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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright 2000 - 2014

Origins Available: Borderlands, English, Irish

Where did the Irish Adams family come from? What is the Irish Adams family crest and coat of arms? When did the Adams family first arrive in the United States? Where did the various branches of the family go? What is the Adams family history?

The old Irish name Adams and its variants are tied to the Anglo-Saxon "Adam," a given name which is itself derived from the Latin name "Adamus," meaning "earth."


Spelling variations of this family name include: Adam, Adams, McAdam, MacAdam, MacCaw, MacCoddan and many more.

First found in many counties, and in all different corners of Ireland. Although most of the early records of Irish names have been lost, placenames such as Ballymacadam near Tralee, Castemacadam, Cadamstwon in County Kildare, and Adamstown in six different counties, are a testament to how widespread this name was in early times. The earliest recorded instance of the name seems to be of James, son of Thomas McAdam, who was among those a list that Lord Fermoy submitted to the Earl of Essex on promise of pardon as provision to his entering into rebellion, dated 21 August 1599.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Adams research. Another 355 words(25 lines of text) covering the years 1641, 1801, 1808, 1861, and 1895 are included under the topic Early Adams History in all our PDF Extended History products.


Another 30 words(2 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Adams Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.


Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Adams Settlers in the United States in the 17th Century

  • Captain Adams, who landed in Virginia in 1609
  • Mr. Adams, who arrived in Jamestown, Va in 1624
  • Dorothe Adams, aged 24, landed in New England in 1635
  • Dorothie Adams, aged 24, arrived in America in 1635
  • Dorothy A Adams, who arrived in New England in 1635

Adams Settlers in the United States in the 18th Century

  • Anne Adams, who landed in Virginia in 1705
  • Ebenezer Adams, who landed in Virginia in 1714
  • Benjamin Adams, who arrived in Georgia in 1738
  • Anthony Adams, who landed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1745
  • Samuel Adams, who landed in Long Island in 1750

Adams Settlers in the United States in the 19th Century

  • Thomas Adams, who landed in America in 1802
  • Archebald Adams, aged 12, arrived in New York, NY in 1804
  • John Adams, aged 15, landed in New York, NY in 1804
  • Mary Adams, aged 10, landed in New York, NY in 1804
  • Charles L Adams, aged 22, landed in North Carolina in 1812


  • Charles Francis Adams Jr. (1835-1915), American lawyer, railroad expert and historian, President of Union Pacific 1884-90
  • Ansel Easton Adams (1902-1984), American photographer and environmentalist, best known for his black-and-white photographs of the American West and recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom
  • Charles Kendall Adams (1835-1902), American educator, president of Cornell University (1885-1892)
  • President John Quincy Adams (1767-1848), American politician, 6th US President
  • Herbert Baxter Adams (1850-1901), American historian and educator
  • Walter Sydney Adams (1876-1956), American astronomer
  • Rex Adams (b. 1941), American Rhodes Scholar and former professor and dean at Duke University
  • Staff Sergeant Lucian Adams (1922-2003), American soldier awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor in 1944
  • Don Adams (1923-2005), triple Emmy Award-winning American actor, comedian, and director best known as Maxwell Smart (Agent 86) in the TV situation comedy Get Smart
  • Edie Adams (1927-2008), American singer, stage, television, and film actress and comedienne



  • Adams Family Records: A Genealogical and Biographical History of All Branches of the Adams Family by J. T. Adams.
  • Adams, an American Dynasty by Francis Russell.

The motto was originally a war cry or slogan. Mottoes first began to be shown with arms in the 14th and 15th centuries, but were not in general use until the 17th century. Thus the oldest coats of arms generally do not include a motto. Mottoes seldom form part of the grant of arms: Under most heraldic authorities, a motto is an optional component of the coat of arms, and can be added to or changed at will; many families have chosen not to display a motto.

Motto: In cruce salus
Motto Translation: In the cross is salvation.


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  1. Best, Hugh. Debrett's Texas Peerage. New York: Coward-McCann, 1983. Print. (ISBN 069811244X).
  2. Woodham-Smith, Cecil. The Great Hunger Ireland 1845-1849. New York: Old Town Books, 1962. Print. (ISBN 0-88029-385-3).
  3. Zieber, Eugene. Heraldry in America. Philadelphia: Genealogical Publishing Co. Print.
  4. MacLysaght, Edward. Irish Families Their Names, Arms and Origins 4th Edition. Dublin: Irish Academic, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-7165-2364-7).
  5. McDonnell, Frances. Emigrants from Ireland to America 1735-1743 A Transcription of the report of the Irish House of Commons into Enforced emigration to America. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-1331-5).
  6. Grehan, Ida. Dictionary of Irish Family Names. Boulder: Roberts Rinehart, 1997. Print. (ISBN 1-57098-137-X).
  7. MacLysaght, Edward. The Surnames of Ireland 3rd Edition. Dublin: Irish Academic, 1978. Print. (ISBN 0-7165-2278-0).
  8. Somerset Fry, Peter and Fiona Somerset Fry. A History of Ireland. New York: Barnes and Noble, 1993. Print. (ISBN 1-56619-215-3).
  9. Magnusson, Magnus. Chambers Biographical Dictionary 5th edition. Edinburgh: W & R Chambers, 1990. Print.
  10. Heraldic Scroll and Map of Family names and Origins of Ireland. Dublin: Mullins. Print.
  11. ...

The Adams Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Adams Family Crest was drawn according to heraldic standards based on published blazons. We generally include the oldest published family crest once associated with each surname.

This page was last modified on 1 July 2014 at 03:26.

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