A Mishmash of Mesh/Mish/Mashborne

The Great Vowel Shift

Jacob Grimm

Jacob Grimm

In the historical English records the spelling of the Mashburn surname occurs in countless ways.

Why? How hard can it be to spell M-A-S-H-B-U-R-N? After all, as my father responded when asked to spell his name, “Just mash the potatoes and burn the beans.”

The reason for the difficulty is vowel shifting which was first explained by Jacob Grimm who is famous for being one of the brothers who collected fairytales.

Grimm was actually a professional linguist who formulated Grimm’s Law to describe how the vowels and consonants of a language change over time. According to Grimm, the sounds shift in a systematic and coherent manner over time and are not randomly transformed (as was previously believed).

Although Grimm’s Law is concerned with the development of the proto-Germanic language from the earlier Indo-European language, all languages have undertaken a similar metamorphosis at some point.

For the English language this transformational process is known as the Great Vowel Shift.

The Great Vowel Shift was a major change in the pronunciation of the English language that took place in England between 1350 and 1700. Through the Great Vowel Shift, all Middle English long vowels changed their pronunciation. Because English spelling was becoming standardized in the 15th and 16th centuries, the Great Vowel Shift is responsible for many of the peculiarities of English spelling. (The Great Vowel Shift, Wikipedia).

Although there are seven stages of the Great Vowel shift, we will only address the “ei” sound gradually becoming the “a” sound around the 16th century Thus the ME mersch became the modern English marsh and mash. (See the video, History of English – The Great Vowel Shift for an excellent, in-depth lecture.)

The co-existence of the older pronunciation with the newer one might explain why so many rhyming compounds (called reduplicatives) were first used during this time period. The Oxford English Dictionary give the following years for the first use of the following reduplicatives –  notice that the high vowel (the older form) comes first:

1450 – mishmash – interestingly, this is the earliest recorded “reduplicative.”
1470 – riffraff
1538 – flimflam
1577 – fiddlefaddle
1580 – whimwham
1610 – dillydally
1682 – knickknack
1693 – wishywashy
1712 – zigzag

Of course, the Great Vowel Shift in the development of surnames may only be considered in the broadest and most general of terms. Due to local dialects, educational levels of recording clerks, the commonality of a surname in a given geographical area, and other factors, the spelling of a surname is but weak evidence for the actual lineage of a specific individual (see Spelling Doesn’t Count at Genealogy.Com).

Even so, the process of the Great Vowel shift should be apparent over a large period of time. One would expect to see the earlier MASHBURN surnames spelled with an “e” or “i” with the “a” spelling occurring later. This is exactly what we see in the historical record.

Early English Records of Mashborne and Variants 

Source: Find Your Past

Last name First name Born Died Event Record set Location
Mycheborne Thomas 1562 England Marriages 1538-1973
Micheborn Edward 1576 England Births & Baptisms 1538-1975
Mycheborne Jone 1577 England Marriages 1538-1973
Michaborn Nicholas 1579 England Births & Baptisms 1538-1975
Michaborne An 1584 England Marriages 1538-1973
Michiborne John 1584 England Marriages 1538-1973
Mychibourne John 1584 England Marriages 1538-1973
Michaborne Arther 1590 England Births & Baptisms 1538-1975
Micheborne Thomas 1598 England Births & Baptisms 1538-1975
Michborn Sara 1600 England Births & Baptisms 1538-1975
Michborn Elzabeth 1604 England Births & Baptisms 1538-1975
Michborne Joan 1608 Surrey Marriages Effingham, Surrey, England
Michbourn Joan 1608 England, Boyd’s marriage indexes, 1538-1850 Surrey, England
Micheborne William 1610 1610 Sussex Burials Sussex, England
Michborne Marye 1611 England Marriages 1538-1973
Micheborne Charles 1611 England Births & Baptisms 1538-1975
MASHBURNE Agnes 1611 Northamptonshire Burials Northamptonshire, England
MASHBURNE Elizabeth 1611 Northamptonshire Burials Northamptonshire, England
Michiborne William 1612 England Marriages 1538-1973
Micheborn Margret 1613 England Births & Baptisms 1538-1975
Meshburne Thomas 1615 England Marriages 1538-1973
Meshburne Thoma 1615 Yorkshire, bishop’s transcripts of marriages South Cave, Yorkshire (East Riding), England
Meshburne Thomas 1615 Yorkshire Marriages South Cave, Yorkshire (East Riding), England
Micheborne Ann 1617 England Births & Baptisms 1538-1975
Mychibburne Jane 1619 England Births & Baptisms 1538-1975
Michborne John 1621 England Births & Baptisms 1538-1975
Michborne Elizabeth 1625 England Births & Baptisms 1538-1975
Meshborne 1626 Northamptonshire Burials Northamptonshire, England
Michbourne Richard 1628 1628 Sussex Burials Sussex, England
Michbourne Anne 1631 1631 Sussex Burials Sussex, England
Michborne Agnes 1633 England Marriages 1538-1973
Michborne Thos 1633 England Marriages 1538-1973
Michburne Margarett 1634 England Births & Baptisms 1538-1975
Michburn Margarett 1634 England Births & Baptisms 1538-1975
Michborne John 1635 England Births & Baptisms 1538-1975
Michborne Elizabeth 1636 England Births & Baptisms 1538-1975
Michborne Ann 1639 England Births & Baptisms 1538-1975
MIichburne Ann 1639 1639 National Burial Index for England & Wales Sandy, Bedfordshire, England
Meshburne Thomas (of Ann, Ellen, Katherine, Mary, John and Robert) 1639 York Peculiars Probate Index, 1383-1883 Staddlethorpe, Parish of Blacktoft, Yorkshire, England
Michborne William 1639 1639 Sussex Burials Sussex, England
Michborn Susan 1639 1639 Sussex Burials Sussex, England
Michborne Agnes 1640 England Births & Baptisms 1538-1975
Michburne Eliz 1640 1640 Westminster Baptisms St Margaret, Westminster, Middlesex, England
Micheburne Elizabeth 1641 England Births & Baptisms 1538-1975
Michborne Edward 1641 1641 National Burial Index for England & Wales Sandy, Bedfordshire, England
Michburne Elizabeth 0 1641 Westminster Burials St Margaret, Westminster, Middlesex, England
Michborne Alice 1642 England Births & Baptisms 1538-1975
Micheborne. Jeane 1643 England Marriages 1538-1973
Michborne Ann 1643 1643 National Burial Index for England & Wales Sandy, Bedfordshire, England
Michborne Agnes 1645 England Births & Baptisms 1538-1975
Michborne Mary 1647 England Births & Baptisms 1538-1975
MASHBURNE Frances 1651 England Births & Baptisms 1538-1975
Michborne Susan 1652 England Births & Baptisms 1538-1975
Michborne Agnes 1652 1652 National Burial Index for England & Wales Sandy, Bedfordshire, England
MASHBORNE Elizabeth 1653 England Marriages 1538-1973
MASHBURNE ANN 1653 1653 Westminster Baptisms St Clement Danes, Middlesex, England
MASHBURNE Joanna 1654 1654 England Births & Baptisms 1538-1975
MASHBURNE Jane 1656 1656 England Births & Baptisms 1538-1975
Michborne Mary 1656 1656 Westminster Baptisms St Margaret, Westminster, Middlesex, England
Michborne Moses 1657 England Marriages 1538-1973
Michborn Moses 1657 England, Boyd’s marriage indexes, 1538-1850 London, England
Michborne Thomas 1659 1659 National Burial Index for England & Wales Sandy, Bedfordshire, England
Michebourne Mary 1661 1661 Sussex Burials Sussex, England
Michborne Edw 1662 England Marriages 1538-1973
Michborne Alice 1662 1662 National Burial Index for England & Wales Sandy, Bedfordshire, England
Michborne Edward 1663 England Births & Baptisms 1538-1975
Michborne Thomas 1663 England Births & Baptisms 1538-1975
Michebourne John 1663 England Marriages 1538-1973
Michebourne Mary 1664 England Births & Baptisms 1538-1975
Michbourne Elizabeth 1664 1664 National Burial Index for England & Wales Blunham, Bedfordshire, England
Michborne Mary 1665 England Marriages 1538-1973
Michborne Edward 1665 1665 National Burial Index for England & Wales Sandy, Bedfordshire, England
Michborne Ann 1666 England Births & Baptisms 1538-1975
MASHBORNE Edward 1666 Northamptonshire and Rutland Probate Index Northamptonshire, England
MASHBARNE Edward 1666 Northamptonshire Burials Northamptonshire, England
Michebourne John 1666 1666 Sussex Burials Sussex, England
Michborne Alice 1667 England Marriages 1538-1973
Micheburn Elisabetha 1667 1667 England Births & Baptisms 1538-1975
Michborn Margaret 1667 England, Boyd’s marriage indexes, 1538-1850 London, England
Michborn Margaret 1667 West Middlesex Marriage Index Middlesex, England
MASHBORNE Edward 1667 Northamptonshire and Rutland Probate Index Northamptonshire, England
MASHBURNE Edward 1667 Northamptonshire Burials Northamptonshire, England
Michborne 1668 1668 National Burial Index for England & Wales Sandy, Bedfordshire, England
Michborne Mary 1669 England Births & Baptisms 1538-1975
Micheborne Margaret 1670 England Marriages 1538-1973
Mechborne Sarah 1673 England Marriages 1538-1973
Michborne John 1674 England Births & Baptisms 1538-1975
Michborne John 1674 1674 National Burial Index for England & Wales Sandy, Bedfordshire, England
Michborne John 1675 England Births & Baptisms 1538-1975
Michborne Susan 1675 England Marriages 1538-1973
Michborne John 1675 1675 National Burial Index for England & Wales Sandy, Bedfordshire, England
Meshburne Ann 1677 England Marriages 1538-1973
Meshburn Ann 1677 England, Boyd’s marriage indexes, 1538-1850 Yorkshire, England
Michborne John 1679 1679 National Burial Index for England & Wales Sandy, Bedfordshire, England
Micheborne Tho 1679 1679 Sussex Burials Sussex, England
Micheborne Mary Mrs 1680 England Marriages 1538-1973
MASHBURNE Joan 1680 Yorkshire Burials South Cave, Yorkshire (East Riding), England
Micheborne Ann 1681 England Deaths & Burials 1538-1991 Horsted-Keynes, Sussex, England
Micheburne Edward 1681 Surrey Marriages Reigate, Surrey, England
MAKEBOURNE Isabell 1684 London, Docklands and East End marriages, 1558-1859
MASHBURNE Jone 1686 England Marriages 1538-1973
MASHBURNE Jane 1686 Yorkshire Marriages York, St Martin Coney Street, Yorkshire (Ainsty & City of York), England
MASHBURNE Jone 1686 Yorkshire Marriages York, St Martin Coney Street, Yorkshire (Ainsty & City of York), England
MASHBURNE Jone 1686 Yorkshire, bishop’s transcripts of marriages York, St Martin Coney Street, Yorkshire (Ainsty & City of York), England
Micheborn John 1687 England Births & Baptisms 1538-1975
MASHBORNE John 1687 Northamptonshire Burials Northamptonshire, England
MASHBORNE Mathew 1690 Northamptonshire Burials Northamptonshire, England
Michborn Richard 1692 1692 Boyd’s London Burials London, England
Mitchburn Or Michborne Ann 1693 England Births & Baptisms 1538-1975
Michburn Mary 1695 England Marriages 1538-1973
Michburn Mary 1695 England, Boyd’s marriage indexes, 1538-1850 London, England
MASHBORNE James 1703 England Marriages 1538-1973
MASHBORNE James 1703 Surrey Marriages Send, Surrey, England
MASHBORNE 1704 Vicar General Marriage Licences
MASHBORNE Anne 1704 England Births & Baptisms 1538-1975
MASHBORNE Christian 1704 England Marriages 1538-1973
MASHBORNE James 1704 England Marriages 1538-1973
MASHBORNE Philip 1704 England Births & Baptisms 1538-1975
Mushbourne 1704 Vicar General Marriage Licences
Micheborn Thomas 1704 England Marriages 1538-1973
Micheborn Thomazine 1704 England Births & Baptisms 1538-1975
Michebourn Thomas 1704 England Deaths & Burials 1538-1991 Lower Halstow, Kent, England
MACHBURNY James 1704 1704 Shropshire burials Shrewsbury, St Chad’s, Shropshire, England
MASHBOURNE 1705 Vicar General Marriage Licences
MASHBORNE Bridget 1705 1705 Westminster Baptisms St Clement Danes, Middlesex, England
Michborn Margaret 1705 1705 Sussex Burials Sussex, England
MASHBORNE Elizabeth 1706 England Births & Baptisms 1538-1975
MASHBORNE Matthew 1706 Faculty Office Marriage Licences
Michebourn Arthur 1706 England Births & Baptisms 1538-1975
MASHBORNE Elizabeth 1708 England Deaths & Burials 1538-1991 Pembury, Kent, England
Michborne Tho 1709 1709 Sussex Burials Sussex, England
MASHBORNE Samuel 1710 Faculty Office Marriage Licences
MASHBORNE James 1711 Yorkshire Burials York, St John Micklegate, Yorkshire (Ainsty & City of York), England
MASHBOURNE James 1712 Westminster Marriages St Mary-Le-Strand, Middlesex, England
MASHBORNE 1713 Vicar General Marriage Licences
MASHBORNE Hester 1713 England Births & Baptisms 1538-1975
MASHBORNE Hester 1713 1713 England Births & Baptisms 1538-1975
MASHBORNE James 1713 Westminster Marriages St Mary Le Strand, Middlesex, England
MASHBORNE Rebecka 1714 England Births & Baptisms 1538-1975
MASHBORNE James 1716 1716 England Births & Baptisms 1538-1975
MASHBORNE Jane 1716 England Births & Baptisms 1538-1975
MASHBORNE Jane 1715 1716 England Births & Baptisms 1538-1975
MASHBORNE 1717 Vicar General Marriage Licences
MASHBORNE Mathew 1717 England Marriages 1538-1973
Michborn Mary 1718 England Marriages 1538-1973
Michbourne Susanna 1720 1720 Sussex Burials Sussex, England
MASHBURNE Bridget 1721 England Marriages 1538-1973
MACHBURNY Robt. 1725 England Births & Baptisms 1538-1975
Michbourn Mary 1725 England Births & Baptisms 1538-1975
Mitchborn Or Michbourn Jn 1725 England Marriages 1538-1973
MACHBURNEY Eline 1726 1726 Denbigh Baptisms Wrexham, Denbighshire, Wales
MACHBURNEY Anne 1728 1728 Denbigh Burials Wrexham, Denbighshire, Wales
MASHBORNE Edw’d 1730 Faculty Office Marriage Licences
MASHBORNE Edward 1730 England Marriages 1538-1973
Michbourne Edward 1730 1730 National Burial Index for England & Wales Blunham, Bedfordshire, England
MASHBORNE Mathew 1730 Northamptonshire Burials Northamptonshire, England
MASHBORNE Edward 1732 England Marriages 1538-1973
MASHBOURNE Daniel 1732 Northamptonshire Burials Northamptonshire, England
Michborn Elizabeth 1732 1732 Sussex Burials Sussex, England
Michborn John 1732 1732 Sussex Burials Sussex, England
MASHBOURNE Daniel 1733 Northamptonshire and Rutland Probate Index Northamptonshire, England
MACHBURNEY Sophia 1733 Shropshire baptisms Shrewsbury, St Mary’s, Shropshire, England
MASHBOURNE Elizabeth 1734 Northamptonshire Burials Northamptonshire, England
Mushburne Hannah 1735 England Births & Baptisms 1538-1975
MASHBORNE Judith 1735 1735 National Burial Index for England & Wales East Barming, Kent, England
MASHBORNE Judith 1735 Kent Burials Kent, England
Michborn Mary 1735 1735 Sussex Burials Sussex, England
Michborn Thomas 1738 1738 Sussex Burials Sussex, England
MASHBORNE James 1739 1739 National Burial Index for England & Wales East Barming, Kent, England
MASHBORNE Rev. James 1739 Kent Burials Kent, England
MASHBORNE Hester 1741 Faculty Office Marriage Licences
MASHBORNE Hester 1741 England Marriages 1538-1973
MASHBORNE ames 1741 Faculty Office Marriage Licences
MASHBORNE Mary 1743 England Births & Baptisms 1538-1975
MASHBORNE ary 1743 1743 Westminster Baptisms St Clement Danes, Middlesex, England
MASHBORNE James 1745 England Births & Baptisms 1538-1975
MASHBORNE Elisabeth 1745 England Births & Baptisms 1538-1975
Michbourn or Mitchbourn Mary 1748 Cambridgeshire Marriages
Michbourn Mary 1748 England, Boyd’s marriage indexes, 1538-1850 Cambridgeshire, England
Michbourn or Mitchbourn Mary 1748 Cambridgeshire Marriages Cambridgeshire, England
MASHBORNE 1751 Vicar General Marriage Licences
Michbourn Thomas 1751 Cambridgeshire Baptisms
Michburn Thomas 1751 1751 1751 Cambridgeshire Burials
Michbourn Thomas 1751 1751 Cambridgeshire Baptisms Cambridgeshire, England
MASHBORNE Mary 1751 England & Wales Non-conformist marriages Greenwich, Kent, England
MASHBOURNE Anne 1751 Northamptonshire Burials Northamptonshire, England
Michburn Thomas 1751 1751 1751 Cambridgeshire Burials Sawston, Cambridgeshire, England
Michburn Sarah 1753 Cambridgeshire Baptisms
Michburn Sarah 1753 1753 Cambridgeshire Baptisms Cambridgeshire, England
MASHBORNE Daniel 1758 Northamptonshire Marriages (Radison) Northamptonshire, England
MASHBOURNE Samuel 1760 Northamptonshire and Rutland Probate Index Northamptonshire, England
MASHBORNE Daniel 1763 Northamptonshire Marriages (Brackley) Northamptonshire, England
Michborn Edward 1766 England, Boyd’s marriage indexes, 1538-1850 Bedfordshire, England
MASHBORNE Sarah 1768 England Marriages 1538-1973
MASHBORNE Sarah 1768 England, Boyd’s marriage indexes, 1538-1850 London, England
Michborn Thos. 1771 England Deaths & Burials 1538-1991 Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, England
Michborn Thos 1722 1771 1771 Cambridgeshire Burials Cambridge, St Benedict, Cambridgeshire, England
Michburn Sarah 1774 England Marriages 1538-1973
Michbourn Sara 1774 England, Boyd’s marriage indexes, 1538-1850 Cambridgeshire, England
MASHBOURNE Robert 1775 Northamptonshire and Rutland Probate Index Northamptonshire, England
Missibern Ann 1777 England Births & Baptisms 1538-1975
MASHBORNE Matthew 1777 Northamptonshire and Rutland Probate Index Northamptonshire, England
MICHBORNE John 1778 1778 1778 Sussex Burials Sussex, England
MASHBORNE Daniel 1785 Northamptonshire Marriages (Brackley) Northamptonshire, England
MASHBORNE Hannah 1788 Northamptonshire Burials Northamptonshire, England
MASHBOURNE Daniel 1792 Northamptonshire Burials Northamptonshire, England
Michborne Jane 1794 England Marriages 1538-1973
MASHBORNE Daniel 1809 Northamptonshire Burials Northamptonshire, England
Micoburn Margaret 1819 England Marriages 1538-1973
Michburn Sarah Ann 1828 England Deaths & Burials 1538-1991 New Fishbourne, Sussex, England
Michbourn Emily 1829 England Births & Baptisms 1538-1975
Michbourn Ellen 1831 England Births & Baptisms 1538-1975
Michbourne Emily 1829 1834 1834 Sussex Burials Sussex, England
Michbourne lice 1789 1868 1868 England & Wales deaths 1837-2007 Westbourne, Sussex, England
Michbourn Alice 1868 England Deaths & Burials 1538-1991 Westbourne, Sussex, England
Michbourne Robert 1890 England & Wales marriages 1837-2008 Bethnal Green, London, England
MASHBORNE England & Wales published wills & probate indexes, 1300-1858
MASHBORNE Edward Northamptonshire and Rutland Probate Index Northamptonshire, England