Select Nash Surname Genealogy

Some surnames have retained an Old English prefix.  The root "ash" of Nash probably originated as a place name of an ash grove.  Robert atten Nash, Robert who lived by the ash, got shortened over time to Robert Nash.  The name might have started up independently in different parts of the country.  Thus Nashes may not be related or connected.

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Select Nash Ancestry

Wales.  In Wales, the name first appeared in Haverfordwest in the early 1300's in its latinate (fraximo meaning "ash") form.  Nash was an ancient parish near Pembroke and this area of south Pembrokeshire was and has remained an English enclave. 

By the 1500's, a Nash family owned an estate at Great Nash in Llangwm parish and were local gentry.  These Nashes shared a similar coat of arms with the Nashes in Worcestershire and they may possibly have been related.  The Nashes at Tenby included two brothers, John and Thomas, who left Pembrokeshire for America in the early 1700's.

England.  Early history might suggest that there was a western bias to the Nash name in England. 

Gloucestershire  There was a place near Bristol called Naish which gave rise to Naishes and Nashes.  Beau Nash was the arbiter of fashion in Bath in the early 1700's.  The Nashes of the Forest of Dean in Gloucestershire trace back to two brothers there, John and Richard, in the 1770's.

Worcestershire  A family from Ombersley owned wool mills along the banks of the river Salwarpe during Elizabethan times.  John Nash became the mayor of Worcester and used his wealth to found the Nash hospital there in 1664.  His house, Nash House in the town center, still stands.  His brother James acquired The Noak in Martley and these Nashes remained the squires of Martley for the next three hundred years.   

SE England  By the 19th century, however, the Nash demographics in England had changed.  More than 40 percent of the Nashes were then living in London and the southeast.  Some of them may have come through eastward migration.  William Nash from Worcester was the "opulent grocer" who served as Lord Mayor of London in 1772.  John Nash, the architect who was primarily responsible for the look of Regency London, was from a Welsh family. 

There had been Nashes in Buckinghamshire and Suffolk from Elizabethan times.  The numbers in south Buckinghamshire, around Chesham and Beaconsfield, later became quite sizeable.  John Nash and his wife Susannah ran the Brick Mould public house at Hedgerley between 1771 and 1815.  James Nash founded the Chesham brewery in 1841. 

In nearby west Hertfordshire there had been a long-established family of Nash blacksmiths dating back before 1750.  There were smiths called James Nash recorded in Abbots Langley, Berkhamsted, Bovingdon, Hemel Hempstead, Kings Langley, Tring and Wilstone in the latter part of the 18th century.

A Nash family from Beaconsfield had taken up residence at Upton Court in 1707 and owned a brick-making firm in Slough in early Victorian times.  These Nashes had also acquired land at Langley around the year 1800.  It was from this landowning family that the painters Paul and John Nash emerged a century or so later.

IrelandNashes in Ireland can be traced back to the 13th century in Limerick.   A Nash/Naish family at Askeaton in Limerick dates back to 1630.  The American actor J. Carroll Naish came from this line.  Fewer Nashes are in Limerick today.  The potato famine of the 1840's caused many to leave, to the US, Canada, and Australia. 

Nashes from Somerset had settled in the 1590's in Bandon in Cork.  The name subsequently became widespread throughout Cork. 

America.  There were two early Nash arrivals into New England whose family trees have been well documented:
  • Thomas Nash reached New Haven in 1640.  The Rev. Sylvester Nash compiled a history of this family The Nash Family in 1853, a book which has been recently updated by Deborah Lee Rothery.
  • James and Alice Nash came to Weymouth around the same time.  Their history has been traced in Richard H. Benson's 1998 book The Nash Family of Weymouth, Massachusetts.
Francis Nash settled in Braintree, Massachusetts around 1680.  His descendants later moved to Maine. Amaziah Nash was a shipbuilder there in the early 19th century but then lost his money and moved out to Iowa.  Noah Nash fought in the Revolutionary War and his descendants have numbered recently five generations of Nathaniel Cushing Nashes from Wenham, Massachusetts.

Virginia  John Nash came to Virginia from Wales around 1720 and bought a large estate at the fork of the Bush and Appotomattox rivers which he named Templeton Manor.  He and his wife Anne had eight children - including two famous brothers, Francis Nash, a hero of the Revolutionary War, and Abner Nash, Governor of North Carolina. 

Nash in the South  Later Nashes owned plantations in Mississippi and Louisiana.  One colorful character was Christopher Columbus Nash, a Louisiana merchant who fought his battles for white supremacy in the Reconstruction Era.  On the other side was Charles Nash, the only African American to represent Louisiana during this period.  In the middle, perhaps, were the "redbones," a mixed race people in Louisiana believed to have started with Thomas Nash who had arrived from North Carolina in the 1780's.  Emmanuel Nash, born in Rapides parish in 1843, lived onto 1947. 

Heading West  Other Nashes went west.  Oscar and Emily Nash left upstate New York in 1870 for a new life in Nebraska. Fred Nash started a small candy and tobacco store in Devil's Lake, North Dakota in 1885.  This business went on to be the multibillion food distribution company, Nash Finch. 

Irish  The early Nash immigrants were English.  They were replaced by Irish as the nineteenth century went on. Their most famous son was Pat Nash, one of the political bosses of Chicago in the 1930's (although he had a reputation for honesty). 

Jewish  More recently, there have been Jewish immigrants who adopted the anglicized Nash name.  Nash means "ours" in Yiddish.  Perhaps the best known of these Nashes was Jack Nash, a hedge fund pioneer and Jewish philanthropist from New York who died recently.

Canada.  Samuel Nash, a Loyalist, arrived at Stoney Creek, Ontario from Connecticut around 1800.  The home that he built there, now called the Nash-Jackson House,stayed with the family until 1999 and has been preserved as a musuem. 

Irish Nashes also came to Canada.  The earliest was probably William Nash and his family from county Cork who came to Nova Scotia in 1798.  Martin Nash, a discharged soldier, settled with his family in Goulbourn, Ontario in 1820; and Thomas and Margaret Nash arrived in Ontario from Tipperary around 1831.

Australia.  The first fleet sailed from England in 1787 carrying marine William Nash and his common law wife Maria Haynes.  They were the progenitors of an extensive Nash family in Australia. 

Other early settlers were:
  • Andrew Nash who acquired the Woolpack Inn in Parramatta in 1821 and became well-known for the prowess of his racehorses. 
  • and James Nash later who discovered gold along the Mary river in Queenland and helped precipitate the second Australian gold rush.
There were also Nash convicts in Australia.  Some thrived; Robert Nash, transported on the Albemarle in 1791; John Nash on the Eleanor in 1831; and Michael Nash from Limerick, on the Rodney in 1851.

Select Nash Miscellany

If you would like to read more, click on the miscellany page for further stories and accounts:

Select Nash Names

Thomas Nash
was an Elizabethan pamphleteer, poet, and satirist. 
Francis Nash
, the American hero killed in the Revolutionary War, left his name to Nashville, Tennessee.

John Nash was the architect who transformed the look of London in the early 1800's.
Paul Nash from London was one of the few English painters of note in the inter-war period.
Patrick Nash was one of the political bosses in Chicago in the 1930's.
Ogden Nash, from Rye New York, wrote light whimsical verse which was poplular in the 1930's and 1940's.

Walter Nash, who emigrated to New Zealand as a young boy, was one of the founding members of the Labor party and rose through its ranks to become Prime Minister of New Zealand in the late 1950's.
John Forbes Nash, the brilliant American mathematician from West Virginia who succumbed to schizophrenia, was portrayed by Russell Crowe in the film A Brilliant Mind.
Jack Nash, a refugee from Nazi Germany, became a hedge fund pioneer and Jewish philanthropist in New York.  He died in 2008.

Select Nashes Today
  • 24,000 in the UK (most numerous in West Midlands)
  • 21,000 in America (most numerous in Texas).
  • 19,000 elsewhere (most numerous in Canada)

PS.  You might want to check out the surnames page on this website.  It covers surname genealogy in this and companion websites for more than 800 surnames.

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