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

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

The origins of the Farnum name lie with England's ancient Anglo-Saxon culture. It comes from when the family lived at Farnham, in several different counties including Buckinghamshire, Dorset, Essex, Suffolk, and the West Riding of Yorkshire. They were derived from pre-existing names for towns, villages, parishes, or farmsteads. In this case the surname Farnum was originally derived from the Old English words fearn + hamm which means a fern-covered homestead or property.

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Before the last few hundred years, the English language had no fast system of spelling rules. For that reason, spelling variations are commonly found in early Anglo-Saxon surnames. Over the years, many variations of the name Farnum were recorded, including Farnham, Farnhams, Farnhan, Fearnham, Farneham and others.

First found in one of the many villages names Farnham throughout England in the following counties or shires: Dorset, Essex, North Yorkshire, Suffolk, and Surrey. Farnham Common and Farnham Royal are located in Buckinghamshire. [1] The name has numerous listings in the Domesday Book with various spellings that were in use at the time: Fernham, Dorset; Phernham Essex; Fareham North Yorkshire; Farnham, Suffolk; and Fernham Surrey. Farnham Royal was listed as Fernham Riall. [2]


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Farnum research. Another 274 words(20 lines of text) covering the years 1290, 1312, 1483, and 1753 are included under the topic Early Farnum History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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

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Some of the Farnum family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 139 words(10 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.

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To escape oppression and starvation at that time, many English families left for the "open frontiers" of the New World with all its perceived opportunities. In droves people migrated to the many British colonies, those in North America in particular, paying high rates for passages in cramped, unsafe ships. Although many of the settlers did not make the long passage alive, those who did see the shores of North America perceived great opportunities before them. Many of the families that came from England went on to make essential contributions to the emerging nations of Canada and the United States. Research into various historical records revealed some of first members of the Farnum family emigrate to North America:

Farnum Settlers in the United States in the 17th Century


  • John Farnum, who landed in New England in 1640
  • Henry Farnum, who arrived in New England in 1644

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  • Billie Sunday Farnum (1916-1979), U.S. Representative and labor leader from Michigan
  • Dustin Farnum (1874-1929), American singer, dancer and silent movie actor
  • Ethan Bennett "E. B." Farnum (1826-1878), American politician, first mayor of Deadwood, South Dakota
  • Franklyn Farnum (1878-1961), stage name of William Smith, American character actor
  • Royal Bailey Farnum (1884-1967), former President of the Rochester Institute of Technology
  • William Farnum (1876-1953), Hollywood film actor


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  1. ^ Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds., Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8)
  2. ^ Mills, A.D., Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4)

Other References

  1. Virkus, Frederick A. Ed. Immigrant Ancestors A List of 2,500 Immigrants to America Before 1750. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1964. Print.
  2. Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at Galveston Texas 1896-1951. National Archives Washington DC. Print.
  3. Cook, Chris. English Historical Facts 1603-1688. London: MacMillan, 1980. Print.
  4. Bradford, William. History of Plymouth Plantation 1620-1647 Edited by Samuel Eliot Morrison 2 Volumes. New York: Russell and Russell, 1968. 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. Hitching, F.K and S. Hitching. References to English Surnames in 1601-1602. Walton On Thames: 1910. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0181-3).
  7. Elster, Robert J. International Who's Who. London: Europa/Routledge. Print.
  8. Mills, A.D. Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4).
  9. 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).
  10. Foster, Joseph. Dictionary of Heraldry Feudal Coats of Arms and Pedigrees. London: Bracken Books, 1989. Print. (ISBN 1-85170-309-8).
  11. ...

The Farnum Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Farnum 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 January 2014 at 10:53.

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