- This unusual and interesting name has its origins in the Old French word 'fo(u)rbisseor' from 'fourbir' to burnish, furbish and is an occupational surname for someone who worked as a polisher of metal. In particular this would apply to someone employed by an armourer to put the finishing touches to his work, to 'furbish' the armour by rubbing it until it was bright. The more common variant of the name in the modern idiom is 'Frobisher', where the first element of the original 'fo(u)rbisseor' has been transposed. It has also been recorded as 'Furbearer' in 1586. The 'Smiths, Forbers and Pewterers' went together in the Chester medieval mystery play of 1339. One John Furber married Anne Mihill at St. George's, Hanover Square, London 1791. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Elfwin Furbor. which was dated 1180, Records of Oseney Abbey, Oxfordshire. during the reign of King Henry II 'The Builder of Churches' 1154-1189. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
Surnames reference. 2013.