Hollyer One-Name Study Blog

A Blog describing the day-to-day activities of the Hollyer One-Name Study, a genealogical study of the surnames Hollyer, Holyer and Hollier. Full details can be found at http://www.hollyer.name

05/25/2012 07:04 PM
The mystery of Eva Hollyer's husband
For some time I've known that Eva Hollyer, the accomplished artist, married her much younger cousin Joseph Richard Hollyer in 1906 in a Registry Office in Wales. But nothing seems to have come of the marriage - there were no children and she and her sister Maud lived together for much of their later lives and as we've seen 'doing up' cottages on at least two occasions. But whatever became of Joseph? In the 1911 census, he is shown as living in Richmond as a Chiropodist, married for 3 years with no children. After that he seems to disappear. No death or emigration records, remarriage or anything. Recently, I was triggered to review Eva's situation and realised that there are now online databases where one can search on first names only. So I looked for deaths for Joseph Richard and lo and behold came across a death in 1969 for a Joseph Richard D'Olier. Now I instantly recognised the surname D'Olier as a name that in former times was thought by some to be the origin of the Hollyer name. In fact, the D'Olier name related to a family of Huguenots who came over from France in the 17th century and then settled in Dublin, under an Act of Parliament encouraging Protestants to settle there. The date of birth quoted on this death record is exactly right for Joseph Richard Hollyer, but just one year exactly out - a common mistake. I then searched for any other records for a Joseph Richard D'Olier and found that he had served in the Scots Guards in the Great War. After all these years, it's good to pin down such 'missing' individuals, but it still begs the question as to why he changed his name somewhere between 1911 and 1916.

02/05/2012 11:26 AM
Randwick Hollyer mystery partly solved
After being contacted by Kerry Peacey, a descendant of the Randwick Hollyers, we have together apparently solved some of the mystery of why Louisa Cole and family emigrated to Australia in 1879 under the name of Hollyer. They went to become part of the family of Joseph Shallis Hollyer. You can find out more in the revised article on the Randwick Hollyers.

12/29/2011 12:56 PM
Wayside Cottage

If you've read my website in depth you will recall the article in Woman's Magazine describing the conversion of Wayside Cottage by Eva and Maud Hollyer. But in 2007, I found that the property that Eva had converted was quite different, being Littleholme at Inglesham. But now it can be revealed that Wayside Cottage really does exist at Great Coxwell. It is now a Grade II listed building. The present owner found the 1927 article and recognised the property as his own. So Eva and Maud seem to have been 'serial property developers'!

07/22/2011 07:26 AM
Thomas Hollyer of Shinfield, Berks
Yesterday, Kirsty Gray, Chairman of the Guild of One-Name Studies, sent me details of a plaque in Shinfield St Mary's Church:-

In a vault beneath this monument lie the bodies of Mr Thos Hollyer of this parish who died the 28th of April 1748 aged 60
And also of Sarah his wife who died at Chobham Surrey the 6th November 1776 aged 72
Also the remains of Maria Jeffery daughter of Robert and Francis Jeffery who died 17th February 1835 aged 9 months and a descendant of the Hollyer family

The "Shinfield Hollyers" are an important group in the county of Berkshire, but have not been researched thoroughly, mainly because they have no living descendants carrying the Hollyer name. More work needs doing!

07/22/2011 06:38 AM
"Leaving Woodchurch"

Last Saturday I attended the exhibition at Woodchurch, Kent, called "Leaving Woodchurch", which brought together stories about families from the village that had emigrated. Although I didn't exhibit this time, I had contributed a chapter to the book produced on the same subject. I told the story of George Holyer, last of the line of Holyer butchers in the village itself, who emigrated to the USA in 1854. You can read the story here.

06/24/2011 07:13 AM
The Hollier 8 Automobile
Readers of my website will be aware of the car made in the USA early in the 20th century called the "Hollier 8", manufactured by the Lewis Spring and Axle company of Chelsea, Michigan. See here. The origin of the car's name has until recently been unclear to me. One correspondent pointed out that the firm's address was 12 Hollier Street, but that then begged the question of why this street name appeared in Chelsea, Michigan.

Thanks to research by Elliott Hollier who works for General Motors in Warren, Michigan, the problem has been solved. In fact the Hollier connection has been sitting in my master database all this time. Charles Lewis, the founder of the company - himself born in Somerset, England, married Elizabeth Hollier in 1874 in Auburn, Cayuga County, NY. She has been born in Auburn, but was the daughter of William Hollier and Mary Ann Lewis who had emigrated from Somerset, England, see here. They were part of the "Somerset Holliers".

The Lewis family was researched in depth by another correspondent, Chuck Lewis, but I seem to have misplaced the extensive Gedcom he gave me of that family.

12/27/2009 03:25 PM
William Josiah Hollyer - Freemason
A couple of years ago, I came across this extract:-

Freemasons Quarterly Review 1844

DOVER.—The Festival of St. John was celebrated by the Brethren of the Lodges 235 and 700, who met together on Thursday, at the London Hotel; the Worshipful Master of Lodge 235 being in the chair. About thirty of the Brethren sat down to an excellent dinner, which reflected great credit upon the new host of the above hotel, Brother Hollyer. After the cloth was removed, the usual Masonic and loyal toasts were proposed and drank with due honours. The conviviality of the evening was much enhanced by the vocal powers of Brothers Doorne, Hollis,Reuben, Johnson, and others.

I assumed that this extract related to Josiah Hollyer (1799-1864) who was a Hotel proprietor at various times in Rye, Dover and Cliffe. Knowing that the United Grand Lodge of England hold very good historical records of Freemasons, I was able to get this infomation but it's clear that it relates not to Josiah but to his son William Josiah Hollyer (1821-1857) :-

William J Hollyer
Lodge of Faith, Hope and Charity No 700, Dover
Initiated: 2nd August 1843
Passed: 23rd October 1843
Raised: 22nd November 1843
Age: not stated
Address: Dover
Occupation: Hotel keeper
Remained a member until the lodge closed in 1850

Lodge of Peace and Harmony No 235, Dover
Joined on 12th June 1844
Membership ceased 1849


William Josiah Hollyer later ran the New Steine Hotel in Brighton before his early death in 1857.

12/27/2009 02:36 PM
Verna Hollyer's Portrait by Eva Hollyer
William Templeman wrote to me:-

"In the 1960's my father was a general medical practitioner in the village of Lea near Malmesbury in Wiltshire. Two old ladies lived in a cottage in the village. The younger one looked after the older one. Eventually the the younger one, who was I believe was in her seventies, could no longer manage and they both went into a home. The cottage and its contents were sold. Before the sale, my father was asked if he would like to look around and see if there was anything he would like. Above the fireplace was a picture of a young girl who we were told was Verna Hollyer painted by her elder sister Eva in 1887. The painting has lived with my family for just over forty years and is a great favourite.

The house stood in Little Badington Lane (since incorrectly named Badminton Lane), Lea, Malmesbury and was a classic labourer's cottage built of Cotswold Stone. It had a pump with a trough at the door and one stepped down from the front door into the front room. This meant that as you walked by the ground floor windows were lower than head height. Upstairs was divided by a partition into two rooms. On the stairs was another painting of a young lady holding her hat on a windy day. We could have had that painting as well but my then fiance, now wife, said we would have nowhere to put it. We have many times bitterly regretted this decision. The property and its contents I was told was left to a niece who wished to dispose of it entirely. Several house clearers entered the property and made bids for the contents. One of these put several small items of jewellery in a tea caddy and covered them in tea. Luckily someone saw him. I have in my possession that very tea caddy and a book. The house was sold to an RAF officer at nearby RAF Lyneham who converted it into a modern house and, other than the odd wall, nothing now remains.

It is funny how after forty years I remember the cottage so clearly. It was a dream place rather like those painted by the family. Yet at the same time, with no running water or central heating, it must have been desperately uncomfortable in the winter. From the house you could see the River Avon and the ruins of Malmesbury Abbey."

Research indicates that the two old ladies were Maud Hollyer and her sister Olive E. M. Bowman (nee Hollyer). I already knew that Maud lived to a great age and died in a nursing home in Devizes in 1970 at the age of 102. Subsequent research shows that Olive died in Devizes in 1968, aged 83, so would have been the younger of the two old ladies. Verna often sat for Eva as subject for her paintings, but this image must be more lifelike. Verna herself (by then Verna Eyles) died in 1958. Eva, the eldest daughter of the family and the artist of Verna's painting had died in 1943.

07/23/2009 08:17 AM
Samuel Hollyer's Bookplates
A set of illustrations of several of Samuel Hollyer's bookplates are available here.

One of them is his own (with a sketch of his wife at the foot) while another is of his second wife.

Samuel Hollyer (1826-1919) was born in London but emigrated to the USa and became a prominent engraver.

07/23/2009 08:09 AM
John Holyer: Archer
An interesting new database of Medieval Soldiers has become available here. It records two instances of a John Holyer, Archer, one from 1387 and another from the reign of Henry V.

First Name Surname Rank Captain Name Commander Year Nature of Activity
John Holyer Archer Slegh, John Arundel, Richard Fitz Alan, earl of 1387 Exped Naval
John Holyer Archer Arundel, John, Sir
temp. Henry V Naval Exped

The first record of 1387 almost certainly refers to the naval expedition of that year which defeated the Franco-Spanish-Flemish fleet off Margate. Richard FitzAlan, 11th Earl of Arundel was Admiral of England.

The second record during the time of Henry V (1413-1422) must surely have been one of the French campaigns, so this John Holyer may have been one of the famous English archers who fought at Agincourt. I haven't yet decided precisely who Sir John Arundel was and whether he was one of the Arundels associated with the earldom. If forces were raised along the south coast, then maybe John Holyer was from the family at Hooe in Sussex for which I have a record from 1427 and which continued there until the early 17th century. They may be the progenitors of the Holyer family of Woodchurch, Kent who are my own ancestors.

07/19/2009 09:44 AM
Hinckley Marriage Challenge
Haven't posted for a while now! This week, Joan Rowbottom sent me 12 Hollier marriage certificate transcriptions from the Hinckley RD where she has been carrying out a "Marriage Challenge". None of the marriages were unknown to me, but the certificates provide the detailed date, church and fathers' names. Also, in two cases it provided new spouses maiden names. So a useful contribution to both the Sharnford and Hinckley family groups.

01/16/2009 08:54 AM
Hollyer photos of G.F. Watts paintings
As is well know, Frederick Hollyer (1837-1933) the photographer, made many photographs of works of art, principally of the Pre-Raphaelites and also G.F. Watts. I note that as part of the Open Library project, a book of Watts's paintings is now on the web, ilustrated by Fred's photos.

See http://openlibrary.org/details/masterpiecesofgf00watt

01/14/2009 02:09 PM
More early Hollyers
Another Guild member, Colin Ulph, came across the following records at Tuxlith Chapel, Milland, in West Sussex.


28 April 1578. Thomas HOLLYER and Margery PACKE.

23 June 1578. Willm PACKE and Elizabeth HOLLYER.


13 April 1575. Joane HOLLYER.

Little is known about these Hollyers, who may be connected with other early records across the border in Hampshire at East Tisted. Other Hollyers in Sussex, such as at Petworth and Tortington, suggest that the name existed in small numbers in the 16th century in this part of the country.

01/08/2009 09:13 AM
The Ballard Holyer family
Once of the oddest families to descend from the Kent Holyer family are the Ballard Holyers. Characterised by two generations of "single mums", this line seemed to use the surnames Ballard and Holyer interchangeably, so I have found it best to record all descendants of this line. Nicci Sime wrote to me updating one branch I hadn't got: the descendants of Doris Ada Ballard HOLYER, plus the birth and death certificates for Percival Leopold Holyer, one of the Ballard/Holyer family whose life in the Tenterden Workhouse in 1881 was cut short becuse of the effects of his premature birth.

01/08/2009 09:06 AM
Devon Hollyers - NOT!
Maureen Selley, one of the Guild's leading members in Devon, sent me a burial record from 1846 for a Hannah Hollyer at Dunchideock, Devon, who had died at the Exeter workhouse aged 83. I knew at once this couldn't be right, as Hollyers rarely if ever turn up in Devon. However, Devon is the centre for the Hellyer surname and a little digging found a burial record for Hannah Hellier in the St Thomas registration district. The 1841 census also shows and elderly Hannah Hellyer at Dunchideock. Even 'original records' can contain transcription errors.

11/10/2008 08:18 PM
Rosa Septieme Hollyer
Oriel Williams has contacted me several times trying to identify the ancestry of Rosa Septieme Hollyer who married Thomas Inglis in 1913 in Marylebone. She was the daughter of Henry Hollyer, a gentleman of independent means. At first I couldn't identify Rosa. Now we realise that she was Rosa Holyer, 7th daughter (hence Septieme) of Henry Holyer, butcher of The Pantiles, Tunbridge Wells. Harry Holyer had told me that she went to India. Indeed she did, but that was probably a red herring, as she returned in 1923. She died in 1974, in Poole, registered as Rosa Septieme Inglis.

09/17/2008 03:10 PM
Oxfordshire Holliers
Carol Eden has been looking up the signatures of various Holliers in the Lewknor and South Weston area and this now strengthens our view that William of Lewknor was the one who lived between 1753 and 1828 (when he left a will) and he was the son (though no baptism has yet been found) of William Hollier and Martha Coles who married at Deddington in 1742. William and Martha came to Lewknor (buried 1786 and 1788 respectively) and must also have had a daughter Martha who married in Lewknor in 1777, which was witnessed by William Hollier and Joseph Hollier. Joseph's signature suggests that he might not be the Joseph who was William's brother (and who had also moved from Deddington to South Weston). William (the elder) also witnessed a marriage at Shirburn in 1755, showing that he must have been resident in the area around about the time he and Martha were having their family. If the missing baptisms could be found, it would be quite possible that they would also include Richard of Sydenham.

William Hollier's signature of 1765 on the Articles of Agrement for Lewknor Fields.

09/17/2008 03:10 PM
The Randwick Hollyers
I have now published on my website here an article on the Hollyer family at Randwick, New South Wales. The particular interest in this family is that their name was Cole, not Hollyer!

07/29/2008 10:15 AM
Hollyer Knol
I have published an article about the Hollyer name in Google's new 'Knol' facility. It can be found here. This is based on my article in the January 2007 issue of the Journal of One-Name Studies.

07/29/2008 07:00 AM
John Holyer 1377
A colleague from the Guild, Andrew Millard, kindly pointed out a very early Holyer reference he found in the 1377 poll-tax records for Northampton. This lists "Johannes Holyer ux" [John Holyer and his wife]. There are not many 14th century records I have come across, the other important ones being in Warwickshire (1325, 1373) and Kent (1399). Other early records, with spellings such as '[de] Holiere' do exist from Essex and Bedfordshire, but I have tended to view these as not being connected with the main groups of hereditary Hollyers etc that we see in later centuries. The very earliest record I have also falls into that category: Robert and Adam le Holier in the Hertfordshire Lay Subsidy of 1307. But even in the 1520s, when surnames were fully established in England, the Suffolk Lay Subsidy lists a John Holyer and Andrew Holyar, but there are no known Holyer families that originate from this area.

So this leaves the question: is this Northamptonshire record a significant pointer to the origin of the name, or one of several records which are not associated with known hereditary lines. But all the same, all records are filed away for future study...

07/15/2008 07:06 AM
Woodchurch 1871 Exhibition

I attended the 1871 exhibition at Woodchurch last Saturday, presented by the Woodchurch Ancestry Group. I had a display of Holyer items, trees etc and was very pleased to meet several members of the Holyer family who came to visit.

05/12/2008 06:31 AM
Judith Hollier from Melbourne wrote:-

"At the Paris Conciergerie where French Revolution prisoners were held we found the name Claude Hollier, Vicar; in the list of 2780 people who died at the guillotine. Apparently where was more about him in the Arc de Triomphe museum but we didn't have time to visit."

Glynis Pike also alerted me to this vicar in 2004:-

"My husband and I went to Paris 11 years ago and in a room above the Arc de Triomphe saw a memorial to the Royal Family of France and their close friends who were executed in the French revolution amongst them was a man called Claude Hollier (vicar) in the late 18th centurary it would be interesting to find out about his life."

I wonder what his crime was? Or was he just too friendly with the Royal Family?

04/02/2008 01:41 PM
They come in twos...
Peter Bloore, having sent me the material on Hollier's Farm at Hagley, must have been senstitive to the surname. He sent me a cutting from the Black Country Bugle concerning the Turner family of famous industrialists, who descend from a marriage of George Turner to Sarah Hollier, including the notable Sir Walford Hollier Turner.

A couple of days later, I had a contact from Caroline Turner, whose husband descends from this family and she provided me with much material about Sarah's father, William Hollier, who was one of the brothers who moved to the Black Country from Fordingbridge in Hampshire. In return, I was able to pass on the press cutting to her.

Strange how these contacts seem to come in pairs...

04/02/2008 11:34 AM
Hagley Hollier update
I had an interesting phone conversation with Irene Oliver, who had originally produced the booklet on Hollier's Farm. Following this, I sent her what I had on this family and in return she has supplied more information, including summaries of relevant Hollier wills at the Worcs Record Office. It still leaves it uncertain how the Hollier family around Barton Under Needwood in Staffs came to acquire this farm in Worcs, but we do now have a good idea of how the farm was handed down in the family and eventually sold.

03/19/2008 07:49 AM
Anonymous contact!
I received this message via one of my contact forms:-

"Whilst browsing the web, came across your site & noted that you had my brother David Hollyer (his black & white photography). Was curious to know whether you required any info I might be able to help you with."

Unfortunately the writer didn't supply an e-mail address, making a reply impossible. So if it's you and you see this, please get in touch again!