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

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


It is only in the last few hundred years that the English language has been standardized. For that reason, early Anglo-Saxon surnames like Elam are characterized by many spelling variations. As the English language changed and incorporated elements of other European languages, even literate people changed the spelling of their names. 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. The variations of the name Elam include: Elam, Ellam, Ellams, Ellum, Elham, Elhame, Eleam, Elleam, Elums, Elames and many more.

First found in Lancashire where they held a family seat as Lords of the Manor. The Saxon influence of English history diminished after the Battle of Hastings in 1066. The language of the courts was French for the next three centuries and the Norman ambience prevailed. But Saxon surnames survived and the family name was first referenced in the year 1231 when John Ellam held estates in that shire.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Elam research. Another 249 words(18 lines of text) covering the years 1324, 1455 and 1487 are included under the topic Early Elam History in all our PDF Extended History products.


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


Many English families tired of political and religious strife left Britain for the new colonies in North America. Although the trip itself offered no relief - conditions on the ships were extremely cramped, and many travelers arrived diseased, starving, and destitute - these immigrants believed the opportunities that awaited them were worth the risks. Once in the colonies, many of the families did indeed prosper and, in turn, made significant contributions to the culture and economies of the growing colonies. An inquiry into the early roots of North American families has revealed a number of immigrants bearing the name Elam or a variant listed above:

Elam Settlers in the United States in the 17th Century

  • Robert Elam, who arrived in Virginia in 1638
  • Ann Elam, who landed in Virginia in 1652
  • Ann Elam, who came to Virginia in 1652
  • Sarah Elam, who arrived in Virginia in 1695

Elam Settlers in the United States in the 18th Century

  • Jos Elam, who arrived in Virginia in 1785
  • Samuel Elam, who landed in Rhode Island in 1789
  • Joseph Elam, who settled in Philadelphia in 1794

Elam Settlers in the United States in the 19th Century

  • M. Elam, who came to San Francisco in 1851
  • Mrs. M Elam, who landed in San Francisco, California in 1851
  • Mrs. A Elam, who arrived in San Francisco, California in 1851
  • Isaac Elam, who arrived in Illinois in 1884
  • Chas. H. Elam, who arrived in Kansas in 1895


  • James Otis Elam (1918-1995), American respiratory researcher awarded the United States Army Certificate of Achievement, and the Albion O. Bernstein Award
  • Jason "The Boot" Elam (b. 1970), American football placekicker with the Denver Broncos from Fort Walton Beach Florida
  • Katrina Ruth Elam (b. 1983), American Country and Western singer
  • William Scott "Jack" Elam (1916-2003), American movie actor, best known for his roles in Once Upon A Time In The West, High Noon and the television program, The Twilight Zone
  • Abram "Abe" Elam (b. 1981), American NFL football safety
  • Joseph Barton Elam Sr., (1821-1885), American politician, Member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Louisiana (1877-1881), Speaker of the Louisiana House of Representatives (1862-1864)
  • Matthew D. "Matt" Elam (b. 1991), American NFL football safety for the Baltimore Ravens
  • Charles Wheaton Elam Sr., (1866-1917), American politician, Member of the Louisiana House of Representatives (1982-1986)
  • Joseph Barton Elam Jr., (1878-1935), American politician, businessman, and journalist, Mayor of Mansfield, DeSoto Parish, Louisiana (1914-1920)
  • Keith Edward Elam (1961-2010), known by his stage name Guru, an American rapper



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: Nec Sperno Nec Timeo
Motto Translation: I neither despise nor fear.



  1. Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin . Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8).
  2. Hanks, Patricia and Flavia Hodges. A Dictionary of Surnames. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988. Print. (ISBN 0-19-211592-8).
  3. Samuelsen, W. David. New York City Passenger List Manifests Index 1820 - 1824. North Salt Lake, Utah: Accelerated Indexing Systems International, 1986. Print.
  4. Egle, William Henry. Pennsylvania Genealogies Scotch-Irish and German. Harrisburg: L.S. Hart, 1886. Print.
  5. MacAulay, Thomas Babington. History of England from the Accession of James the Second 4 volumes. New York: Harper and Brothers, 1879. Print.
  6. Burke, Sir Bernard. Burke's Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Landed Gentry: Including American Families with British Ancestry. (2 Volumes). London: Burke Publishing, 1939. Print.
  7. Burke, John Bernard Ed. The Roll of Battle Abbey. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  8. Hinde, Thomas Ed. The Domesday Book England's Heritage Then and Now. Surrey: Colour Library Books, 1995. Print. (ISBN 1-85833-440-3).
  9. Elster, Robert J. International Who's Who. London: Europa/Routledge. Print.
  10. 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).
  11. ...

The Elam Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Elam 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 29 September 2014 at 10:15.

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