Today's generation of the Fortnem family bears a name that was brought to England
by the migration wave that was started by the Norman Conquest
of 1066. The Fortnem family lived in Essex
, in the town of Fordham. Ancient records reveal the name Fortnem is derived from the Old English ford,
which means ford,
which means homestead.
Towns bearing this name also exist in Norfolk
. Fordham Essex
is arguably the most important of these towns, but all were held by Norman nobles in the 11th century.
Early Origins of the Fortnem family
The surname Fortnem was first found in Essex
where they held a family seat
as Lords of the Manor of Fordham. In the Domesday Book
Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds., Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8)
a survey of England
undertaken for Duke William of Normandy
in 1086 A.D. after his conquest of England
at Hastings in 1066, there were three villages or manors named Fordham, one in Cambridgeshire
, one in Norfolk
and one in Essex
, all were held by Norman nobles. The one which was most influential and gave rise to the name Fordham was that of Fordham in Essex
which was held by William de Warrene and others. In the survey of 1086 the village consisted of a Mill, 6 Beehives, and 25 goats. It was the Norman custom that the senior son should continue the main line name, but that the second son should adopt the name of the manor. "A small Gilbertine priory was founded in the reign of Henry III., by Sir Robert de Fordham, [in Fordham, Cambridgeshire] as a cell to the great monastery of the same order at Sempringham, in Lincolnshire; but scarcely a vestige remains." CITATION[CLOSE]
Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
Early History of the Fortnem family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Fortnem research.Another 155 words (11 lines of text) covering the years 138 and 1388 are included under the topic Early Fortnem History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Fortnem Spelling Variations
Before the last few hundred
years the English language had no fixed system of spelling rules. For that reason, spelling variations
occurred commonly in Anglo Norman surnames. Over the years, many variations of the name Fortnem were recorded, including Fordham, Fordeham, Fordsham, Fordesham, Fordam and others.
Early Notables of the Fortnem family (pre 1700)
More information is included under the topic Early Fortnem Notables in all our PDF Extended History products
and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the Fortnem family to the New World and Oceana
The unstable environment in England
at this time caused numerous families to board ships and leave in search of opportunity and freedom from persecution abroad in places like Ireland
, and particularly the New World. The voyage was extremely difficult, however, and only taken at great expense. The cramped conditions and unsanitary nature of the vessels caused many to arrive diseased and starving, not to mention destitute from the enormous cost. Still opportunity in the emerging nations of Canada and the United States was far greater than at home and many went on to make important contributions to the cultures of their adopted countries. An examination of many early immigration records reveals that people bearing the name Fortnem arrived in North America very early: Robert Fordham who settled in Massachusetts in 1635; Edward Fordham settled in Rappahannock Virginia in 1728; George Fordham settled in Pennsylvania in 1773.