Origin, Meaning and Family History of the Fish Name
English, German, Jewish
Origins of Name:
The Fish surname can be traced back to medieval lords over 1000 years ago to Yorkshire, where the family held political and economic influences in the area. The surname derives from the Olde English 7th century word fisc meaning fish. In 1086, a land survey to raise taxes commissioned by William the Conqueror to evaluate and estimate the land and resources owned by England recorded the first personal name of “Fisc”. The surname Fish was first recorded near the beginning of the 13th century. The name was used to describe someone who caught or sold fish. Initially, the job someone was associated with would be used as their surname and eventually passed down to descendants whether or not they were a part of that profession.
More common variations are:
Fishe, Fysh, Fyshe, Fisch, FIsha, Faish, Fishi, Feish, Fisho, Fishu, Fhish, Fisc
The first appearance of the surname after the 11th century Surnames would become necessary as the English government introduced personal taxation, known as Poll Tax. The first recorded spelling of the surname Fish would be in 1202 documented by the English treasury of one Ernis Fish.
Is in Suffolk. Daniel Fisc in 1208 appeared in the Calendar Rolls of Suffolk and Robert Fisk in 1230 appeared in the Pipe Rolls of Northumberland. Later, in the 14th century a common derivative of the name would appear. A French influence of the name would begin to use the article ‘le’ preceding the last name. For example, Robert le Fissh.
In 1635, one Christopher Fish would board a pilgrim ship, “Ann and Elizabeth”, from London that would sail to Barbados.
The surname Fish is the 1574th most common name in Great Britain. The highest concentrations are found in West Yorkshire and Cumbria.
The German Jewish spelling of the name is Fisch. It derives from the Middle High German word visch meaning fish. Originally discovered in Saxony, at the time Germany was occupied by many different Barbarian tribes fighting for land and power. Eventually, the name would branch out into many different houses, each with varying roles in social and political agendas.
In the same way as the Anglo-Saxon version of the name, it describes someone whose occupation is that of a fish merchant or fisherman. It was also used in Germany to describe someone who resembles a fish. The German Jews adopted the name as an ornamental name.
28,000 in the United States
10,000 in Ethiopia
8,000 in Myanmar
7,000 in England
4,000 in South Africa
Albert Fish (1870), American serial killer and cannibal
Albert Fish (1922), Canadian politician
Bobby Fish (1976), American professional wrestler
Farnum Fish (1896), early American aviator
Henry Fish (1838) New Zealand politician
Matt Fish (1969) American basketball player
Michael Fish (1940), UK fashion designer
Morris Fish (1938), Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada
Preserved Fish (1766–1846) New York shipping merchant
Simon Fish (died 1531), 16th-century Protestant reformer
Stuyvesant Fish (1851), president of Illinois Central Railroad
Fish Coat of Arms Meaning
The four main devices (symbols) in the Fish blazon are the mullet, dolphin, fleur-de-lis and crescent. The three main tinctures (colors) are or, argent and sable .
Or is the heraldic metal Gold, often shown as a bold, bright yellow colour. It is said to show “Generosity and elevation of the mind” . Later heralds, of a more poetic nature liked to refer to it as Topaz, after the gemstone, and, for obvious reasons associated it with the Sun . In drawings without colour it is usually represented by many small dots, or by the letter ‘O’ .
Argent is the heraldic metal Silver and is usually shown as very pure white. It is also known more poetically as pearl, moon (or luna) . In a sketch or drawing it is represented by plain, unmarked paper .
Sable, the deep black so often found in Heraldry is believed to named from an animal of the marten family know in the middle ages as a Sabellinœ and noted for its very black fur . In engravings, when colors cannot be shown it is represented as closely spaced horizontal and vertical lines, and appropriately is thus the darkest form of hatching, as this method is known . Although it may seem a sombre tone, and does indeed sometimes denote grief, it is more commonly said to represent Constancy .
The heraldic mullet, not to be confused with the fish of that name, is shown as a regular, five pointed star. This was originally, not an astronomical object, but represented the spur on a horseman’s boot, especially when peirced, with a small circular hole in the centre it represents a type of spur known as a “rowel” . A clear example can be found in the arms of Harpendene, argent, a mullet pierced gules. The ancient writer Guillim associated such spurs in gold as belonging to the Knight, and the silver to their esquires . In later years, Wade linked this five pointed star with the true celestial object, the estoile and termed it a “falling star”, symbolising a “divine quality bestowed from above” .
In the days before television and the internet it was a rare heraldic artist that had ever seen a dolphin for real, so we should not be surprised that the heraldic representation is not instantly recognisable. Despite this, we should not forget that these artists considered the dolphin to be the king of fish, playing the same role as the lion in the animal kingdom. For reasons not immediately clear, Wade suggests that the dolphin was regarded as an “affectionate fish, fond of music”.
The fleur-de-lys (“flower of the lily”) has a long and noble history and was a symbol associated with the royalty of France even before heraldry became widespread. . The Lily flower is said to represent “Purity, or whiteness of soul” and sometimes associated with the Virgin Mary. The fleur-de-lys is also used as a small “badge”, known as a mark of cadency to show that the holder is the sixth son of the present holder of the arms