Show ContentsForshaw History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The illustrious surname Forshaw is classified as a habitation surname, which was originally derived from a place-name, and is one form of surname belonging to a broader group called hereditary surnames. Habitation names were derived from pre-existing names for towns, villages, parishes, or farmsteads. Topographic names, form the other broad category of surnames that was given to a person who resided near a physical feature such as a hill, stream, church, or type of tree.

Other local names are derived from the names of houses, manors, estates, regions, and entire counties. As a general rule, the greater the distance between an individual and their homeland, the larger the territory they were named after. For example, a person who only moved to another parish would be known by the name of their original village, while people who migrated to a different country were often known by the name of a region or country from which they came. Forshaw is a place-name from in the parish of Prescot, Lancashire. The surname Forshaw is a habitational name, which is a variety of local names, and belongs to the larger category of surnames, known as hereditary surnames.In this case, the name Forshaw is derived from Fourgeres, a place-name found in Bretagne, France. It was brought to England by the Bretons who accompanied William the Conqueror in his conquest of England in 1066; while William was a Norman Duke, fully a third of his forces were from Brittany.

Early Origins of the Forshaw family

The surname Forshaw was first found in Buckinghamshire, where Ralph de Fougeres was tenant in chief and held many Lordships in Buckingham, Devon, Norfolk, Suffolk, and Surrey. The name Forshaw phonetically responds to this Breton name and has been linked to this notable Breton stock, which was descended from Alan, Baron of Fourgeres in Brittany living about 900 A.D. Descended in 1066 was Maine II who was Baron of Fougeres at the time of the Conquest. Maine was succeeded by Raoul or Ralph in 1084 and held his lands in chief in Devon. He was a great benefactor and founded the Abbey of Savigny and the Abbey of Risle which were amongst his vast domains in Normandy. His son Henry became a monk at the Abbey of Savigny. Both Ralph and William de Fougeres attended Duke William at the Conquest.

Early History of the Forshaw family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Forshaw research. Another 70 words (5 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Forshaw History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Forshaw Spelling Variations

Since the Old and Middle English languages lacked definite spelling rules, Breton surnames have many spelling variations. Latin and French, which were the official court languages, were also influential on the spelling of surnames. The spelling of surnames was rarely consistent in medieval times, and scribes and church officials recorded names as they sounded rather than adhering to any specific spelling rules. Therefore, it was common to find the same individual referred to with different spellings of their surname in the ancient chronicles. Moreover, a large number of foreign names were brought into England after the Norman Conquest, which accelerated and accentuated the alterations to the spelling of various surnames. The name has been spelled Foreshaw, Foreshawe, Forshaw, Forshawe, Foreshoe, Forshoe, Forshew, Foreshew and many more.

Early Notables of the Forshaw family (pre 1700)

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

United States Forshaw migration to the United States +

Some of the first immigrants to cross the Atlantic and come to North America carried the name Forshaw, or a variant listed above:

Forshaw Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Mary Forshaw who settled in Maryland in 1729

New Zealand Forshaw migration to New Zealand +

Emigration to New Zealand followed in the footsteps of the European explorers, such as Captain Cook (1769-70): first came sealers, whalers, missionaries, and traders. By 1838, the British New Zealand Company had begun buying land from the Maori tribes, and selling it to settlers, and, after the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, many British families set out on the arduous six month journey from Britain to Aotearoa to start a new life. Early immigrants include:

Forshaw Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • J. Forshaw, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Caduceus" in 1872 [1]

Contemporary Notables of the name Forshaw (post 1700) +

  • Major William Thomas Forshaw VC (1890-1943), English recipient of the Victoria Cross
  • Michael "Mike" Forshaw (b. 1970), English professional rugby league and rugby union footballer from Wigan, Lancashire
  • Michael George Forshaw (b. 1952), Australian politician, has been a member of the Australian Senate for the state of New South Wales since May 1994, representing the Australian Labor Party
  • Mike Forshaw (b. 1970), British rugby player in Super League
  • Joseph Forshaw, Australian ornithologist, and the world's foremost expert on parrots
  • Thomas Forshaw, President and Director, Burtonwood Brewery Co.(Forshaw's)Ltd

  1. New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 5th November 2010). Retrieved from on Facebook