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

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

Howe is a name of ancient Anglo-Saxon origin and comes from the family once having lived near a hill or steep ridge of land. The surname Howe is usually derived from the Old English word hoh, which means heel or projecting ridge of land. However, it is sometimes derived from the Old Norse word haugr, which means mound or hill. Furthermore, the name Howe may be derived from residence in one of a variety of similarly named places: Hoe is in Norfolk; Hoo is in Kent; places called Hooe are in Devon and Sussex; Hose is in Leicestershire; places named Heugh are in Durham and Northumberland; and settlements called Hough are found in both Cheshire and Derby.

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Sound was what guided spelling in the essentially pre-literate Middle Ages, so one person's name was often recorded under several variations during a single lifetime. Also, before the advent of the printing press and the first dictionaries, the English language was not standardized. Therefore, spelling variations were common, even among the names of the most literate people. Known variations of the Howe family name include Howe, Howes, How and others.

First found in Berkshire, where the name could also have been a baptismal name as in "son of Hugh," [1] while another reference claims the name has geographical significance as in the south: "a small round hill" and in the north: "a hollow place or plain." The medieval form of the name is "At How" and is usually synonymous with Hill having derived from the Anglo-Saxon "how," meaning a mountain. [2] However, we must look to Cambridgeshire to find the first listings on the name where Roger del Howes and Richard del Howes were listed there in the Hundred Rolls of 1273. [1]


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Howe research. Another 175 words(12 lines of text) covering the years 1066, 1671, 1654, 1656, 1625, 1679, 1659, 1679, 1627, 1676, 1660, 1676, 1635, 1692, 1611, 1701, 1648, 1713, 1673, 1685, 1689, 1691, 1657, 1722, 1700, 1735, 1722, 1732, 1733, 1735 and are included under the topic Early Howe History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Another 289 words(21 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Howe Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Some of the Howe family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 87 words(6 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.

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For political, religious, and economic reasons, thousands of English families boarded ships for Ireland, Canada, the America colonies, and many of smaller tropical colonies in the hope of finding better lives abroad. Although the passage on the cramped, dank ships caused many to arrive in the New World diseased and starving, those families that survived the trip often went on to make valuable contributions to those new societies to which they arrived. Early immigrants bearing the Howe surname or a spelling variation of the name include:

Howe Settlers in the United States in the 17th Century


  • Rice Howe, who settled in Virginia in 1618
  • Rice Howe, who arrived in Virginia in 1618
  • Daniel Howe, who landed in Lynn, Massachusetts in 1634
  • Edward Howe, who landed in Lynn, Massachusetts in 1635
  • Elizabeth Howe, aged 50, landed in New England in 1635


Howe Settlers in the United States in the 18th Century


  • David Howe, who arrived in Boston, Massachusetts in 1764

Howe Settlers in the United States in the 19th Century


  • George Howe, who arrived in New York, NY in 1811
  • William Howe, aged 25, landed in New York in 1812
  • Michael Howe, who landed in Charleston, South Carolina in 1813
  • Eberh W Howe, who arrived in America in 1834
  • E C Howe, who landed in San Francisco, California in 1851


Howe Settlers in the United States in the 20th Century


  • Ralph Marcus Howe, who landed in Wisconsin in 1922

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  • Elias Howe (1819-1867), American inventor credited with inventing the first practical sewing machine
  • Tina Howe (b. 1937), award-winning American playwright
  • James Wong Howe (1899-1976), American cinematographer nominated for ten Academy Awards for cinematography, winning twice
  • William Howe KB, PC (1729-1814), 5th Viscount Howe, British army officer,Commander-in- Chief of British forces during the American War of Independence
  • Louis McHenry Howe (1871-1936), political advisor to President Franklin D. Roosevelt
  • Brigadier-General William Francis Howe (1888-1952), American Professor at Yale University (1943)
  • Richard Howe (1726-1799), British admiral known for his service during the American War of Independence and French Revolutionary Wars, made 1st Earl Howe in 1788
  • Stephen James "Steve" Howe (b. 1947), English guitarist, best known for his work with the Rock group Yes
  • John Howe (b. 1957), Canadian illustrator
  • Gordon "Gordie" Howe (b. 1928), Canadian NHL hockey player generally regarded as one of the greatest players of all time

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  1. ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  2. ^ Lowe, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.

Other References

  1. Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin . Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8).
  2. Innes, Thomas and Learney. The Tartans of the Clans and Families of Scotland 1st Edition. Edinburgh: W & A. K. Johnston Limited, 1938. Print.
  3. Bowman, George Ernest. The Mayflower Reader A Selection of Articales from The Mayflower Descendent. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  4. Bardsley, C.W. A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6).
  5. Burke, Sir Bernard. Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Peerage and Baronetage, The Privy Council, Knightage and Compainonage. London: Burke Publishing, 1921. Print.
  6. Colletta, John P. They Came In Ships. Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1993. Print.
  7. Mills, A.D. Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4).
  8. Samuelsen, W. David. New York City Passenger List Manifests Index 1820 - 1824. North Salt Lake, Utah: Accelerated Indexing Systems International, 1986. Print.
  9. 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.
  10. Virkus, Frederick A. Ed. Immigrant Ancestors A List of 2,500 Immigrants to America Before 1750. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1964. Print.
  11. ...

The Howe Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Howe 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 9 April 2014 at 16:09.

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