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

Origins Available: English, Scottish

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

The ancient roots of the Maxwell family name are in the Anglo-Saxon culture. The name Maxwell comes from when the family lived in or near Maxwell, a salmon pool located on the Tweed river near Kelso Bridge. The surname Maxwell belongs to the large category of Anglo-Saxon habitation names, which are derived from pre-existing names for towns, villages, parishes, or farmsteads.


One relatively recent invention that did much to standardize English spelling was the printing press. However, before its invention even the most literate people recorded their names according to sound rather than spelling. The spelling variations under which the name Maxwell has appeared include Maxwell, Maxweel, Makeswell, Makiswell, Maxuel, Maxwaile, Maxwale and many more.

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


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Maxwell research. Another 381 words(27 lines of text) covering the years 1156, 1203, 1231, 1296, 1320, 1797 and are included under the topic Early Maxwell History in all our PDF Extended History products.


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


Some of the Maxwell family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 149 words(11 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.


At this time, the shores of the New World beckoned many English families that felt that the social climate in England was oppressive and lacked opportunity for change. Thousands left England at great expense in ships that were overcrowded and full of disease. A great portion of these settlers never survived the journey and even a greater number arrived sick, starving, and without a penny. The survivors, however, were often greeted with greater opportunity than they could have experienced back home. These English settlers made significant contributions to those colonies that would eventually become the United States and Canada. An examination of early immigration records and passenger ship lists revealed that people bearing the name Maxwell arrived in North America very early:

Maxwell Settlers in the United States in the 17th Century

  • Marie Maxwell, aged 21, landed in St Christopher in 1635
  • Alexander Maxwell, who came to Boston in 1650
  • Daniel Maxwell, who settled in Boston in 1652
  • James Maxwell, who settled in Maryland in 1658
  • Mary Maxwell, who arrived in Maryland in 1659

Maxwell Settlers in the United States in the 18th Century

  • Elizabeth Maxwell, who arrived in Philadelphia in 1718
  • Hugh Maxwell, who arrived in Massachusetts in 1733
  • Alexander Maxwell, who landed in Virginia in 1740
  • John Maxwell, who landed in Augusta County, Va in 1740
  • Adam Maxwell, a Jacobite prisoner sent to America in 1747

Maxwell Settlers in the United States in the 19th Century

  • James Maxwell, aged 20, arrived in Boston, Massachusetts in 1804
  • Margaret Maxwell, who arrived in New York, NY in 1815
  • Isabella Maxwell, who landed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1816
  • Eleanor Maxwell, aged 28, landed in Mobile, Ala in 1820-1873
  • Eliza Graham Maxwell, who landed in New York in 1830


  • Technician Fifth Grade Robert D Maxwell, American soldier awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor in 1944
  • David Farrow Maxwell (1900-1985), eightieth president of the American Bar Association
  • Hamish Maxwell (1927-2014), American consumer products executive, CEO and Chairman of Philip Morris (1984-1991)
  • Mr. John Maxwell (d. 1912), aged 31, English Carpenter/Joiner from Southampton, Hampshire who worked aboard the RMS Titanic and died in the sinking
  • Brian Leigh Maxwell (1953-2004), Canadian athlete, track coach, entrepreneur and philanthropist, was the founder of PowerBar (energy and nutritional bar)
  • Gavin Maxwell (1914-1969), Scottish naturalist and author
  • Ian Robert Maxwell (1923-1991), Czechoslovakian-born (Ján Ludvík Hoch) British media proprietor and Member of Parliament
  • Lois Maxwell (1927-2007), Canadian born actress, best known for her role as Miss Moneypenny in 14 James Bond movies between 1962 and 1985
  • Stewart Maxwell (b. 1963), Member of the Scottish Parliament
  • William Hamilton Maxwell (1792-1850), Scottish/Irish novelist



  • Ancestors by William Maxwell.
  • Brandenburg-Maxwell, Brazelton-Lamb, Mitchell-Drake, Sanders-Killen by Sarah G. Sitz.

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: Reviresco
Motto Translation: I flourish again.


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  1. Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at Galveston Texas 1896-1951. National Archives Washington DC. Print.
  2. Cook, Chris. English Historical Facts 1603-1688. London: MacMillan, 1980. Print.
  3. Hanks, Hodges, Mills and Room. The Oxford Names Companion. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002. Print. (ISBN 0-19-860561-7).
  4. Bowman, George Ernest. The Mayflower Reader A Selection of Articales from The Mayflower Descendent. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  5. 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.
  6. Robb H. Amanda and Andrew Chesler. Encyclopedia of American Family Names. New York: Haper Collins, 1995. Print. (ISBN 0-06-270075-8).
  7. Thirsk, Joan. The Agrarian History of England and Wales. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press: 7 Volumes. Print.
  8. Shaw, William A. Knights of England A Complete Record from the Earliest Time to the Present Day of the Knights of all the Orders of Chivalry in England, Scotland, Ireland and Knights Bachelors 2 Volumes. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print. (ISBN 080630443X).
  9. Humble, Richard. The Fall of Saxon England. New York: Barnes and Noble, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-88029-987-8).
  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 Maxwell Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Maxwell 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 23 April 2014 at 12:36.

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