Mar 17, 2017

Nash Ancestry

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Ancestry Chart of Elizabeth Nash (abt 1565-?aft 1608)


The surname "Nash" probably originated as a place name from a grove of ash trees as in "Robert atten Ash" and the Latin "Robertus de Fraxino," since fraxinus was the Latin name for the ash tree. The name likely arose independently in different areas of England and Wales, so various families of the same name may not be related. Among the earliest known Nash families were those in North Wales who went to Ireland in 1172 with the conqueror of Ireland, Richard de Clare, known as "Strongbow" (Davies 126).
Our NASHEs appeared first in southern Pembrokeshire (Wales) in the more fertile half of the county which had been heavily settled by the Anglo-Normans and is still largely English in language. The Picton Castle papers refer to "Adam de fraxino" in Haverfordwest in 1285 and "John de Nasse" in 1317 and 1323, according to Derek Williams, but our traced ancestors appear later. They may have been connected to a Nash family known in the 15th to 18th centuries in Worcestershire, England, which had the same coat of arms. The Nash arms are given as "Sable, on a chevron three greyhounds courant Argent as many Ash slips proper Vert," i.e. A black shield with a silver chevron, three running greyhounds and three green ash branches. Surprisingly, the arms are often shown without the three ash branches (which refer to the Nash name itself), as here in this drawing made as a souvenir coaster sold in Wales.

Nash Coat of Arms

NASH Pedigree

Socially, the NASHes were a comfortable and important gentry family with its pride of ancestry and its coat of arms, and they married into similar families. Thus they joined old Welsh families with pedigrees back to both historical and legendary Welsh chieftains and princes, such as the BOWEN line of ELIZABETH NASH’s mother ELIZABETH BOWEN. Moreover, the NASH family also figured among the English who made the southern half of Pembrokeshire a "Little England beyond Wales" as Edward Laws called it in a later century. Among their relatives of English origin who had moved to Wales, the line of EVA SCOURFIELD (ELIZABETH NASH’s great-grandmother) was notable for its falsely claimed Norman ancestors relating the family to all the crowned heads of Europe, including Charlemagne (Derek Williams 17-24). Otherwise, however, the SCOURFIELDs were a rich and important family well documented in Pembrokeshire by 1439 and continuing to hold landed estates for four hundred years into the 19th century. The parish church of St Mary’s in Haverfordwest shows several marble plaques on its walls memorializing members of the BOWEN and SCOURFIELD families.

BOWEN Pedigree

Derek Williams used the genealogical information from RICHARD NASH’s court case against his brother-in-law and his wife ELIZABETH BOWEN to relate the Bowens in Haverfordwest to their ancestors in the main line of Bowens of the ancient Welsh estate of Llwch meilir, anglicized to Lochmeyler, a few miles from St David’s cathedral on the spectacular Pembrokeshire coastline. The Welsh word means "the pool of Meyler," and the former BOWEN estate is now a four-star farmhouse accommodation with 32 beds, according to the St David's Peninsula Tourist Bureau. See the website for the Lochmeyler Farm Guest House. Six generations back from ELIZABETH, her great-great-great-grandfather HENRY BOWEN (b.est.1430), a younger son in Lochmeyler, moved to Haverfordwest in east Pembrokeshire, and his descendants usually lived by commerce, not large estates. In this economic respect they paralleled our families of the LEIGHs and OAKLEYs in Carmarthenshire.

Organization of the Chart

The following pedigree is usually called an ahnentafel or ancestry list because it creates a numerical list of ancestors to reveal parental relations by simple arithmetic. In pre-computer days this was a great advantage over the figural or pictorial trees and pedigrees that required special type-setting. The ancestry table is still very convenient for uneven pedigrees with large gaps in some lines, because it merely leaves out unused numbers instead of leaving large patches of white unused space for lacking information. Also, the number system allows easy additions or corrections. The person who is the subject of the pedigree is given number 1 and his or her parents are given numbers 2 and 3, the father always first and the mother always with his number plus 1. The father's father is then given the number 4 (=2 X 2) and the father's mother is given the number 4 + 1 = 5. The same occurs with the subject's mother's parents: her father is given the number 6 (=2 X her number 3), and her mother is given the number 6 + 1 = 7. The great-grandparents are then treated the same, the father's grandfather first (8), then his grandmother (8 + 1 = 9), and the mother's grandfather (10) and her grandmother (10 + 1 = 11). The list is unlimited, and moving through the numbers is simple. For example, the subject's 2X-great-grandfather is numbered 16, so one can find his father easily as number 32, and his mother as number 33 (= 32 + 1). For foolproof orientation, our generations below are also numbered and labeled, but note that they are numbered back from ELIZABETH NASH, not from our own present time. We have used capital letters for the last names of any family member, and also capital letters for the first names of the persons whose ancestral line is given here.


  1. At one time a member of the family left Wales for America and took the Nash - I believe in the mid 1800s and that line was thought to have died out. However, I believe I am the last eldest son of that line. Only DNA testing can be make sure of this. L.J. Nash. My family recognises the Black coat of arms and this makes one think. We are the last.

  2. It was said our original ancestors were from Wales and around 600 AD was the first of my ancestors taking the name of Nash. But that was not his family name. Not sure of it actually. Only that my family came from Wales in the mid 1800s,.. Would love to know what our actual family name was originally. According to this website it's Bowen or Scourfield but I believe it to be something else still. Trying to find my heritage and this site, among others, doesn't quite help.