In order to understand when the variant forms of the Ferberd name may have appeared (and disappeared) a timeline has been created of the known people, based on Find My Past searches conducted in September 2017 by Paul, and searches of the Berkshire records by Sheila.

The Timeline Explained

In many cases, only a single life event was discovered for a person, usually a birth or death. To give the timeline a more realistic look we have assumed a lifespan of 70 years for these people (80 years for people living into the 20th Century.)

  • Indeterminate birth or death dates are indicated by fuzzy bar ends.
  • Solid ends indicate that both birth and death dates are known.
  • Dark Blue = various forms of Ferberd as a Last Name.
  • Dark Blue = various forms of Ferberd as a FirstName.
  • Brown = various forms of Fairbeard as a Last Name.
  • Orange = various forms of Fairbeard as a Last Name.
  • Everyone above the timeline scale is a member of our line of Barretts.
  • All people below the timeline scale are (based on the evidence so far) unrelated to our line

First appearance

Sheila found an entry in Domesday that is a hypothetical origin – Hereberd which, allowing for the vagaries of script interpretation is a possibility.  Even in the 18th and 19th centuries, Ferberd is incorrectly transcribed as Herbert.  However, this is pure speculation – intriguing, but still speculation, so I have omitted it from the Timeline for now.

The Guild of One-Name Studies say that the forename is most likely derived from a last name, a common practice.  Based on the timeline above this is a distinct possibility.  The summary timeline below emphasises the point.

There are two main variants of the name, Ferberd and Fairbeard, and we can see that based on the mainly Berkshire records prior to 1700, it is actually Ferberd that appears first, so if Ferberd is derived from Fairbeard it happened much earlier than the evidence we have been able to find.  Fairbeard appears about 60 years later.

The last name Fairbeard may have made a later appearance than Ferberd, but it exists to this day whereas Ferberd fell into disuse after 300 years in 1870.

The transition of the names from last- to fore-names seems to have occurred at almost exactly the same time in Berkshire in 1701 (Fairbeard) and 1702 (Ferberd)


Whilst the timeline is a useful way to visualise the emergence and disappearance of different forms of the name, it doesn’t offer any conclusive insights into the name’s origin. The Berkshire records have pushed the timeline back from 1701 to possibly 1515 but we need more digitized records to discover more.

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Sheila

    Oh! Precedent wherefore art thou hiding!!!!???

  2. Paul Barrett


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