The aim of this website is to accumulate as much information as possible regarding the history of the surname Frain and its variants which are, (in no particular order), Frayne, Freyne, Freney, Freen, Freeney, etc. The Latin forms of this name, found in early documents are: Fraxineto, Fraxino. This is a topographic name, from someone who lived near or beside an ash wood, ash being Fraxinus in Latin. Early forms of the name appear as Fresne, Fraisne, Fresney, Frene and later Freine, de la Fraigne and de la Freigne etc. It can also be found as a place-name in different forms, in France, Belgium, Italy, Spain, and the Czech Republic. A very early record showing a form of the name, tells of a Jarl (Earl) Frene who was slain at the battle of Ashdown (871). He was a Dane who fell to the Saxons in that battle. This would have been a first name, as surnames had not yet been in widespread use at this time. There is another early reference in the time of Edward the Confessor (1003-1066). One of his Thegns (kings attendant), Osulf son of Frane, held land in Cheddington

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But it is to France and Normandy that we look for the origin of the name, which we will deal with in the Origin section of this website. We follow the name from Normandy, through England with its many references in different areas and on to Hereford, close to the Welsh border. Here they had considerable influence and power. 

Next we trace their approximate time and place of arrival in Ireland and what influence or position they held there. We also examine why they may have been compelled to move west towards Connaught and in particular the Mayo/Roscommon area, after having settled for several generations in the south of Ireland. From here many travelled to the United States, Canada, Australia and England. Some Frains, Fraynes, Freynes etc, have completed this journey in its entirety thus far, while others stopped and remained in different locations along the way. Although geography has greatly influenced the spelling of the name and perception of family connections, all variants of the name appear to share a common origin.

In the Genetics section of this site we look at a potential way of discovering just how closely we Frains etc may be connected to one another.

 

 

 

 


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