Hernshaw is a name of ancient Anglo-Saxon
origin and comes from the family once having lived in or near a woods where golden eagles lived. Hernshaw is a compound of the Old English words earn
and sceaga. Earn
was the Old English name for the golden eagles, and sceaga
was a word that meant forest or wilderness. The original bearer of this name must have lived in or near a woods noted for its eagle population. Interestingly, the modern word erne
is the name of the sea eagle, a related but separate species of bird to the golden eagle. Golden eagles are very rare in the British Isles today, but in the Middle Ages they were a common bird of prey. Their range was in the northern part of the island, and they were particularly fond of mountainous terrain. Most golden eagles were found in the Pennines and in the Scottish Highlands.
Early Origins of the Hernshaw family
The surname Hernshaw was first found in Yorkshire
where they held a family seat
from very ancient times, some say well before the Norman Conquest
and the arrival of Duke William at Hastings in 1066 A.D.
Early History of the Hernshaw family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Hernshaw research.Another 183 words (13 lines of text) covering the years 131 and 1316 are included under the topic Early Hernshaw History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Hernshaw Spelling Variations
Sound was what guided spelling in the essentially pre-literate Middle Ages, so one person's name was often recorded under several variations during a single lifetime. Also, before the advent of the printing press and the first dictionaries, the English language was not standardized. Therefore, spelling variations
were common, even among the names of the most literate people. Known variations of the Hernshaw family name include Earnshaw, Earnshawe, Ernshaw, Earnshay and others.
Early Notables of the Hernshaw family (pre 1700)
More information is included under the topic Early Hernshaw Notables in all our PDF Extended History products
and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the Hernshaw family to the New World and Oceana
For political, religious, and economic reasons, thousands of English families boarded ships for Ireland
, Canada, the America colonies, and many of smaller tropical colonies in the hope of finding better lives abroad. Although the passage on the cramped, dank ships caused many to arrive in the New World diseased and starving, those families that survived the trip often went on to make valuable contributions to those new societies to which they arrived. Early immigrants bearing the Hernshaw surname or a spelling variation of the name include: Mary, Anna, and Ann Ernshaw who arrived in Philadelphia in 1820; Eli Earnshaw arrived in Philadelphia in 1848; Francis, George, and Lewis
Earnshaw arrived in Philadelphia in 1860.