This discussion centers, regrettably, chauvinistically around the descendants of a group of Farrars which I will call the Ewood Hall Farrars, whose haplogroup has been identifed as R1a1a1b2*, SNP Z93+. This particular haplogroup and SNP is so rare in the British Isles, not to mention western Europe that , at this point, I feel it safe to state that all who share this DNA share a common ancestor who arrived in England at least during the Norman Conquest, if not before., but all are members of the same family who should be able to trace their DNA back to a rather recent common ancestor.
If one researches the internet, one encounters sites like houseofnames that claims that Farrow is a hypercorrected form of Farrar, and it appears that any name which contains an F and two R's are considered to be variations of Farrar (or vice versa)
While it is true, that in some instances, the name Farrar mutated into Farrow, perhaps because of the improvident death of a father, before the younger children could be tutored and thus a line fell into illiteracy, or because some government clerk, or census enumerator felt it is a show of ignorance on his part as to inquire as to the spelling of the family name, and because spellings, not just of names, but of common words, were not standardized in the English language until the mid 19th Century, much confusion has occurred.
To the best of my knowledge, and after considerable (but not exhaustive) research. The surname Farrar is often (not necessarily) interchangeable with Farrer.
The Illustrations in the various "Visitations" by the King's Herald, show coats of arms (armorial bearings) that are remarkable similar, that is three horshoes on a bend sinister, with a horseshoe on the crest, sometimes on top of the helm, sometimes stand alone. This was true for Farrer and Farrar, be the Visitation in London or Hertfordshire or Surrey or Berkshire. The King, would charge his Herald to visit the various counties or shires and ascertain the legitimacy of Heraldry being sported by various houses, in the visit he would also enumerate descendants back at least three generations or more.
Persons interested should google Visitation of Surrey, Visitation of Hertford, Visitation of London, Berkshire, Gloucester, Warwickshire, etc. Not all counties housed Farrars or Farrers. Don't bother with York, the Visitation were never published in book form, only in folio format, and not available on the internet.
The surname Farrar, on the other hand, is often held to be a derivative of farrier, an English occupational name for a black smith, but extant evidence does not support that supposition.
Another unproven assetion is that Farrar is a derivative of Ferrers and as such we are descended from Henry de Ferrers, Master of Horse for William the Conqueror and a Domesday Commissioner, and who, along with Wm Peverel, Harried the North, to put down the rebellion of the Saxon kings Aedwin and Morcar, who had initially pledged fealty to William, but revoked the pledge when they discovered the Domesday survey and it's taxation purpose.
Here is what I have learned to date: That prior to the poll tax of 1377 (which ran until 1391) there were no hereditary surnames in England. A man was known by the name of his father, e.g. son of John, Son of William, son of David, etc (Davidson, or Davis in Wales, Williamson or Williams, also FitzWilliam, FitzDavid, where Fitz is a contraction of the French "fils de" as in fils de William. Thus a man could be named FitzWilliam whilst his father might be FitzJohn. Also people were referred to by their occupation, thus Bob the Builder, or William Bigod, or Harry the Cooper (barrel maker) or Dave the Walker or John the Fuller (the latter two were occupations in the production of wool). Or a physical characteristic, Strong men became Strong or Armstrong, white hair became Whitehead, Wise, Smart,. Then a person lacking anything significant or in a situation where there were too many of a designation could be referred to by his physical origin or location, especially if he had relocated, thus surnames Spring, River, Forest, Hill, Warren, Dale (Dale is Saxon for Valley)
All that changed with the poll tax of 1377. The crown needed better tools, for taxation purposes, to keep track of their citizens. Thus the son of John (Johnson or John) passed his appelation onto all of his offspring and they theirs.
Given that the first recorded surname in the line of the Farrars who claim descent from a Henry of Ewood Hall, in Midgley/Mytholmroyd, West Riding Yorkshire, who left a will in 1549 in which he refers to himself as Henry Ferror.
We find the first mention of a Ferror in the household of a Johannes Helistones, fferror and uxor (translated: Ferror and wife), 15th and 16th century English had the Capital F as ff as in fferror or fferrar.
Said fferror&uxor were residing in Halifax Parish, (West Riding) Yorkshire, in Morley Wapentake (Wapentake was a subdivision of a county, equivalent to the "hundreds" in the south of England), under the administration of Elland (Eland)http://www.genuki.org.uk/big/eng/YKS/Misc/SubsidyRolls/WRY/Halifax.html
My next encounter with the name is in Norwich, Norfolk coun http://books.google.com/books?id=TQIWAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA95&lpg=PA95&dq=fferror+norwich&source=bl&ots=QhrYQeVaYI&sig=USqEpOo-QVLsdmmgUyxjuwqzkkw&hl=en&sa=X&ei=PnRIUsvSHIjdrAH7m4FQ&ved=0CDQQ6AEwAQ#v=onepage&q=fferror%20norwich&f=false
"The Ferrors or Ferrours of Gressenhall. Edmund Ferrour was lord of the manor of Harford in that parish in 30 Henry VIII (1538). He had four sons, Thomas, John, Richard and Robert. There was lving in Elmham in 1523, Anew Farror or Ferror, who by his will dated 16th December directed "that Margaret my wiff shall have all of the Thrym belynge to and all the fruite that come y' of"
Now it is known that the Henry Ferror who left a will proved in 1549, was of Ewood Hall in West Riding Yorkshire, and that said hall was built by his grandfather Henry in 1471, first year of the restoration of Edward IV to the throne of England, and 10th of his reign.
To my knowledge there is no evidence of a Farrar (documented or DNA wise) in the county of Norfolk, there are however Farrows from Norfolk, in specific a John Farrow who migrated to Massachussetts in the 17th Century (John Farrow b 1608 in Hingham, Norfolk England and died 1687 in Hingham, Mass
English migration to America was mainly along the following lines. From the North and east of England to Massachussetts, from the South and West of England (including London) to Virginia, migration accelerated after the English Civil war with Parliamentarians (Roundheads) fleeing to Mass and Royalists (Cavaliers) to Virginia.
There were also some Farrow/Farrars who migrated to New Jersey and Philadelphia in the 18th Century.
There is only one known Farr who is a DNA cousin of the descendants of Henry of Ewood and he is from Surrey England, born about 10 miles from a hunting lodge, owned by the Ewood Farrars until sold in 1634 to Howard Vyne. Other than that all other Farr's belong to the haplogroup I, E1b1 or R1b1.
In the New World, and apparently in England, at times the surname became spelled phonetically, and variations did occur. It is documented that in some instances, and due to illiteracy or other circumstances, the name was spelled, at least for a time, Farrow, and in others it was mutated into Farrow, perhaps even other phonetic variations.
On the other hand it is also a proveable fact that some Farrows eventually spelled, or had their name spelled for them, as Farrar, but these folk belong to other haplogroups like the Viking haplogroup of I, or even aboriginal Brit (R1b1...)
It appears that the preponderance of Farrows are either of I or R1b1.. ,
The American spelling of Farrar, seems to have originated with the son of William of Va who arrived in 1618 on the Neptune. In the Jamestown Muster his name is spelled fferrar, his fathers will and marriage announcement in the London papers has it spelled Ferrar as well.
Wills of Yorkshire mention another Henry and his son Brian but there names are spelled Fairher and Fareher. This link as well as the embedded links are very instructive http://www.pandp.eu.com/halifax.htm
Until the advent of DNA and it's use in genealogy, it was possible for anyone to, and they often did, conflate into one family anyone named Ferrer, Ferrers, Farr, Farrar, Farrow and Ferrar. I do not see mention of Fairher or Fareher anymore however their spelling gives a clue as to the original pronunciation of the name. and frankly Fairher seems to be the closest to the original.
I have it on good authority, that the pronunciation varies in England from north to south and by class. here is a reply from an English cousin as to the pronunciation of the name:
"apart from obvious regional accents I would argue there are two main pronunciations here in the UK; the differences are probably slightly class based and whether you view the name as aristocratic/french in origin or common/english
they two variations would be:
faar-raarh or faar-reer with emphasis on the vowels
fa-rerr or fa-rarr with short guttural stops and emphasis on the er or ar at the end
this sort of distinction between vowel pronunciation is very common between the classes and many other words; the famous one is pronunciation of “bath”; upper class would pronounce baar- th, lower class ba-th with a hard a.
In my family (Virginia Farrars, meaning our ancestor was William of Virginia, as opposed to English Farrars or Massachusetts Farrars whose ancestors were Jacob, John or Thomas, the name was pronounced akin to Fairuh, even Fire, in the north, iin commerce and in the military it is pronounced Far Rar with the Rar sounding like Far.
I answer to anything that is recognizable.
I will note that in the project there are two members who are an exact DNA match, one spells the name Farrer and the other Farrar both live in England, and the Farrer has documented ancestry back to Henry of Ewood.