Recorded in many spelling forms including Furmage, Furmagier, and Firminger, this unusual and interesting surname is English, but of pre 10th century Old French origins. It is or rather was, an occupational name for someone who made and or sold cheese, and derives from the term "fromage" meaning cheese. The word was introduced into England by followers of William the Conqueror after the Norman Invasion of 1066, when for three centuries French became the official language of England. Job descriptive surnames originally denoted the actual occupation of the namebearer, and only later became hereditary when a son or sometimes a grandson, took over the family business.The surname was first recorded in the late 12th Century (see below), and early recordings include: William le Furmager of Yorkshire in 1219; Robert Formagier of Lincolnshire in 1273; and John Furmonger of Cambridgeshire in 1490. Andrew Firminger was recorded as a witness in the Calendar of Proceedings in Chancery, during the reign of Elizabeth 1st (1558 - 1603). Recordings from London Church Registers include: the marriage of Thomas Furminger and Elizabeth Woodwares on January 5th 1636, at St. Gregory by St. Paul; the christening of their daughter, Grace, on August 28th 1639, at St. Giles' Cripplegate; and the marriage of Sarah Furminger and Richard Street on May 26th 1685, at St. James', Duke's Place.. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Henry Furmage of Lincoln, which was dated 1160, during the reign of King Richard 1st, known as "The Lionheart", 1189 - 1199. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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