It is thought that the Aylward surname comes from a Germanic personal name made up of "adal" meaning noble, and "ward" meaning guard or protector. The surname was first recorded in the 13th century and was found in the counties of Suffolk, Wiltshire and Norfolk. Today, families with this surname are most often found in counties Waterford and Kilkenny, Ireland (the region where their ancestors settled in the wake of the Anglo-Norman invasion and conquest) as well as the Bonavista region of Newfoundland.
Aylward has many variant spellings including Ailward, Allward, Aluard, and Alyward (although this last one may simply be a misspelling). The surname is pronounced (at least in Newfoundland) Elwood. In fact when I first asked an archivist at Memorial University about records relating to this surname I pronounced it Allward or Ayelward, which he did not understand. When I spelled the surname for him, he smiled and rather kindly corrected my pronunciation ~ the first of many such instances during my research trip!
Location, Location, Location (or where the Aylwards came from)
"Members of the Allard family of Kent, Sussex, England, received a grant of land and positions from King John and settled in Ireland. Over time they became the Aylwards of Aylwardstown. They were an Anglo-Norman race and, presumably, a branch of the Aylwards of Faithleg, in the Co. Waterford. ..." The original grantee was William Aylward of Aylwardstown. The family was Roman Catholic and throughout the history of the occupation of Ireland, they forfeited their land grant, were transplanted to Connaught, received royal confirmation of their lands, and were once again outlawed. An heir to the original grantee (Nicholas Aylward) conformed to Protestantism in 1711 and received the transplanted land grant in Shankill, Connaught. Common given names for the Aylward family during this time (1200-1800) were William, Nicholas, and Piers.
(From The history and antiquities of the diocese of Ossary, by the Reverend William Carrigan (Dublin, 1905). For additional information about this particular branch of Aylwards, see A Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Landed Gentry of Ireland, by Sir Bernard Burke (London, 1899) p. 260.)
Roots, Top Countries & Top Regions (or everything statistics)
If you haven't checked out PublicProfiler to learn about your surname or map it ~ you are in for a treat. This UK website provides the findings of its project investigating the distribution of surnames in Great Britain, both current and historic (the results of any surname search are shown on a map of the UK and laid out in table format). Listed below are the results for my search of Aylward:
Group ~ European
Subgroup ~ English
Language ~ English
Top Countries (frequency per million)
Ireland ~ 161.82
Canada ~ 120.57
Australia ~ 42.46
United Kingdom ~ 26.81
New Zealand ~ 21.16
Top Regions (frequency per million)
Southeast Ireland ~ 1209.81
Newfoundland & Labrador, Canada ~ 872.26
Prince Edward Island, Canada ~ 769.27
Hauraki District, New Zealand ~ 295.12
Northwest Territories, Canada ~ 275.83
But what about the United States and Newfoundland? (or how does this apply to my people?)
A search of the surname Aylward in the US census records limited to the exact spelling of Aylward with a birthplace of Newfoundland, brings up the following number of hits:
United States Census Records
1880 US Census = 340
1900 US Census = 780
1910 US Census = 907
1920 US Census = 971
1930 US Census = 1136
My results were obtained by entering the exact spelling of the surname Aylward, entering birthplace of Newfoundland, and limiting the results to particular census years in Ancestry.com.
A search of the surname Aylward in the Newfoundland census records was rather more difficult as the information although transcribed (or recorded) online by volunteers, has not been gathered or investigated for a surname study of which I am aware. For privacy reasons, Canada specifically does not make available the most common surnames that it collects through the census. Since Newfoundland did not join in the confederation until 1949 and because my main interest is my Newfoundland connection, I used the 1935 and 1945 Newfoundland censuses to determine frequency and location for the surname Aylward. My search was limited to the exact spelling of the surname Aylward (as well as Alyward which shows up interchangeably in the vital records and census records in Newfoundland at that time), which brings up the following number of hits:
1935 Newfoundland Census = 177 [Cape Broyle (15), Bonavista (5), St. John's East (4), Stock Cove (17), Knight's Cove (46), Fermeuse (6), Broad Cove (17), Dock Cove (35), St. John's West (7), Great St. Lawrence (10), Plate Cove East (1), Tickle Cove (1), King's Cove (9), Buchans (2), Whitless Bay (1),Bell Island Mines (1) )]
1945 Newfoundland Census = 168 [Knights Cove (42), Stock Cove (21), Broad Cove (13), Cape Broyle (14), St. Brendan’s (27), Buchans (11), St. John’s West (9), Buchans (Part 2) (5), St. John’s East (6), St. John’s East, Ward 4 (7), Burin (8), St. John’s City (5)]
Aylwards in my Newfoundland Database (or relating all of this to my people)
Catherine Aylward (Cal 1794 - Cal 1850) ~ I am still looking to place Catherine with her family (see my 16 April 2011 post).
Johanna Aylward – served as a witness to Catherine’s 1827 marriage to Andrew Kough/Keough at King’s Cove.
James Aylward – served as a sponsor to Mary Keough’s baptism on 7 Mar 1820 at King’s Cove.
Sally Aylward – served as a sponsor to James Keough’s baptism on 22 Aug 1824 t King’s Cove.
William Aylward and Mary Aylward – served as sponsors to Andrew Keough’s baptism on 17 Mar 1832 at King’s Cove.
The witness for the marriage and sponsors for the baptisms listed above were most probably related to Catherine Aylward (either her parents or siblings).
Aylwards in my Newfoundland Database – found in the baptismal records as sponsors for other families in the Bonavista South region (for females, these could be maiden surnames or married surnames):
Mary Ann Aylward
Sera (Sara) Aylward
Aylwards in my Newfoundland Database – found in the marriage records as parties to marriage in the Bonavista South region:
1892 - John Aylward (Broad Cove) and Mary Weeks (King’s Cove)
1893 – William Aylward (King’s Cove) and Sarah Barker (King’s Cove)
1894 – Matthew Aylward (Stock Cove) and Ellen Woodford (Plate Cove)
1897 – Matthew Aylward (Knight’s Cove) and Ann Carew (Broad Cove)
1891 – Anne Aylward (Burnt Island) and Thomas Murphy (Open Hall)
1891 – Catherine Aylward (St. Brendan’s) and Bernard Hynes (St. Brendan’s)
1892 – Mary Aylward (St. Brendan’s) and Patrick Hynes (Gooseberry Island)
1893 – Elizabeth Aylward (Kiels) and William Ducy (King’s Cove)
1895 – Johanna Aylward (St. Brendan’s) and Francis Ryan (St. Brendan’s)
1900 – Anastasia Aylward (Broad Cove) and John Harty (Broad Cove)
1900 – Elizabeth Aylward (St. Brendan’s) and John White (St. Brendan’s)
1901 – Catherine Aylward (King’s Cove) and Peter Barron (King’s Cove)
1901 – Mary E. Aylward (Broad Cove) and John Tobin (Broad Cove)
1901 – Mary Aylward (Broad Cove) and Henry Fitzgerald (Kiels)
Do you have Catherine Aylward (who married Andrew Kough/Keough) in your genealogy database AND, if so, have you found any information about her parents and/or siblings? Do any of the other Aylwards listed here in your genealogy database? Are you an Aylward from Newfoundland with roots in Ireland or Great Britain? If so, please help me fill in the blanks! Thanks.