name Ernshaigh comes from the family having resided in or near a woods where golden eagles lived. Ernshaigh 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 Ernshaigh family
The surname Ernshaigh 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 Ernshaigh family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Ernshaigh research.Another 183 words (13 lines of text) covering the years 131 and 1316 are included under the topic Early Ernshaigh History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Ernshaigh Spelling Variations
Ernshaigh has been spelled many different ways. Before English spelling became standardized over the last few hundred
years, spelling variations
in names were a common occurrence. As the English language changed in the Middle Ages, absorbing pieces of Latin and French, as well as other languages, the spelling of people's names also changed considerably, even over a single lifetime. Spelling variants included: Earnshaw, Earnshawe, Ernshaw, Earnshay and others.
Early Notables of the Ernshaigh family (pre 1700)
More information is included under the topic Early Ernshaigh Notables in all our PDF Extended History products
and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the Ernshaigh family to the New World and Oceana
In an attempt to escape the chaos experienced in England
, many English families boarded overcrowded and diseased ships sailing for the shores of North America and other British colonies. Those families hardy enough, and lucky enough, to make the passage intact were rewarded with land and a social environment less prone to religious and political persecution. Many of these families became important contributors to the young colonies in which they settled. Early immigration and passenger lists have documented some of the first Ernshaighs to arrive on North American shores: 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.