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

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

The distinguished surname De'ath 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. The manner in which hereditary surnames arose is interesting. Local surnames are derived from where the original bearer lived, was born, or held land. Flemish surnames of this type frequently are prefixed by de la or de le, which mean of the or from the. The De'ath family originally lived in the town of Ath in Belgium. There it would have been rendered D'Ath, or De Ath, meaning from Ath. It was also occasionally an occupational name for a gatherer or seller of kindling. In this case, the name is derived from the Old English word dethe, which in turn is derived from the Old English word dyth, which means fuel or tinder. Occupational names frequently were derived from the principal object associated with the activity of the original bearer, such as tools or products. These types of occupational surnames are called metonymic surnames.

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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 Daeth, D'Aeth, D'Eath, Death, Darth, Dath and others.

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


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our De'ath research. Another 148 words(11 lines of text) covering the years 1196 and 1327 are included under the topic Early De'ath History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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More information is included under the topic Early De'ath Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Early North American immigration records have revealed a number of people bearing the name De'ath or a variant listed above:

De'ath Settlers in the United States in the 17th Century


  • Elizabeth Death, who came to Virginia in 1635
  • Elizabeth Death, aged 3, landed in Virginia in 1635
  • Peter Death, who arrived in Virginia in 1637
  • Rich Death, who landed in Virginia in 1641
  • Susan Death, who arrived in Virginia in 1641


De'ath Settlers in the United States in the 20th Century


  • Daniel Death, aged 27, who landed in America from Croydon, England, in 1904
  • Robert James Death, aged 27, who emigrated to America from Beaumaris, England, in 1904
  • Robert James Death, aged 29, who landed in America from Colchester, England, in 1905
  • James Death, aged 31, who settled in America from London, in 1906
  • Leslie Stephen Death, aged 18, who landed in America from London, England, in 1911


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  • Stephen Victor "Steve" Death (1949-2003), English football goalkeeper
  • Jason Death (b. 1971), Australian former rugby league footballer


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  1. Mills, A.D. Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4).
  2. The Norman People and Their Existing Descendants in the British Dominions and the United States Of America. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0636-X).
  3. Browning, Charles H. Americans of Royal Descent. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  4. Bowman, George Ernest. The Mayflower Reader A Selection of Articales from The Mayflower Descendent. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  5. Crispin, M. Jackson and Leonce Mary. Falaise Roll Recording Prominent Companions of William Duke of Normandy at the Conquest of England. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  6. Colletta, John P. They Came In Ships. Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1993. Print.
  7. Papworth, J.W and A.W Morant. Ordinary of British Armorials. London: T.Richards, 1874. Print.
  8. Reaney P.H and R.M. Wilson. A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X).
  9. Innes, Thomas and Learney. The Tartans of the Clans and Families of Scotland 1st Edition. Edinburgh: W & A. K. Johnston Limited, 1938. Print.
  10. Hanks, Hodges, Mills and Room. The Oxford Names Companion. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002. Print. (ISBN 0-19-860561-7).
  11. ...

The De'ath Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The De'ath 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 15 April 2014 at 10:25.

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