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Origins Available: Borderlands, Scottish


The name Cockburn comes from the Boernician Scottish-English border region. The Cockburn family lived in Berwickshire named Cockburn. The place name in turn, comes from the Old English cocc, meaning "rooster," and burna, meaning "a stream." As such, the surname is classed as a local, or habitational name, derived from a place where the original bearer lived or held land.

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The surname Cockburn was first found in Roxburghshire in the lands of Merse. One of the first recorded instances of the name was during the reign of William the Lion (1165-1214) when a Cukoueburn was listed in the area of Clifton, Roxburghshire. Typical of these early entries, no given name was provided. Peter de Cokburne witnessed a grant in 1220. One of the earliest records of a Clan crest was in 1296, when a rooster (cock) is shown on the seal of Peres de Cokeburne. Sir Alexander Cockburn was killed at the battle of Bannockburn in 1314. In 1390, his grandson Alexander was appointed Keeper of the Great Seal of Scotland.

Since medieval scribes spelled words according to sound, and since there were no consistent rules for the translation of rules from Gaelic to English, spelling variations are extremely common in Boernician names of this vintage. Cockburn has been spelled Cockburne, Cobourne, Coburn, Coburne, Cocburn, Cockbain, Cockborne, Cockbourn, Cobourn, Cockburn, Cokburn, Cogburn, Cokbain, Cokborne, Cokbourn, Cokbourne, Cokburne, Cowburn and many more.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Cockburn research. Another 133 words (10 lines of text) covering the years 1281, 1595, 1656, 1735, 1685, 1770, 1685, 1770 and are included under the topic Early Cockburn History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

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Notable amongst the family name during their early history was Adam Cockburn, Laird of Ormiston, Lord Ormiston (1656-1735), a Scottish administrator, politician and judge; John Cockbourn (1685-1770), Scottish improver of agriculture; Lord Cockburn, a Judge...

Another 34 words (2 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Cockburn Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

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Some of the Cockburn family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 125 words (9 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

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Many of the Boernician-Scottish families who crossed the Atlantic settled along the eastern seaboard in communities that would become the backbone of the emerging nations of the United States and Canada. In the War of Independence, American families that remained loyal to the Crown moved north into Canada and became known as United Empire Loyalists. The ancestral culture of all of these proud Scottish families remains alive in North America in the 20th century through clan societies and highland games. Early North American immigration records have revealed a number of people bearing the name Cockburn or a variant listed above:

Cockburn Settlers in United States in the 17th Century

  • Archibald Cockburn, who settled in Carolina in 1682
  • James Cockburn, who came to East New Jersey in 1684

Cockburn Settlers in United States in the 18th Century

  • Thomas Cockburn, who came to New York in 1701
  • Alexander Cockburn, who arrived in Leeward Islands in 1710
  • William Cockburn, who came to Boston in 1715
  • Alexander Cockburn and his wife who settled in Granada in 1774

Cockburn Settlers in United States in the 19th Century

  • Edward, James, and Jane Cockburn, who all arrived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1820
  • J P Cockburn, who landed in San Francisco, California in 1850
  • Charles Cockburn, who arrived in Puerto Rico in 1874

Cockburn Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century

  • Adam Cockburn, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1749
  • las Cockburn, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1749
  • Nicholas Cockburn, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1749
  • Robert Cockburn, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1749
  • Robert Cockburn, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1750
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Cockburn Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century

  • John Cockburn, aged 33, a shepherd, arrived in Quebec aboard the ship "Atlas" in 1815
  • Jane Cockburn, aged 32, arrived in Quebec aboard the ship "Atlas" in 1815
  • Adam Cockburn, aged 12, arrived in Quebec aboard the ship "Atlas" in 1815
  • Phillip Cockburn, aged 10, arrived in Quebec aboard the ship "Atlas" in 1815
  • Euphans Cockburn, aged 8, arrived in Quebec aboard the ship "Atlas" in 1815
  • ...

Cockburn Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century

  • A.T. Cockburn arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Childe Harold" in 1849
  • J. Cockburn arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Childe Harold" in 1849
  • Elizabeth Cockburn, aged 22, a domestic servant, arrived in South Australia in 1859 aboard the ship "North"

Cockburn Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century

  • Alexander Cockburn landed in Wellington, New Zealand in 1840
  • Andrew Cockburn landed in Wellington, New Zealand in 1840
  • J Cockburn landed in Wellington, New Zealand in 1840
  • James Cockburn landed in Wellington, New Zealand in 1840
  • Robert Cockburn landed in Wellington, New Zealand in 1840
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  • Olivia Jane Cockburn (b. 1984), birth name of Olivia Wilde, American multiple award winning actress, known for her roles in Rush (2013), In Time (2011), TRON: Legacy (2010) and House M.D. (2004)
  • Alexander Claud Cockburn (1941-2012), Scottish-born, American political journalist and writer
  • Robert C. Cockburn, American politician, U.S. Vice Consul in Kingston, 1926
  • John Alexander Cockburn (1850-1929), Australian (Scottish born) politician, Premier of South Australia (1889-1890)
  • Henry Thomas Cockburn (1779-1854), Scottish judge, author, politician, made Lord Cockburn in 1834
  • Alison Cockburn (1713-1794), Scottish poet
  • James Cockburn (1819-1883), Canadian (Scottish born) lawyer, politician, Father of Canadian Confederation, Canada's first Speaker of the House of Commons (1867-1874)
  • Claud Cockburn (1904-1981), radical British journalist
  • Sir George Cockburn (1772-1853), Scottish British Navy Admiral, who escorted Napoleon to his last prison on St. Helena Island
  • Bruce Cockburn OC (b. 1945), Canadian singer, songwriter made an Officer of the Order of Canada in 2002, inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame in 2001, and holder of 5 honorary doctorates
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Cockburn Historic Events



HMS Prince of Wales

  • Mr. James Cockburn, British Ordinary Seaman, who sailed in to battle on the HMS Prince of Wales and survived the sinking
  • Mr. Gordon William Cockburn, British Boy from Bradford, England, who sailed in to battle on the HMS Prince of Wales and survived the sinking

RMS Lusitania

  • Mr. Guy Rosebery Cockburn, English 2nd Class passenger residing in Pasadena, California, USA, who sailed aboard the RMS Lusitania and survived the sinking
  • Mr. Andrew Cockburn, English Senior 2nd Engineer from England, who worked aboard the RMS Lusitania and survived the sinking
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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: Accenti cantu
Motto Translation: He animates by crowing.

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Cockburn Clan Badge
Cockburn Clan Badge

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A clan is a social group made up of a number of distinct branch-families that actually descended from, or accepted themselves as descendants of, a common ancestor. The word clan means simply children. The idea of the clan as a community is necessarily based around this idea of heredity and is most often ruled according to a patriarchal structure. For instance, the clan chief represented the hereditary "parent" of the entire clan. The most prominent example of this form of society is the Scottish Clan system...

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Septs of the Distinguished Name Cockburn
Cobirn, Coboirn, Coboorne, Coboourn, Coboourne, Coborne, Cobourn, Cobourne, Coboyrne, Coburn, Coburne, Cobyrne, Cocbirn, Cocborne, Cocbourn, Cocbourne, Cocburn, Cocbyrne, Cockbain, Cockbirn, Cockboirn, Cockboorne, Cockboourn, Cockboourne, Cockborne, Cockbourn, Cockbourne, Cockboyrne, Cockburn, Cockburne, Cockbyrne, Cogbirn, Cogborne, Cogbourn, Cogbourne, Cogburn, Cogbyrne, Cokbain, Cokborne, Cokbourn, Cokbourne, Cokburn, Cokburne, Colbirn, Colboirn, Colbon, Colboorne, Colboourn, Colboourne, Colboyrne and more.

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Citations



    Other References

    1. Moncrieffe, Sir Ian of That Ilk and David Hicks. The Highland Clans The Dynastic Origins, Cheifs and Background of the Clans. New York: C.N. Potter, 1968. Print.
    2. Filby, P. William and Mary K Meyer. Passenger and Immigration Lists Index in Four Volumes. Detroit: Gale Research, 1985. Print. (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8).
    3. Barrow, G.W.S Ed. The Charters of David I The Written Acts of David I King of Scots, 1124-53 and of His Son Henry, Earl of Northumerland, 1139-52. Woodbridge: The Boydell Press, 1999. Print.
    4. Moncrieffe, Sir Ian of That Ilk and Don Pottinger. Clan Map Scotland of Old. Edinburgh: Bartholomew and Son, 1983. Print.
    5. Scots Kith and Kin And Illustrated Map Revised 2nd Edition. Edinburgh: Clan House/Albyn. Print.
    6. Markale, J. Celtic Civilization. London: Gordon & Cremonesi, 1976. Print.
    7. Barrow, G.W.S Ed. Acts of Malcom IV 1153-65 Volume I Regesta Regum Scottorum 1153-1424. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1960. Print.
    8. Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at Galveston Texas 1896-1951. National Archives Washington DC. Print.
    9. Paul, Sir James Balfour. An Ordinary of Arms Contained in the Public Register of All Arms and Bearings in Scotland Second Edition. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1903. Print.
    10. Browne, James. The History of Scotland it's Highlands, Regiments and Clans 8 Volumes. Edinburgh: Francis A Niccolls & Co, 1909. Print.
    11. ...

    The Cockburn Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Cockburn 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 27 April 2015 at 03:13.

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