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

Origins Available: English, German, Italian, Spanish

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

Palmer is one of the names that was brought to England in the wave of migration following the Norman Conquest of 1066. It is a name for a person who worked as the Palmer. The surname Palmer was originally derived from the Old French word Palmer, which was taken from the Latin word palmifer meaning palm bearer. In this case the original bearer of the surname was a pilgrim who carried palm branches back from the Holy Land. In early history the name Palmer represented a missionary.


It is only in the last few hundred years that the English language has been standardized. For that reason, Anglo-Norman surnames like Palmer are characterized by many spelling variations. Scribes and monks in the Middle Ages spelled names they sounded, so it is common to find several variations that refer to a single person. As the English language changed and incorporated elements of other European languages such as Norman French and Latin, even literate people regularly changed the spelling of their names. The variations of the name Palmer include Palmer, Pallmer, Parmer and others.

First found in Yorkshire where they held a family seat from early times and their first records appeared on the early census rolls taken by the early Kings of Britain to determine the rate of taxation of their subjects.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Palmer research. Another 219 words(16 lines of text) covering the years 1090, 1634, 1705, 1735, 1731, 1735, 1872 and are included under the topic Early Palmer History in all our PDF Extended History products.


Another 129 words(9 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Palmer Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.


Some of the Palmer family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 199 words(14 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.


Faced with the chaos present in England at that time, many English families looked towards the open frontiers of the New World with its opportunities to escape oppression and starvation. People migrated to North America, as well as Australia and Ireland in droves, paying exorbitant rates for passages in cramped, unsafe ships. Many of the settlers did not make the long passage alive, but those who did see the shores of North America were welcomed with great opportunity. Many of the families that came from England went on to make essential contributions to the emerging nations of Canada and the United States. Some of the first immigrants to cross the Atlantic and come to North America carried the name Palmer, or a variant listed above:

Palmer Settlers in the United States in the 17th Century

  • William Palmer, who arrived in Plymouth in 1621 aboard the " Fortune"
  • Daniel Palmer, who arrived in Virginia in 1621
  • Frances Palmer, who arrived in Plymouth in 1623 aboard the "Anne and the Little James"
  • Frances Palmer, who arrived in Plymouth, Massachusetts in 1623
  • Joane Palmer, who landed in Virginia in 1624-1625

Palmer Settlers in the United States in the 18th Century

  • Eliza Palmer, who arrived in Virginia in 1702
  • Elizabeth Palmer, who landed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1706-1707
  • Isaac Palmer, who landed in Virginia in 1714
  • Mary Palmer, who landed in Virginia in 1718
  • Jacob Palmer, aged 26, landed in Pennsylvania in 1738

Palmer Settlers in the United States in the 19th Century

  • Esther Palmer, who landed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1816
  • James Palmer, who arrived in America in 1824
  • David Palmer, who landed in Washington County, Pennsylvania in 1826
  • Juan Palmer, aged 48, arrived in New Orleans, La in 1829
  • Andrew Palmer, aged 36, landed in New Orleans, La in 1836


  • John McAuley Palmer (1817-1900), American Civil War general and Governor of Illinois
  • Thomas Witherell Palmer (1830-1913), American Senator from Michigan
  • Daniel David Palmer (1845-1913), Canadian-born, American founder of chiropractic
  • General Bruce Palmer Jr. (1913-2000), acting Chief of Staff of the United States Army from July to October 1972
  • Vera Jayne Palmer (1933-1967), original name of Jayne Mansfield, American actress and one of the leading blonde sex symbols of the 1950s
  • Arnold Daniel "The King" Palmer (b. 1929), famous American Golfer who has won numerous PGA championships, winner of the PGA Tour Lifetime Achievement Award in 1998
  • Earl Cyril Palmer (1924-2008), American drummer and member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
  • Marlon Palmer, American NBA basketball player for the Colorado 14ers
  • Michael Palmer (b. 1945), American orchestral conductor
  • Lieutenant-General Charles Day Palmer (1902-1999), American Deputy Commander in Chief European Command (1959-1962)



  • Freeman-Palmer and Related Families by Mary Ann Palmer-Schrepfer.
  • A Genealogy of Palmers by Andrew Stillman.
  • Memoirs: With Histories of Pound-Murphy-Willingham-Palmer-Pitts Families by Jerome B. Pound.

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: Palma virtuti
Motto Translation: The palm is for virtue.


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  1. Hinde, Thomas Ed. The Domesday Book England's Heritage Then and Now. Surrey: Colour Library Books, 1995. Print. (ISBN 1-85833-440-3).
  2. Magnusson, Magnus. Chambers Biographical Dictionary 5th edition. Edinburgh: W & R Chambers, 1990. Print.
  3. Bullock, L.G. Historical Map of England and Wales. Edinburgh: Bartholomew and Son, 1971. Print.
  4. Colletta, John P. They Came In Ships. Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1993. 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. Foster, Joseph. Dictionary of Heraldry Feudal Coats of Arms and Pedigrees. London: Bracken Books, 1989. Print. (ISBN 1-85170-309-8).
  7. Samuelsen, W. David. New York City Passenger List Manifests Index 1820 - 1824. North Salt Lake, Utah: Accelerated Indexing Systems International, 1986. Print.
  8. Bradford, William. History of Plymouth Plantation 1620-1647 Edited by Samuel Eliot Morrison 2 Volumes. New York: Russell and Russell, 1968. Print.
  9. Dunkling, Leslie. Dictionary of Surnames. Toronto: Collins, 1998. Print. (ISBN 0004720598).
  10. Elster, Robert J. International Who's Who. London: Europa/Routledge. Print.
  11. ...

The Palmer Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Palmer 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 6 October 2014 at 10:30.

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