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


The ancient roots of the Combs family name are in the Anglo-Saxon culture. The name Combs comes from when the family lived in a small valley; the surname Combs is often derived from the Old English word cumb, which means valley. In this case, it belongs to the class of topographic surnames, which were given to people who resided near physical features such as hills, streams, churches, or types of trees. Alternately, the surname Combs may be derived from residence in one of the many places called Comb, Combe, or Coombe. In this case, it belongs to the large category of Anglo-Saxon habitation names, which are derived from pre-existing names for towns, villages, parishes, or farmsteads.

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The surname Combs was first found in Devon where Richard de la Coombe held estates in that county in the year 1194. The name also found in the Feet of Fines of Somerset in 1269 where the entry Alan in la Cumbe was found. Robert atte Cumbe was listed in the Subsidy Rolls of Sussex in 1296, and Thomas de Combe was listed in the Assize Rolls of Kent in the year 1317. [1] Today Combs is a small village in Derbyshire and a hamlet in Suffolk.

One relatively recent invention that did much to standardize English spelling was the printing press. However, before its invention even the most literate people recorded their names according to sound rather than spelling. The spelling variations under which the name Combs has appeared include Coombe, Combs, Coombs, Comes, Combes, Combe, Coombes, Cumbe, Coumbes, Coames, Coambes, Cumbes, Cumes, Cummes, Cume, Coomes, Coames, Cooms, Coumes, Coume, Cooms, Coom, Coomb, Comb and many more.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Combs research. Another 139 words (10 lines of text) covering the years 1460, 1651, 1586, 1667, 1616 and 1640 are included under the topic Early Combs History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Another 43 words (3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Combs Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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At this time, the shores of the New World beckoned many English families that felt that the social climate in England was oppressive and lacked opportunity for change. Thousands left England at great expense in ships that were overcrowded and full of disease. A great portion of these settlers never survived the journey and even a greater number arrived sick, starving, and without a penny. The survivors, however, were often greeted with greater opportunity than they could have experienced back home. These English settlers made significant contributions to those colonies that would eventually become the United States and Canada. An examination of early immigration records and passenger ship lists revealed that people bearing the name Combs arrived in North America very early:

Combs Settlers in United States in the 17th Century


  • John Combs, who landed in Maryland in 1655
  • Mary Combs, who landed in Maryland in 1659
  • George Combs, who arrived in Charlestown, Massachusetts in 1659
  • Martha Combs, who arrived in Maryland in 1671
  • Richard Combs, who arrived in Hempstead, NY in 1690

Combs Settlers in United States in the 18th Century


  • Ann Combs settled in Trinity in 1773
  • Alexander Combs, who arrived in New York in 1796

Combs Settlers in United States in the 19th Century


  • A G Combs, who landed in San Francisco, California in 1851
  • Samuel Combs, who arrived in Virginia in 1861
  • Benjamin Combs, who landed in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1872

Combs Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century


  • Mr. James Combs U.E who settled in New Brunswick c. 1783 was part of the Cape Ann Association
  • Mr. Samuel Combs U.E who settled in Saint John, New Brunswick c. 1783
  • Mr. Dennis Combs, "Comb" U.E who settled in Saint John, New Brunswick c. 1783

Combs Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century


  • William Combs arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Ann Wilson" in 1857
  • David Combs arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Woodlark" in 1873
  • Margaret Combs, aged 29, a servant, arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Lauderdale" in 1874

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  • Merrill Russell "Merl" Combs (1919-1981), American Major League Baseball shortstop (1947 to 1952)
  • Raymond Neil "Ray" Combs (1956-1996), American television game show host and stand-up comedian
  • Holly Marie Combs (b. 1973), American actress, recipient of the Young Artist Award
  • Rodney Combs (b. 1950), American NASCAR driver
  • Jeffrey Combs (b. 1954), American character actor
  • Earle Combs (1899-1976), American center fielder and Baseball Hall of Fame member


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  • Combs Family by Patricia Combs O'Dell.
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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)

Other References

  1. Library of Congress. American and English Genealogies in the Library of Congress. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1967. Print.
  2. 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.
  3. Colletta, John P. They Came In Ships. Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1993. Print.
  4. Hanks, Hodges, Mills and Room. The Oxford Names Companion. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002. Print. (ISBN 0-19-860561-7).
  5. Zieber, Eugene. Heraldry in America. Philadelphia: Genealogical Publishing Co. Print.
  6. Magnusson, Magnus. Chambers Biographical Dictionary 5th edition. Edinburgh: W & R Chambers, 1990. Print.
  7. Hanks, Patricia and Flavia Hodges. A Dictionary of Surnames. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988. Print. (ISBN 0-19-211592-8).
  8. Thirsk, Joan. The Agrarian History of England and Wales. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press: 7 Volumes. 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. Burke, John Bernard Ed. The Roll of Battle Abbey. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  11. ...

The Combs Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Combs 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 May 2016 at 19:39.

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