The Riversdale Surname, Who Else Has It

Our Riversdale surname, as we all know, was made up.

I am often asked, "So, are you the only Riversdale in the world?"
Apart from my 2 grown-up kids and perhaps my ex-wife, who knows ... let the Googling adventure begin.

Before we get into the results you should know that I will be ignoring all places called Riversdale. There are quite a lot around the world, two are in Aotearoa New Zealand (Riversdale Beach - the one I'm named after - and Riversdale in the South Island).

How these places came to be called Riversdale is as different for each place as there are places and I am not gonna try and find out.

General info about the Riversdale surname

Well, I can only find the following scant info, first from Ancestry.com:
The Riversdale family name was found in the UK in 1891. In 1891 there was 1 Riversdale family living in London. This was 100% of all the recorded Riversdale's in United Kingdom. London had the highest population of Riversdale families in 1891.

Wow, ONE family/person ... and I believe I know who, check out The Brief Irish/British Riversdales below.

Some more general info about the Riversdale surname from around the world from Forebears.io with zero corroborating evidence:

6,723,624th most common surname in the World. Approximately 8 people bear this surname

MOST PREVALENT IN: Mozambique (4 people)

HIGHEST DENSITY IN: New Zealand [editor: that'll be us I imagine]

ALSO IN: Ireland

According to this site there are, for the surname "Riversdale":

  • 17 birth records
  • 28 marriage and divorce records
  • 41 death records
  • 309 census records
  • 15 immigration records

So, 309 census records gave the following people but the vast majority were place names:
  1. Alice Maud Clifford Riversdale-Percy
    Born: 19 Feb 1876, Queenstown, Port Adelaide Enfield City, South Australia, Australia
    Married: Hon. H. R. Riversdale Percy
    Died: 10 Jun 1951 (aged 75), Fullarton, Unley City, South Australia, Australia
  2. Laura Elizabeth Riversdale-Elliot
  3. Cheryl Wendy Riversdale-Elliot
  4. Wm A S Riversdale
    Born: abt 1850 Co Cork
    Residence: 31 Mar. 1901 Kilbrittain, Kilbrittain, Cork, Ireland
  5. Michael Alan Riversdale
  6. Elizabeth Hannah Riversdale
I'm not sure of some of these, maybe they are just messed up records that have the place name in the wrong field. There's a couple of Riverdales over the ages that have it as a middle name, even one that has it as his first name.

Names 5 and 6 are, of course, me and my ex-wife, which at least proves the Ancestry site has some records correct.

Oh, and names 2 and 3 came via not-Ancestry.

One more lead ... 

The Brief Irish/British Riversdales

Off the Google search up came wikitree with one use of the name Riversdale:

Esther Mary (Alcock-Stawell) Riversdale (abt. 1858 - abt. 1932) 

Born about 1858 [location unknown]

Now, there was an Irish Baron Riversdale from which I can find nothing as to why the name Riversdale is assigned. The title died out after the third Baron in 1861 ... but hold on, LandEstats.ie gives us this gem:

In 1861 William Thomas Jonas Alcock Stawell inherited the Lisnagar estate from his relative, Reverend Ludlow Tonson, last Baron Riversdale and Bishop of Killaloe. He assumed the name of Riversdale in 1871. In 1900 he inherited Kilbrittain from his elder brother. He died childless in [May] 1907.

And so I was correct to suspect Esther was part of the landed folk in Ireland, and sort of related to the Baron Riversdale name via marriage. [sidenote: I'd love to know what this 1912 Frazer and Another. v Riversdale and Another court case was all about.]

Esther died about 1932 at about age 74 in Hampshire, England and this is her grave:

All jolly exciting for a brief moment in history, but WHY did the original Baron become named Baron Riversdale - it must be after some place in Ireland eh.

Where does this leave us?

It seems, on the surface of my research (Googling and following the links as far as I can) that I am indeed the only person with the name Riversdale in the whole world. AND, no-one else ever has had such a surname.

Oh, and my ex-wife and kids.

Pretty cool and would LOOOOVE for anyone to get in touch if they know of anyone ever that has had the surname Riversdale.

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