Our families - where they were and where they went...
Some snapshots of the geography of the families found on this site

Devon ParishesButton
Whilst we have described how our families moved on from Devon to pastures new on other pages, here we map their lives, and those of their offspring, showing where they settled. We look at their movement within the UK, and across the world. Some of the families that feature on these pages travelled a great deal, and they feature heavily here. But you will find something of Heards, Turners, Wrights, Pitts, Turners, Fursdons, Feys, Picketts, Drews, Crockers, Blacklers, Sharlands and Berrys mapped somewhere here, so there should be something to interest most people with families represented on the site. The maps show the locations for life events - births or baptisms, marriages and deaths - for our families and their in-laws. Some maps show only points where any of these events happened, and others indicate the relative number of the events through the size of the place marker. The maps should, on the whole, be seen as indicative of where our families lived, and are living still. Most of the life events selected for these maps took place in the 19th and 20th centuries- few before 1800, as for the vast majority of our family members, it was only after that date that they began to move away from those parishes where generations of their ancestors had lived before them.


By way of a foreword, as this is the Heard family website our first maps are Heard overviews. Then we look at a range of families where the trends and comparisons are of perhaps greatest interest.

This first map of Mid-Devon shows those parishes where two or more Heard life events occurred. The pale blue circle indicates that the earliest such an event recorded for an Heard in the parish of Sandford was before 1785. The size of the circle indicates how many life events associated with Heards happened thereafter. The red circles indicate that the earliest recorded Heard life events for those parishes occurred between 1786 and 1850. Green indicates the first life events were recorded there between 1851 and 1950. Thus we can see that the first Heard life events recorded for this family in Exeter happened between 1851 and 1950, and the size of the circle tells us that over the years ther have been a good number of events recorded there.
map keyThis map includes parishes even where only one Heard life event was recorded. In Northwest Devon/Northeast Cornwall,Heard events are recorded as indicators only of the early appearance of the name and the great number of them in the parishes of Hartland, Clovelly, Parkham and Morwenstow.
The UK map reflects migrations to the Midlands and London

As we have seen, very few Heards migrated, and this map reflects that. All the locations outside the UK represent life events of the 20th century, and indeed moreor less the last 50 years of that century.

Devon Parishes

For my generation of Mid-Devon Heards - the Baby Boomers and their offspring, the family bloodlines can be traced back between nine and fourteen generations - all of the ancestors on those lines being born in Devon. Our Pitts ancestors too, ten to thirteen generations, all Devon-born. A recent Wright family gathering saw four generations represented, and their Wright ancestors - from nine to fourteen generations - were all born in Devon; the Turners - nine to thirteen generations: all but the most recent arrivals of these families being Devonians by birth. On this page we look in more detail at the geography of our families, rather than their history.


The great majority of the ancestors of families represented on this site were born, married and died in three parishes in Mid-Devon - Sandford, Crediton and Colebrooke, and in ten to twenty surrounding parishes, mainly those in a rough semi-circle stretching from the west of Colebrooke, north and then to the east of Sandford. And as the nearest city, Exeter, of course drew many family members. The first six maps show the tracks of our Heard family members and in-laws up to 1860 - the parishes where they were born, married and were buried. Our earliest definite Heard appears in Hartland in the north-west. Most of the life events of the Heards and their in-laws take place in Sandford, as the size of the red dot there indicates in the first map. The other maps track events for other Heard-related families. Saffins were concentrated around Cheriton Bishop, Crediton and Exeter and scattered along the north of Dartmnoor; Turners and Drews around Colebrooke and parishes to its west, Feys likewise, with some emphasis on Zeal Monachorum, and Sharlands in the parishes more to the east and north of Sandford - Cheriton Fitzpaine, Puddington and Cruwys Morchard.

Heard pre 1861
Our Heards to 1860
Saffin Devon
Saffins to 1860
Turner distribution pre1861
Turners to 1860
Drew distribution pre61
Drews to 1860
Fey pre 1861 distribution
Feys to 1860
Sharland pre 1861 distribution
Sharlands to 1860
Our other mid-Devon group of families on my maternal line are mainly the Wrights, who are mostly from Sandford, though one branch moved to the Teign estuary in south Devon. The Berrys and Picketts stayed mainly around Sandford and Crediton before 1860. The Berrys probably originated in North Devon after the Conquest. We do not know the origin of the Picketts. Perhaps they moved to Devon from Somerset. Wild speculations abound.

Wrights pre1861distribution
Wrights to 1860
Berry pre1861 distribution
Berrys to 1860
Pickett pre1861 distribution
Picketts to 1860
The other quarter of the families who feature on this site are from those parishes in the south of Devon that lie between Dartmoor, the sea and the rivers Dart and Erme, known as the South Hams. Centred on Stokenham and Chivelstone, the families and their in-laws lived in some fifteen parishes scattered throughout the South Hams.
south hams parish map
Pitts pre1861 distribution
Pitts to 1860
Crocker pre1861 distribution
Crocker to 1860
Blackler pre 1861 distribution
Blackler to 1860
The Pitts family are mainly to be found in Stokenham: the Crockers are centred around Ugborough; the Blacklers to the west, around Ringmore, Kingston and Aveton Gifford. It must be pointed out that these Pitts seem to be quite separate from the Pitts family who were well established in mid-Devon by this time, though some of our Pitts family were to move there at the beginning of the 20th century.


Sandford -Simply a sandy ford

Crediton - Farmstead on the river Creedy

Colebrooke -A cool brook

Morchard Bishop - A great wood or forest, owned by the Bishop of Exeter in 1086

Shobrooke - A brook haunted by a spirit

Zeal Monachorum - Either a hall or dwelling, or a sallow tree copse, owned by monks (Cistercians of Buckfast)

Cheriton Fitzpaine - Settlement with a church; part of the Fitzpayn family's manor in 13th century

Hookers map of exeter

Hooker's 1587 map of Exeter

The Family Diaspora

As has been described in Pastures New, whilst there was always some movement away from their home ground, the arrival of the railways accelerated this. The chronology of movement is too varied and complex to map in detail, but the maps below show the locations of our families before the railways arrived in the 1850s, and then where their life events had happened after that date, up to the middle of the 20th century, within the United Kingdom and Ireland. The blue dots represent concentrations of births, marriages and deaths up to 1860, and the red dots show where these events happened from 1861 to 1960. It should be noted that the variations in volume of events might reflect the degree to which particular families have been tracked in the 20th century as much as their numbers and activities. What matters perhaps is the trend in movement and settlement.

Heard england pre and post railways
Fey pre and post railway
Turner pre and post railway
The Heards spread to the Midlands in at least two groups, and their descendants are there still. Others moved north to work as miners. Several moved to London, most not settling there in fact, but moving on. A number of Heards moved to South Wales in the early years of the 20th century.

The Feys had already begin to settle in Bristol before 1860. Later they were to move to Bermondsey and Southwark and become established in the South East around London.

Wrights spread
Pitts spreading out map
Crocker spreading out map

Wrights had begun to move to Bristol and London before 1860. Later they would to spread to South Devon, and to southern England, and London.

The Pitts family moved to mid-Devon, and to the South East. Since before 1860 they had settled in the Channel Islands, and this continued to be the case into the 20th century. And more recently to the Scillies.

There is little evidence of our Crockers moving outside the South Hams, but this map is misleading. In fact our Crocker family may not have gone far in the UK, but in fact they spread all over the world, as we can see below. The same is true of the Saffins. If we were to see a map for their post 1860 travels in the UK it would not add much to the Devon map for Saffins above. But as we can see below they travelled rather further afield, to Foreign Shores.

1881 Census

We can compare the distribution of our families with the distribution of their surnames in the population at large, as recorded in the 1881 census. Most of our Heards were to be found in the same part of the country as all Heards - Devonshire. The same is true for our Feys and our Pitts. There is a good match between the location of our family members and the locations where all Feys and Pitts were to be found in 1881, with most Feys appearing in Devon and Bristol, and most Pitts in south Devon. The Wright name, however, was to be found predominantly in the east of England, our Devonshire Wright families clearly being quite separate.
heards at 1881censushall heardin census
our pitts in 1881 censusallpitts in 1881
Our Heards in 1881(left), and all Heards (right)
as recorded in the 1881 census
Our Pitts in 1881(left), and all Pitts (right)
as recorded in the 1881 census
our feys in 1881 mapall feys in 1881 map
our wright in 1881 census mapallwrights in 1881 census map
Our Feys in 1881(left), and all Feys (right)
as recorded in the 1881 census
Our Wrights in 1881(left), and all Wrights (right)
as recorded in the 1881 census



Some branches of our tree stretched further afield than others. The Heards, the Pitts and the Wrights have stayed in England for the most part. Other parts of the family chose to seek their fortunes across the oceans. The maps here indicate where they settled and lived their lives.

One of the branches that spread to the new worlds of North America and Australasia was the Blacklers, who began to strike out for new lands at the beginning of the 19th century. The early Blackler emigrants settled in Australia and New Zealand. Then at the end of the nineteenth century another wave of Blackler descendants were to go to the USA, including the Davis family whose story is told in Foreign Shores.

worldmapwith blacklers destinationshown

Blacklers in the USA, Australia and New Zealand

Blacklers in australia and NZ map

Blackler settlement in Australia and New Zealand

Blackler in the US and canada map

Blackler settlement in the USA and Canada
The Crockers began to sail to Australia, particularly Tasmania, in the first half of the nineteenth century. They emigrated in significant numbers - spreading from Tasmania to mainland Australia and to New Zealand. There are now many Crocker descendants established Down Under.
global map for Crockers

Crocker migration

Crockers in Oz and NZ

Crocker settlement in Australia and New Zealand
The Feys joined the second wave of mass emigration at the end of the 19 century and the beginning of the 20th centuries. Skilled tradesmen who saw opportunities in the USA, several went there and to Canada in the 1870s and 1880s, and encouraged others like the Hectors. Their nephews and nieces went to Australia some 20 to 30 years later.

Feys global map

Fey migration

Feys in USA map

Fey settlement in North America

Feys in Oz

Fey settlement in Australia

The Saffins had stayed in Devon until the years before and after the First World War, when six of nine siblings sailed to Australia. No doubt news of success in the new life prompted brother or sister to follow in their own time. Most of our Saffins settled in Victoria, though some crossed the border to neighbouring South Australia. There are numerous Saffin descendants living there now.

global map for Saffins

Saffin migration

Saffins in Australia

Saffins have settled mainly in Victoria and South Australia as can be seen from these two maps

saffin south australia
Our Sharlands emigrated to North America in several groups, mainly in the last quarter of the 19th century, and settled throughout the USA and Canada. It was certainly not uncommon for our settler families to move on to new places several times.

Sharlands in northamerica map

Sharlands in North America

We can see, however, that just as in the old country, it was not uncommon for several branches of a family to settle in the same area, as this map of the Sharland distribution in Michigan shows, with a number of families concentrating on two or three counties.

Sharland settlement in Michigan

Picketts continue to move overseas. They have gone to Canada, the USA and South Africa, but most of our migrant Pickett families settled in Australia
picketts global map
They settled in New South Wales, and have spread through a number of towns and suburbs there.

pickett australia map

Picketts settled extensively in New South Wales
Nsouthwales pickett settlemenrts
Whilst we find traces of our Drew family in Australia, in South Africa and in India, Canada was the destination for most of our emigrant Drews. The majority of them sailed at the end of the 19th century, and they were to play their part in the country's expansion to the West. We find them spread across the nation from Ontario to the West Coast.

drews global map

Drew migration

Drewa in Canada

Drew settlement in Canada


More Placenames

Stokenham - outlying hamlet or farmstead in the area of cultivated ground

Ugborough - hill of a man called Ugga

Modbury - fortification where meetings are held

Aveton Gifford - farmstead on the river Avon, in the manor of the Gifford family

Loddiswell - Spring of a man called Lod

southhams old map

South Hams


The 21st Century


Finally we can see where our families have spread to in the UK by the 21st century. In these maps the deepest colours represent where the greatest number of family events have been recorded on our database. The greens are those families mostly associated with my paternal line and the reds with my maternal line.

turner to 2000+
fey post 2000
pitts 21000post map
Fursdon 21st century flood map
sharland 21sy centur
berry 21st century map
wright 21st century
blacklers 21s century
We see clearly how the Heards have settled in the Midlands, the Turners in London and South Wales. The Feys are well established in Bristol and London. Our Pitts family and in-laws are still in Devon, though have spread into Cornwall, to Ireland, to Hampshire and London. Fursdons have moved East to Somerset and on to Bristol. Our Berrys have been somewhat elusive in the 20th century. The family seems to have moved away from Devon, and descendants are in the South-East, Cornwall, and the East of England. Some of our Wrights moved to Lancashire for a while , but did not stay there. They settled in the South, and their descendants are in Hampshire. Our Blacklers mainly stayed in Devon, though some moved to Wales, and some to the North-West. It is clear from the intensity of the colours for Devon that despite the migrations, our families are essentially Devonshire families - descendants look to the county for their origins, and many family members, like your host, return to the county after having left.
Maps generated by GenMap UK V2.2 and by Map My Family Tree v1.4