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

Origins Available: English, Irish

Where did the English Freeman family come from? What is the English 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?

The surname Freeman is a ancient Anglo-Saxon name whose history dates back to the days before the Norman Conquest of 1066. The name is derived from "freomann" or "frigmann," Old English words and personal names meaning "free-born man."

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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 Freeman include Freeman, Fryman, Friman and others.

First found in the county of Essex, where it was borne as a personal name by Freman Sceil in 1188. The first recorded instance of Freeman as a surname appeared shortly thereafter; William Freman was listed in the Feet of Fines of Norfolk in 1196.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Freeman research. Another 185 words(13 lines of text) covering the years 1196, 1221, 1240, 1645, 1646, 1710, 1667, 1723, 1821, 1794, and are included under the topic Early Freeman History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Another 119 words(8 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Freeman Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Some of the Freeman family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 287 words(20 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.

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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 Freeman or a variant listed above:

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
  • Mr. Ernest Edward Samuel Freeman (d. 1912), aged 43, English Deck Steward from Southampton, Hampshire who worked aboard the RMS Titanic and died in the sinking and was recovered by CS Mackay-Bennett

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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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  1. Holt, J.C. Ed. Domesday Studies. Woodbridge: Boydell, 1987. Print. (ISBN 0-85115-477-8).
  2. Shirley, Evelyn Philip. Noble and Gentle Men of England Or Notes Touching The Arms and Descendants of the Ancient Knightley and Gentle Houses of England Arranged in their Respective Counties 3rd Edition. Westminster: John Bowyer Nichols and Sons, 1866. Print.
  3. Samuelsen, W. David. New York City Passenger List Manifests Index 1820 - 1824. North Salt Lake, Utah: Accelerated Indexing Systems International, 1986. Print.
  4. Bullock, L.G. Historical Map of England and Wales. Edinburgh: Bartholomew and Son, 1971. Print.
  5. Filby, P. William and Mary K Meyer. Passenger and Immigration Lists Index in Four Volumes. Detroit: Gale Research, 1985. Print. (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8).
  6. Sanders, Joanne McRee Edition. English Settlers in Barbados 1637-1800. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  7. Hanks, Hodges, Mills and Room. The Oxford Names Companion. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002. Print. (ISBN 0-19-860561-7).
  8. Egle, William Henry. Pennsylvania Genealogies Scotch-Irish and German. Harrisburg: L.S. Hart, 1886. Print.
  9. Colletta, John P. They Came In Ships. Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1993. Print.
  10. Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds. Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8).
  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 3 March 2014 at 10:13.

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