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

Origins Available: Borderlands, English, Irish

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

The earliest origins of the name Adams date back to the time of the Anglo-Saxons. The name is derived from the given name Adam, which is itself derived from the Latin name Adamus which means earth.


Until quite recently, the English language has lacked a definite system of spelling rules. Consequently, Anglo-Saxon surnames are characterized by a multitude of spelling variations. Changes in Anglo-Saxon names were influenced by the evolution of the English language, as it incorporated elements of French, Latin, and other languages. Although Medieval scribes and church officials recorded names as they sounded, so it is common to find one person referred to by several different spellings of his surname, even the most literate people varied the spelling of their own names. Variations of the name Adams include Adam, Adams, MacAdam, MacAdams, MacCaw and others.

First found in Annandale where they held a family seat at Kynemund.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Adams research. Another 371 words(26 lines of text) covering the years 1189, 1329, 1460, 1281, 1327, 1891, 1585, 1661, 1656, 1586, 1667, 1654, 1655, 1656, 1658, 1626, 1698, 1651, 1719, 1685, 1719, 1695, 1697, 1689, 1748, 1662, 1720, 1712, 1720 and are included under the topic Early Adams History in all our PDF Extended History products.


Another 191 words(14 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Adams Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.


Some of the Adams family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 201 words(14 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.


Searching for a better life, many English families migrated to British colonies. Unfortunately, the majority of them traveled under extremely harsh conditions: overcrowding on the ships caused the majority of the immigrants to arrive diseased, famished, and destitute from the long journey across the ocean. For those families that arrived safely, modest prosperity was attainable, and many went on to make invaluable contributions to the development of the cultures of the new colonies. Research into the origins of individual families in North America revealed records of the immigration of a number of people bearing the name Adams or a variant listed above:

Adams Settlers in the United States in the 17th Century

  • Captain Adams, who landed in Virginia in 1609
  • Mr. Adams, who arrived in Jamestown, Va in 1624
  • Dorothe Adams, aged 24, landed in New England in 1635
  • Dorothie Adams, aged 24, arrived in America in 1635
  • Dorothy A Adams, who arrived in New England in 1635

Adams Settlers in the United States in the 18th Century

  • Anne Adams, who landed in Virginia in 1705
  • Ebenezer Adams, who landed in Virginia in 1714
  • Benjamin Adams, who arrived in Georgia in 1738
  • Anthony Adams, who landed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1745
  • Samuel Adams, who landed in Long Island in 1750

Adams Settlers in the United States in the 19th Century

  • Thomas Adams, who landed in America in 1802
  • Archebald Adams, aged 12, arrived in New York, NY in 1804
  • John Adams, aged 15, landed in New York, NY in 1804
  • Mary Adams, aged 10, landed in New York, NY in 1804
  • Charles L Adams, aged 22, landed in North Carolina in 1812


  • Charles Francis Adams Jr. (1835-1915), American lawyer, railroad expert and historian, President of Union Pacific 1884-90
  • Ansel Easton Adams (1902-1984), American photographer and environmentalist, best known for his black-and-white photographs of the American West and recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom
  • Charles Kendall Adams (1835-1902), American educator, president of Cornell University (1885-1892)
  • President John Quincy Adams (1767-1848), American politician, 6th US President
  • Herbert Baxter Adams (1850-1901), American historian and educator
  • Walter Sydney Adams (1876-1956), American astronomer
  • Rex Adams (b. 1941), American Rhodes Scholar and former professor and dean at Duke University
  • Staff Sergeant Lucian Adams (1922-2003), American soldier awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor in 1944
  • Don Adams (1923-2005), triple Emmy Award-winning American actor, comedian, and director best known as Maxwell Smart (Agent 86) in the TV situation comedy Get Smart
  • Edie Adams (1927-2008), American singer, stage, television, and film actress and comedienne



  • Adams Family Records: A Genealogical and Biographical History of All Branches of the Adams Family by J. T. Adams.
  • Adams, an American Dynasty by Francis Russell.

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  1. Library of Congress. American and English Genealogies in the Library of Congress. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1967. Print.
  2. Mills, A.D. Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4).
  3. Colletta, John P. They Came In Ships. Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1993. Print.
  4. Cook, Chris. English Historical Facts 1603-1688. London: MacMillan, 1980. Print.
  5. Browning, Charles H. Americans of Royal Descent. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  6. Foster, Joseph. Dictionary of Heraldry Feudal Coats of Arms and Pedigrees. London: Bracken Books, 1989. Print. (ISBN 1-85170-309-8).
  7. 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).
  8. Burke, John Bernard Ed. The Roll of Battle Abbey. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  9. Humble, Richard. The Fall of Saxon England. New York: Barnes and Noble, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-88029-987-8).
  10. Holt, J.C. Ed. Domesday Studies. Woodbridge: Boydell, 1987. Print. (ISBN 0-85115-477-8).
  11. ...

The Adams Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Adams 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 27 August 2014 at 20:01.

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