This unusual surname is of Scottish origin, and is an Anglicized form of the Old Gaelic "Mac-Fhearghuis", son of Fergus, a male given name composed of the elements "fe(a)r", man, and "gus", force, vigour, prowess. Written as "Ver gusti" in ancient Celtic, the name signified either "manly choice" or "supreme choice" from the Celtic "fer", anly, and "Gustus", choice. Fe(a)rgus and Fearghas are the oldest known Gaelic forms of the name. In A.D. 470, one Fergus Mac Erc, Prince of Dalrida in north Antrim, crossed to the country since called Scotland, with his brother Angus, and founded the Gaelic Kingdom there. They took with them the Stone of Destiny, now in the Coronation Chair. In the process of Anglicization "MacFhearghuis" acquired many variant forms including: Fergus, Ferris, Farris, Farish, Fariss and Faries; McKeras, McKerris, McPheries and McFeris being earlier Anglicized forms. One Duncan McKeras was tenant of Kernack, Strogartnay, Scotland, in 1483, and in 1527 Andreas McFeris was one of the king's tenants in Crethnard, Strathdee, whereas in 1603, a Thomas McPheries was noted in Records of Crathinhard. The christening of Richard, son of Richard and Elinor Farish, took place at St. John's, Smith Square, London, on June 24th 1749, and November 3rd 1857, John Farish and Isabella Kerr were married in Leith, Midlothian. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of John Farish, which was dated February 2nd 1699, witness at a christening, at Drumbo, County Down, Ireland, during the reign of William 111, known as "William of Orange", 1689 - 1702. 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.

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