Recorded in various spellings including Oldershaw, Ollerenshaw, Olerenshaw, Olrenshaw, Ollarenshaw, and even Houldershaw, this is an English surname. It is can be either a locational or a topographical surname and if locational it derives from a small place in Derbyshire called Olerenshaw, in the parish of Taxal. The meaning and derivation of the placename is from the Olde English pre 7th Century "aelren", meaning alder trees from "alor", fused with "sceaga", the later shaw, and meaning a wood or copse. As a topographical surname, the meaning is "the dweller by the alder-wood". Locational surnames are usually "from" names. That is to say surnames given to "strangers" as easy identification, after they had left their original homesteads and moved somewhere else. In this case early examples of the recordings taken from surviving rolls and registers include: John Owlrenshaw, who died at Prestbury in 1652, George Frances Olorenshaw who was christened on the 3rd June 1683 at St. Andrew's Holborn, in the city of London, and Charles Oldershaw who married Louise Fanny at Manchester Cathedral, on January 20th 1825. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of John del Olrynshagh. This was dated 1327, in the Subsidy Tax Rolls of Derbyshire, during the reign of King Edward 111rd of England, known as "Father of the Navy", 1327 - 1377. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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