Origins of the Austen surname
The Austen surname first appears in records
in the 13th century. Austen is a relatively rare
variant of the much more common spelling,
Austin, both being derived from the Roman
name "Augustine". As the various spelling
variants have been largely preserved down
through the generations, the rarity of the
Austen spelling makes it easier to trace than
Austen family lore
According to family lore and in particular, "Grandma Ethel (nee Austen) Gallagher (1880-1956)", her Austen line was related to the family of Jane Austen, the novelist. Four decades after her death, two of her grandchildren, Clare and David, visited the Canterbury Cathedral archives to see if they could find the proof. In two days of searching the archives, they were able to trace back as far as a Thomas Austen born circa 1793 in Canterbury. Although, the paper trail is not yet complete, the two Austen lines appear to converge in the same area of Kent.
Earliest Known Austen Ancestor
The civil records are complete and unambiguous back to 1845 where the marriage certificate of Minter Austen (1823-1875) shows that he was living at No. 5 Black Friars, Canterbury, Kent and that his father was Thomas Austen, a Butcher. The Canterbury Cathedral archives include a parish record of the probable marriage of Thomas Austen to Harriet Minter in 1814 in the village of Westbere (3 miles east of Canterbury). However, there are at least two possible local sets of parents for Thomas Austen with baptisms from 1785 to 1794, including a John and Hannah Austen in Sturry (2 miles NE of Canterbury), less than a mile from Westbere where he was married.
Ethel Blanche (nee Austen) Gallagher Ethel with some of her Henry Austen (1857-1942) 1880-1956 (taken c1907) grandchildren (taken 1954) Postmaster in Faversham
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