Mauger

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Mauger family page
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Judith Mauger (1803-1881) with her daughter Elizabeth Tardiff (1830-1911)

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Members of the Mauger family at Brookfield Farm

Origin of Surname

There are differing opinions about the origins of this very old surname, which came to the Channel Islands from Normandy. Noms de Famille de Normandie suggests that it started out as a medieval personal name 'Maugier', derived from the Germanic personal name 'Madalgari', a combination of madal (gathering together, or advice) and -gari (lance). Alternatively it comes from the Germanic 'Amalgari', which has a similar derivation.

These options are confirmed by our other major French source, probably consistent with Jersey sources which say that Mauger was the Norman form of the Frankish Maethelgaer.

It is elsewhere suggested that this is a name of different Germanic origins - a medieval nickname which derived from the word 'meger' and described a tall, thin, person, or possibly given the robust humour of the 14th century, the complete reverse.

Early records

The surname Mauger is one of the oldest in the Channel Islands. It is believed to have originated from Archbishop Mauger de Rouen, the uncle of William the Conqueror. William is reputed to have banished Mauger to Guernsey. The reasons for his exile vary, but include having aided the rebellion of his brother Guillaume, attempting to annull the marriage of William the Conqueror, and for his lifestyle being incompatible with his position.

He settled at Saints Bay, where he met a young girl called Guille, with whom he had several children, one of whom was Michel de Bayeux (Edgar MacCullough and Carey, E, Guernsey Folklore, 1903)

The name appears in Jersey in the Short Inquisition of 1274.

Payne's Armorial of Jersey

Malger, Mager, or Mauger, is a name that occurs very early in the histories of both Jersey and Guernsey. Tradition, handed down for several centuries, states that the family owed its origin to Malgerius, Malger, or Mauger, Archbishop of Rouen and son of Richard II, Duke of Normandy, who, for his evil life was refused the pallium by the Pope, and for revolt against his nephew, William the Conqueror, was by him degraded and exiled, and retired in 1055 to Guernsey, where he became enamoured of a damsel named Gisella or Guille. From this amour, adds the same tradition, spring the two local families of Mauger and Guille.

In 1331 Richard Mauger was a landholder in the parish of Grouville, Jersey.

In the reign of Henry V, Jacques Mauger, said to have been a Guernseyman, had conferred on him the Seigneurie of Bosques, in Normandy, with the arms thereto belonging, for successfully storming tlie Castle of Moutmartin, on the night of 25 June 1419, with his men from the island.

The family of Mauger of Jobourg, in Normandy, derives its source from Jersey.

There are several families in England of similar name, and bearing the same arms. One of these, represented by the late John-Pemberthy Magor, of Eedruth, was settled in very early times in North Wales, where it was sufficiently wealthy and important to give its name to the town of Magor. Thence its members migrated, some to Ireland and others to Cornwall, in which latter county the family possesses the important manor bearing its own name.

A younger branch of the house of Major, of Hursley, near Winchester, descended from that of Mauger of Handois, in Jersey, is represented by the Rev Seymour Edward Major.

Branches of the insular family are represented by George Mauger, of St Lawrence, and by James Marcus Mauger, of St Helier.

Pronunciation

This is one of those Jersey surnames of French origin which has lost its original pronunciation in favour of an anglicised version.

What should properly be sounded 'maw-jair' is now pronounced as major, but as noted below, the family whose name is spelt Major, and for which records are included on this page, is a distinct one.

Variants

  • Mauger, 1309
  • Maugier, 1299
  • Mager 1528
  • Maugère, found in France
  • Malger
  • Maior
  • Major - not strictly a variant but records included on this page for convenience

Family records

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MAUGERS

How two references to members of the Mauger family set in train investigations into how one member became a successful, if not 'squeaky clean' businessman in Canada and then a Member of Parliament, and how another, married to a famous figure in English history, was probably descended from the Jersey family.

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