The history of the Earnshaigh family goes back to the ancient Anglo-Saxon
culture of Britain. It is derived from the family living in or near a woods where golden eagles lived. Earnshaigh is a compound of the Old English words earn
and sceaga. Earn
was the Old English name for the golden eagles, and sceaga
was a word that meant forest or wilderness. The original bearer of this name must have lived in or near a woods noted for its eagle population. Interestingly, the modern word erne
is the name of the sea eagle, a related but separate species of bird to the golden eagle. Golden eagles are very rare in the British Isles today, but in the Middle Ages they were a common bird of prey. Their range was in the northern part of the island, and they were particularly fond of mountainous terrain. Most golden eagles were found in the Pennines and in the Scottish Highlands.
Early Origins of the Earnshaigh family
The surname Earnshaigh was first found in Yorkshire
where they held a family seat
from very ancient times, some say well before the Norman Conquest
and the arrival of Duke William at Hastings in 1066 A.D.
Early History of the Earnshaigh family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Earnshaigh research.Another 183 words (13 lines of text) covering the years 131 and 1316 are included under the topic Early Earnshaigh History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Earnshaigh Spelling Variations
Until quite recently, the English language has lacked a definite system of spelling rules. Consequently, Anglo-Saxon
surnames are characterized by a multitude of spelling variations
. Changes in Anglo-Saxon
names were influenced by the evolution of the English language, as it incorporated elements of French, Latin, and other languages. Although Medieval scribes and church officials recorded names as they sounded, so it is common to find one person referred to by several different spellings of his surname, even the most literate people varied the spelling of their own names. Variations of the name Earnshaigh include Earnshaw, Earnshawe, Ernshaw, Earnshay and others.
Early Notables of the Earnshaigh family (pre 1700)
More information is included under the topic Early Earnshaigh Notables in all our PDF Extended History products
and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the Earnshaigh family to the New World and Oceana
Searching for a better life, many English families migrated to British colonies. Unfortunately, the majority of them traveled under extremely harsh conditions: overcrowding on the ships caused the majority of the immigrants to arrive diseased, famished, and destitute from the long journey across the ocean. For those families that arrived safely, modest prosperity was attainable, and many went on to make invaluable contributions to the development of the cultures of the new colonies. Research into the origins of individual families in North America revealed records of the immigration of a number of people bearing the name Earnshaigh or a variant listed above: Mary, Anna, and Ann Ernshaw who arrived in Philadelphia in 1820; Eli Earnshaw arrived in Philadelphia in 1848; Francis, George, and Lewis
Earnshaw arrived in Philadelphia in 1860.