Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Tuesday's Tip - England Immigrants

Last week I became aware of this fascinating site - England Immigrants 1330 - 1550.

I had a quick look at the site and did a quick search for my two One Name Studies surnames of Orlando and Worship. As I suspected no revelations were forthcoming, but if you select the option of advanced search the bottom box on the left marked "place of residence" might reveal some early inhabitants of the location you are researching.

I did a search for Puttenham,which is one of my One-Place studies. there were no hits, but a search for Wanborough a village about two miles away revealed a hit. (Actually the search revealed two, one for Wanborough in Wiltshire too).

There is an option to reveal a summary or the full details. In this case it showed the results for a Nicholas Frensshman (Frenchman), an immigrant from France paying taxes on 28th May 1440. The original document is located at The National Archives at Kew under catalogue number E179/184/212.

What is so fascinating about this site is the social, economic and historical context. This is a time before standard surnames were used. This particular document shows that there was taxation for those who chose to come and live in England. Remember that this would include those from Scotland. Henry VI was the reigning monarch.

A search of the site for my home town of Guildford Surrey revealed 23 entries for the period of 1394 - 1440 from a variety of places, Ireland, France, Belguim (described as Flemish) & Holland (described as "Hollander"). 

Copyright - Julie Goucher July 2014
For anyone who has stumbled across my blog Guildford and District will have seen a selection of postcards of the Castle ruins, the castle which pre-dates this period. As someone who grew up regularly visiting the castle grounds and seeing the ruins it is hard to imagine that the castle was once an inhabited venue. It would have had a remarkable view, indeed it still does!

The biggest tip is that every source, index or website that we encounter can assist us to put our ancestors into the social context of the time.


  1. I was amused to see you have a Nicholas Frensshman - in Wing I've got a Thomas Frensheman! It will be interesting to follow these men forward in time and see if the family surname changes.

    1. Having an interest in surnames to makes this site very interesting. A quick search shows that there are over 1900 people with the surname of Frenchman (or a variant of), nearly all are of French nationality although there was a few others. It would be an educated guess that this surname over time has become the name of French. A good example of Toponymic surnames I think.

      A quick search for the surname of Italian did surprising provide three variation results - Aitalian,Atalyan, and Italyn.


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