Fisher Surname Name Meaning, Origin, History, & Etymology
Remains of a medieval fish weir
This is an English (or German, Fischer) occupational name denoting a person who earned his living as a fisherman, or a topographic name for a person who living near a fishing weir, deriving from the Old English world fiscere or fiscian meaning “to catch fish”. In Ireland, it is an Anglicized version of the name Gaelic Ó Bradáin, meaning “descendant of Bradán”, with Bradan being a personal (first) name meaning “salmon”. In Scotland, it can also be an Anglicized version of MacInesker or the Celtic name Mac an Iascair. In the United States, various non-English surnames has been Americanized into Fisher, including the German Fischer, Dutch Visser, and the Italian Pescatore, among others. It is believed the surname was brought into England from France during the Norman Conquest of 1066 AD. It is claimed the family held lands and title at Warwickshire where they were granted property by William the Conqueror for their service to him at the Battle of Hastings. In Germany, the Fischer family was first found in Saxony.
In his book, Patronmyica Britannica, Mary Antony Lower writes the following “Fitz-Urse is said to have gone over to Ireland, and there to have become ancestor of the Mac Mahon family-Mac Mahon being the Celtic equivalent of 'Bear's son;' but other branches of the family remained in England, and gradually corrupted the family name thus; Fitzour, Fishour, Fisher. The great Kentish family of Berham, or Barham, is also deduced by Philipot, Harris, and other Kentish historians from the same source-apparently upon the strength of the first syllable of that name resembling the word bear”.
Common spelling variants or names with similar etymologies include Fischer (German), Fysher, and Fyshar.
Popularity & Geographic Distribution
The last name Fisher ranks 100th in popularity in the United Status as of the 2000 Census. The name ranks particularly high in the following five states: Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Iowa, Montana, and Idaho.
The surname Isaac frequency/commonness ranks as follows in the British Isles: England (96th), Scotland (196th), Wales (95th), Ireland (989th) and Northern Ireland (356th). In England, it ranks highest in county Berkshire. In Scotland, the Fisher surname rankest highest in Pethshire. In Wales, it ranks highest in Denbighshire. In Ireland, it ranks highest in Wicklow. In Northern Ireland, it ranks highest in county Down.
The name is also present throughout the remainder English speaking world: Canada (158th), New Zealand (135th), Australia (96th), and South Africa (299th).
The 1890 book Homes of Family Names by H.B. Guppy, states the following in regard to this surname: “This name is irregularly distributed over England, being however absent or infrequent in that part lying south of a line joining the mouths of the Thames and the Severn. It is at present most numerous in Cumberland and Westmoreland, Lancashire, Notts, and Norfolk. It is also established in Scotland”.
In the United States, the surname Fischer ranks 419th. It is extremely common in German (2nd), Switzerland (10th), and Austria (13th).
Early Bearers of the Surname
The earliest known bearer of this surname was Richard le Fischer who was documented in the Feet of Fines of Essex in 1263 AD. The Hundred Rolls of 1273 AD, a census of Wales and England, known in Latin as Rotuli Hundredorum lists two bearers of this surname: Robert le Fyscher (Buckinghamshire) and Margery le Fischere (Huntingsonshire). The Poll Tax of Yorkshire in 1379 AD lists four bearers of this last name: Ibota Fischher, Alicia Fyssher, Hugo Fysscher, and Walter Fissher. An marriage involving this surname was Annis Fisher to Robart Marle at St. Martin Orgar in London in 1549 AD. An early baptism involving this name was Anne, daughter of Thomas Fisher, at St. Mary Magdalene’s, Bermondsey in 1552 AD.
George Fraser Black’s 1946 book The Surnames of Scotland, states the following in regard to this last name: “Michael Fysser who appears in record in 1344 as bailie of Perth is probably the Michaele Fisser recorded in 1338. Donald Fyscher witnessed an Atholl charter of 1455, Andro Fischer was admitted burgess of Lanerk in 1488, Constancius Ficher was tenant in barony of Carstairs in 1513 (Rental), and Thomas Fyschiar was one of the bailies of Edinburgh in 1603”.
Fisher Family Tree & Fisher Genealogy
Fisher of Thorncombe
Edward Rowe Fisher
Edward Rowe Fisher, Esquire of Thorncombe, Surrey was born in 1832 and succeeded his father in 1870. He was a Captain of the 4th Dragoon Guards that served in the Crimean War. In 1865, he married Edith Maria, only child of Mayow Wynell Adams of Sydenham, and had three issue with her: Laurence Rowe (1866), Herbert Mayow, and Mabel Edith. In 1874, he married Lady Victoria Isabella, daughter of the Earl of Ravensworth, and had two issue with her: Seymour (1876) and Eleanor Frederica. The Fisher genealogy traces back to Joseph Fisher, Esq. of Scarrowhill in the parish of Cumwitton, Cumberland, bequeathed by his will, proved 1751, Ruckcroft to his grandson, Edward Fisher, of Dale, Cumberland, son of Edward, who married Elizabeth, daughter of John Varty. The son of this marriage was Edward Fisher of Dale, who in 1789, married Deborah, daughter of Isaac Slack, Esq., and had a son and heir with her named Thomas. Thomas Fisher was Esquire of Thorncombe who was born in 1790 and in 1828, married Anna Berry, daughter and co-heir of Laurence Rowe, of Brentford, and had an only child with her: Edward Rowe (mentioned at the beginning of this paragraph). The Fisher Coat of Arms (erroneously called the Fisher Family Crest) is blazoned as follows: Ermine, on a fess wavy very between three kingfishers proper as many fountains. Crest: Amidst bulrushes a fountain, therefrom a kingfisher rising, in the beak a fish all proper. The family motto was Favente Deo and they were seated at Thorncombe, near Guilford, Surrey.
Fisher of Spring Dale
Edward Fisher, Esquire of Spring Dale, county York, was born in 1804. In 1839, he married Jane, daughter of Dominick Gregg of Lisburne and Coleraine, Ireland, and had seven issue with her as follows: Charles Edward Gregg (later Philipps, of Picton Castle, was Justice of the Peace and Lord Lieutenant of Haverfordwest), William Dominick, Sharples (married Constance Madeline Ellen), George Gregg, Caroline Phoebe (married Robert Goddard of the Middle Temple), and Mary Gregg (married Sackville Herbert Owen), and Jane Edith. The lineage traces back to Edward Fisher, Esquire of Thorne, by his marriage with Miss Brady, left, with other issue, an only son named John. This John Fisher, of Spring Dale, was born in 1767, and in 1800, married Phoebe, daughter of J. Sharples of Hitchin, and had issue with her, including a son named Edward (mentioned at the beginning of this paragraph). The Fisher Coat of Arms (mistakenly called the Fisher Family Crest) has the following heraldic blazon: Argent, on a chevron gules, three trefoils slipped of the field, in chief as many fleur-de-lis of the second. Crest: In front of a bulrush erect a kingfisher proper resting the dexter claw on a fleur-de-lis or. The family motto is Virtute et fide. The family was seated at Spring Dale, Huddersfield.
The Baron Fisher, Cecil Vavasseur Fisher, of Kilverstone, Thetford, Norfolk, England was born in 1868. He was educated at Magdalen College and in 1909, assumed, by royal license, the additional surname of Vavasseur. He succeeded his father as the 2nd Baron in 1920. In 1920, he married Jane, daughter of Randal Morgan of Chestnut Hill, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and had three issue with her: John (born 1921, a Lieutenant who served in World War II), Anna (married Thomas Williams Clark), and
Argent in chief two demi lions rampant erased gules, and in base the stern of an ancient battleship showing three lanterns proper. Crest: A dexter hand in armour, couped at the wrist, grasping the head of a trident erect all proper. Supporters: On either side a sailor of the Royal Navy supporting in the exterior hand an anchor cabled that to the dexter in bend sinister and that to the sinister in bend dexter all proper. The family resided at Kilverstone Hall, Thetford, Norfolk.
Fisher Pedigree and Family Trees
Edward Fisher was born in St. Oswald’s, Elvert, Durham, England around 1504. He married Elizabeth Todd and had a daughter with her named Elizabeth, born in 1538, who married Thomas Cogan, and had a son with him named Philobert Cogan.
Donald Fisher was born in Killin in Scotland in 1757 AD. He married Elizabeth Monroe and had a son with her prior to his 1799 death in Montreal, Quebec. This sons name was Captain Henry Monroe Fisher, who was born in Hebron, New York in 1776. He married Maddeleine Gautier de Verville and had a son with her named Henry Munro. Henry Munro was born in Priare du Chien in 1800 and married Marguerite la Framboise, with whom he had a son named John. This John Fisher was born in Assiniboia, Canada in 1823 and he married Elizabeth Brabant, having a daughter with her named Eliza.
Henrich Geor Fisher was born in Germany in 1703 and came to the United States. He married Anna Maria Boger and had a daughter with her named Maria Barbara Fischer, born in West Virginia in 1735.
Mayor Balthasar Fischer was born in Langenselbohl, Germany in 1560. He married Christin (last name not known) and had two sons with her: Anton and Georg. His son Georg was born in Langenselbohl was born in the same town in 1613. He married Catharina Lerchen and had a son with her named Weigel. This Weigel was born in the same town in 1654 and he married Anna Barbara Lerch, with whom he had two sons: Weigle and Wilhelm. His son Wilhelm Fischer was born in Berlin in 1725. He in turn had a son named William M. who was born in Germany and 1762 and came to colonial America. He married Mary Williams in North Carolina in 1787. They had a son named John. This John Fisher was born in Phildelphia, Pennsylvania in 1787 and he married Lucretia Harrison, with whom he had two issue: Lucinda Margaret and John. His son John was born in West Virginia in 1829. He married Mary A. Shirkey and had two sons with her: William M. and Henry F. His son Henry F. Fisher was born in 1871 and he married Crosby Anneta Smith. He died in 1957.
Early American and New World Settlers
Robert Fisher came to Virginia aboard the Elisabeth in May 1611.
Edward Fisher came to Virginia aboard the Jonathan around 1620.
Edward Fisher, age 35, came to Virginia aboard the Bonaventure in January 1634.
Robert Fisher, age 34, came to Virginia aboard the Bonaventure in January 1634.
Edward Fisher, age 27, came to St. Christopher’s aboard the Paul of London in April 1635.
Gabriell Fisher, age 36, came to Virginia aboard the Safety in August 1635.
Robert Fisher, age 10, came to Bermuda aboard the Dorset in September 1635
William Fisher, age 25, came to Virginia aboard the Abraham in October 1635.
Henry Fisher was recorded as living in Virginia in February 1623, as were John, Edward, Thomas, and Samwell Fisher.
Jane Fisher was recorded among the dead in Virginia in February 1623.
The book Genealogical Guide to the Early Settlers, mentions eight bearers of this last name:
1) Anthony Fisher of Dedham, 1637, born at Syleham, county Suffolk, England; freeman, perhaps in 1646, died in 1670. In 1647, he married Joanna Faxon and had Mehitable (1648), Josiah (1654), Sarah (1658), and Elizabeth (1669).
2) Anthony Fisher, of Dorcester, freeman 1645, selectman, 1664-6, died 1671, at the age of 80
3) Joshua Fisher of Dedham, 1639, brother of the second Anthony, born in England, freeman 1640, died 1646
4) Joshua Fisher, born in England, who in 1643, married Mary, daughter of deacon Nathan Aldis, and had issue with her: Mary (1644), Joshua (1645), Hannah (1647), Abigail (1649), Joshua (1651), John (1652), and Hannah (1653). He died in 1674.
5) Cornelius Fisher, born in England, the son of Anthony. In 1653, he married Leah, likely the daughter of Nathaniel Heaton and had children named Leah, Experience, Cornelius, Ann, and Eleazer. In 1665, he married Sarah, daughter of Richard Everett, who died in 1676, and had issue Dorothy (1667), Sarah (1668), and Jonathan (1671).
6) Edward Fisher of Portsmouth, Rhode Island, freeman in 1655. His daughter Ruth married John Potter in 1664, and his other daughter Francis married John Briggs.
7) Samuel Fisher of Wrentham, by wife Meletiah, had Ebenezer (1670), Hannah (1672), and Abigail (1674). He was a deacon and representative in 1689. He died in 1703.
8) Thomas Fisher of Cambridge, 1634, likely came from Winton England, moved to Dedham in 1637
Other early settlers in colonial America bearing this surname who came in the eighteenth century include Daniel Fisher (Virginia 1701), Simon Fisher (New England 1709), Edward Fisher (Boston 1712), Caleb Fisher (New England 1716), and Fleny Fisher). Persons who came bearing the German version of this last name include Johannes Fischer (1693), A Sybilla (1701), Johannes Fischer (New York 1708), Sebastian Fischer (1709), and Johan Michael Fischer (Pennsylvania 1730).
In Canada, one of the earliest settlers with this surname was John Fisher, a United Empire Loyalist (a person who came from America, opposing the Revolution and remaining loyal to the British crown) who was in Ontario in 1775. In Australia, one of the earliest bearers was Richard Fisher, a convict from Lancaster, England, who settled in New South Wales (then a penal colony), coming aboard the Asia in 1822. In New Zealand, some of the earliest bearers landed in Auckland and Wellington in 1840: Francis, James, and Isaac Fisher.
Early Americans Bearing the Fisher Family Crest
grave of Jabez Fisher Esq.
Charles Bolton’s American Armory (1927) contains three entries for this surname:
1) (Bookplate Francis Fisher) - Az in chief a ducal crown, in base a dolphin embowed. Crest: an eagle rising.
2) (Bookplate Jabez B. Fisher, Phila.) - Az a fess embat, counter-embat or, bet 3 dolphins naiant. Crest: a heron on its nest swallowing a fish.
3) (Bookplate Lindley Fisher, Phila.) - Or 3 kingfishers ppr contourné. Crest: a stag's head collared and chained contourné. Crozier’s General Armory (1904) and Matthew’s American Armoury (1907) and Bluebook do not contain any entries for this surname.
I have identified 7 Fisher family mottos:
1) Respice finem (Regard the end)
2) Favente Deo (By God’s favour)
3) Spe et amore (Hope and love)
4) Veritas vincit (Truth prevails)
5) Virtutem extendere factis (To increase by virtue by deeds)*
6) Virtute et fide (By virtue and faith)
7) Vowarts in treu and wahrheit (Forward in faith and truth)
*This is a quote from the Aeneid by Virgil, the ancient Roman poet who lived from 70-19 BC.
Admiral John Arbuthnot Fisher, 1st Baron Fisher, 1841-1920
We have 99 coats of arms for the Fisher surname depicted here. These 99 blazons are from Bernard Burke’s book The General Armory of England, Ireland, and Scotland, which was published in 1848. The bottom of this page contains the blazons, and in many instances contains some historical, geographical, and genealogical about where coat of arms was found and who bore it. People with this last name that bore an Fisher Coat of Arms (or mistakenly called the Family Crest)
1) Fysher, of Hatfield, Hertsfordshire, by Barker
2) Fisher, of London, July 1614, by Camden: Or, three demi-lions rampant, a fessee dancette (indented) gules: Crest: A demi-lion rampant gules holding a branch proper.
3) Christopher Fisher of London, gentleman, father of Henry, of Middle Temple, by Segar
4) Sir Edward Fisher, son of Edward, of London, Alderman, son of Richard, descended out of Stafforfshire, 4 February 1607-8, by Camden
5)Edward Fisher of Mickleton, county Gloucester, third son of Richard, of Laeford (Latchford) in Standen, Herts, Esq., descended from Henry of Alrewas, county Stafford, Esq., confirmed arms and 12 quarters, by Segar
6) Henry, by Harvey, 1560
7) Henry Fysher, of Lydham, Wycke, Wiltshire, 10 October 1608, by Camden
8) Jasper Fysher, of Corston, county Warwick, crest, by Harvey
9) John Fisher of Hants, geneltemen, 22 Edward IV, 12 July 1182, by Thos. Holme
10) John Fisher, Packington, county Warwick, 1 January 1551-2
11) John Fisher of Chilton Candover, Hants, after 1575, by Cooke
12) John Fysher of Corston, county Warwick, confirmed 1565-6.
13) Thomas Fisher, of London, son of John of Woodstock, Odon, out of Lanc., granted 26 April 1613 by Segar
14) William Fisher, of London, a merchant, son of William, of Little Over, county Derby, 10 November 1660, by Walker
There are hundreds of notable people with the Fisher surname. This page will mention a handful. Famous people with this last name include: 1) Albert Fisher (1864-1942) who was a born in Peru, Ohio, son of German immigrants from Baden, and became a pioneer in the auto industry in Detroit, MI, building the first touring car body for Henry Ford, and was the uncle of the seven Fisher brothers, who founded Fisher Body, 2) William Frederick Fisher (1946) who was an American physician and NASA astronaut from Dallas, Texas, 3) Walter L. Fisher (1862-1935) who was born in Wheeling, Virginia and became the 25th Secretary of the Interior under the Taft Administration,
4) Sarah Marie Fisher (1980) was an American professional racecar driver who competed in the IndyCar Series and Indianapolis 500 and was born in Columbus, Ohio, 5) Sir Ronald Aylmer Fisher (1890-1962) who was an English biologist and statistician who combined Mendelian genetics and natural selection, born in East Finchley, London, 6) Reverend Osmond Fisher (1817-1914) was an English geologist and geophysicist born in Osmington, Dorset, 7) Ray Lyle Fisher (1887-1982) who was an American professional baseball pitcher and college coach who was born in Middlebury, Vermont and played for the New York Yankees and Cincinnati Reds, 8) John Fisher (1771-1823) who was a United States federal judge from Delaware nominated by James Madison in 1812, 9) John Fisher (1469-1535), a Roman Catholic Saint, was an English Catholic Bishop and theologian and Chancellor of the University of Cambridge who was executed by King Henry VIII during the English Reformation, 10) John King Fisher (1853-1884) who was a gunslinger and American outlaw in Texas during the American Old West, born in Collin County in 1853, 11) Jonathan Fischer (1768-1847) who was the first Congregationalist minister in Blue Hill Maine, as well as a farmer, scientist, mathematician, writer, and surveyor, 12) George Fisher (1788-1861) who was a representative in the U.S. House of Representatives from New York, 13) Hermann Emil Fischer (1852-1919) who was a German chemist and winner of the 1902 Nobel Prize who discovered Fischer esterification, 14) Adam Fischer (1888-1968) who was a Danish sculptor born in Copenhagen, 15) Adam Fischer (1949) who is a Jewish-Hungarian conductor and was the general music director of the Austro-Hungarian Orchestra, 16) Edmond Henri Fischer (1920) who is a Swiss American biochemist who won the 1992 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, 17) Robert James Fischer (1943-2008) who was an American chess grandmaster considered to be the great player of all time, who defeated Boris Spassky of the USSR in a match held in Iceland during the Cold War, 18) Major General Eduard von Fischer (1862-1935) who was a Jewish Colonel in Austria during World War I, 19) Ernst Fischer (1900-1975) who was born in Magdeburg, Germany and became a composer of operettas, film music, and orchestral suites, 20) Kuno Fischer (1824-1907) who was a German philosopher who studied at Leipzig and Halle, and 21) Patrick Fischer (1975) who is a Swiss ice hockey player who briefly played in the National Hockey League and is the head coach of the Swiss national team.