The ancestry of the name Ernshay dates from the ancient Anglo-Saxon
culture of Britain. It comes from when the family lived in or near a woods where golden eagles lived. Ernshay 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 Ernshay family
The surname Ernshay 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 Ernshay family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Ernshay research.Another 183 words (13 lines of text) covering the years 131 and 1316 are included under the topic Early Ernshay History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Ernshay Spelling Variations
in names were a common occurrence before English spelling was standardized a few hundred
years ago. In the Middle Ages, even the literate spelled their names differently as the English language incorporated elements of French, Latin, and other European languages. Many variations of the name Ernshay have been found, including Earnshaw, Earnshawe, Ernshaw, Earnshay and others.
Early Notables of the Ernshay family (pre 1700)
More information is included under the topic Early Ernshay Notables in all our PDF Extended History products
and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the Ernshay family to the New World and Oceana
Families began migrating abroad in enormous numbers because of the political and religious discontent in England
. Often faced with persecution and starvation in England
, the possibilities of the New World attracted many English people. Although the ocean trips took many lives, those who did get to North America were instrumental in building the necessary groundwork for what would become for new powerful nations. Some of the first immigrants to cross the Atlantic and come to North America bore the name Ernshay, 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.