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

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

The rich and ancient history of the Perkins family name dates back to the time of the Anglo-Saxon tribes of Britain. It comes from the baptismal name Peter. Baptismal names began to appear as surnames relatively late in the growth of the naming tradition. This is a little surprising, given the popularity of biblical figures in the Christian countries of Europe. Nevertheless, surnames derived from baptismal names grew in popularity during the Middle Ages, and have become one of the foremost sources for surnames. In this case the surname Perkins was originally derived from two elements; per a form of Peter and the suffix kin. The literal meaning of the surname is Little Peter, which denotes the son of Peter.


Spelling variations in names were a common occurrence before English spelling was standardized a few hundred years ago. In the Middle Ages, even the literate spelled their names differently as the English language incorporated elements of French, Latin, and other European languages. Many variations of the name Perkins have been found, including Perkins, Perkin, Perkyns, Perkens, Perkynn and others.

First found in Leicestershire 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 Perkins research. Another 273 words(20 lines of text) covering the years 1327, 1327, 1327, 1558, 1602, 1649 and 1696 are included under the topic Early Perkins History in all our PDF Extended History products.


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


Families began migrating abroad in enormous numbers because of the political and religious discontent in England. Often faced with persecution and starvation in England, the possibilities of the New World attracted many English people. Although the ocean trips took many lives, those who did get to North America were instrumental in building the necessary groundwork for what would become for new powerful nations. Among the first immigrants of the name Perkins, or a variant listed above to cross the Atlantic and come to North America were :

Perkins Settlers in the United States in the 17th Century

  • Francis Perkins who arrived in Virginia in 1607
  • Francis Perkins, who landed in Jamestown, Va in 1607
  • John Perkins, who arrived in Boston in 1630
  • John Perkins, who landed in Boston, Massachusetts in 1631
  • William Perkins, who arrived in Ipswich, Massachusetts in 1633

Perkins Settlers in the United States in the 18th Century

  • Thomas Perkins, who landed in Virginia in 1701
  • Jonathan Perkins, who landed in Barbados in 1737
  • Peter Perkins, who landed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1746
  • John Perkins settled in Maryland in 1757
  • Richard Perkins, who arrived in New York in 1791

Perkins Settlers in the United States in the 19th Century

  • Nathaniel H Clifford Perkins, aged 27, arrived in Delaware in 1812
  • Samuel Perkins, aged 25, arrived in West Indies in 1812
  • Betsey Perkins, who arrived in New York in 1823
  • Elizabeth Perkins, who landed in New York in 1823
  • Charlotte Perkins, who arrived in New York in 1823


  • George Clement Perkins (1839-1923), American politician, Governor of California (1880-1883)
  • Carl Dewey Perkins (1912-1984), American politician, Representative from Kentucky 1949-1984
  • Anthony Perkins (1932-1992), American actor, best known for his role as Norman Bates in Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho
  • Carl Lee Perkins (1932-1998), American rockabilly singer and songwriter
  • Edwin Elijah Perkins (1889-1961), American who invented the powder drink mix Kool-Aid in 1927
  • Private First Class Michael J. Perkins (1899-1918), American soldier awarded the Medal of Honor
  • Corporal William Thomas Perkins Jr. (1947-1967), American Marine awarded the Medal of Honor
  • Joseph William "Pinetop" Perkins (1913-2011), American Blues musician, he received numerous honors during his lifetime including the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, and induction into the Blues Hall of Fame
  • Brigadier-General Robert Meredith Perkins (1887-1960), American Instector-General, San Francisco Port of Embarkation (1946-1947)
  • Mr. Laurence Alexander Perkins (d. 1912), aged 22, English Telephone Steward from Southampton, Hampshire who worked aboard the RMS Titanic and died in the sinking


  • Ancestors of Charles Brush Perkins and Maurice Perkins by Charles Brush Perkins.
  • Genealogy and History of One Branch of the Perkins Family in America, Originating with Edward Perkins, Immigrants to America and to New Haven, Connecticut by Paul M. Perkins.

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: Simplex vigilum veri
Motto Translation: An honest one of the sentinels of truth.


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  1. Colletta, John P. They Came In Ships. Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1993. Print.
  2. Crozier, William Armstrong Edition. Crozier's General Armory A Registry of American Families Entitled to Coat Armor. New York: Fox, Duffield, 1904. Print.
  3. Samuelsen, W. David. New York City Passenger List Manifests Index 1820 - 1824. North Salt Lake, Utah: Accelerated Indexing Systems International, 1986. Print.
  4. Elster, Robert J. International Who's Who. London: Europa/Routledge. 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. The Norman People and Their Existing Descendants in the British Dominions and the United States Of America. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0636-X).
  7. Egle, William Henry. Pennsylvania Genealogies Scotch-Irish and German. Harrisburg: L.S. Hart, 1886. Print.
  8. Bullock, L.G. Historical Map of England and Wales. Edinburgh: Bartholomew and Son, 1971. Print.
  9. Hanks, Patricia and Flavia Hodges. A Dictionary of Surnames. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988. Print. (ISBN 0-19-211592-8).
  10. Fairbairn. Fairbain's book of Crests of the Families of Great Britain and Ireland, 4th Edition 2 volumes in one. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1968. Print.
  11. ...

The Perkins Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Perkins 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 2 June 2014 at 14:55.

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