England in the wave of migration that followed the Norman Conquest of 1066. The Arnfield family lived in Essex. Their name, however, is a local reference which indicates that the original bearer lived at or near a field belonging to someone by the name of Hand, hence Handfield. It is one of a number of names such as Handforth, Handford, Hanfirth, Hanfield, Handsacre, Handsworth, all of which derive from this source. The surname Hand comes from the Old English honde, and was a nickname used to identify a person by a peculiarity of the hands, such as size, great skill, or agility.
Early Origins of the Arnfield family
Essex where they were conjecturally descended from Ralph FitzThorold, who held the lands and villages of east, south, and west Hanningfield.
Early History of the Arnfield family
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Arnfield Spelling Variations
Spelling variations in names were a common occurrence in the eras before English spelling was standardized a few hundred years ago. In the Middle Ages, even the literate regularly changed the spellings of their names as the English language incorporated elements of French, Latin, and other European languages. Many variations of the name Arnfield have been found, including Handfield, Hanfield, Haningfield, Hangefield, Havingfield and many more.
Early Notables of the Arnfield family (pre 1700)
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Migration of the Arnfield family to the New World and Oceana
For many English families, the social climate in England was oppressive and lacked opportunity for change. For such families, the shores of Ireland, Australia, and the New World beckoned. They left their homeland at great expense in ships that were overcrowded and full of disease. Many arrived after the long voyage sick, starving, and without a penny. But even those were greeted with greater opportunity than they could have experienced back home. Numerous English settlers who arrived in the United States and Canada at this time went on to make important contributions to the developing cultures of those countries. Many of those families went on to make significant contributions to the rapidly developing colonies in which they settled. Early North American records indicate many people bearing the name Arnfield were among those contributors: Thomas Handfield who settled in Maryland in 1741.
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