Origin of Surname
The original Ferbrache must have been a strong man because the name, according to George Balleine means "arm of iron", as does another Jersey surname, now extinct, Bras-de-Fer. There are also suggestions that 'fer' is derived from 'fier', meaning 'proud', which may well fit better with earlier spellings, although it is difficult to understand what ‘proud-armed’ might mean.
But it is not a very old Jersey name, and not a name which is commonly found in Normandy, so there must be some doubts about its origin. Neither the registers of France, nor the Dictionnaire de noms de famille de France, list the surname in any of the known spellings. There is a theory that it is a development of the more popular surname 'Firebrace, Fairbrass and Farbrace'. This is probably proved by the first known recording of those names when John Fierebrache of Oxford, appears in the Pipe Rolls for that city in the year 1190.
The name does not appear in Jersey until the first half of the 19th century. Whether there is any family connection with the much earlier Bras-de-Fer, which had the elements of the name reversed, is open to question. The spellings Fiere-brache and Firebrache are found in Jersey in the 14th century.
The heads of Jersey families in the late 19th century appear to have come to the island from Southampton and Guernsey.
The five-generation tree we have been sent (see below) starts with Peter, born in Guernsey in 1781, but who does not seem to fit into any of the Ferbrache trees going back much earlier in Guernsey. We also have reservations about the accuracy of the early generations of this tree. There appear to have been two or more Ferbraches living in Guernsey at the same time with the same forenames.
- Fiere-brache 1331
- Firebrache 1309
- Ferbrache baptisms in Jersey
- Ferbrache marriages in Jersey (groom)
- Ferbrache marriages in Jersey (bride)
- Ferbrache burials in Jersey
Great War service
- Frank Henry Ferbrache (1880- ) (Southampton) son of Lydia, Private, RJGB
These wills created by members of the Ferbrache family are now held by Jersey Archive. By visiting the archive site and using the names, dates and reference numbers shown here, it is possible to view a copy of each will. You will have to subscribe to the Archive's online service to do this. To find out more about this collection, which covers the period from 1663 to 1980, and how to search for your family's wills there, visit our Jersey wills page
- Alfred Ferbrache, 24, Kensington Place, St Helier - 15 December 1939, D/Y/A/105
- Emma Ferbrache of St Luke's Cottage, St Saviour - 21 July 1888, D/Y/A/47
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