Anglo-Saxon name Erneshaw comes from when the family resided in or near a woods where golden eagles lived. Erneshaw 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 Erneshaw family
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 Erneshaw family
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Erneshaw Spelling Variations
spelling variations are common among early Anglo-Saxon names. As the form of the English language changed, even the spelling of literate people's names evolved. Erneshaw has been recorded under many different variations, including Earnshaw, Earnshawe, Ernshaw, Earnshay and others.
Early Notables of the Erneshaw family (pre 1700)
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Migration of the Erneshaw family to the New World and Oceana
For many English families, the political and religious disarray that shrouded England made the far away New World an attractive prospect. On cramped disease-ridden ships, thousands migrated to those British colonies that would eventually become Canada and the United States. Those hardy settlers that survived the journey often went on to make important contributions to the emerging nations in which they landed. Analysis of immigration records indicates that some of the first North American immigrants bore the name Erneshaw 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.
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