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I started this study in the late 1980's whist researching the ancestry of my grandfather Harry Wiliscroft. In those early days it took me a little while to realise that different spellings of the surname were interchangeable, not only between documents but also within. The study has grown considerably since then with the onset of the internet and digitalised records. More recently I have been researching the use of the name as a first name with some interesting results.

My research has shown that the surname is locative in origin. It takes name from the hamlet shown as 'Wooliscroft' on 18C maps of Staffordshire. Both the surname and placename show a similar pattern of evolution. The first indication I have found that the place name was being used by clerks to identify individuals was in a feoffment dated 1311. The document refers to "Henry the son of Walter of Wilardiscroft". Wilardiscroft has not survived as a surname but the variant surnames Williscroft, Williscraft, Willescroft, Willinscroft, Woolliscroft, Wooliscroft and Wolliscroft can be found worldwide today.

As part of my research into the surname origins I have also researched the surnames Werlawescrof, Werlascroft, Whatecroft & Watecroft. My findings are summarised in the "Histories" section. In brief the surnames appear to be distinct surnames in their own right.

My aim in publishing this 'database' is to put the information I have gathered together in one place. You will find information on the different individuals I have found who have borne the surname since 1311. In addition individuals who have the name as a first name. There are also reconstructed family trees in the families section based on the information collected from various sources. By publishing my work through the Guild of One Name Studies it is my aim, that in the future, the research carried out will be preserved for future generations as a legacy site.

The site is fully searchable by name. *NOTE* you may find it easier to search using the either the spouses surname or mother's maiden name. However, to view 'private' or 'living' information you need to register for a user account and indicate your area of interest.

The site is very much work in progress as I transfer data. Please come back and visit again or contact me directly if you have a query. Recently added information can be viewed at the “What's New” page. If you would like to include information on your own family please get in touch.

It is important that you check the information given at source. Every endeavour has been made to ensure accuracy but we are only human and errors may occur.

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