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.
Selected Nash  Resources on The Internet

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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

There was a place near Bristol called Naish
which gave
rise to Naishes and Nashes. Beau Nash was the arbiter of
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

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

There had been Nashes in Buckinghamshire and Suffolk
from Elizabethan times. The numbers in
south Buckinghamshire, around Chesham and Beaconsfield, later became
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
family that the painters Paul and John Nash emerged a century or so

Ireland. Nashes 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

  • 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
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

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

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

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

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)



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