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

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

The distinguished surname Webster emerged among the industrious people of Flanders, which was an important trading partner and political ally of Britain during the Middle Ages. As a result of the frequent commercial intercourse between the Flemish and English nations, many Flemish migrants settled in Britain. In early times, people were known by only a single name. However, as the population grew and people traveled further afield, it became increasingly necessary to assume an additional name to differentiate between bearers of the same personal name. Occupational surnames were derived from the common trades of the medieval era. The surname Webster is an occupational name for a weaver of cloth. The surname Webster is derived from the Old English word webbestre, which originally meant female weaver. Nevertheless, this name came to commonly refer to male weavers in later times.


Flemish surnames are characterized by a large number of spelling variations. One reason for this is that medieval English lacked definite spelling rules. The spellings of surnames were also influenced by the official court languages, which were French and Latin. Names were rarely spelled consistently in medieval times. Scribes and church officials recorded names as they sounded, rather than adhering to specific spelling rules, and people often had their names registered in several different forms throughout their lives. One of the greatest reasons for change is the linguistic uniqueness of the Flemish settlers in England, who spoke a language closely related to Dutch. The pronunciation and spelling of Flemish names were often altered to suit the tastes of English-speaking people. In many cases, the first, final, or middle syllables of surnames were eliminated. The name has been spelled Webster, Webstere and others.

First found in Derbyshire where they held considerable estates at Balsover from about the 13th century.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Webster research. Another 159 words(11 lines of text) covering the years 1250, 1610 and 1682 are included under the topic Early Webster History in all our PDF Extended History products.


Another 55 words(4 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Webster Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.


Some of the Webster family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 131 words(9 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.


Investigation of immigration and passenger lists has revealed a number of people bearing the name Webster:

Webster Settlers in the United States in the 17th Century

  • Roger Webster, his wife Joanne, settled in Virginia in 1623
  • Roger Webster, who arrived in Virginia in 1623
  • John Webster arrived in Connecticut in 1630
  • John Webster, who landed in Ipswich, Massachusetts in 1634
  • Ralph Webster, aged 20, landed in Barbados in 1635

Webster Settlers in the United States in the 18th Century

  • Margaret Webster, who landed in Virginia in 1703

Webster Settlers in the United States in the 19th Century

  • Robert Webster, aged 27, landed in New York in 1812
  • Isaac Webster, who arrived in New York in 1822
  • Frederick L Webster, who arrived in Savanna(h), Georgia in 1829
  • Richard Webster, who arrived in New York in 1830
  • Joseph Henry Webster, aged 25, landed in St Louis, Missouri in 1844


  • Daniel Webster (1782-1852), American statesman, member of the United States Senate from Massachusetts, and United States Secretary of State in the 19th century
  • Arthur Gordon Webster (1863-1923), American physicist and founder of the American Physical Society
  • Private First Class David Kenyon Webster (1922-1961), American soldier, journalist, and author portrayed in the HBO miniseries Band of Brothers by Eion Bailey
  • John G. Webster, American electrical engineer and a founding pioneer in the field of biomedical engineering
  • William Hedgcock Webster (b. 1924), Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) from 1978 to 1987, Director of Central Intelligence from 1987 to 1991, and Chairman of the Homeland Security Advisory Council (2006-)
  • Ben Webster (1909-1973), influential American jazz musician
  • Nicholas Webster (1912-2006), American film and television director
  • Howard Webster (1925-2013), American world champion steer roper, inducted into PRCA Hall of Fame and National Cowboy Hall of Fame
  • Patti Webster (1964-2013), American entertainment publicist and author who represented notable recording artists, athletes, and actors, including Janet Jackson, Alicia Keys, Usher, Halle Berry, Chris Paul and Holly Robinson Peete
  • George Amon Webster (1945-2013), American baritone vocalist and the pianist with the Cathedral Quartet (1969-1971)



  • The Family of William Webster of Rhode Island: A Genealogical History by Leo H. Garman.
  • Indian Hollow Road: A 19th Century American Family, Their Letters, Their Story By Jo Anne Meade Webster.
  • A Webster Genealogy By Myrna V. Sandwall.

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: Fides et justitia
Motto Translation: Faith and justice.


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  1. Bede, The Venerable. Historia Ecclesiatica Gentis Anglorum (The Ecclesiastical History Of the English People). Available through Internet Medieval Sourcebook the Fordham University Centre for Medieval Studies. Print.
  2. Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds. Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8).
  3. Egle, William Henry. Pennsylvania Genealogies Scotch-Irish and German. Harrisburg: L.S. Hart, 1886. Print.
  4. Ingram, Rev. James. Translator Anglo-Saxon Chronicle 1823. 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. Virkus, Frederick A. Ed. Immigrant Ancestors A List of 2,500 Immigrants to America Before 1750. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1964. Print.
  7. Foster, Joseph. Dictionary of Heraldry Feudal Coats of Arms and Pedigrees. London: Bracken Books, 1989. Print. (ISBN 1-85170-309-8).
  8. 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.
  9. Magnusson, Magnus. Chambers Biographical Dictionary 5th edition. Edinburgh: W & R Chambers, 1990. Print.
  10. Skordas, Guest. Ed. The Early Settlers of Maryland an Index to Names or Immigrants Complied from Records of Land Patents 1633-1680 in the Hall of Records Annapolis, Maryland. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1968. Print.
  11. ...

The Webster Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Webster 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 1 October 2014 at 07:45.

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