Show ContentsFreshwater History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Early Origins of the Freshwater family

The surname Freshwater was first found in Essex where they held a family seat as Lords of the Manor. After the Battle of Hastings in 1066, William, Duke of Normandy, having prevailed over King Harold, granted most of Britain to his many victorious Barons. It was not uncommon to find a Baron, or a Bishop, with 60 or more Lordships scattered throughout the country. These he gave to his sons, nephews and other junior lines of his family and they became known as under-tenants. They adopted the Norman system of surnames which identified the under-tenant with his holdings so as to distinguish him from the senior stem of the family. After many rebellious wars between his Barons, Duke William, commissioned a census of all England to determine in 1086, settling once and for all, who held which land. He called the census the Domesday Book, [1] indicating that those holders registered would hold the land until the end of time. Hence, conjecturally, the surname is descended from the tenant of the lands and who was recorded in the Domesday Book census of 1086.

Early History of the Freshwater family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Freshwater research. Another 109 words (8 lines of text) covering the years 1510, 1600, 1542 and 140) are included under the topic Early Freshwater History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Freshwater Spelling Variations

Norman surnames are characterized by a multitude of spelling variations. The frequent changes in surnames are largely due to the fact that the Old and Middle English languages lacked definite spelling rules. The introduction of Norman French to England, as well as the official court languages of Latin and French, also had pronounced influences on the spelling of surnames. Since medieval scribes and church officials recorded names as they sounded, rather than adhering to any specific spelling rules, it was common to find the same individual referred to with different spellings. The name has been spelled Freshwater, Freshwaters, Freschwater and others.

Early Notables of the Freshwater family (pre 1700)

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

United States Freshwater migration to the United States +

Many English families emigrated to North American colonies in order to escape the political chaos in Britain at this time. Unfortunately, many English families made the trip to the New World under extremely harsh conditions. Overcrowding on the ships caused the majority of the immigrants to arrive diseased, famished, and destitute from the long journey across the stormy Atlantic. Despite these hardships, many of the families prospered and went on to make invaluable contributions to the development of the cultures of the United States and Canada. Early North American immigration records have revealed a number of people bearing the name Freshwater or a variant listed above:

Freshwater Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Geo Freshwater, who arrived in Virginia in 1656 [2]
  • Tho Freshwater, who arrived in Virginia in 1662 [2]
Freshwater Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Victoria Freshwater, aged 18, who landed in New York in 1862 [2]
  • William Freshwater, aged 29, who arrived in New York in 1862 [2]
  • William H Freshwater, aged 7, who landed in New York in 1862 [2]
  • Martha Freshwater, aged 40, who landed in New York in 1862 [2]

Australia Freshwater migration to Australia +

Emigration to Australia followed the First Fleets of convicts, tradespeople and early settlers. Early immigrants include:

Freshwater Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century

Contemporary Notables of the name Freshwater (post 1700) +

  • Francis Freshwater, American Democratic Party politician, Member of West Virginia State House of Delegates from Brooke County, 1943-46 [4]
  • Perry Thomas Freshwater (b. 1973), English rugby union footballer
  • Benzion Shalom Eliezer Freshwater (b. 1948), British billionaire property investor
  • Walter Freshwater Pool (1850-1883), American politician, United States Representative from North Carolina
  • Walter Freshwater Pool (1850-1883), American Republican politician, U.S. Representative from North Carolina 1st District, 1883 [5]

HMS Prince of Wales
  • Mr. Ernest Freshwater, British Boy, who sailed into battle on the HMS Prince of Wales (1941) and survived the sinking [6]

  1. Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds., Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8)
  2. Filby, P. William, Meyer, Mary K., Passenger and immigration lists index : a guide to published arrival records of about 500,000 passengers who came to the United States and Canada in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. 1982-1985 Cumulated Supplements in Four Volumes Detroit, Mich. : Gale Research Co., 1985, Print (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8)
  3. State Library of Queensland. (Retrieved 2014, November 27) Andromeda voyage to New South Wales, Australia in 1832 with 186 passengers. Retrieved from
  4. The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2016, January 12) . Retrieved from
  5. The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, November 12) . Retrieved from
  6. HMS Prince of Wales Crew members. (Retrieved 2014, April 9) . Retrieved from on Facebook