Origin of the Alsop Surname

The Alsup/Alsop name, although not common, is one of the oldest surnames found in England. The name originated in the 11th century when the use of surnames was not yet common. When William the Conqueror of Normandy defeated King Harold of England at the Battle of Hastings in 1066 he brought with him the concept of surnames. William rewarded his nobles with land according to their rank and number of soldiers provided. These nobles in turn rewarded their subordinates with land.  One of William’s nobles, Henry de Ferrers, was given land in Derbyshire. Henry in turn granted the township of Alsop-en-le-Dale to one of his officers, Gamellus, who became known as Gamellus de Alsop.

One of Gamellus’s descendants, Sir Hugh de Alsop, was made a Knight by King Richard-The Lionheart, for bravery at the Battle of Acre during the Third Crusade. He was also given land near Alsop-en-le-Dale and awarded a Coat of Arms.

Alsup and Alsop are two of the more common spellings of the name. Other frequently found spellings include: Allsop, Allsopp, Allsoppe, Alsopp, Alsupp, Allsup and Alsip. Less common variants are: Allsupp, Alsoppe, Allsoup, Alsuppe, Alsept, Alsep, Halsop, Alsope, Alssop, Allssop, Alsopa, Aylsop, Aylsopp, Alsopps, Alsopes, Alsopt, Allsope, Alsoppa, Alsoppes, Alsopte, Alsoph, Alesop, Alisop, Alsopop, Alspop, Aulsop, Alisopp, Alsof, Allsoph, Allsopop, Alsobe, Alsoup, Alstop, Alsoy, Alsot, Alsom, Alsoop, Ailesope, Alsap, and Aslop.

Throughout this web site we often refer to the family name as Alsup or Alsop. Over the past 900 years, spelling of the name has been far from standardized. We could just as easily use any of these other names. They all refer to the same family.

Alsop Manor House in Alsop-in-the-Dale, Derbyshire, England The current Alsop Manor House was built in 1575. The village and manor house were owned by the family for seventeen generations until it was sold by Anthony Alsop in 1688.

In 1883 the estate returned to Alsop ownership when it was purchased by brewer Sir Henry Allsopp, Baron of Hindlip. Henry was a Member of Parliament representing East Worcestershire and the owner of Samuel Allsopp & Sons of Burton-upon-Trent, at one time the second largest brewery in England.

Under primogeniture, the system of inheritance developed in England under feudalism, land and titles were inherited by the oldest son. This system was implemented to keep wealth in the family but it usually left the other children with virtually nothing. If you were lucky to have descended from the oldest sons, you lived a life of leisure. The other children usually received a small cash settlement or a few personal possessions. A few of these non-inheriting Alsop descendants received a good education and served in the military, clergy or became lawyers, but most became farmers or craftsmen. Many of our Alsup/Alsop/Allsop ancestors who were early emigrants to America were among those who did not receive an inheritance of land.

The Allsop name was documented from Gamellus in the 11th century through the early 19th century by English historian, Stephen Glover. Unfortunately, the pedigree documents only the first born sons for the first 12 generations. Later generations include more members but most are along the line that inherited the manor house and the land.

If one looks at the distribution of the Alsop name in England it is fairly common in Derbyshire, the county containing Alsop-in-the-Dale. The frequency of the surname decreases as one moves away from Derbyshire. This pattern of name distribution supports the theory held by many that most Alsop’s today originated from the family of Gamellus de Alsop.

Purpose of the Project

Few genealogical records exist today to enable one to prove this theory of Allsop origins. Traditional genealogical research may never link us to Gamellus; however, modern DNA technology has provided a way to examine that theory. That is one of the purposes of this project.

The other objective is to connect with fellow Alsop families who cannot yet be linked with traditional genealogical techniques. The hope is to provide a way to share information to assist each of us in our search of our roots using traditional genealogical techniques.

This project is intended to answer these questions

If your  research has hit a “brick wall”, DNA analysis could be the break through you have been looking for, to push your genealogy research back several more generations by finding connections to other ALSUP/ALSOP family Lines.

To see how genealogical DNA testing works, click on the link DNA Tutorial.