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

Where did the English Edwards family come from? What is the English Edwards family crest and coat of arms? Where did the various branches of the family go? What is the Edwards family history?

The Edwards surname is derived from the old English word "Eadweard" which means "prosperity guard." Prior to the Norman Conquest of England, Edward was a common personal; its popularity probably due to the fact that Edward the Confessor had been the Patron Saint of England before Saint George.


Until quite recently, the English language has lacked a definite system of spelling rules. Consequently, Anglo-Saxon surnames are characterized by a multitude of spelling variations. Changes in Anglo-Saxon names were influenced by the evolution of the English language, as it incorporated elements of French, Latin, and other languages. Although Medieval scribes and church officials recorded names as they sounded, so it is common to find one person referred to by several different spellings of his surname, even the most literate people varied the spelling of their own names. Variations of the name Edwards include Edwards, Edward, Edwardes and others.

First found in Wiltshire where Edward of Salisbury, also known as Edward the Sheriff (of Wiltshire) held land at the time of the Domesday Survey. He was an ancestor of Earls of Salisbury. The name appeared as Eaduuardus, Eduuardus, Eduuard in the Domesday Book.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Edwards research. Another 305 words(22 lines of text) covering the years 1206, 1219, 1279, 1283, 1597, 1582, 1658, 1615, 1637, 1711, 1801, 1471, 1678 and are included under the topic Early Edwards History in all our PDF Extended History products.


Another 111 words(8 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Edwards Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.


Some of the Edwards family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 121 words(9 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.


Searching for a better life, many English families migrated to British colonies. Unfortunately, the majority of them traveled under extremely harsh conditions: overcrowding on the ships caused the majority of the immigrants to arrive diseased, famished, and destitute from the long journey across the ocean. For those families that arrived safely, modest prosperity was attainable, and many went on to make invaluable contributions to the development of the cultures of the new colonies. Research into the origins of individual families in North America revealed records of the immigration of a number of people bearing the name Edwards or a variant listed above:

Edwards Settlers in the 17th Century

  • Arthur Edwards, who landed in Virginia in 1622
  • Arthur Edwards, who settled in Virginia in 1623
  • Robert Edwards, who arrived in Maryland in 1633
  • Rich Edwards, who arrived in Virginia in 1634
  • Jon Edwards, who landed in Virginia in 1635

Edwards Settlers in the 18th Century

  • Walter Edwards, who arrived in Virginia in 1701
  • Anne Edwards, who arrived in Virginia in 1701
  • Eliza Edwards, who arrived in Virginia in 1701
  • Benja Edwards, who arrived in Virginia in 1702
  • Hannah Edwards, who landed in Virginia in 1703

Edwards Settlers in the 19th Century

  • David J Edwards, who arrived in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1808
  • G Edwards, who arrived in New York, NY in 1811
  • Edward Henry Edwards, aged 23, landed in Ohio in 1812
  • Hayden Edwards, who arrived in New Orleans, La in 1813
  • James Edwards, a cabinet-maker, arrived in Van Diemenís Land (now Tasmania) sometime between 1825 and 1832

Edwards Settlers in the 20th Century

  • John Wesley Edwards, who arrived in Colorado in 1906
  • Ben Edwards, who arrived in Arkansas in 1906
  • I C Edwards, who landed in St John, New Brunswick in 1907
  • William Edwards, aged 25, a bricklayer, arrived in Auckland aboard the ship "S. S. Waimana" in 1926


  • Mr. Clement Edwards (d. 1912), aged 38, English Assistant Pantryman Steward from Southampton, Hampshire who worked aboard the RMS Titanic and died in the sinking
  • Douglas Edwards (1917-1990), America's first network news television anchor
  • James Burrows Edwards (b. 1927), American Republican politician and oral surgeon, who was governor of South Carolina from 1975 to 1979
  • Sir George Robert Edwards (1908-2003), British Aeronautical Designer, knighted in 1957
  • Admiral Richard Stanislaus Edwards DSM (1885-1956), American sailor, served in the United States Navy during World War I and World War II, and rose to Vice Chief of Naval Operations
  • Edwin Edwards (b. 1927), American politician, Representative from Louisiana, governor of Louisiana (1972-1980, 1984-1988, 1992-1996)
  • Walter Alison Edwards (1862-1924), American educator, President of California Institute of Technology from 1897 to 1907
  • John Reid Edwards (b. 1953), American Lawyer and Senator from North Carolina (1998-)
  • Gus Edwards (1879-1945), American songwriter and vaudevillian inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1970
  • Sherman Edwards (1919-1981), Tony Award winning American composer



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  1. Innes, Thomas and Learney. The Tartans of the Clans and Families of Scotland 1st Edition. Edinburgh: W & A. K. Johnston Limited, 1938. Print.
  2. Papworth, J.W and A.W Morant. Ordinary of British Armorials. London: T.Richards, 1874. Print.
  3. Bede, The Venerable. Historia Ecclesiatica Gentis Anglorum (The Ecclesiastical History Of the English People). Available through Internet Medieval Sourcebook the Fordham University Centre for Medieval Studies. Print.
  4. MacAulay, Thomas Babington. History of England from the Accession of James the Second 4 volumes. New York: Harper and Brothers, 1879. Print.
  5. Hitching, F.K and S. Hitching. References to English Surnames in 1601-1602. Walton On Thames: 1910. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0181-3).
  6. Shaw, William A. Knights of England A Complete Record from the Earliest Time to the Present Day of the Knights of all the Orders of Chivalry in England, Scotland, Ireland and Knights Bachelors 2 Volumes. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print. (ISBN 080630443X).
  7. Reaney P.H and R.M. Wilson. A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X).
  8. Lennard, Reginald. Rural England 1086-1135 A Study of Social and Agrarian Conditions. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1959. Print.
  9. Markale, J. Celtic Civilization. London: Gordon & Cremonesi, 1976. Print.
  10. Bullock, L.G. Historical Map of England and Wales. Edinburgh: Bartholomew and Son, 1971. Print.
  11. ...

The Edwards Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Edwards 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 29 August 2014 at 16:50.

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