Select Unsworth Surname Genealogy

The Unsworth surname comes from the place-name Unsworth near Bury in Lancashire.  The place-name derives from the Old English personal name Hund, meaning "hound" or "dog," plus worth, meaning "homestead" or "enclosure" - hence "Hund's homestead." 

It was recorded as Hunderwrth in 1291 and Undesworth in 1322.  The name is believed to be of Saxon origin.  It appeared in The Saxon Chronicle that was compiled by monks in the 10th century.

Other worth-ending place-names, either in Lancashire or Yorkshire, that have become surnames are Ainsworth, Duckworth, Illingworth and - probably the best known - Woolworth.

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Select Unsworth Ancestry

England.  The Unsworths were a long-established Lancashire family.
"A mile and a half on the south side of Bury is an old farmhouse, the residence in former times of a family of some note and still occupied by a lineal descendant.  The family of Unsworth has possessed this property, according to tradition, ever since the time of the Conquest and there are certainly relics to prove its antiquity."

These Unsworths intermarried over time with many of the distinguished families in southern Lancashire and the Wirral.  The Unsworths of Redvales in Bury lived at the Goshen farmhouse on the banks of the Roach river from the early 17th century.

The Unsworth family must have spread west from the Bury area at an early date as the name began to crop up in places such as Wigan and Liverpool.  Many remained strong adherents of the Roman Catholic faith.  In 1717 the estates of Edward Unsworth in the Winwick area were registered as Papist and the estates of George Unsworth in Markland near Wigan were confiscated in the same year for the same reason.

Thomas Unsworth prospered as a merchant in Liverpool in the late 18th century.  He lived at Maghull Hall (there is an Unsworth chapel at the local church).  His son Thomas married well and inherited the estate and manor of Huyton Hey in 1814.  Both he and the family he married into were Catholic.  One branch of this family later emigrated to Brockway in Pennsylvania.

Another Unsworth family were butchers in Wigan from the early 19th century.  Four generations of the family traded, first at Coopers Row in the Wiend and then at Greenough Street. 
Thomas Unsworth and his sons operated Unsworth Cartage & Haulage in Goose Green, Wigan.  The company still runs.

Unsworths in Culcheth near Leigh date from the early 17th century.  They were blacksmiths.  The first Unsworths in Leigh appeared a century or so later.  John Unsworth kept the Market Place inn in the mid 19th century.  John had a small organ there and started a singing room.  He was the grandfather of the Unsworths of the St. Joseph’s Brass Band.

The Unsworth name did not spread much outside of Lancashire.  By the time of the 1891 census, 85 percent of Unsworths were still living in Lancashire.

CanadaGiles Unsworth was a cotton broker in Liverpool in the 1830's who moved with his large family to Canada in 1848.  They settled in Flamboro, Ontario.  Robert and Sarah Unsworth from Wigan emigrated to Nova Scotia in 1906 on the City of Vienna.

AmericaJames Unsworth from Bolton became a Mormon convert and made the passage to Utah in 1861 with his first wife.  He settled in Hyrum where he ran the general store.  He was the father of twenty children from his two wives.

Select Unsworth Miscellany

If you would like to read more, click on the miscellany page for further stories and accounts:

Select Unsworth Names

Thomas Unsworth
was a prosperous late 18th century Liverpool merchant. 
Geoffrey Unsworth from Leigh near Manchester was a much acclaimed British cinematographer.
Barry Unsworth is a British novelist, joint winner of the Booker prize for fiction in 1992.

Select Unsworths Today
  • 7,000 in the UK (most numerous in Lancashire)
  • 2,000 elsewhere (most numerous in Canada)

PS.  You might want to check out the surnames page on this website.  It covers surname genealogy in this and companion websites for more than 800 surnames.

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