The Cash Family Name Originated in Both Scotland and England

by on February 17th, 2011
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The surname “Cash” has at least two origins, one Scottish and the other English. The names developed separately and have different meanings.

The English name Cash comes from the Old French word “caisse” meaning a chest, strongbox, or moneybox (possibly from the Latin “capsa”, meaning box or container). The name was given to artisans who built the chests used to store valuables such as coins. It is likely that the same craftsmen that built money chests would have also built larger chests for clothing and built furniture since the skills and tools needed are similar.

The evolution of the family name Cash is related to the origin of the word “cash” meaning money. The person who was trusted with keeping the strongbox or “caisse” became known as a cashier. By extension, the gold, silver, or copper coins that he collected or dispensed from the box eventually became know as cash.

When the family name first appeared is unknown, though it would have been after the Norman Conquest of England in 1066. Few family names date before that time.

The French speaking Normans probably introduced the word “caisse” to England, and most chests would have been produced for noble estate owners most of whom spoke French. The official language of the royal court of England was French from 1066 to 1362 but French was still widely spoken in England even after that date.

The place in England where the Cash family originated is also unknown. According to the website , Cash originated in Buckinghamshire in central England. However, the website gives no evidence of this.

The 1891 census of England and Wales, shows a concentration of people named Cash in northern England. Nearly one third of all English families named Cash were living in the counties of Lancaster or the neighboring county of Cheshire. Other nearby counties also showed considerable numbers of the surname as well. About 13 percent of all the people name Cash were living in London at the time. Very few were living in the east, south, or west of England.

The English names Case and Cass are variations of the surname Cash and have the same origins. The family name Case shows up most markedly in Lancaster as well as in the West Country of England in the 1891 census.

The surname Cass is concentrated in north England. More than one third of families with that name were living in Yorkshire in the 1891 census. Yorkshire is just east of Lancaster.

The Scottish Cash Family Is not Related to the English. 

More is known about the Cash family that originated in Scotland, perhaps because of its relationship to country music singer Johnny Cash.

King Malcolm IV of Scotland in 1160 granted a dowry of land for his niece, Ada, to her husband Duncan, the sixth earl of Fife. The estate was located at Strathmilgo, Fife County and called Cashel, the Scottish Gaelic word for castle.

A grandson about 1225 took the surname Casche. By the 1500’s the family name was known as Cash.

About 1430, Scottish King James IV dispersed the Cash Clan from Strathmilgo, though a few family members remained. Some Cash families went to the Highlands of northern Scotland and took the name MacCash or MacCaishe under the Clan McDonald. Some may have fled to Germany and others to Ireland. 

One branch of the Cash family that remained in the ancestral home gave birth to William Cash about 1653. 

Legal records from Westmoreland County in the colony of Virginia shows that William Cash served as a grand juror in 1694 and lived there until his death 1708. In genealogical circles William is referred to as “the immigrant” Cash and is the ancestor of many of the Cash families of the southern United States.

William Cash is the ninth generation grandfather of Country music star Johnny Cash. 

Considering what we know of the ancestry of the Cash family of Fancy Farm. Kentucky, the name is probably English since the first known member of the family was Thomas Cash of London, England. Thomas Cash married Martha Johnson in 1652 in the London borough of Hackney. Thomas was a carpenter.

There is some possibility that a Scottish man named Cash could have migrated from Fife County to London. In 1603, James Stuart, King James VI of Scotland, also assumed the throne of England as James I. Perhaps some members of the Scottish Cash family followed him.

This seems unlikely, however, since the English had a hostile attitude against Scotsmen. In addition, church burial and marriage records of the late 1660s show a number of Cash families were living in London. It seems likely they had been living in London for a number of generations.

The most reasonable conclusion is that this particular Cash family is English in origin and has no relationship to the Scottish family that, coincidentally, has the same name.

Sources: ,

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