Family history and 
one name study 
About the study

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The Glenister world wide one name study began in 1977 and was sparked by my interest in family history, driven by three questions:
  • who were the mystery relatives?
  • where did the name come from?
  • was I related to others families with the same name?

In seeking to answer these questions, described in more detail below, I embarked on a study which was to absorb me from 1977 until the present day.

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Mystery relatives
I had often heard my parents and grandparents speak of uncles who I had never seen. My father, Alfred, and my grand father, also Alfred (it gets worse!), spoke of uncle Fred and uncle Reg - my grandfather's brothers - and uncle Basil - my grandfather's half brother.

I found out that great-grandfather, another Alfred, had married twice. He separated from his first wife (the mother of Alfred, Fred, and Reg) and lived with another woman, who he married as soon as his first wife died. The only child from the second family was Basil.

Great-grandfather's two families seemed to get along together - all working together in his engineering business. When great-grandfather died, the families gradually drifted apart. Even the brothers Alfred, Fred, and Reg went their own way, not keeping in contact - although they each knew where the others lived.

As I grew through childhood and teens, living in a family with my three brothers, a sister, and my parents, and meeting other uncles, aunts, and cousins, I began to wonder about how my grandfather could lose touch with his brothers, and what had happened to these "mystery relatives".

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Origin and meaning of the name
As I grew up I had often wondered where the name Glenister originated and what did it mean? The reference books with names and their origins never contained Glenister.

People often said it sounded Scottish, perhaps because of the Glen at the beginning. One shop assistant, reading the name Glenister, said that it reminded him of a brand of Scottish whisky, like Glenlivet, Glenfiddich, and Glenturret.

But there was never any proof of a connection with Scotland. Similarly, I never found an explanation for the meaning of the word Glenister. The word sounds like it may mean "a person who does something" - perhaps "a person who glenists" - but what is glenisting?

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Other families with the same name
The name Glenister is fairly unusual, and this was brought home to me when I realised that I had never met a Glenister who had not been part of my own family.

I had seen the name elsewhere occasionally - there was a furniture factory "The Thomas Glenister Company" in High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire which I had seen, and an actor Robert Glenister had appeared on television. I wondered if I was somehow related to these other Glenisters.

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Last modified 2021 Mar 01 12:00:00