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

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

The name Oldham first arose amongst the Anglo-Saxon tribes of Britain. It is derived from their having lived in Oldham, in Lancashire. This was a town near the city of Manchester; it has since been absorbed by that city. The place-name Oldham is derived from the Old English elements old, which means old, and ham, which means farm. The place-name therefore translates as "the old farm." Alternatively, it would appear that the place-name also appeared as a personal name; the surname could be derived from this personal name, making it a patronymic name. However, the etymology of the name remains the same regardless of the actual process by which this surname arose.

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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 Oldham has appeared include Oldham, Oldum, Oldan, Oldhams and others.

First found in Lancashire 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 Oldham research. Another 207 words(15 lines of text) covering the years 1486, 1480, 1505, 1486, 1480, 1452, 1519, 1653 and 1683 are included under the topic Early Oldham History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Another 77 words(6 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Oldham Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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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 Oldham arrived in North America very early:

Oldham Settlers in the United States in the 17th Century


  • John Oldham (c. 1600-1636) who emigrated to Plymouth in 1623, was involved in establishing the unsuccessful settlement on Cape Ann (1626), and was murdered by the Pequot in an event leading to the Pequot War (1637)
  • Margaret Oldham, who landed in America in 1620
  • James Oldham, who landed in Plymouth, Massachusetts in 1623
  • John Oldham, who landed in Plymouth, Massachusetts in 1623
  • Lucretia Oldham, who arrived in Plymouth, Massachusetts in 1623


Oldham Settlers in the United States in the 19th Century


  • Charles, George, Hugh, James, John, Robert, and William Oldham all arrived in Philadelphia between 1840 and 1860
  • Alice Oldham, aged 22, arrived in New York in 1864
  • Eliza Oldham, aged 6, landed in New York in 1864
  • Ellen Oldham, aged 16, arrived in New York in 1864
  • Maria Oldham, aged 47, arrived in New York in 1864


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  • James C Oldham, Professor of Law and Legal History at Georgetown University
  • Denver Oldham (b. 1936), American pianist, a Steinway artist
  • George Ashton Oldham (1877-1963), American religious leader
  • John Oldham (b. 1932), American baseball player
  • John Oldham (b. 1923), American basketball coach and player
  • Scott Oldham (b. 1969), American journalist
  • William Fitzjames Oldham (1854-1937), British-American bishop
  • Dewey Lindon "Spooner" Oldham (b. 1943), American songwriter and session musician
  • Christopher Martin Oldham (b. 1968), American former NFL football cornerback
  • Donnie Ray Oldham (1951-2005), American NFL football defensive back

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  • My Mother Nancy and Her Oldhams by Jessye Ann High.
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  1. Holt, J.C. Ed. Domesday Studies. Woodbridge: Boydell, 1987. Print. (ISBN 0-85115-477-8).
  2. Samuelsen, W. David. New York City Passenger List Manifests Index 1820 - 1824. North Salt Lake, Utah: Accelerated Indexing Systems International, 1986. Print.
  3. Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at Galveston Texas 1896-1951. National Archives Washington DC. Print.
  4. Burke, John Bernard Ed. The Roll of Battle Abbey. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  5. Bardsley, C.W. A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6).
  6. 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.
  7. Library of Congress. American and English Genealogies in the Library of Congress. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1967. Print.
  8. Marcharn, Frederick George. A Constitutional History of Modern England 1485 to the Present. London: Harper and Brothers, 1960. Print.
  9. Hitching, F.K and S. Hitching. References to English Surnames in 1601-1602. Walton On Thames: 1910. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0181-3).
  10. Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds. Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8).
  11. ...

The Oldham Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Oldham 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 July 2014 at 07:59.

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