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

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

The origins of the Banks name lie with England's ancient Anglo-Saxon culture. It comes from when the family lived close to a slope, or a hillside. The surname is derived from the Old English word banke.


Before the last few hundred years, the English language had no fast system of spelling rules. For that reason, spelling variations are commonly found in early Anglo-Saxon surnames. Over the years, many variations of the name Banks were recorded, including Banke, Banck, Bancks, Banckes, Banks, Bankes and others.

First found in Yorkshire in eastern England where they held a family seat from about the year 1200. One of the first on record was Simon Bankes of Bank Newton in Craven, Yorkshire.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Banks research. Another 325 words(23 lines of text) covering the years 1300, 1600, 1743, 1820, 1768, 1973, 1784, 1589, 1644, 1627, 1699, 1668, 1659, 1696, 1631 and 1677 are included under the topic Early Banks History in all our PDF Extended History products.


Another 187 words(13 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Banks Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.


To escape oppression and starvation at that time, many English families left for the "open frontiers" of the New World with all its perceived opportunities. In droves people migrated to the many British colonies, those in North America in particular, paying high rates for passages in cramped, unsafe ships. Although many of the settlers did not make the long passage alive, those who did see the shores of North America perceived great opportunities before them. Many of the families that came from England went on to make essential contributions to the emerging nations of Canada and the United States. Research into various historical records revealed some of first members of the Banks family emigrate to North America:

Banks Settlers in the United States in the 17th Century

  • Miles Banks, who arrived in Virginia in 1620
  • Edward Banks settled in Virginia in 1623
  • Francis Banks, who landed in Virginia in 1623
  • Henry Banks, who arrived in Virginia in 1635
  • James Banks settled in Virginia in 1635

Banks Settlers in the United States in the 18th Century

  • Andrew Banks, who arrived in Virginia in 1705
  • Isabell Banks, who arrived in Virginia in 1713
  • Jno Banks, who arrived in Virginia in 1714
  • Martha Banks, who landed in Virginia in 1720
  • Elizabeth Banks, who arrived in Carolina in 1724

Banks Settlers in the United States in the 19th Century

  • Robert Banks, who arrived in New York in 1811
  • Rose Banks, aged 20, arrived in Maine in 1812
  • Helen Banks, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1845
  • Benjamin W Banks, who arrived in Mississippi in 1846
  • Carus Banks, aged 19, arrived in New York in 1864

Banks Settlers in the United States in the 20th Century

  • Carl Mackey Banks, who landed in Alabama in 1921
  • Lemie William Banks, who landed in Alabama in 1922


  • Ernie Banks (b. 1931), American baseball player
  • Nathaniel Prentice Banks (1816-1894), American politician and soldier, 24th Governor of Massachusetts, Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives and Union general during the American Civil War
  • Carolyn Banks (b. 1941), American novelist, short-story writer, editor, and screen writer
  • Montague "Monty" Banks (1897-1950), born Mario Bianchi, Italian-born, American comedian and film director
  • Francis Rodwell Banks (1898-1985), English Air Commodore
  • Gordon Banks (b. 1937), English footballer
  • Steven "Steve" Banks (b. 1972), English football goalkeeper
  • Leslie Banks CBE (1890-1952), was an English theatre and cinema actor, director, and producer
  • Peter Banks (1947-2013), English guitarist, original guitarist of the progressive rock band Yes
  • Sir Joseph Banks (1743-1820), British explorer and naturalist



  • The Banks Family of Maine by Charles Edward Banks.
  • Daniel Black Orrell and His Descendants with the Banks Family by Robert Stanley Orrell.
  • The Genealogical Record of the Banks Family of Elbert County, Georgia by Elbert Augustin Banks.

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  2. Elster, Robert J. International Who's Who. London: Europa/Routledge. Print.
  3. Robb H. Amanda and Andrew Chesler. Encyclopedia of American Family Names. New York: Haper Collins, 1995. Print. (ISBN 0-06-270075-8).
  4. Markale, J. Celtic Civilization. London: Gordon & Cremonesi, 1976. Print.
  5. Hanks, Hodges, Mills and Room. The Oxford Names Companion. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002. Print. (ISBN 0-19-860561-7).
  6. Colletta, John P. They Came In Ships. Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1993. Print.
  7. Lennard, Reginald. Rural England 1086-1135 A Study of Social and Agrarian Conditions. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1959. Print.
  8. Holt, J.C. Ed. Domesday Studies. Woodbridge: Boydell, 1987. Print. (ISBN 0-85115-477-8).
  9. Ingram, Rev. James. Translator Anglo-Saxon Chronicle 1823. Print.
  10. Humble, Richard. The Fall of Saxon England. New York: Barnes and Noble, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-88029-987-8).
  11. ...

The Banks Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Banks 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 19 September 2014 at 09:14.

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