- Member for
- 13 years · 1 month · 29 days
- Find a Grave ID
My family roots trace to both northern and southern Ireland of the late 1700's. Prior to that there were likely ancestors residing in southern and western Ireland for centuries. There were likely some ancestral branches from Scotland and/or England which emigrated to Ireland or directly to New England between 1600 and 1800.
One undocumented New England or New York ancestral branch includes the Norman name Pearsall, with many alternative spellings such as Purcell, Parsall and Persall. (http://wc.rootsweb.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/igm.cgi?op=GET&db=sharprm&id=I16453) Whether this ancestral branch consisted of Irish who came to America from the Norman-settled region of south Ireland, or whether they were English of a Norman-descended family from south England is unknown.
The name refers to a Norman estate in southern England, originally named "de Peshale". The manor name Peshall may have come from the Anglo Saxon "peashealh" or "home of the Peacock". Peshale was a current name in 1066 and is probably Old Saxon. It is not listed in the Domesday Book. There is a sketchy mention in Pirehill Hundred by Walter Chetwynd. Sir Hugh Persall was knighted at the Battle of Bosworth Field in 1486 (one assumes by the winner), and was given the family manor of Horsely Hall. Three branches of the family fought at Bosworth Field, two for Lancaster and one for York. The Ranton branch of the Peshalls changed the spelling to Pearsall sometime after Bosworth Field. Other variations came and went (or survived to some extent to this day). One or more lines kept the Pearsall spelling. The popularity of this spelling was spread by visits of the successful wool merchants Asa and Edmund Pearsall and can be found in parish records in Kidderminster in the Church of St. Mary's. It began to be used in this spelling in about 1612. Edmund Pearsall was an ancestor of an American branch of the family. Thomas Pearsall settled in Chesapeake country of Virginia and Maryland. A branch of the family became Piersall in New York during the Revolutionary War. http://home.teleport.com/~grafe/Pearsalls/
"A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom" by Mark Anthony, M.A.F.S.A. states: "Pearsall, an estate in Co. Stafford, now written Pearshall or Pershall. The family are of Norman origin, having been founded at the place referred to by Robert, a follower of Robert of Stafford, early in the reign of the Conqueror. He was the son of Gilbert (Fitz-Gilbert), who was the son of a Count of Corbeil in Normandy."
Norman Irish roots trace to the Norman Invasion of Ireland in 1170, during which hybrid English descendants with genetic roots in both England and in the Normandy region of north France and Belgium, and even earlier in Scandinavia, landed an invading army on the south and east coasts of Ireland, and temporarily conquered the native Irish chieftains. These invaders slowly assimilated and interbred with the Gaelic natives, fully adopting their culture, religion, and later a national identity, but leaving many distinct surnames as evidence of their roots.
Most Irish ancestors left Ireland between 1800 and 1835, prior to the horrific Potato Famine. No doubt many family members left behind perished in the Famine. City-dwelling Irish ancestors emigrated to New York City from Dublin (O'Boylan, Branagan). Some Irish ancestors arrived in rural New York from northern Ireland (MacRea, later Rea and then Ray). Family history states the McCormicks lived in Ballycastle, Antrim coast, northern Ireland. Irish family members (Keating and Pearsall) of probable Norman descent (Norman families were historically associated with southern Ireland), arrived in Utica or Albany, New York perhaps through Canada, New York City, or Boston. Other Irish (MacCarthaigh anglicized to McCarty, and Gibson, both names having possible Scottish origins) emigrated to Canada. Patrick McCarthy's origins were West Cork, his wife Catherine was a Kennedy-Gibson from northwest Tipperary. They married at St. Frances of Romana RC church, Wellington, Prince Edward County, Ontario 1832; in 1850 the family relocated to Wisconsin. Irish immigrant ancestors may have spoken only Gaelic. Dark-haired people with blue eyes was common.
Scandinavian ancestors resided in several Norwegian towns and villages at the far eastern end of the Sogne Fjord in southwestern Norway, including the towns of Luster from the 1500's and Ardal from the 1600's. Blonde and red hair coloring was present in some family lines, but only as a small minority, one specifically being the well documented red-haired Heiberg family line in Luster, where their family portrait hangs in a small medieval church. The Heibergs reportedly began in Norway with two brothers who had come from Denmark as adults. As with the Irish, many other Norwegian ancestors also seem to have been very dark-haired people with blue eyes.
Some German ancestors came from the circa 1300 through mid 1800's Alsace region which straddled the border of modern France and Germany just west of the Rhine River. Two different Alsatian families (Wilhelm and Mueller, also on the Mueller line: Weckerie/Weckerle/Wakerly, Winter, Rinck) lived in Alsace just 80 miles apart. These Alsace ancestors spoke a dialect called Alsatian German rather than French, but prior to 1870 they identified France as their home country. The name Mueller translates as miller, referring to one who mills grain. The Wilhelms came from the small village of Selbach (in modern day Germany just north of Saarbrucken), and the Muellers (and Weckerie/Weckerle/Wakerly, Winter, Rinck) from the modern day French commune of Cleebourg [formerly Bremmelbach, Arrondissement de Wissembourg (comprised of 5 cantons), Canton de Wissembourg (comprised of 13 communes including Cleebourg), Bas Rhin Province, Alsace Region, France]. Another German line, Thome, came from the Baden-Württemberg region of Germany, comprised of the southwest corner of the country, with the Rhine river and Alsace-Lorraine region of France on its western border, and Switzerland on the south. Two other German lines, Wilz and Huth (referring to one who wears or makes "hute" or hats) came from the tiny town of Michelbach, Bavaria, which was just within the northwest Bavarian border, east of Frankfurt. The German line of Weber may have come from the lowlands of Mecklenberg in northern Germany. The name Weber translates as weaver, referring to one whose occupation involved making textiles. Many German ancestors seem to have had very dark hair and either light (hazel, blue) eyes, or dark brown eyes combined with a darker skin tone. Blonde hair seems to have appeared in only a small minority. Another German line of Rau is completely unknown. Genetic information in 2013 from 23 and Me indicates less than one percent of Hungarian Jewish origin which originates in one or more of these many German lines.
German ancestors on all lines were Catholic, with no Protestants known of. Norwegian ancestors were members of the state Norwegian Lutheran church. Irish ancestors were predominantly Catholic, with some lines which settled in New York possibly being northern Irish Protestants who later converted to various American Protestant sects.
Search memorial contributions by Deir