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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright © 2000 - 2016

Origins Available: Borderlands, English, Irish


The old Irish name Adams and its variants are tied to the Anglo-Saxon "Adam," a given name which is itself derived from the Latin name "Adamus," meaning "earth."

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The surname Adams was first found in many counties, and in all different corners of Ireland. Although most of the early records of Irish names have been lost, placenames such as Ballymacadam near Tralee, Castemacadam, Cadamstwon in County Kildare, and Adamstown in six different counties, are a testament to how widespread this name was in early times. The earliest recorded instance of the name seems to be of James, son of Thomas McAdam, who was among those a list that Lord Fermoy submitted to the Earl of Essex on promise of pardon as provision to his entering into rebellion, dated 21 August 1599.

Spelling variations of this family name include: Adam, Adams, McAdam, MacAdam, MacCaw, MacCoddan and many more.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Adams research. Another 355 words (25 lines of text) covering the years 1641, 1801, 1808, 1861, and 1895 are included under the topic Early Adams History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Another 30 words (2 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Adams Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Adams Settlers in United States in the 17th Century


  • Captain Adams, who landed in Virginia in 1609
  • Mr. Adams, who arrived in Jamestown, Va in 1624
  • Dorothe Adams, aged 24, landed in New England in 1635
  • Dorothie Adams, aged 24, arrived in America in 1635
  • Dorothy A Adams, who arrived in New England in 1635


Adams Settlers in United States in the 18th Century


  • Anne Adams, who landed in Virginia in 1705
  • Ebenezer Adams, who landed in Virginia in 1714
  • Benjamin Adams, who arrived in Georgia in 1738
  • Anthony Adams, who landed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1745
  • Samuel Adams, who landed in Long Island in 1750


Adams Settlers in United States in the 19th Century


  • Thomas Adams, who landed in America in 1802
  • Archebald Adams, aged 12, arrived in New York, NY in 1804
  • John Adams, aged 15, landed in New York, NY in 1804
  • Mary Adams, aged 10, landed in New York, NY in 1804
  • Charles L Adams, aged 22, landed in North Carolina in 1812


Adams Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century


  • John Adams was a planter of St. John's, Newfoundland, in 1703
  • Mr. Andrew Adams U.E., United Empire Loyalist who settled in Edwardsburgh [Township of Edwardsburgh/Cardinal], Ontario c. 1783 he served as part of the King's Rangers Regiment
  • Lt. Gideon Adams U.E., United Empire Loyalist who settled in Canada c. 1783 he served as Part of the Loyal Rangers, Jessup's Corps


Adams Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century


  • Cpt. Samuel Adams U.E. (b. 1730) born in Stratford, Connecticut, USA, United Empire Loyalist from Arlington, Vermont, USA who settled in Eastern District, Montreal, then Lot 7, Concession II, Oxford Township, near Johnstown in 1805 , he served under General Burgoyne, he died in 1810 and is buried in North Channel Cemetery, Township of Edwardsburgh/Cardinal, Leeds and Grenville, Ontario
  • Daniel Adams, who landed in Canada in 1830
  • George Adams, aged 19, a gentleman, arrived in Saint John, NB in 1833 aboard the barque "Pallas" from Cork
  • Maria Adams, aged 25, arrived in Saint John, NB in 1833 aboard the brig "Dorcas Savage" from Belfast
  • Robert Adams, aged 23, a labourer, arrived in Saint John, NB in 1833 aboard the brig "Silestria" from Belfast


Adams Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century


  • William Adams, English convict from Middlesex, who was transported aboard the "Asia" on September 3rd, 1820, settling in New South Wales, Austraila
  • James Adams, English convict from Norfolk, who was transported aboard the "Asia" on April 1st, 1822, settling in New South Wales, Austraila
  • John Adams, English convict from Sussex, who was transported aboard the "Arab" on July 3, 1822, settling in Van Diemen's Land, Austraila
  • Thomas Adams, English convict from Nottingham, who was transported aboard the "Asia" on July 29th, 1823, settling in Van Diemen's Land, Australia
  • John Adams, English convict from London, who was transported aboard the "Asia" on October 22nd, 1824, settling in New South Wales, Australia


Adams Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century


  • John Adams landed in Wellington, New Zealand in 1840
  • Alex Percy Adams landed in Wellington, New Zealand in 1840
  • H H Adams landed in Auckland, New Zealand in 1843
  • Henry Adams, aged 21, arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Westminster" in 1843
  • S A Adams landed in Wellington, New Zealand in 1844


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  • President John Quincy Adams (1767-1848), American politician, 6th President of the United States (1825-1829)
  • Julius Adams (1948-2016), American NFL defensive lineman for the New England Patriots (1971-1987), father of former NFL player, Keith Adams
  • Arlin Marvin Adams (1921-2015), American jurist, Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit (1969-1987)
  • Alvin Philip Adams Jr. (1942-2015), American diplomat, Ambassador to Haiti, Djibuti and Peru
  • Sam Edwards Adams Sr. (1948-2015), American NFL football offensive guard who played from 1972 to 1981
  • Samuel Adams (1722-1803), American statesman and brewer who led the Boston Tea Party
  • Floyd Adams Jr. (1945-2014), American politician from Georgia, Mayor of Savannah, Georgia from 1996-2003
  • Mrs. Annie Elizabeth Adams, (née Macnutt), American 1st Class Passenger from Boston, Massachusetts, USA journeying to Tenby, Pembrokshire, Wakes to live, who sailed aboard the RMS Lusitania and survived the sinking
  • K Adams, American passenger from Los Angeles, California, USA, who flew aboard American Airlines Flight 191 and died in the crash on May 25, 1979
  • Jay Adams (1961-2014), American skateboarder, one of the original members of Z-Boys skateboarding team

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  • Adams Family Records: A Genealogical and Biographical History of All Branches of the Adams Family by J. T. Adams.
  • Adams, an American Dynasty by Francis Russell.
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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: In cruce salus
Motto Translation: In the cross is salvation.

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  1. Grehan, Ida. Dictionary of Irish Family Names. Boulder: Roberts Rinehart, 1997. Print. (ISBN 1-57098-137-X).
  2. Sullivan, Sir Edward. The Book of Kells 3rd Edition. New York: Crescent Books, 1986. Print. (ISBN 0-517-61987-3).
  3. Zieber, Eugene. Heraldry in America. Philadelphia: Genealogical Publishing Co. Print.
  4. Colletta, John P. They Came In Ships. Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1993. Print.
  5. Read, Charles Anderson. The Cabinet of Irish Literature Selections from the Works of the Chief Poets, Orators and Prose Writers of Ireland 4 Volumes. London: Blackie and Son, 1884. Print.
  6. Matthews, John. Matthews' American Armoury and Blue Book. London: John Matthews, 1911. Print.
  7. Bullock, L.G. Historical Map of Ireland. Edinburgh: Bartholomew and Son, 1969. Print.
  8. Tepper, Michael Ed & Elizabeth P. Bentley Transcriber. Passenger Arrivals at the Port of Philadelphia 1800-1819. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1986. Print.
  9. Crozier, William Armstrong Edition. Crozier's General Armory A Registry of American Families Entitled to Coat Armor. New York: Fox, Duffield, 1904. Print.
  10. Bell, Robert. The Book of Ulster Surnames. Belfast: Blackstaff, 1988. Print. (ISBN 10-0856404160).
  11. ...

The Adams Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Adams 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 20 October 2015 at 12:06.

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