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Our 2,765 members have registered
2,405 study surnames with us
and a further 6,120 variant names.

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About the study

This project is very much '€˜work in progress'€™. The general aim of this study is to build a worldwide Fishb(o)urn(e) family tree and to that end I welcome enquiries, information, assistance and suggestions from anyone who has a Fishburn, Fishburne, Fishbourne etc. in their family tree.

This One-Name Study was first registered about 10 years ago but was resurrected in earnest in April 2012. My initial interest in the name arose 15 years ago when I first became interested in genealogy and discovered my grandmother'€™s unusual maiden name of Fishbourne and so like many one-name studies, it grew out of an attempt to trace my own ancestry.

My main aims & objectives are to

  • Collect data about past and present holders of the surname Fishburn and its variants.
  • Identify and document family trees.
  • Make data available to others researching their Fishburn ancestry.
  • Analyse accumulated data to establish links and origins of the name.

Variant names

And deviants such as Fishbone, Fishbourn, Fyshbourne etc

Name origin

The British History website says about the name and the village of Fishburn in Durham:-

"€œThe family of Fishburn which held the manor of FISHBURN (Fissheburne, xiv cent.) were presumably the heirs of William de Fishburn, who had a knight's fee in the bishopric in 1166. Ranulf de Fishburn witnessed charters of the late 12th century, and Ralph de Fishburn answered for the knight's fee in the middle of the 13th century. Sir Ranulf de Fishburn was living in 1256 and was possibly identical with the Sir Randolf de Fishburn, living here, who was one of the knights of the bishopric in 1264. In 1339 land in Fishburn was held of John de Fishburn. Ranulph de Fishburn, presumably his heir, died in or before 1349 seised of one messuage and 100 acres with the 'lordship' held in chief by homage and fealty and half a knight's fee. His daughters and co-heirs were Margaret and Elizabeth, who paid relief in 1350. They seem to have sold Fishburn to William Claxton of Claxton (q.v.), who died in or about 1380 seised of the reversion of the manor, of which he had enfeoffed John de Claxton for life. It was charged with an annuity to Elizabeth and Margaret de Fishburn. Robert de Claxton, William's grandson and last male heir, granted the manor in 1476 to Ralph Claxton and Elizabeth his wife for their lives. Elizabeth survived Ralph and lived till 1500, when Fishburn reverted to the daughters and co-heirs of Robert Claxton. It was subsequently held in thirds by the representatives of three of the daughters, Margaret wife of William Embleton, Elizabeth wife first of Richard Conyers and then of Robert Pilkington, and Phyllis wife of Ralph Widdrington."€

Historical occurrences of the name

Apart from the village of Fishburn in Durham, there is also the village of Fishbourne in West Sussex, home of the large Fishbourne Roman Palace built in the 1st century AD.

Undoubtedly the modern day most famous occurrence of the surname belongs to Laurence John Fishburne III (born July 30, 1961), an American film and stage actor, playwright, director, and producer. He is perhaps best known for his roles as Morpheus in the Matrix science fiction film trilogy.