Show ContentsFrenchs History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

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 Frenchs, 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 Frenchs family originally lived near an ash tree. The surname Frenchs was originally de Freynes and was originally derived from the word "fraxinus," which means an "ash tree." However, in some cases, the surname Frenchs 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 family claim descent from "one of the 'Tribes of Galway' though first settled in Co. Wexford. The name is derived from the Latin fraxinus, [meaning] ash tree." [1]

Early Origins of the Frenchs family

The surname Frenchs 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.

Early History of the Frenchs family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Frenchs research. Another 86 words (6 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 Frenchs History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Frenchs Spelling Variations

Medieval scribes and church officials spelled the names as they sounded, so a name was often spelled many different ways during the lifetime of a single person. The investigation of the origin of the name Frenchs revealed many spelling variations including French, Frenche and others.

Early Notables of the Frenchs family (pre 1700)

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 physician known for his contributions to chemistry and in particular to distillation, English translator of...
Another 66 words (5 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Frenchs Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Migration of the Frenchs family

Ireland experienced a dramatic decrease in its population during the 19th century. This was in a great measure, a response to England's imperialistic policies. Hunger and disease took the lives of many Irish people and many more chose to leave their homeland to escape the horrific conditions. North America with its promise of work, freedom, and land was an extremely popular destination for Irish families. For those families that survived the journey, all three of these things were often attained through much hard work and perseverance. Research into early immigration and passenger lists revealed many immigrants bearing the name Frenchs: Alice French who settled in Salem, Massachusetts in 1630; along with Dorcas; Elizabeth French settled in Boston Massachusetts in 1635; along with Francis.

The Frenchs Motto +

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 foedari
Motto Translation: I would rather die than be disgraced.

  1. MacLysaght, Edward, Supplement to Irish Families. Baltimore: Genealogical Book Company, 1964. Print. on Facebook