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

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

Wilburn is a name that first reached England following the Norman Conquest of 1066. The Wilburn family lived in Lincolnshire. Their name is derived from the Old English word welle, meaning well, and the Old Norse word brunnr, meaning stream or spring, and indicates that the original bearer lived near a well by a stream or spring.

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It is only in the last few hundred years that the English language has been standardized. For that reason, Anglo-Norman surnames like Wilburn are characterized by many spelling variations. Scribes and monks in the Middle Ages spelled names they sounded, so it is common to find several variations that refer to a single person. As the English language changed and incorporated elements of other European languages such as Norman French and Latin, even literate people regularly changed the spelling of their names. The variations of the name Wilburn include Welborne, Welborn, Welbourne, Welburn and others.

First found in Lincolnshire where they were Lords of the manor of Welborne and conjecturally descended from a Norman noble, Robert Malet, who was granted the church and mill by King William the Conqueror in 1066. The ancestry of Robert goes back to Graville near Havre in Normandy in 990, where he was descended from Algar, the seventh Earl of Mercia.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Wilburn research. Another 83 words(6 lines of text) covering the years 1605 and 1929 are included under the topic Early Wilburn History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Another 37 words(3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Wilburn Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Faced with the chaos present in England at that time, many English families looked towards the open frontiers of the New World with its opportunities to escape oppression and starvation. People migrated to North America, as well as Australia and Ireland in droves, paying exorbitant rates for passages in cramped, unsafe ships. Many of the settlers did not make the long passage alive, but those who did see the shores of North America were welcomed with great opportunity. Many of the families that came from England went on to make essential contributions to the emerging nations of Canada and the United States. Some of the first immigrants to cross the Atlantic and come to North America carried the name Wilburn, or a variant listed above:

Wilburn Settlers in the United States in the 19th Century


  • G Wilburn, who landed in San Francisco, California in 1851
  • William Wilburn, who arrived in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1860

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  • Barry Wilburn (b. 1963), former professional American football player
  • Jimmy Wilburn (1908-1984), American racecar driver inducted in the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame in 1994
  • Captain Newton Jasper Wilburn (1874-1927), Kentucky National Guard officer who played a crucial part in ending the Black Patch Tobacco Wars
  • Leila Ross Wilburn (1885-1967), American early 20th century architect


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  1. Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at Galveston Texas 1896-1951. National Archives Washington DC. Print.
  2. Colletta, John P. They Came In Ships. Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1993. Print.
  3. Foster, Joseph. Dictionary of Heraldry Feudal Coats of Arms and Pedigrees. London: Bracken Books, 1989. Print. (ISBN 1-85170-309-8).
  4. MacAulay, Thomas Babington. History of England from the Accession of James the Second 4 volumes. New York: Harper and Brothers, 1879. Print.
  5. Holt, J.C. Ed. Domesday Studies. Woodbridge: Boydell, 1987. Print. (ISBN 0-85115-477-8).
  6. Zieber, Eugene. Heraldry in America. Philadelphia: Genealogical Publishing Co. Print.
  7. Burke, John Bernard Ed. The Roll of Battle Abbey. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  8. Burke, Sir Bernard. Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Peerage and Baronetage, The Privy Council, Knightage and Compainonage. London: Burke Publishing, 1921. Print.
  9. Humble, Richard. The Fall of Saxon England. New York: Barnes and Noble, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-88029-987-8).
  10. Hanks, Hodges, Mills and Room. The Oxford Names Companion. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002. Print. (ISBN 0-19-860561-7).
  11. ...

The Wilburn Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Wilburn 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 6 September 2014 at 18:04.

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