Last name: Shaw

This interesting name is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and may be either a topographical or a locational surname. As a topographical name, Shaw was used for someone who lived by a copse, wood, or thicket, derived from the Old English pre 7th Century "sceaga", copse, small wood. As a locational surname, Shaw is derived from any one of the numerous small places names Shaw, from the Old English "sceaga", such as those in Berkshire, Lancashire, and Wiltshire. Shaw in Berkshire is recorded as "Essages" in the Domesday Book of 1086, and in Lancashire as "Shaghe" in 1555, and a place in Wiltshire as "schaga" in the 1167 Pipe Rolls of the county. The development of the surname includes Richard de la Schawe (1275, Worcestershire), John ate Shaw (1295, Essex), and William Bithe Shaghe (1333, Somerset), and the modern forms of the surname range from Shaw(e), Shay and Shay(e)s to Shave(s) and Shafe. One of the most notable bearers of the name was George Bernard Shaw (1856 - 1950), who was born in Dublin into a Protestant family established in Ireland by William Shaw a captain in William lll's army, who went there in circa 1689. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Simon de Schage, which was dated 1191, in the Berkshire Pipe Rolls, during the reign of King Richard l, known as "Richard the Lionheart", 1189 - 1199. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.

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Robert G. Shaw

I was always told my last name was of Irish descent--Of the forests is what it meant. I'd love to be able to trace my lineage just to see how far back it can go.

trevor shaw
The scottish origin of the name shaw in the Highlands is derived from the gaelic pictish nickname sithech which means wolf ..There is a Shaw clan of Tordarroch and another Shaw called corrihiaclay [bucktooth] two very old highland clans .The lowlands shaws and english ones come from the Anglo Saxon word meaning ,wood or thickit,copse or a clearing in a wood.In Ireland if protestant they proberbly have the english meaning but if Catholic proberbly Scottish settlers from the Highlands

Amber kelly
my baby's last name is A'bria Shaw which is her father's last name who is Dwight Shaw II i do not know my daughter's father's father's family or anything of them. he wasn't involved i do not know my daughter's family and where they come from all i know is she is a shaw

Shaw is my family name, and here in my 8th grade class, we had to do a genealogy from which I found that the name has very strong German roots. But my history teacher has given us a paper that says the name is both Scottish and English. But reading through the previous comments, I doubt that my name is as deep German as my father and my grandfather that lead me to believe. I agree that my name is Scottish, but the meaning of Shaw; the dweller at the small wood or thicket; descendant of Sithech (wolf); one who came from Shaw (small wood), the name of several places in England. That is directly off the paper I have been given. So can I have one of the people that read this help me get a better understanding of my surname.

In the Gaelic the name is derived from sciathaich, wolf, or woods. The lowland shaw surname in old scots was from the copse meaning, the same as the Anglo Saxon. Still, further back they may mean the same thing. Since a lot of highland shaws were cleared off the land and emigrated, you might be from that. In Yorkshire, there are literally thousands of shaws, unrelated!

Shaw is my mother's maiden name. There is indeed a notable Scottish family named Shaw which can trace its origins back at least as far as the ninth century. Whether I'm descended from that line I don't know, but it would be nice to think so. However, from the research I've done, it seems that there's more than one origin for the Shaw surname and not everyone called Shaw today is necessarily descended from the Scottish line. This article isn't entirely wrong - some of the families called Shaw did get their name in the way it describes. However the article is incomplete, especially as it makes no mention of the Scottish Shaws.

robert shaw
there does seem to be some confusion, maybe there are more then one scource of our name. ive done family history and there does seem to be some scotish link which ive been unable to prove. i know there is a clan but cannot find evidence that im decended from that. it is though (as has been mentioned) old english for copse, or specifically a copse between 2 fields. there is a place called shaw in lancashire, so as i see it there could be 3 origins of our name... the celtic one, the saxon one, or as an inhabitant of the place called shaw.

Hi Robert, I have Robert Shaws in my family, do you have a middle name? or family from Lanarkshire?

Matt Sears
My name is Matt Sears, I am currently coordinating research into the Romany Community of Britain. As part of this study we will be taking DNA samples from males who carry documented Romany surnames, Shaw being one of those chosen. The research has full ethical approval and the results will be accessible online towards the end of the study. If your Shaw paternal ancestry has Romany origins and you can provide some detail of your male line back to 1900 or thereabouts we would be interested in sending you a kit through the post. The study is free, the results will help us better understand the origins of Britain 19s Romany community. Looking forward to hearing from you.

Is this study still going on I'd like to participate.

Bill D
Karrie, you'd be better off just going through Family Tree DNA and search there for a Shaw project. If there is one already, you get a project discount and it's all above board. Tracing the male Shaw line would need a male Shaw, which would be the Y-DNA tests. Females can't test Y-DNA so it would have to be a brother, cousin, etc. unless Karrie is a male??

A search on certainly backs up the Yorkshire, Lancashire theories.

Rebecca Shaw
Totally agree with all of you...this is a Scots Irish name. Even their example of a notable person with the name Shaw is an Irish protestant! Someone needs to do better homework lol.

Mark Shaw
Agree with the above. Comes from the clan of McKay. I own a Shaw tartan, so can't be English surely?

Nonsense, this is a Scottish and Irish surname.

I would tend to agree with you. Shaw is a clan of Scotland if I'm not mistaken? Once again plenty of info left out.

wendy shaw
Your all right, this site is incorrect,Shaw came from Scotland my family has done extensive family tree going way back and my grandfather spoke Gaelic and had family crest and kilts ,Celtic origin,colors were purple and green.,what do they say ,,don't believe everything you read on the Internet,

trevor shaw
The Scots shaws are a clan from north highlands and are in no way related to the english Shaws unless by marriage, who are spread over most of england but are mostly found in Lancs and Yorkshire counties ,where it is a very common surname and proberly originates from an Anglo Saxon word for copse,clearing in a wood or thicket