Surname Saturday – The Ford Family

Creative Commons picture of Rye Water ford in Scotland, one of my ancestral homes.

I can find my maiden name, Ford in the dictionary, but I haven’t been able to find much about the people who passed the name on to me.

Ford is a shallow part of a body of water that may be crossed by wading according to Webster’s dictionary.  English in derivation, the name was given to people who lived by these bodies of water.  The name can be found mostly in the UK and United States but is also predominant in New Zealand and Canada according to World Names Profiler

I’ve only been able to trace  the name as far back as my great-grandfather, James Ford.  He married Josephine Burton in 1894, they had six kids, five of which were boys including my grandfather, Martin Luther Ford.   The name was carried down to me through my father Joseph Burton Ford.

James Ford was a minister at St. James African Methodist Episcopal Church in Ocean Springs, Mississippi.  I had a nice talk with one of the parishioners and unofficial church secretary there who informed me that they didn’t have much of an early archive and had no information about my great-grandfather.  I also don’t have much information about James Ford outside of a few census records that put his date of birth at around 1862 and his place of birth in Mississippi.  He last shows up as informant on his wife, Josephine’s death certificate in 1922.

While we may still be thin on Ford ancestry facts, the name was a constant conversation starter throughout the 1970s.   My mom’s first name is Betty and she couldn’t use her credit card or sign a check that decade without people asking what it was like to live in the White House or what she thought about all those Saturday Night Live skits making fun of her husband.



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3 responses to “Surname Saturday – The Ford Family

  1. I enjoyed your photo and your story. Thanks for sharing. I had Ford cousins, growing up, in a rural Methodist Church, in Iowa. As irrelevant as the Betty Ford reference… it is what came to mind, reading… also, James Ford is “Sawyers” name on TV show LOST! How about that!?

    May you keep sharing your ancestor stories!

    Bill 😉
    Author of “Back to the Homeplace”
    and “13 Ways to Tell Your Ancestor Stories”

  2. Hi Dionne,

    Have you located the death certificate of James Ford to discover the names of his parents?

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