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

Origins Available: English, Scottish

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

According to family tradition, the Turnbull surname comes from when a member of the Rule family saved the life of King Robert the Bruce at Stirling Park from a charging bull by turning the bull's head. The grateful King decreed that in commemoration of the brave act the new name of the family would be Turnbull, and granted them an area of land then known as Bedrule. Other Etymology suggests that the name comes from the Old English Trumbald, meaning "strongly bold."


Spelling variations of this family name include: Turnbull, Turnball, Trimble, Trimbell, Trumbell, Trumbill, Turnbul and many more.

First found in Roxburghshire 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 Scotland to determine the rate of taxation of their subjects.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Turnbull research. Another 543 words(39 lines of text) covering the years 1214, 1249, 1296, 1335, 1447, 1639 and 1716 are included under the topic Early Turnbull History in all our PDF Extended History products.


Another 47 words(3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Turnbull Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.


Some of the Turnbull family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 135 words(10 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.


Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Turnbull Settlers in the United States in the 17th Century

  • Alexander Turnbull, who settled in East New Jersey in 1684
  • Thomas and William Turnbull settled in New Jersey in 1685
  • William Turnbull, who arrived in Perth Amboy, NJ in 1685

Turnbull Settlers in the United States in the 18th Century

  • James Turnbull, who arrived in Charles Town [Charleston], South Carolina in 1734
  • John Turnbull settled in Annapolis, Maryland in 1753
  • George Turnbull, who settled in New York in 1756
  • Andrew Turnbull, who arrived in America in 1766
  • Ann Turnbull, aged 23, landed in Savanna(h), Georgia in 1774

Turnbull Settlers in the United States in the 19th Century

  • Gavin Turnbull, aged 46, landed in South Carolina in 1812
  • George Turnbull, aged 51, arrived in New York in 1812
  • Gavin Turnbull, who settled in South Carolina in 1812
  • Adam Turnbull, aged 38, arrived in Delaware in 1812
  • Joseph Turnbull, who landed in Charleston, South Carolina in 1823


  • Walter Turnbull (1944-2007), American musician and the founder of the internationally renowned Boys Choir of Harlem
  • Colin Macmillan Turnbull (1924-1994), famous British-American anthropologist
  • Ven. John Turnbull (b. 1950), English pop and rock guitarist/vocalist
  • Oswald Turnbull (1890-1970), British Olympian tennis player
  • Ann Turnbull (b. 1943), British writer of fiction for children
  • Bill Turnbull (b. 1956), British television presenter
  • Bob Turnbull (1894-1946), Scottish footballer
  • Charles Wesley Turnbull (b. 1935), 26th Governor of the U.S. Virgin Islands
  • Eddie Turnbull (b. 1923), Scottish football player and manager
  • William Turnbull (b. 1922), Scottish artist



  • American Beginnings by David B. Trimble.
  • The Texas Turnbo's by Charles Alton Turnbo.

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  1. Reaney P.H and R.M. Wilson. A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X).
  2. Bullock, L.G. Historical Map of England and Wales. Edinburgh: Bartholomew and Son, 1971. Print.
  3. Ingram, Rev. James. Translator Anglo-Saxon Chronicle 1823. Print.
  4. 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.
  5. Virkus, Frederick A. Ed. Immigrant Ancestors A List of 2,500 Immigrants to America Before 1750. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1964. Print.
  6. Hanks, Patricia and Flavia Hodges. A Dictionary of Surnames. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988. Print. (ISBN 0-19-211592-8).
  7. Burke, John Bernard Ed. The Roll of Battle Abbey. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  8. 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.
  9. Dunkling, Leslie. Dictionary of Surnames. Toronto: Collins, 1998. Print. (ISBN 0004720598).
  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 Turnbull Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Turnbull 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 14 November 2013 at 20:12.

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