Show ContentsFerneaux History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The ancient history of the Ferneaux name begins with the Norman invaders of Britain. The name is derived from some of the many place names in Northern France created from the Old French word "fournel." One family resided in the area of Furneau-sur-Baise, near Falaise, France. [1] The Normans frequently used the name of their estate in Normandy as part of their name. Other Norman invaders took names from their recently acquired estates in England.

Early Origins of the Ferneaux family

The surname Ferneaux was first found in Somerset where Odo de Furnell was held in capite in 1086 [2] Later, Galfrid de Furnell was Sheriff of Devon 1 Hen. II (during the first year of Henry II's reign.) His son Henry followed him in the office 25 Hen. II. and 7 Richard I. Alan Furneaux, in 1165, was one of the Justiciaries. One of their seats was at Kentisbere.

"Within less than forty years after the conflict at Hastings, Henry I. granted the Manor of Fen Ottery, in Devon, to Allan de Furneaux, whose soil Galfrid de Furneaux of that place served as Sheriff of Devon, in 1154, as did his son Sir Alan de Furneaux in 1199. From the Testa de Neville and other sources, the Manor of Fen Ottery can be traced in the possession of the same family down to John de Furneaux, temp. Henry V. [3] A branch of this parent stem was established in Somersetshire, by Henry, brother of Sir Alan Furneaux, the Sheriff in 1199, and held the manors of Ashington, Kilve, &c. Three of its descendants, all bearing the Christian name of Matthew, occur on the list of Sheriffs of Devon: the last Sir Matthew dying in 1315, the year of his Shrievalty. " [4]

Another, Fenn Ottery, "was for many descents held by the Furneaux by sergeantry, and so continued unto the latter end of King Edward II.'s days." They had received it from Henry I. The last heir, Sir Matthew, died in 1315, the year of his shrievalty. The name is found in Northumberland, when Robert Fitz Roger and Ralph de Furnell were joint Sheriffs in 1200, 1201, and 1202. [5]

Early History of the Ferneaux family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Ferneaux research. Another 88 words (6 lines of text) covering the years 1086, 1726, 1783 and 1726 are included under the topic Early Ferneaux History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ferneaux Spelling Variations

A multitude of spelling variations characterize Norman surnames. Many variations occurred because Old and Middle English lacked any definite spelling rules. The introduction of Norman French to England also had a pronounced effect, as did the court languages of Latin and French. Therefore, one person was often referred to by several different spellings in a single lifetime. The various spellings include Furneaux, Furnell, Fournel and others.

Early Notables of the Ferneaux family (pre 1700)

More information is included under the topic Early Ferneaux Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Migration of the Ferneaux family

Many English families left England, to avoid the chaos of their homeland and migrated to the many British colonies abroad. Although the conditions on the ships were extremely cramped, and some travelers arrived diseased, starving, and destitute, once in the colonies, many of the families prospered and made valuable contributions to the cultures of what would become the United States and Canada. Research into the origins of individual families in North America has revealed records of the immigration of a number of people bearing the name Ferneaux or a variant listed above: L. Furneaux, who arrived in New Orleans in 1823; Albert Furnel, who arrived in New York in 1832; and John Furneaux, who ws on record in the census of Ontario, Canada of 1871..

  1. The Norman People and Their Existing Descendants in the British Dominions and the United States Of America. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0636-X)
  2. Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds., Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8)
  3. Testa de Nevill or "Liber Feodorum" or "Book of Fees," thought to have been written by Ralph de Nevill, for King John (1199–1216)
  4. Burke, John Bernard, The Roll of Battle Abbey. London: Edward Churton, 26, Holles Street, 1848, Print.
  5. Cleveland, Dutchess of The Battle Abbey Roll with some Account of the Norman Lineages. London: John Murray, Abermarle Street, 1889. Print. Volume 2 of 3 on Facebook