Forgotten tales

stories of my family

Archive for the tag “holford”

Six generations of Holfords

The backbone of this blog is my Holford ancestry, back to northern Germany (Denmark) in the late 1700s. The stories, however, are not just of the Holfords but the various individuals who have married into the line and the families from which they have originated. The stories of my ancestors is a story of northern Europe and the chart below gives a broad overview of their origins in Denmark, Germany, England, Scotland, Ireland, Sweden and Belgium. All the lines lead to Australia, which is, of course, not in northern Europe at all.

And yet, nowadays I live with my wife and kids in Sweden, but Maria and I met in England, married in Sweden and have lived many years in Australia as well as Sweden. I think we see ourselves as more Australian than Swedish, although our children are, like me, perhaps just a little confused about their identity. We are what we are, and perhaps my obsessing about family history is an attempt to define where I have come from in an effort to know a little more of who I am.

Two hundred years of Holfords and their wives' families.

Two hundred years of Holfords and their wives’ families.


Holford: evolution of a name

Our family name has evolved over the last 300 years from Holtorp to Holford. With the help of a family tree drawn up by Victoria Reevey, publicly available on, I have managed to trace the Holford family name back to the end of the 1600s. Of course there are dozens of others involved but if I take just the direct line back then it is as follows, starting with me and ending with Dirk Holtorp, born 1688 (quoting names at birth)

David Ian Holford (b. Lautoka, Fiji, 1961)
Ian Charles Ross Holford (b. Sydney, Australia, 1933)
Charles John Stacey Holdorf (b. Goulburn, Australia, 1899)
Charles John Holdorf (b.Sydney, Australia, 1869)
Johann Holtorf (b. Bimöhlen, Schleswig Holstein, Germany, 1828)
Claus Holtorf (b.Bramstedt, Germany, 1791)
Detlef Holtorf (b. Bimöhlen, Schleswig-Holstein, 1764)
Dirk Holtorp (b.1724)
Dirk Holtorp (b.1688)

It looks like an Old Testament list!

Bramstedt is in present day northern Germany, just north of Bremen, south of Cuxhaven. However, there is a place called Bad-Bramstedt in Schleswig-Holstein, very close to Bimöhlen, which is the birthplace listed for Johann Holtorf (see the previous post, England and Germany united). So I wonder if Claus Holtorf was really from Bad-Bramstedt, which would make sense, since both his father Detlef and his son Johann are listed as being born in Bimöhlen. I have no birthplace for either Dirk junior (1724) or Dirk senior (1688) but it seems a good guess that they too came from this disputed area of northern Germany.

Whatever is the case, it is clear that my name, as English as it sounds now, is the fourth variation of Holtorp, and came originally from a German speaking family, apparently from Schleswig-Holstein, or more specifically from Holstein, these areas having been to a certain extent Danish a long way back in history.

Post Navigation