ORIGINS OF THE FURR SURNAME

Based on the 1990 United States Census, Furr is the 3,329th most popular last name (surname) in the United States; frequency is 0.004%; percentile is 58.311.

There are many theories regarding the origin or source of the Furr surname.  Most likely, each of these theories have some amount of truth in them since the Furr surname, at least in the United States, is used by more than one, apparently unrelated, family line.  Researchers need to be careful since there are several companies offering Family Histories, Scrolls, and other documents purporting to be the only true Furr history or source.

In his book, History of the Widenhouse, Furr, Dry, Stallings, Teeter, and Tucker Families (Greensboro, North Carolina:  privately published, 1950), Rev. William Thomas Albright states the following.  "This surname has many variants, such as Farr, Far, Fare, etc.  Some authorities claim the name is an English and Welsh surname signifying a traveler:  ‘one who journeys from place to place’, taken from the word (farran) meaning to go forth). [sic]  Farr or Furr may in some cases, be derived from Efar, an ancient English personal name denoting a ‘boar’, figgratively [sic] speaking meaning a courageous or a brave person.  Furr may in some cases be associated in origin with the surname (Fair), meaning a person of a light complexion."

According to a “Halberts” [not the most reliable and trusted of sources] extract, “the surname Furr appears to be characteristic in origin, and is believed to be associated with the Germans, meaning, ‘a leader of a guide.’”

The Dictionnaire Historique & Biographique de la Suisse, published in 1926 by the Administration du Dictionnaire Historique et Biographique de la Suisse, Place Paiget, Switzerland, includes listings for several Furrer families on pages 291-293.  Unfortunately this book is written in Swiss French.  First names of Furrers mentioned in this book include Heinrich, Leonhard, Tobias, and Jakob.  The parts I have been able to translate so far indicate the following:  "Furrer.  Name of a family widespread in the Swiss allemande, particularly in the cantons of Berne, Lucerne, Unterwald, Uri, Valais, and Zurich.  This name derives from Furre, also widespread."

The Hall of Names International Inc. claims "The 'Furr' family name originated in Kent, located in England. This was documented and authenticated by our historians using the utmost reliable resources, which accompany each Family History Scroll.  The 'Furr' family traces their ancestral roots back to Anglo Saxon origin, with a more indepth account available on the Furr Family Scroll."

We do know that the Furr surname can be traced to both England and the German speaking parts of Switzerland.  We also know that in some cases it is likely the Anglicized version of the Germanic names Furrer.  Beyond that, everything is speculation.

Documented additions to this discussion of the origins of the Furr surname are welcomed.

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