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

Origins Available: English-Alt, English

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

The name James was brought to England in the great wave of migration following the Norman Conquest of 1066. It comes from the personal name Jacob, the Latin Jacobus via the Late Latin Jacomus. The Latin Jacobus is derived from the Hebrew name Yaakov which is traditionally interpreted as coming from the Hebrew akev, which means heel.


A multitude of spelling variations characterize Norman surnames. Many variations occurred because Old and Middle English lacked any definite spelling rules. The introduction of Norman French to England also had a pronounced effect, as did the court languages of Latin and French. Therefore, one person was often referred to by several different spellings in a single lifetime. The various spellings include James, Fitzjames, St. James, Jaimes, Geames and many more.

First found in Surrey where they were granted lands by William the Conqueror after the Norman Conquest in 1066. Anciently they held lands in Normandy as St. James.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our James research. Another 397 words(28 lines of text) covering the years 1210, 1610, 1681, 1653, 1620, 1700, 1661, 1679, 1689, 1690, 1619, 1670, 1654, 1656, 1624, 1705, 1659, 1626, 1685, 1659, 1673, 1702, 1644 and 1719 are included under the topic Early James History in all our PDF Extended History products.


Another 247 words(18 lines of text) are included under the topic Early James Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.


Some of the James family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 43 words(3 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.


Many English families left England, to avoid the chaos of their homeland and migrated to the many British colonies abroad. Although the conditions on the ships were extremely cramped, and some travelers arrived diseased, starving, and destitute, once in the colonies, many of the families prospered and made valuable contributions to the cultures of what would become the United States and Canada. Research into the origins of individual families in North America has revealed records of the immigration of a number of people bearing the name James or a variant listed above:

James Settlers in the United States in the 17th Century

  • Edmund James, who settled in Salem Massachusetts in 1630
  • Edmund James, who landed in New England in 1630
  • Thomas James, who arrived in Charlestown, Massachusetts in 1632
  • Henry James, who arrived in Maryland in 1633
  • Ursula James, aged 19, landed in Virginia in 1635

James Settlers in the United States in the 18th Century

  • Sarah James, who landed in Virginia in 1702
  • James James, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1703
  • Abra James, who landed in Virginia in 1713
  • Harry James, who landed in Virginia in 1718
  • Henry James, who settled in Maryland in 1739

James Settlers in the United States in the 19th Century

  • Simon James, who arrived in Pennsylvania in 1802
  • Anthony James, aged 28, arrived in New York in 1812
  • Daniel James, aged 39, arrived in New York in 1812
  • Jane James, who arrived in New York, NY in 1816
  • Mary James, who arrived in New York, NY in 1816

James Settlers in the United States in the 20th Century

  • Gus James, who arrived in Alabama in 1915


  • William Hartford James (1831-1920), American politician best known as the second Governor of Nebraska
  • Harry Haag James (1916-1983), American jazz bandleader, musician, and trumpeter
  • Arthur Horace James (1883-1973), American politician, governor of Pennsylvania from 1939-1943
  • Edmund Janes James (1855-1925), American educator and political scientist, founder and 1st president of the American Academy of Political and Social Science
  • Jesse Woodson James (1847-1882), American outlaw and folk hero
  • Miles James (1829-1871), Union Army soldier during the American Civil War, recipient of the Medal of Honor for his actions at the Battle of Chaffin's Farm
  • Alex James (b. 1968), English musician, songwriter and journalist
  • Mr. Thomas James (d. 1912), aged 27, English Fireman/Stoker from Southampton, Hampshire who worked aboard the RMS Titanic and died in the sinking
  • Edison Chenfil James (b. 1943), Prime Minister of Dominica from 1995-2000
  • Phyllis Dorothy "P D" James (b. 1920), British Baroness and mystery novelist



  • James Families of America Since 1630 by Wynne James.
  • The James Family of Wales and Bucks County, Pennsylvania, 1638-1974 by Wynne James.

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: J'aime jamais
Motto Translation: I love forever.


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  1. Markale, J. Celtic Civilization. London: Gordon & Cremonesi, 1976. Print.
  2. Fairbairn. Fairbain's book of Crests of the Families of Great Britain and Ireland, 4th Edition 2 volumes in one. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1968. Print.
  3. Zieber, Eugene. Heraldry in America. Philadelphia: Genealogical Publishing Co. Print.
  4. Hitching, F.K and S. Hitching. References to English Surnames in 1601-1602. Walton On Thames: 1910. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0181-3).
  5. Best, Hugh. Debrett's Texas Peerage. New York: Coward-McCann, 1983. Print. (ISBN 069811244X).
  6. Cook, Chris. English Historical Facts 1603-1688. London: MacMillan, 1980. Print.
  7. 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).
  8. Bardsley, C.W. A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6).
  9. Burke, Sir Bernard. Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Peerage and Baronetage, The Privy Council, Knightage and Compainonage. London: Burke Publishing, 1921. Print.
  10. Marcharn, Frederick George. A Constitutional History of Modern England 1485 to the Present. London: Harper and Brothers, 1960. Print.
  11. ...

The James Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The James 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 18 August 2014 at 19:09.

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