Friday, July 07, 2006

Bigelow! Where are you? From?

One of many questions I ask myself and particularly my father is where we came from as a family. He thinks (please correct me if I'm wrong Dad) that our heritage is primarily from German ancestry. My belief is that our heritage stems from Great Britain. By doing some research over the past few years, I have found that I don't really know either way.

What I do know I learned from The Bigelow Society. Started by Rod Bigelow in 1996, the Bigelow Society attempts to piece together the broken history of our founding ancestry. Although the site is not as maintained as it used to be, there are still useful links to be searched, and information to be discovered. Rod also has the time to organize Bigelow Society annual meetings (of which I have never attended), with the 2006 meeting scheduled to be in Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin.

This is what the site says about our origin:

The immigrant ancestor of nearly all persons in North America bearing the
surname Bigelow in any of its several variants, is John Biglo of Watertown,
Massachusetts. He lived from 1617 to 1703. Many of his descendants have been
recorded in a genealogy entitled The Bigelow Family in America, written by
Gilman Bigelow Howe, printed 1890. The book was published by Charles Hamilton of Boston, and is no longer available except by photo-copy reprint. Rebound used
copies occasionally come into the used-book market with the simple title Bigelow
In this book Howe states that he was
unable to obtain any satisfactory account of the progenitor of John Biglo, and
quotes conflicting traditions stating that the surname is of various national
origins. He also quotes the late genealogist H.G. Somerby, who felt that John
Biglo came from Wrentham, Suffolk, England, and was son of Randall and Jane
Beageley, who had their youngest son, John, baptized 16 February 1617. Also,
from the probate records of Wrentham, Somerby quotes the will of a Francis
Baguley, blacksmith, of Wrentham, who in a will dated 20 October 1656, granted
five pounds "to his brother John Baguley, now living in New England, if he comes
for it within two years". He offered no proof that Francis was son of Randall
So we may never know where the hell we came from. It's funny that our name is dirivitive of Biglo. It's my guess that we were a victim of bad spelling back in the days of old ship passenger logs. If you try to say Biglo phonetically, you'd end up with something very similar to Bigelow. But, it's just my guess. There is a lot more on this subject, but I'll leave that for another day.

The reason I wrote this post was to help explain my new banner. While at the Bigelow Society page, I came across the Bigelow family coat-of-arms. I've always wondered what it would look like slightly updated. I took some time tonight, since I don't have to work tomorrow to break out my photoshop skills and try to pop one out. What you see above is the final product of my efforts. The latin words above GoBigelow, "Finis Coronat Opus" mean "The End Crowns the Work". The Bigelow Society also explains the coat-of-arms:

Regarding the diamonds, or lozenges, on the "Bigelow" coat-of-arms: They are
sometimes described simply as "three lozenges" or three in a row across the
shield. In other descriptions, the specifications "two-over-one" is added. In
Baguley Hall, Manchester, England, the Baguley (Bigelow) shield is displayed. It
is also on the effigy of Sir Wm. Baguley and in both cases the lozenges are
The legal description, from some 650 years or more ago: Arms,
Argent, three lozenges azure. Crest: a ram's head erased azure, charged with
three lozenges and attired or. In summary: The shield is of silver, the three
lozenges are of blue. The ram's head is of blue, lozenges on it's neck are of
gold, as are the ram's horns. The wreath, under the crest, is of alternate
twists of silver and blue. The helmet is of steel color and the mantle is of
blue lined with silver. The ribbon is of silver.

I hope you enjoyed reading a little Bigelow history. If you want to learn a little more, visit the Bigelow Society Page.

The Bigelow Society
The Bigelow Society Coat-of-Arms

Edit: For some reason the quoted sections aren't coming out right. I'm not sure how to fix it, so I apologize.


Dana said...

Hey Derek, looks like you have ALOT of time on your hands (hahahahaha). Anyway, I find it really interesting that we don't know where we are from. I am sure it is true with a lot of families these days because it was so long ago. Thanks for the interesting reading though. Love ya big sis!

Bigelow said...

Dana, did you check out the website I linked at all?

Dana said...

Yeah, maybe, no, why? Did I miss something????

dewbob said...

I will go to the link and get back to you. It sounds like you did the reserch.

mom said...

You forgot a little something side of the tree,1/2 of you,1/2 of me!!Great gramma Teal came straight from England on a boat,Grandpa Druse (Derek Druse Bigelow) also hailed from the great England,with a bit of Dutch history.You are the only one to carry on MY grandpas name once Aunt Marion passes away...there is no one else.That is why I gave you that middle name and your Dad let me!Check that out when you get bored and let me know more...I have more info from my dide if you want it!! Love you!!!