People often ask me how I acquired my family name — Grogono (the question makes more sense for people who have met me and know that I have a British accent). The short answer is: no one really knows, despite a lot of research. However, we have discovered a few things, as outlined below.

To start, Surnames Database has this to say:

This very rare name is a 19th Century variant, the result perhaps of clerical error, of an Anglicized form of an originally Polish surname, found as Grogowna, or Grogonow, and attested in London in 1849 as Grogona: the birth certificate of Walter Atkins Grogono, dated October 9th 1849, gives his father's name as Mandovile Grogona. Polish surnames have been subject to such transformations when adopted into other languages that it is often very difficult to determine the original form of the name, and mis-pronunciation alone has led to many later unrecognisable forms. In the case of Grogono or Grogona, the most likely derivations are from a now obscure personal name, perhaps a form of Gregory, "the watchful one", or "shepherd", with the female suffix "-owna", or from a locational surname for someone from a place named with that personal name, with the habitational suffix "-ow". The most reliable recordings of Polish surnames are to be found in Germany, and the following are examples of the name from that country: Ewe Grogowna, who married Kazymir Brzozowski at Marggrabowa, East Prussia, on July 14th 1815, and Christiane Grogow, married to Gottfried Mueller in April 1820 at Steinkirchen, Brandenburg. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Anne Grogon', which was dated September 6th 1716, marriage to Robert Ewers at St. Martin in the Fields, London, during the reign of George 1, known as "The First Hanoverian", 1714 - 1727. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.

All this seems quite plausible to me, although my relatives prefer an unsupported "Italian connection" to the thought that they might be Polish. In any case, some time around the middle of the nineteenth century, a fellow by the name of Mandeville Grogono (or, perhaps 'Grogona') arrived in England. We don't know where he came from. In fact, we don't know much at all about Mandeville except that he was a 'commercial traveller' and that he married Ellen Mary Atkins. They had a son, Walter Atkins Grogono (1849-1911), who is mentioned in the extract above and who became a doctor. He appears in the photo on the left.

  Walter married Annie Charlotte Nichols in 1874. They had six children, including my grandfather: Eric Walter Grogono (1879-1966),

who, in 1907, married (surprise!) my grandmother: Evelyn Maude Flatt (1887-1973).

Eric and Evelyn had five children: Bernard, Keith, Roy, Noel, and Evie. The fourth was my father: Noel D. Grogono (1919-2007). He married Moira Gladstone (1920-2013), shown here at the age of 93.

In 1942, Noel married Moria Katharine Gladstone (1920-) and I was born about 18 months later: Peter David Grogono (1944-).

Here's my bio.

Thomas Gladstone (1732-1809) was my great4grandfather and Wiliam Ewart Gladstone's (1809-98) grandfather. The picture at left shows William Ewart, several times Prime Minister of England. He was famous for his voice, which can still be heard — sort of. When Benjamin Disraeli was asked to distinguish "misfortune" and "calamity", he allegedly replied: "If Gladstone fell into the Thames, that would be a misfortune; and if anybody pulled him out, that, I suppose, would be a calamity."

Liberalism is trust of the people tempered by prudence. Conservatism is distrust of the people tempered by fear. William E. Gladstone.