The Acock family
Acocks Green History Society regularly receives enquiries from
people wishing to know if they are descended from the Acocks of
Acocks Green. As far as we know, this is the only place in England
where this family has produced a place name. It is natural therefore,
for people researching their family history to look towards Acocks
Green as the source of their ancestors. Unfortunately, in many
cases this will be a false trail. The Acock family first appeared
in records in Yardley and Sheldon, both now part of Birmingham,
in 1420, but disappeared from this locality in the eighteenth
century. They bought an estate at the south-eastern end of the
area, which can be seen on the map extract here.
The earliest reference we know of to the place name Acocks Green
comes from the Yardley Parish Register of 1604. We would very
much like to establish what happened to the family after they
left this area, and would welcome any information. We would like
to be able to include firm information on this website, if possible.
Our e-mail address is on the Society's homepage.
Acocks Green House was knocked down in 1956/7, when the estate
was sold to the City for municipal housing. The building had been
used as a club for a number of years. Before that it was a private
house. The 1847 Tithe Award schedule shows the house and lands
surrounding as occupied by a John Mumford. The site of Acocks
Green House is in front of 26-30 Bericote Croft, off Woodcock
Lane. It is not in the centre of Acocks Green. One may ask why
the Acock family gave its name to the area, when the house was
some distance away. The answer probably lies in the making of
the Warwick Road turnpike in the eighteenth century. The tollgate
was by the Dolphin Inn, useful as a coaching stop, and Acocks
Green House was across the road. The coaching stop was named Acocks
Green. When the Warwick and Birmingham Canal Company surveyed
the area in 1792, it not only named the house as Haycocks Green,
but also the nearby settlement. When the railway was built in
1852, it adopted the name for the coaching stop, although the
station was much nearer to the former hamlet of Westley Brook,
which is the present centre. The presence of the station led to
the building of houses and churches nearby, which are regarded
as old Acocks Green today. In some ways this is a much more obvious
centre, as five roads meet here. Curiously, the Green in the centre
is a former tram terminus of 1932, and so never was the Green
by the family house out near the City boundary, although it is
common even for local people to equate the family and the open
area with this circular traffic island. Really, Acocks Green is
a creation of the Victorian period above all, with inter-war municipal
housing dominating later changes. Part of the 1886 O.S. map can
be seen here,
which shows the position of Acocks Green House over to the right,
with the current centre top left.
Our interest locally ends for the most part with the departure
of the Acock family. We have put together a number of pointers
to help people decide whether it is worth them making a journey
to Birmingham, but have not presented any data later than 1800.
Unfortunately, we cannot undertake research on behalf of enquirers,
however Birmingham Central Library offers a paid genealogy service.
This can be accessed
The most important thing to bear in mind is that the Acock
family did not originate in Acocks Green. Families with that or
similar names can be found elsewhere from the early sixteenth
century, and from the length and breadth of the country before
1700. We have produced some lists
of locations, based on the International
Genealogical Index, to show how widely it may be necessary
to search. Our lists only go up to 1700.
Those using the Internet may find a lot of relevant information
using the IGI. However, it needs to be borne in mind that it provides
only a part of the parish records. Vicars were under no obligation
to make their registers available, and many refused to do so.
Also, there are more Baptism/Christening records available than
marriages or burials. This reflects the purposes of the compilers
of the IGI.
Spelling provides another complication. In Yardley, the records
are almost entirely of Acock and Acocke. The other local records,
especially the Birmingham records include a lot of other spellings,
which we have included there as possibilities. Examples of records
which it might be necessary to search are Acok, Acoke, Acokes,
Acoks, Akoc, Acocks, Akok, Akokke, Acokk, Alcock, Alcocke, Alcockes,
Allcock, Allcocke, Allcockes, Aucock, Aucocke, Aucockes, Avcock,
Avcocke, Avcockes, Aucock, Aucocke, Aucockes, Awcock, Awcocke,
Awcockes, Awcok, Awcoke, etc. etc. The IGI also includes Adcock
and other similar names.
Our page of references to the family in the Birmingham area
before 1800 can be found here.
We have not attempted to make sense of the data presented here,
but hope it is useful to enquirers who may have the resources
to make links and build a structure from the records.