The fun of having English ancestors is that English surnames can give you a good lead on the origin of a particular branch of the family. Names like "Cook" are not particularly helpful, but place names can be. My maternal lineage is the one I can trace back the furthest with reliability.
My mother's mother's maiden name was "Hawxhurst, and they came from Long Island." Hawxhurst is not a particularly common name in North America. I knew that the Hawxhursts had come from England.
I started with the assumption that the “Hawxhurst” surname came from the original place a Hawxhurst ancestor lived. English surnames often grew from their location. I found out that surname use in England grew between 1400s-1600s as populations grew and social customs changed.
I searched online for a location in England which sounded similar to Hauxhurst. And I found one! There is a village in Kent, in south east England by the name of “Hawkhurst”--a likely candidate to me.
How Old is the Village of Hawkhurst?
I’m hazarding a guess that at some point some of my Hauxhurst ancestors were living in “Congehurst” or Hawkhurst, England in the 800s AD. I wondered how old the village was and the village website said it was a Saxon manor which the Danes burned in 893 AD. That is a long time ago. Ask yourself, when did England actually become England? Wikipedia claims it was 927 AD.
>>Hawkhurst is a village in the borough of Tunbridge Wells, Kent. The oldest known settlement was the Saxon manor of Congehurst, which was burnt by the Danes in 893 AD. There is still a lane of this name to the east of the village.
The name Hawkhurst is derived from Old English heafoc hyrst, meaning a wooded hill frequented by hawks – 'Hawk Wood'. And hurst (hyrst) in a place name refers to a wood or wooded area.
The 11th-century Domesday Monachorum refers to the village as Hawkashyrst, belonging to Battle Abbey.
In 1254, the name was recorded as Hauekehurst; in 1278, it is often shown as Haukhurst… By 1610, it had changed to Hawkherst, which then evolved into the current spelling. <<
Next I checked on locations: the village Hawkhurst is in SE England in Kent, but my Hawxhurst family came from Shropshire [alternatively Salop (abbreviated, in print only, Shrops)].
Shropshire is its own county, located in West Midlands near Wales. As mentioned earlier the village called "Hawkhurst" is in Kent, which is not near Shropshire.
I’ll hazard a guess (and in genealogy everything is temporary until DNA proves it’s not) and say that my ancestor, William Hawxhurst, (my earliest known ancestor in Shropshire) had moved to Shropshire from Hawkhurst in Kent (but if not him, then one of his predecessors).
Having thus moved, he would have provided the Shropshire locals a reason to call him “William of Hawkhurst,” which would eventually be shortened to a surname: “William Hawkshurst” (or spelled "Hawxhurst)".
Spelling Doesn’t Count: Genealogists tend to spend more time focusing on the phonetic variations than on the exact spelling of surnames through time.
The name Hawxhurst has been spelled: "Hawkshurst" (mostly in 19th cent and earlier docs) "Hawxhurst" and "Hauxhurst," almost interchangeably. In earlier days, there likely were more variations.
GENERATIONS of SHROPSHIRE HAWXHURSTS: 1 William Hawxhurst, 2 Christopher Hawxhurst, 3 Sampson Hawxhurst and 4 Christopher of England & the American Hauxhursts
Generation 1 Presumably, William Hawxhurst (of Shropshire) or his family had come from Hawkhurst in Kent. William had at least one son named Christopher Hawxhurst.
Gen 2 His son Christopher Hawxhurst, Curate of St. Chad’s
Christopher Hawxhurst was born about 1521 in Shrewsbury, Shropshire [Salop] England. He died in August 1576 also Shrewsbury, Shropshire [Salop], England.
A record states: “Christopher Hawxsworth [yet another spelling] married October 15, 1550, Elizabeth. They had William, baptized October 15, 1551.”
And Christopher had another son (Rev) Sampson, my direct ancestor.
Christopher Hawxhurst was the Vicar or “Curate” of St. Chad, Shrewsbury, Shropshire having been appointed to position on the accession of Queen Elizabeth. He succeeded John Marshall (who was ejected on the accession of Queen Elizabeth in 1558 for refusing burial in his church to Mr. Burton of Longnor).
With Elizabeth's ascent to the throne, it was an eventful time.
It suggests that Christopher and/or his father or wife was politically connected to the new Queen for a brief history of Elizabeth's changes see more at end of post.*
St. Chads was a 'Curacy' though it has been
styled a Vicarage.
Samson had at least three children with his wife Alice.
He immigrated with Robert Coles, and his sister, Mary who had married Coles, arriving in New England before 1643 (Salem and Ipswich).
~William B c. 1657: Ch: Sarah and William.
~Mary B c. 1660: M 17 Nov 1684, George Townsend
~Jane B c. 1663; M Jarvis Mudge, Ch: Jarvis, Elizabeth, Mary, Jane, and Charity.
~Sarah B c. 1667; M William Crooker, Ch: Robert, William, Samson, Sarah, Benjamin, and Abigail.
~ Samson Hawxhurst (Gen 6)
Samson married Hannah Townsend on 18 January 1698 (Born abt 1680; D. abt 1757).
Samson's will dated 23 October 1732, and probated at New York 21 November 1732
Samson and Hannah had Joseph Hawxhurst.
Gen 8 William Hauxhurst (M Violetta Allen)
Gen 9 Ephraim C Hauxhurst (M Charity Titus)
Gen 10 William E Hauxhurst (M Marianna Hicks)
Gen 11 Bertha C Hauxhurst (M Chester J Tyson)- my great grandmother
* For more on religious events at the time which may have some bearing on Christopher Hawxhurst having been installed as a curate of St. Chad's.
Warwickshire County Record Office; Warwick, England; Warwickshire Anglican Registers; Roll: Engl/2/1024; Document Reference: DRO 73;Registers. Warwick, England: Warwickshire County Record Office.)
The New York Genealogical and Biographical Record By Richard Henry Greene, Henry Reed Stiles, Melatiah Everett Dwight, George Austin Morrison.
History of Shrewsbury, Shropshire (Salop), by Owen & Blakeway, Vol. II., p. 212;
Incumbents of St. Chads and History of Shrewsbury, H. Owen, p. 153, Ministers of St. Chads.
Village of Hawkhurst in Kent: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hawkhurst
Oxford University Alumni, 1500-1886 (Ancestry.com)
England & Wales, Calendar of the Principal Ecclesiastical Dignitaries, 314-1853 (Ancestry.com)
Warwickshire, England, Church of England Baptisms, Marriages, and Burials, 1535-1812 (Ancestry.com)
Global, Find A Grave Index for Burials at Sea and other Select Burial Locations, 1300s-Current (Ancestry.com)
Passenger and Immigration Lists Index, 1500s-1900s (Ancestry. com)