This is an English locational surname which originates from the county of Yorkshire. The place name and hence the later surname means 'the coppice of alder trees' from the pre 6th century Olde English 'ealder-schawe'. It is believed that there was once an actual place called Ellershaw, but if so its whereabouts are now apparently 'lost' and it has not been recorded in any of the known gazetters for at least the past three centuries. Lost villages are a feature of the British Isles, and it is estimated some some five thousand have disappeared most if not all, giving rise to surnames. Early examples of the surname recording include Thomas de Elleschawe in the Poll Tax rolls of Yorkshire in 1379, and Ellen Ellershaw of the hamlet of Green, parish of Tatham, Lancashire, in the year 1616.