The genealogy of descendants of Aaron French, with few exceptions, has been compiled from unpublished records, public and private, from epitaphs and traditions. During the Revolutionary war, Aaron lived in a part of New Jersey which suffered much at the hands of the British. Many church, town and other records were then lost which, if preserved, would have been useful in the preparation of this work.
THE French family originated in France during the tenth century. The name is not taken from the French people but, as originally written (Frene, or De la Frene), signifies "ash tree." Sir Maximilian de French was a direct descendent of Harlovan, son of Rollo, Duke of Normandy, and his wife, Gisella, daughter of Charles the Simple, King of France; he had a son, Sir Theophilus French (Freyne), who accompanied William, the Conqueror, to England, and was present at battle of Hastings, October 14, 1066. Shortly after the Norman conquest, others of this family appeared in England where, among the public records of the succeeding five hundred years, we find the name with many variations in spelling, including the following, to-wit: ffraunceys, Fraunceys, le Frense, Frense, Fraynshe, le ffrensshe, le Freynch, le Frensch, le French, Ffrenssh, Freynche, Frenshe, Frensch, ffrench and French.
THIS small volume contains a portion of the genealogical data which the writer has collected, at odd times, during several years past. The greater portion of that which refers to the French families of New England, and a few others, has been gleaned from books ; it is published herein because the compiler believes that some will be interested in such sketches of early settlers from whom have descended so many persons of the name French who now reside in the United States.
That Mary Clark was the name of the first wife of Aaron French, is traditional, but it is so generally believed that the compiler accepts it as true; she probably died December sixteenth, 1795. Other Clarks who have intermarried with Frenches, belong to several distinct families.
New Genealogy Data