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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright © 2000 - 2016
Origins Available: French
When the Anglo- Normans
began to settle in Ireland
, they brought the tradition of local
surnames to an island which already had a Gaelic naming system of hereditary surnames
established. Unlike the Irish, the Anglo- Normans
had an affinity for local surnames. Local
surnames, such as French, were formed from the names of a place or a geographical landmark where the person lived, held land, or was born. The earliest Anglo-Norman surnames of this type came from Normandy
, but as the Normans
moved, they created names that referred to where they actually resided. Therefore, English places were used for names when the Normans
lived in England
, and then Irish places after these particular Anglo- Normans
had been settled in Ireland
for some time. Originally, these place names were prefixed by "de," which means "from" in French. However, this type of prefix was eventually either made a part of the surname, if the place name began with a vowel, or it was eliminated entirely. The French family originally lived near an ash tree. The surname French was originally de Freynes and was originally derived from the word "fraxinus," which means an "ash tree." However, in some cases, the surname French is derived from residence in the country of France, a more obvious derivation. The name is sometimes spelled with a beginning of "Ff." This practice arose as many early records showed the capital "F" as "ff" in 16th and 17th centuries.
The surname French was first found in Devon
. They were descendants of Theophilus de France who accompanied William the Conqueror into England
in 1066. Robert Fitz-Stephen de France accompanied Strongbow
, Earl of Pembroke, on his invasion of Ireland.
Medieval scribes and church officials spelt names simply the way they sounded, which explains the various name spelling variations of the name French that were encountered when researching that surname. The many spelling variations included: French, Frenche and others.
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our French research. Another 171 words (12 lines of text) covering the years 1274, 1329, 1489, 1546, 1538, 1539, 1602, 1582, 1583, 1604, 1678, 1616, 1657, 1637, 1666, 1650, 1651, 1650, 1713 and 1693 are included under the topic Early French History in all our PDF Extended History products
and printed products wherever possible.
Notable amongst the family up to this time was Seán an tSalainn French (1489-1546), member of one of The Tribes of Galway
, Mayor of Galway
(1538 to 1539); Robuck French fitz John, (died 1602), Mayor of Galway
(1582-1583); Nicholas French (1604-1678), Roman Catholic Bishop of Ferns; John French (1616-1657), an English...
Another 81 words (6 lines of text) are included under the topic Early French Notables in all our PDF Extended History products
and printed products wherever possible.
During the middle of the 19th century, Irish families
often experienced extreme poverty and racial discrimination in their own homeland under English rule. Record numbers died of disease and starvation and many others, deciding against such a fate, boarded ships bound for North Ameri ca.
The largest influx of Irish settlers occurred with Great Potato Famine
of the late 1840s. Unfortunately, many of those Irish that arrived in Canada or the United States still experienced economic and racial discrimination. Although often maligned, these Irish people were essential to the rapid development of these countries because they provided the cheap labor required for the many canals, roads, railways, and other projects required for strong national infrastructures. Eventually the Irish went on to make contributions in the less backbreaking and more intellectual arenas of commerce, education, and the arts. Research early immigration and passenger lists revealed many early immigrants bearing the name French:
French Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
- Alice French who settled in Salem, Massachusetts in 1630
- Thomas French, who landed in Boston, Massachusetts in 1631
- Stephen French, who landed in Weymouth, Massachusetts in 1634
- John French settled in St. Christopher in 1634
- Elizabeth French settled in Boston Massachusetts in 1635
French Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
- Philip French, who landed in North Carolina in 1702
- Thomas French, who landed in Virginia in 1714
- Benja French, who landed in Virginia in 1714
- Phillip French, who arrived in Virginia in 1719
- Katherine French, who landed in Virginia in 1723
French Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
- Shepherd French, aged 45, arrived in New York, NY in 1803
- Jacob French, who landed in New York, NY in 1834
- William French, who landed in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1844
- Austin French, who landed in Savanna(h), Georgia in 1846
- A French, who landed in San Francisco, California in 1850
French Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
- Mr. Albert French U.E. who settled in Canada c. 1784
- Mrs. Charity French U.E. who settled in Saint John, New Brunswick c. 1784
- Capt. James French U.E. (b. 1745) born in New York, USA who settled in York County, New Brunswick c. 1784 he served in DeLancey's 1st Battalion he died in 1820 in Nashwaak, New Brunswick
- Capt. Lt. Jeremiah French Sr., U.E. (b. 1743) born in Stratford, Connecticut, USA from Manchester, Vermont, USA who settled in Eastern District, Cornwall, Ontario c. 1784 he enlisted in 1777 severd in the Queen's Loyal Rangers and the King's Royal Regiment of New York he died in 1820, married Elizabeth Wheeler they had 9 children
- Mr. Jeremiah French Jr., U.E. who settled in Canada c. 1784
French Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
- John French, aged 24, arrived in Canada in 1823
- Mary French, aged 24, arrived in Canada in 1823
- Sarah French, aged 2, landed in Canada in 1823
- Nichols French, who landed in Canada in 1828
- Anthony French, aged 28, a gentleman, arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick in 1834 aboard the schooner "Jane" from Galway, Ireland
French Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
- Thomas French, English convict from Warwick, who was transported aboard the "Asia" on September 3rd, 1820, settling in New South Wales, Austraila
- Thomas French, English convict from Middlesex, who was transported aboard the "Asia" on April 1st, 1822, settling in New South Wales, Austraila
- Isaac French arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "lady Emma" in 1837
- Elizabeth French arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "lady Emma" in 1837
- Sarah French arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "lady Emma" in 1837
French Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
- J. French arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Phoenix" in 1860
- Robert French, aged 31, a bricklayer, arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Rooparell" in 1874
- Catherine French, aged 33, arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Rooparell" in 1874
- Peter French, aged 10, arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Rooparell" in 1874
- John French, aged 7, arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Rooparell" in 1874
- DeWitt C. French, American politician, Prohibition Candidate for Connecticut State House of Representatives from Waterbury, 1908
- Brigadier-General Charles Augustus French (1888-1982), American Commanding Officer 68th Anti-Aircraft Artillery Brigade (1943-1945)
- Ray French (1895-1978), American Major League shortstop
- Kenneth French (b. 1954), American economist
- Charles "Charlie" Calvin French (1883-1962), American Major League Baseball player
- Charles K. French (1860-1952), American actor
- Pat French, American Democrat politician, Alternate Delegate to Democratic National Convention from New Mexico, 1980
- Paul V. French, American politician, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of New York, 1976-78
- R. T. French, American Republican politician, Alternate Delegate to Republican National Convention from Michigan, 1904
- Ralph French, American Republican politician, Mayor of Aurora, Missouri, 1955
- Ms Lillian French, Canadian resident from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada who died in the Halifax Explosion on 6th December 1917
- Mr. Frank M French (1881-1914), Austrian Timber Packer from Kladna, Bohemia, Austria who worked in the Hillcrest Coal Mine, Alberta, Canada and died in the mine collapse on June 19 1914
- Mr. Ronald M French (b. 1920), English Stoker 1st Class serving for the Royal Navy from Colchester, Essex, England, who sailed into battle on the HMS Hood and died on 24th May 1941 in the sinking
- Mr. Leslie V French (b. 1922), English Ordinary Seaman serving for the Royal Navy from Portsmouth, Hampshire, England, who sailed into battle on the HMS Hood and died on 24th May 1941 in the sinking
- Mr. Edward Stanley French, English Fireman from Linacre, Lancashire, England, who worked aboard the RMS Lusitania and died in the sinking
- Miss Grace Hope French, Scottish 2nd Class passenger from Scotland, who sailed aboard the RMS Lusitania and survived the sinking
- Ancestors and Descendants of Frank Lusk Babbott, Jr., M.D. and His Wife Elizabeth Bassett French by Harriet M. Stryker-Rodda.
- French and Related Family Genealogy: Treadway, Barrows, Ward, Lobdell, Howland, and Brewster by Mara Treadway French.
The motto was originally a war cry or slogan. Mottoes first began to be shown with arms in the 14th and 15th centuries, but were not in general use until the 17th century. Thus the oldest coats of arms generally do not include a motto. Mottoes seldom form part of the grant of arms: Under most heraldic authorities, a motto is an optional component of the coat of arms, and can be added to or changed at will; many families have chosen not to display a motto. Motto:
Malo mori quam foedariMotto Translation:
I would rather die than be disgraced.
- Johnson, Daniel F. Irish Emigration to New England Through the Port of Saint John, New Brunswick Canada 1841-1849. Baltimore, Maryland: Clearfield, 1996. Print.
- Sullivan, Sir Edward. The Book of Kells 3rd Edition. New York: Crescent Books, 1986. Print. (ISBN 0-517-61987-3).
- Woodham-Smith, Cecil. The Great Hunger Ireland 1845-1849. New York: Old Town Books, 1962. Print. (ISBN 0-88029-385-3).
- Leyburn, James Graham. The Scotch-Irish A Social History. Chapel Hill: UNC Press, 1962. Print. (ISBN 0807842591).
- Fitzgerald, Thomas W. Ireland and Her People A Library of Irish Biography 5 Volumes. Chicago: Fitzgerald. Print.
- Fairbairn. Fairbain's book of Crests of the Families of Great Britain and Ireland, 4th Edition 2 volumes in one. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1968. Print.
- O'Hart, John. Irish Pedigress 5th Edition in 2 Volumes. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1976. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0737-4).
- Somerset Fry, Peter and Fiona Somerset Fry. A History of Ireland. New York: Barnes and Noble, 1993. Print. (ISBN 1-56619-215-3).
- Robb H. Amanda and Andrew Chesler. Encyclopedia of American Family Names. New York: Haper Collins, 1995. Print. (ISBN 0-06-270075-8).
- Woulfe, Rev. Patrick. Irish Names and Surnames Collected and Edited with Explanatory and Historical Notes. Kansas City: Genealogical Foundation, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-940134-403).
The French Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The French Family Crest was drawn according to heraldic standards based on published blazons. We generally include the oldest published family crest once associated with each surname.
This page was last modified on 28 April 2016 at 13:14.
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