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

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

The ancestry of the name Townsend dates from the ancient Anglo-Saxon culture of Britain. It comes from when the family lived on the outskirts of a village. The surname Townsend literally refers to a dweller "at the town's end." The name belongs to the class of topographic surnames, which were given to people who resided near physical features such as hills, streams, churches, or types of trees.


Spelling variations in names were a common occurrence before English spelling was standardized a few hundred years ago. In the Middle Ages, even the literate spelled their names differently as the English language incorporated elements of French, Latin, and other European languages. Many variations of the name Townsend have been found, including Townsend, Townshend and others.

First found in Norfolk where they held a family seat as Lords of the manor of Snoring Magna from ancient times.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Townsend research. Another 165 words(12 lines of text) covering the years 1350, 1390, 1430, 1493, 1486, 1568, 1603, 1603, 1596, 1637, 1630, 1687, 1682, 1608, 1668, 1630, 1618, 1692, 1674, 1738, 1619 and are included under the topic Early Townsend History in all our PDF Extended History products.


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


Some of the Townsend family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 107 words(8 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.


Families began migrating abroad in enormous numbers because of the political and religious discontent in England. Often faced with persecution and starvation in England, the possibilities of the New World attracted many English people. Although the ocean trips took many lives, those who did get to North America were instrumental in building the necessary groundwork for what would become for new powerful nations. Some of the first immigrants to cross the Atlantic and come to North America bore the name Townsend, or a variant listed above:

Townsend Settlers in the United States in the 17th Century

  • William Townsend settled in Boston Massachusetts in 1630
  • Henry Townsend (16261695), English settler to Flushing about 1630
  • John Townsend (ca. 16081668) English settler to America with his brother Henry about 1630, signatory to the Flushing Remonstrance
  • Martin Townsend, who arrived in Watertown, Massachusetts in 1634
  • Francis Townsend, aged 21, arrived in Virginia in 1635

Townsend Settlers in the United States in the 18th Century

  • Anne Townsend, who landed in Virginia in 1702
  • Robt Townsend, who arrived in Virginia in 1704
  • Benoni Townsend, who landed in New England in 1717
  • Edward Townsend, who landed in Georgia in 1738
  • Mary Townsend, who landed in Georgia in 1740

Townsend Settlers in the United States in the 19th Century

  • Daniel Townsend, who arrived in Pennsylvania in 1863


  • Francis Everett Townsend (1867-1960), American reformer, leader of an old-age pension movement
  • Robert Townsend (b. 1920), American business executive
  • Anna Townsend (1845-1923), American silent film actress
  • Charles E. Townsend (1856-1924), American politician, U.S. Representative Senator from Michigan
  • Charles Townsend, American fencer and Olympic silver medalist
  • John Townsend (b. 1956), American psychologist and author
  • Henry Townsend (1909-2006), American blues singer, guitarist and pianist
  • Charles Henry Tyler Townsend (1863-1944), American entomologist and biologist
  • Kathleen Hartington Kennedy Townsend (1951-1995), American attorney who was the sixth Lieutenant Governor of Maryland from 1995 to 2003
  • Fitzhugh Townsend (d. 1906), American Olympic sliver medalist for fencing at the 1904 games



  • Allen Townsend of Madison County, Florida: A Genealogy by Joseph T. Burval.
  • Master Craftsman of Newport: The Townsends and Goddards by Michael Moses.
  • I'm Claiming the Promise: A History and Genealogy of the Wm. Henry and Edith Stratton Family by David C. Stratton.

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  1. Burke, Sir Bernard. Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Peerage and Baronetage, The Privy Council, Knightage and Compainonage. London: Burke Publishing, 1921. Print.
  2. 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).
  3. Reaney P.H and R.M. Wilson. A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X).
  4. 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.
  5. Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at Galveston Texas 1896-1951. National Archives Washington DC. Print.
  6. Chadwick, Nora Kershaw and J.X.W.P Corcoran. The Celts. London: Penguin, 1790. Print. (ISBN 0140212116).
  7. Bardsley, C.W. A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6).
  8. Mills, A.D. Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4).
  9. Foster, Joseph. Dictionary of Heraldry Feudal Coats of Arms and Pedigrees. London: Bracken Books, 1989. Print. (ISBN 1-85170-309-8).
  10. Magnusson, Magnus. Chambers Biographical Dictionary 5th edition. Edinburgh: W & R Chambers, 1990. Print.
  11. ...

The Townsend Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Townsend 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 30 July 2014 at 04:24.

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