latter Day Saints] and some other published works. The data can be sorted by any of a range of fields including names, parents, spouses, dates, parishes or occupations and, whilst not yet complete, is a very useful resource for researchers.
In the References menu you will find book references and website references that may be of use in your searching for Docwra family members.
WHERE DID THE DOCWRAS ORIGINATE?
The surname Docwra originated from the Cumberland villages of Dockray, one of which is in Matterdale near to Penrith, and the other is not far from Wigton.
It is generally thought that the Matterdale village was the origin of most Docwra surnames, although there was an old farm house called Dockray Hall in the other village.
In Penrith there is a building which is claimed to be the original house or hall of the Docwra family there, whilst several miles away in Grasmere there is a Docwra Cottage.
In 1409 a Roger Dockwra was appointed incumbent of the Parish of Burton - he was vicar until his death in 1437.
At some time in the 14th century, people who used the name de Dockwra or de Dockeray moved southwards into Westmorland, and by around 1400 were found living in Kendal. Just to the north of the town was Dockwray Hall, which was the family seat up until the early 17th century when it passed out of the family by marriage. The Hall was demolished some time in the mid-19th century, but its site is clearly shown on early maps of the town. The Docwra family also had a town house in Stricklandgate, Kendal: almost on the site where the GPO now stands.
A younger branch of the Kendal family of Dockwras moved south again, and settled in Hertfordshire and Cambridgeshire. The reason for this migration seems to have been the wool trade, it being deemed wise to have someone trustworthy to hand for the Great Stourbridge Fair.
At various times members of the family moved to London or elsewhere, and we have found instances of a family group in Norfolk, Berkshire, and Bedfordshire, whilst in Yorkshire there was a significant number of Docwras to be found until the last century.
The variant Dockwray seems to be peculiar to the North-East of England, with examples in several villages and towns and a particularly close connection with South Shields.
The variant Dockree is to be found in Manchester and London mainly, whilst Dockerills/Dockrills and Dockerells/Dockrells can mostly be located in records of Essex and Cambridgeshire.
Whilst transcribing documents we have found a host of variant spellings of the name Docwra and its relatives. A list of those we've found so far:
DOCARA DOCCORA DOCERA DOCEY DOCHARA DOCIORA DOCKARA DOCKARAY DOCKAREY DOCKEORA DOCKERA DOCKERAH DOCKERAIE DOCKERALL DOCKERAW DOCKERAY DOCKEREL DOCKERELL DOCKEREY DOCKERHAY DOCKERIE DOCKERILL DOCKERRY DOCKERY DOCKERYE DOCKEWRAY DOCKEY DOCKEY DOCKORELL DOCKRA DOCKRAH DOCKRAY DOCKREA DOCKREAF DOCKREAY DOCKREE DOCKRELL DOCKREY DOCKRILL DOCKROY DOCKRUE DOCKRY DOCKWRA DOCKWRAE DOCKWRAH DOCKWRAY DOCKWRAYE DOCKWRAYERHAM DOCKWREA DOCKWREY DOCRA DOCRAW DOCRAY DOCRE DOCRIE DOCTORILL DOCUID DOCURA DOCURAY DOCURO DOCUZA DOCWARA DOCWE DOCWRA DOEWNA DOEWRA DOKERAH DOKER DOEURA
My personal favourite is DOCKWRAYERHAM which I couldn't fathom, until my Yorkshire-born husband said in a broad accent, "Aye'm a Dockwra aye'am" and that, it seems, is how that particular variant might have come about!