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MARSHALL Family History


Recorded in over fifty spelling forms including Marshal, Marshall, Marschall, Marschalleck, Marshalleck, Marskell, Mascall, Maskal, Maskell and Maskill, this is an English and French surname, but one of ultimately pre 7th century Germanic origins. Although generally regarded as deriving from the French word "mareschal", the ultimate origin of the word lies in the Old High German "marah" meaning a horse, plus "scalc", a servant. This indicates that the term "marshal" was originally occupational for one who looked after the horses, a very important function from the most ancient times in history'. By the 11th Century whatever the original meaning and however high or low the status, the word useage had developed to that of the most important person in a noble household, and as the highest office of state 'The Lord Chief Marshall'...


Marshall (Variants: Marshal, Marschall, Marchall, Marshell, Marskell, Machell, Mascoll, Mascall, Maskall, Maskill, Maskell, Mursell)

An English and Scottish occupational name from Middle English marshal, mare(s)chal from Old French maresc(h)al, marescald), often ‘one who tends horses (especially one who treats their diseases); a shoeing smith, a farrier’, literally meaning ‘horse-servant’. Similarly, from a Germanic origin deriving from High German marah ‘horse’, mare + scalc ‘servant’). The earliest examples mostly signify an ‘officer in charge of a noble household’. Also borne by Jews, presumably as an Americanised form of one or more like-sounding Jewish surnames.

From a medieval surname formation that signified one of the most important servants in a great household (in the royal household a high official of state, one with military responsibilities), and also a humble shoeing smith or farrier. It was also an occupational name for a medieval court officer responsible for the custody of prisoners.

In 1891, the general population was widespread across England and Wales with 44,408 occurrences and a further 7,107 in Scotland. In 1881, it was particularly frequent in North England, with Lincolnshire being a top county for the surname with 2,012 occurrences.

Early bearers of the surname in region include: Roger Mascherell, 1130 in Pipe Rolls (Lincs); Robertus Marshall, 1539 in IGI (Dunsby, Lincs).

In 1881, the most common Marshall occupation in the UK was Farmer, along with Agricultural Labourer and Labourer being the top 3 reported jobs worked by Marshall. A less common occupation was Coal Miner.

Barry Marshall, Australian physician and Nobel Prize winner famous for his research into stomach ulcers. Between himself and his long term collaborator, Robin Warren, they discovered the bacterium Helicobacter pylori and its role in gastritis and peptic ulcer disease.

Henry Marshall, an English convict, was transported aboard the "Albion" on 17 May 1823, settling in Van Diemen's Land, Australia.

1881, 1891 Census

1881 Census in Lincolnshire

Dictionary of American Family Homes, P Hanks OUP 2003

Homes of Family Names in Great Britain, H.B. Guppy, London 1890

The Oxford Dictionary of Family Names in Britain and Ireland, P.Hanks, Coats, McClure OUP 2016

1860 Lower, Mark A Patronymica Britannica: a dictionary of the family names of the United Kingdom, London: J.R Smith. Public Domain

1857 Arthur, William An Etymological Dictionary of Family and Christian Names. New York: Sheldon, Blakeman. Public Domain



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