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

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

The name Needham is part of the ancient legacy of the Anglo-Saxon tribes of Britain. It is a product of when the family lived in one of the places called Needham in the counties of Derbyshire, Norfolk and Suffolk. The surname Needham belongs to the large category of Anglo-Saxon habitation names, which are derived from pre-existing names for towns, villages, parishes, or farmsteads.

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The first dictionaries that appeared in the last few hundred years did much to standardize the English language. Before that time, spelling variations in names were a common occurrence. The language was changing, incorporating pieces of other languages, and the spelling of names changed with it. Needham has been spelled many different ways, including Needham, Nedham and others.

First found in Derbyshire 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.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Needham research. Another 243 words(17 lines of text) covering the years 1620, 1625, 1631, and 1678 are included under the topic Early Needham History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Another 45 words(3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Needham Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Some of the Needham family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 119 words(8 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Thousands of English families in this era began to emigrate the New World in search of land and freedom from religious and political persecution. Although the passage was expensive and the ships were dark, crowded, and unsafe, those who made the voyage safely were rewarded with opportunities unavailable to them in their homeland. Research into passenger and immigration lists has revealed some of the very first Needhams to arrive in North America:

Needham Settlers in the United States in the 17th Century


  • Anne Needham and her husband Edmund, who came to Salem in 1630
  • Thomas Needham, who arrived in Virginia in 1635
  • Tho Needham, aged 13, landed in Virginia in 1635
  • Edward Needham, who arrived in Lynn, Massachusetts in 1639
  • Nicholas Needham, who arrived in New England in 1639


Needham Settlers in the United States in the 18th Century


  • Wm Needham, who arrived in Virginia in 1714

Needham Settlers in the United States in the 19th Century


  • John Needham, who landed in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1806
  • Catherine Needham, who landed in New York, NY in 1811
  • D Needham, who landed in San Francisco, California in 1851
  • Austin, Patrick, Samuel, and William Needham, who all arrived in Philadelphia between 1840 and 1860

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  • James Carson Needham (1864-1942), American politician, U.S. Representative from California
  • Hal Needham (1931-2013), American film director, actor, and writer, recipient of the Governors Award by the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences in 2012, who wrote the screenplay Smokey and the Bandit
  • Sir Richard Francis Needham (b. 1942), English politician, 6th Earl of Kilmorey
  • Francis Needham (1748-1832), English army General, and member of Parliament, created the 1st Earl of Kilmorey in 1822
  • Samuel Needham (1885-1918), English soldier, recipient of the Victoria Cross for deeds in WWI
  • Joseph Needham (1900-1995), English historian and scientist
  • Richard J. Needham (1912-1996), Canadian writer


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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: Nunc aut nunquam
Motto Translation: Now or never.

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  1. 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).
  2. Egle, William Henry. Pennsylvania Genealogies Scotch-Irish and German. Harrisburg: L.S. Hart, 1886. Print.
  3. Crozier, William Armstrong Edition. Crozier's General Armory A Registry of American Families Entitled to Coat Armor. New York: Fox, Duffield, 1904. Print.
  4. Bolton, Charles Knowles. Bolton's American Armory. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1964. Print.
  5. Shirley, Evelyn Philip. Noble and Gentle Men of England Or Notes Touching The Arms and Descendants of the Ancient Knightley and Gentle Houses of England Arranged in their Respective Counties 3rd Edition. Westminster: John Bowyer Nichols and Sons, 1866. Print.
  6. Humble, Richard. The Fall of Saxon England. New York: Barnes and Noble, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-88029-987-8).
  7. Dunkling, Leslie. Dictionary of Surnames. Toronto: Collins, 1998. Print. (ISBN 0004720598).
  8. Marcharn, Frederick George. A Constitutional History of Modern England 1485 to the Present. London: Harper and Brothers, 1960. Print.
  9. 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.
  10. Robb H. Amanda and Andrew Chesler. Encyclopedia of American Family Names. New York: Haper Collins, 1995. Print. (ISBN 0-06-270075-8).
  11. ...

The Needham Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Needham 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 July 2014 at 19:36.

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