370,503 SHAW members around the world
Stay informed about SHAW Family online & offline events!
See our recent family gatherings
SHAW Family History
This interesting name is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and may be either a topographical or a locational surname. As a topographical name, Shaw was used for someone who lived by a copse, wood, or thicket, derived from the Old English pre 7th Century "sceaga", copse, small wood. As a locational surname, Shaw is derived from any one of the numerous small places names Shaw, from the Old English "sceaga", such as those in Berkshire, Lancashire, and Wiltshire. Shaw in Berkshire is recorded as "Essages" in the Domesday Book of 1086, and in Lancashire as "Shaghe" in 1555, and a place in Wiltshire as "schaga" in the 1167 Pipe Rolls of the county...
Shaw (Variants: Shawe, Shall, Shay, Shave, Shaves, Shafe, Shea, Show)
An English and Scottish locative name from Middle English s(c)hawe , s(c)haghe, s(c)hawe meaning ‘small wood, grove, thicket’ deriving from Old English sceaga . The surname may be topographic, for someone who lived in or by a small wood, or toponymic, for someone from any of the many places so named.
Scottish and Irish adopted as an English form of any of various Gaelic surnames derived from the personal name Sitheach meaning ‘wolf’. Also, Scotch meaning for a law, a plain surrounded by trees, or an open space between woods.
In Irish, it is adopted for Ó Síthigh ‘descendant of Sítheach ’, a personal name based on sítheach ‘peaceful’.
An Americanised form of some like-sounding Ashkenazic Jewish surname. A Chinese variant of Shao.
In 1891, the general population was widespread across England and Wales with 49,166 occurrences and a further 5,665 in Scotland. Although most frequent in Lancashire in 1881, there were 1,779 occurrences recorded further southeast in Nottinghamshire in the same year.
In 1881, the most common Shaw occupation in the UK was Coal Miner. Coal Miner, Farmer and Labourer were the top 3 reported jobs worked by Shaw. A less common occupation was Agricultural Labourer.
William Shaw, an English convict, was transported aboard the "Asia" on 3 September 1820, settling in New South Wales, Australia.
Sir Roy Shaw (1918 – 2012), British educationalist and public servant, Secretary-General of the Arts Council of Great Britain from 1975 to 1983.
Sandie Shaw was one of the most successful English female singers of the 1960s and 1970s. She was best known for her song “Puppet on a String”, which was performed at Eurovision Song Contest in 1967 and became the winner, a first victory for United Kingdom in the competition.
1881, 1891 Census
1881 Census in Nottinghamshire
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
Who have we missed?
Tell us about any famous SHAW (or surname variant) you think we should add here. We will get our genealogists to check them out and add them to the list. Thanks!
Join the conversation with the SHAW tribe
- Find your SHAW ancestor
- Tell us about your SHAW Family
- Tell us about your SHAW ancestors
- Ask a question about the SHAW history
- Leave a message for SHAW family members
Invite more SHAW family members!
Write an email address and click 'Invite' to share this page with more members of the SHAW tribe.
Family Coat of Arms Generator
Why not see what your family crest could look like based on your own family characteristics?Create Crest