The name Eldridge is of Anglo-Saxon origin. It is one of the names of the original ethnic groups of Britain predating the Norman conquest led by William the Conqueror. In its earliest incarnation, prior to the Norman conquest, the spelling of the name was either “Aelfric”, “Aethelric” or “Aethelred”. The meaning behind the Anglo-Saxon “Ael” is elf and “Aethel” is noble, “ric” or “red” means ruler or council. Several kings of Britain prior to the Norman conquest bore the name Aethelred. Aethelred the Unready and Aethelred II reigning respectively from the mid 9th century to the early 10th century.
After the Norman conquest, the spelling of the name evolved into the more modern forms we are familiar with today; Aldrich, Aldrick, Aldridge, Elderidge, Elrick, Eldrege, Eldred and Eldridge. In these various adaptations, the names are an indicator of the person's birthplace as the names were derivative of a location such as Aldridge in Staffordshire or Aldridge Grove in Buckinghamshire. Certain variations of the name could also be translated to indicate a particular geographic feature or landmark located in the area from which the person originated.
One of the earliest listing of an individual bearing a derivative of the name Aeflic, is found within the Doomsday Book, it can also be found in official records in Suffolk from 1095 which have a listing for Hugo Aeflic. The first record of a variant of the modern spelling, Roger Elrich, is found in the Ecclesiastical Records of Barnwell in Cambridgeshire dated from 1279
John Eldred of Buckingham, Norfolk( another derivative of Eldridge) is listed as having arms granted to him in 1592 in the Grantee of Arms in Docquets and Patents to the end of the seventeenth century. A William Eldred immigrated to Massachusetts in 1645, settling in the Yarmouth area. It is thought he was a carpenter or wood worker from Norfolk, England.
William Eldridge arrived in the Crown Colony of the Dominion of Virginia in 1714. His brother Thomas landed on the same day. William Eldridge moved to King and Queen county, where he established a substantially large holding of five hundred acres. His brother Thomas settled in York, Virginia, and married one Martha Boling. Boling is a thought to be a descendant of Pocahontas and John Rolfe. Through the female line.*-This is claim is still being investigated by historians and genealogical societies in Virginia.
One of the more interesting and obscure references to the name Eldridge, occurred in Canada during the British arctic exploration of the 1850's. During the Beecher expedition, HMS Resolute was trapped in an arctic ice flow, which had become bonded to the ship's hull. She was eventually abandoned in place after being sealed and locked down. A full year later, the HMS Resolute was found adrift by American whalers still encapsulated in ice, the ship was brought to American shores, restored and given as a gift to Queen Victoria. During the expedition, the master of the ship G. F. MacDoughall, asked Eldridge Bay be named after a close friend and confidant. *Timbers from the HMS Resolute were used to make three desks. One was give as a gift to The President of the United States , one remained as a lady's writing desk for Queen Victoria and the third, was given as a small woman's desk to the widow of Henry Grinell. The Resolute Desk is now currently in the Oval Office of the President of the United States.
Over the years there have been many influential and notable persons with the surname Eldridge. Charles Eldridge, Don Eldridge, Jamie Eldridge, and Sean Eldridge were businessmen, and politicians; athletes, Clarence Eldridge and Ernest Eldridge; Soldiers and war heroes, George Eldridge and John Eldridge, Jr.
John Eldridge Jr, was a pilot in the US Navy who died during the Solomon Island campaign in WWII. The USS Eldridge a destroyer escort was named after him. * It is also interesting to note this was the ship which was supposedly involved in the Philadelphia Experiments. Although famous in popular science fiction and with conspiracy theorists, there is no evidence any such experiments occurred or were conducted by the US Navy.
The secondary spelling of Aldrick or Aldrich is also associated with Eldridge. Admiral Pelham Aldrich, (1844 to 1930) was a Royal Naval officer; who spent the majority of his career in exploration. The most norther geographic location in North America is named after Admiral Aldrich, as well as Mount Aldrich in Antarctica. An honor given to him for his assistance in helping Robert Scott with preparing his expedition to the South Pole.
Places associated with Eldridge:
Buckingham, Buckinghamshire, Barnwell, Cambridgeshire, Norfolk, Eldrige Bay, Canada. Mount Aldrich Antarctica