Wyndham House, Barbados

A Curiosity – The Origin of the Wyndham name

In my family research I have found a few naming conventions that had been quite puzzling. One of these is the use of “Wyndham” as a second or third given name in one of the Gittens family lines. The reason for the curiosity is that the origin or significance of the “Wyndham” name has not been identified.

Typically, but not always, children are named after family members, parents, grandparents and great grandparents, or other close relatives. For example, a wife’s maiden name is often used as a second given name, or even sometimes as a third given name.

An example of a fairly typical naming convention is my own name. In my particular case my full name is Clifford Charles Gittens. I am named after my great uncle, Clifford Bertram Gittens and my maternal grandfather, Charles Leslie Crittenden. In the case of each of my children, their mother’s maiden name of Johnson was included as one of their given names. However, the use of Wyndham as a second given name does not seem to fit any pattern. The first use of the Wyndham name in the Gittens family was with Fenwick Wyndham Gittens. We believe Fenwick Wyndham Gittens was born on the Island of St. Kitts in about 1857. His parents were William Nathaniel Gittens and Ann Christian Field who both were born in Barbados. Initially, I expected to find the Wyndham name used somewhere in the ancestors of William Nathaniel Gittens and Ann Christian Field. However, after researching their respective families back for two generations, the Wyndham name was not present. Further research revealed that the surname of Wyndham does not appear in the baptismal or marriage record in Barbados prior to about 1890, which is the date that Barbados records are available online.

Wyndham House Barbados
Wyndham House Barbados where Fenwick Wyndham Gittens lived.

Fenwick Wyndham Gittens married Florence Elizabeth Hordle Mann on 14 Dec 1880, in Barbados. They had 6 children who survived into adulthood, 3 girls and 3 boys. In the case of the girls only one daughter used the Wyndham given name with her children. Edith Wyndham Gittens who married Doctor Longfield Longfield-Smith named her oldest son, John Wyndham Longfield-Smith [who I refer to as John Wyndham Longfield-Smith Sr.] John Wyndham Longfield-Smith Sr. had two children and carried forward the Wyndham given name with his son, John Wyndham Longfield-Smith Jr., but did not use the Wyndham given name in his daughter’s name. In the case of Fenwick and Florence’s sons, only Darnley Erroll Wyndham Gittens (“Erroll”) had children. Erroll was married twice and had two children in each marriage, in total 3 boys and one girl. Each of these 4 children has Wyndham as a second or third given name.

Only Erroll’s boys in turn had children. Each of these three boys used the Wyndham second given with every single child born to them. Each successive generations of children repeated the pattern of using Wyndham as a second or third given name. We have as many as 6 generations who have used and are continuing to use the Wyndham given name. I have had the opportunity of asking a few people who use the Wyndham given name what its significance was and if they knew why it had been carried for so many generations.

No one was really sure of what the history of the name was. This certainly increases the curiosity……???? My purpose in publishing this blog is to see if anyone associated with the Gittens Family is aware of any family lore, or family history which might shed some light on the Wyndham name. If you can provide any information regarding the Wyndham name please submit a comment in the box below.

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