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The Finer Family

Origin of Name and History

From a book of English surnames:

Finer. (and other early English spellings such as le Finur, Finor, Fyner, etc.) from Old French le Fineur: a refiner of gold and silver.

" The goldsmith's profession embraced men of every degree of wealth, from the merchant of aldermanic status, to the poor craftsman"

"Apart from Goldsmith itself, the only surviving surname of the craft is Finer ( Old French; Fineur )"


Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary:

Finer, a worker in silver and gold (Prov. 25:4). In Judg. 17:4 the word (tsoreph) is rendered "founder," and in Isa. 41:7 "goldsmith.


Oxford Dictionary:

Finer 1489 ( f. Fine v.) One who or that which fines or refines, a refiner.


Finery 1607 ( F. finerie ) A hearth where cast iron is made malleable or in which steel is made from pig iron. Also the action of refining iron ( rare )

In Iron smelting, the terms fell out of use as the new technology of puddling iron and mechanical rolling, developed by Henry Cort in 1783, made the finer and the finery obsolete. Cort's biography is titled "Henry Cort, The Great Finer".

Dictionary Of Occupational Titles:


TITLE(s): Finer (clock & watch)

Attaches balance wheel and hairspring assembly to watch or clock movement, using handtools: Positions balance wheel and hairspring assembly between balance stud and balance screw of watch or clock movement assembly, using tweezers. Tightens balance screw to secure balance wheel and hairspring assembly to movement, using wrench. Inserts end of hairspring through eye (slot) of regulator and into hole of hairspring stud, and inserts hairspring wedge into hole of hairspring stud to secure end of spring to stud, using tweezers. Engages impulse pin to pallet to activate movement, using tweezers. Oils specified parts of watch or clock assembly, using oil-filled hypodermic needle.


In English parish records the variations include Fyner, Phyner and Finor.


Surname origins from other countries:

The European name with the closest sound is Feiner, found in Germany, as is Finer, and in parts of Lorraine, France, on the German border. The French name Finet, or Finez would likely become Finnett ( hard "t") in english.

From Genos 1992 (4) ( a Finnish magazine of genealogia), an article with the family tree of the minister below .


"Finer from Vihti, Finland ( 30 miles north west of Helsinki ). The first Finers were the sons of Thomas Finne. His second son was a minister in Vihti in late part of the 16oo's. The son had a university education and took the name with latin ending, Finnerus. The other brothers took the name Finér or/and Finner ."


Finer is also a German and German-Jewish name meaning " a fine or elegant person, a clever man".


Additionally, the surname is also the Anglicized version of European names eg. Feighner, Weiner etc.





Family history

A recent find shows our earliest ancestor John Finer b. ca. 1665 in Colchester was a Chair maker*

In county records from the 18th and 19th centuries the Finer's were landholders and gentlemen farmers in and around the village of Tendring, Essex. Records show the ownership of a farm, "Old Orchards"in 1798, and leaseholds on Tendring Hall (1760-1829). John (4) held the leasehold on Grove Farm until 1856. A section of Grove farm was identified as "Finer's wood" as recently as 1888.


From 1786 to beyond 1800, brothers William (4) and James Finer were members of the Worshipful Company of Upholders of the City of London. This Guild represented upholsterers ( and in modern terms, home decorators ) within the City and carried the right to vote for the Lord Mayor. William's son John b. 1807 and grandson, Thomas Owen Finer b. 1835 were admited to the company by Patrimony. In 1854 John was elected as Master, a position held by his son in 1873, 1892 and 1913.


A younger brother, Thomas (2)* became a Clock and Watchmaker in the Holborn area of London. He was followed in the craft by his only surviving son, Horatio who died childless. Thomas' daughter Louisa married into another family of clockmakers, the Widenhams of Lombard Street.


Many of William (4)'s descendants continued in this business, especially as painters and cabinet makers, in the east end of London, the Tower Hamlets and later in the United States.


James' son, John (4), returned to the Tendring area. Of John's 13 children, several were Linen Drapers. Four were shopkeepers in Clacton, Kirby Le Soken. and later Holbeck, near Leeds, Yorkshire. Henry ( b. 1837 ) was the first chairman of the Urban District Council in Clacton.



*Clockmaking and Watchmaking in Colchester by Bernard Mason pub. 1969

Finer, Thomas of London

The son of John Finer,farmer of Tendring,near Colchester. He was descended from John Finer, Chairmaker of Colchester in the last Quarter of the seventeenth century.

Thomas Finer practised as a watchmaker in London but visited Colchester to vote at the polls on six occasions between 1788 and 1820. He was in partnership with Nowland at 5, Hatton Garden from 1800 to 1805 and at 48, High Holborn 1808 to 1823



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