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

Origins Available: English, Irish

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

When the Strongbownians began to settle in Ireland, they initially ignored the established Gaelic system for developing of patronymic names and solely relied on their own traditional naming practices. Eventually, however, the two differing customs drew upon one another to some degree. The Strongbow settlers, unlike their Gaelic neighbors, frequently used nickname surnames. These Anglo-Norman nicknames were frequently of two types: "oath names" and "imperative names." Oath names often carried blessings or were formed from habitual expressions. Imperative names, formed from a verb added to a noun or an adverb, metaphorically described the bearer's occupations. The nick name surname Freeman is derived from a nickname for a free-born man. The surname Freeman is derived from the Old English words "freomann" and "frigmann," which both mean freeman. The surname Freeman is also used as an Anglicized version of Mac an tSaoir, which means son of the craftsman.

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During the lifetime of an individual person, his name was often spelt by church officials and medieval scribes the way it sounded. An examination of the many different origins of each name has revealed many spelling variations for the name: Freeman, Freman and others.

First found in County Cork (Irish: Corcaigh) the ancient Kingdom of Deis Muin (Desmond), located on the southwest coast of Ireland in the province of Munster, where they were granted lands by Strongbow after the invasion of Ireland in 1172.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Freeman research. Another 360 words(26 lines of text) covering the years 1150, 1172, 1296, 1301, and 1690 are included under the topic Early Freeman History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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More information is included under the topic Early Freeman Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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During the middle of the 19th century, Irish families often experienced extreme poverty and racial discrimination in their own homeland under English rule. Record numbers died of disease and starvation and many others, deciding against such a fate, boarded ships bound for North America. The largest influx of Irish settlers occurred with Great Potato Famine of the late 1840s. Unfortunately, many of those Irish that arrived in Canada or the United States still experienced economic and racial discrimination. Although often maligned, these Irish people were essential to the rapid development of these countries because they provided the cheap labor required for the many canals, roads, railways, and other projects required for strong national infrastructures. Eventually the Irish went on to make contributions in the less backbreaking and more intellectual arenas of commerce, education, and the arts. Research early immigration and passenger lists revealed many early immigrants bearing the name Freeman:

Freeman Settlers in the United States in the 17th Century


  • Bernardns Freeman, who landed in New Netherland(s) in 1620
  • Domine Bernardus Freeman, who landed in New Netherland(s) in 1620
  • Ralph Freeman who settled in Virginia in 1622
  • Bridges Freeman, who landed in Virginia in 1623
  • Edmund Freeman, who landed in Lynn, Massachusetts in 1632


Freeman Settlers in the United States in the 18th Century


  • Edwd Freeman, who arrived in Virginia in 1705
  • Thomas Freeman, who arrived in America in 1706
  • Abraham Freeman, who arrived in Pennsylvania in 1731
  • Abram Freeman, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1731
  • Georg Freeman, who arrived in Pennsylvania in 1739


Freeman Settlers in the United States in the 19th Century


  • Michael Freeman, who arrived in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1807
  • Thomas D Freeman, who landed in America in 1809
  • Bernard Freeman, aged 34, landed in Missouri in 1840
  • Anthony Freeman, who landed in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1848
  • Joseph Freeman, aged 26, arrived in New York in 1849


Freeman Settlers in the United States in the 20th Century


  • Andrew Freeman, who arrived in Alabama in 1920

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  • Jonathan Freeman (b. 1950), Tony-nominated American actor
  • Douglas Southall Freeman (1886-1953), American journalist and historian
  • Lewis Ransome Freeman (1878-1960), American explorer, journalist and war correspondent
  • Richard Cameron Freeman (b. 1926), American federal judge from 1971 to 1999
  • Walter Jackson Freeman (1895-1972), American neurosurgeon who introduced psychosurgery in the United States and performed almost 3,000 lobotomies
  • Kathleen Freeman (1919-2001), American comedy actress known for her many roles in film, television, and the theater
  • Rear Admiral James Shepherd Freeman (1900-1962), World War II Rear Admiral in the United States Navy awarded the Navy Cross
  • Morgan Porterfield Freeman Jr. (b. 1937), award-winning American actor, film director, and narrator
  • Theodore Cordy Freeman (1930-1964), American test pilot and former NASA astronuat
  • John Derek Freeman (1916-2001), New Zealand anthropologist

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  • Coppedge/Freeman and Next of Kin by Mildred C. Siever.
  • Freeman-Palmer and Related Families by Mary Ann Palmer-Schrepfer.
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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: Nec temere, nec timide
Motto Translation: Neither rashly nor timidly.

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  1. Hickey, D.J. and J.E. Doherty. A New Dictionary of Irish History form 1800 2nd Edition. Dublin: Gil & MacMillian, 2003. Print.
  2. MacLysaght, Edward. Irish Families Their Names, Arms and Origins 4th Edition. Dublin: Irish Academic, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-7165-2364-7).
  3. Magnusson, Magnus. Chambers Biographical Dictionary 5th edition. Edinburgh: W & R Chambers, 1990. Print.
  4. Harris, Ruth-Ann and B. Emer O'Keefe. The Search for Missing Friends Irish Immigrant Advertisements Placed in the Boston Pilot Volume II 1851-1853. Boston, MA: New England Historic Genealogical Society, 1991. Print.
  5. Johnson, Daniel F. Irish Emigration to New England Through the Port of Saint John, New Brunswick Canada 1841-1849. Baltimore, Maryland: Clearfield, 1996. Print.
  6. Weis, Frederick Lewis, Walter Lee Sheppard and David Faris. Ancestral Roots of Sixty Colonists Who Came to New England Between 1623 and 1650 7th Edition. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0806313676).
  7. Hanks, Patricia and Flavia Hodges. A Dictionary of Surnames. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988. Print. (ISBN 0-19-211592-8).
  8. Skordas, Guest. Ed. The Early Settlers of Maryland an Index to Names or Immigrants Complied from Records of Land Patents 1633-1680 in the Hall of Records Annapolis, Maryland. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1992. Print.
  9. Woodham-Smith, Cecil. The Great Hunger Ireland 1845-1849. New York: Old Town Books, 1962. Print. (ISBN 0-88029-385-3).
  10. O'Hart, John. Irish Pedigress 5th Edition in 2 Volumes. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1976. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0737-4).
  11. ...

The Freeman Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Freeman 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 16 October 2014 at 11:12.

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