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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright © 2000 - 2015

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

The name Greene has a long Anglo-Saxon heritage. The name comes from when a family lived in the village greene which was the center or main square of each region. It is derived from the Old English "grene," meaning "green," and was most likely first borne by a family who lived in the village greene, the center or main square of a region. Alternatively, it may have been bestowed as a nickname on someone who was particularly fond of dressing in green.


Spelling variations in names were a common occurrence before English spelling was standardized a few hundred years ago. In the Middle Ages, even the literate spelled their names differently as the English language incorporated elements of French, Latin, and other European languages. Many variations of the name Greene have been found, including Greene, Green, Grene, Grean and others.

First found in Kent, where the earliest record of the name was Geoffrey Greene who was recorded in a Poll Tax in 1188. As every early English village had a green, the surname Greene emerged independently in many different places during the Middle Ages, thus creating several early branches of the Greene family. Richard de la Grene was listed in the Pipe Rolls of Norfolk in 1200 and Geoffrey Attegrene was listed in the Assize Rolls of Lancashire in 1206. The prefix "atte" was a popular namesake which meant in this case "at the green."


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Greene research. Another 167 words(12 lines of text) covering the years 1221, 1461, 1506, 1462, 1558, 1592, 1636, 1685, 1620, 1708, 1690, 1700, 1614, 1702, 1630, 1679, 1705 and are included under the topic Early Greene History in all our PDF Extended History products.


Another 233 words(17 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Greene Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.


Some of the Greene family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 197 words(14 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.


Families began migrating abroad in enormous numbers because of the political and religious discontent in England. Often faced with persecution and starvation in England, the possibilities of the New World attracted many English people. Although the ocean trips took many lives, those who did get to North America were instrumental in building the necessary groundwork for what would become for new powerful nations. Some of the first immigrants to cross the Atlantic and come to North America bore the name Greene, or a variant listed above:

Greene Settlers in United States in the 17th Century

  • Dorothy Greene, who landed in Virginia in 1617
  • Eliz Greene, who landed in Virginia in 1618
  • Soiloman Greene, who arrived in Virginia in 1618
  • Ann Greene, who arrived in Virginia in 1620-1621
  • Merton Greene, who arrived in Virginia in 1622

Greene Settlers in United States in the 18th Century

  • Henry Greene, who arrived in Georgia in 1741

Greene Settlers in United States in the 19th Century

  • Horace Greene, who landed in America in 1811
  • Hugh Greene, who arrived in New York, NY in 1816
  • Hetty Greene, aged 40, arrived in Key West, Fla in 1839
  • Patrick Greene, who arrived in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1872
  • Rosa H Greene, who arrived in Colorado in 1877

Greene Settlers in Canada in the 17th Century

  • Nicholas Greene, who immigrated to Newfoundland in 1670

Greene Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century

  • William Greene, a blacksmith, arrived in New South Wales, Australia sometime between 1825 and 1832
  • Henry Greene, a bricklayer, arrived in Van Diemenís Land (now Tasmania) sometime between 1825 and 1832
  • Jeremiah Greene, a currier, arrived in Van Diemenís Land (now Tasmania) sometime between 1825 and 1832
  • Francis Greene, aged 38, a miner, arrived in South Australia in 1854 aboard the ship "Taymouth Castle"

Greene Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century

  • Willman Greene landed in Bay of Islands, New Zealand in 1840
  • Thomas Greene, aged 22, arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Bombay" in 1865


  • Joe Greene (b. 1946), former all-pro American football defensive tackle
  • Gladys Greene (1900-1991), original name of Jean Arthur, Oscar-nominated American actress
  • Joe Greene (b. 1967), American long jumper
  • Nathanael Greene (1742-1786), American Continental army general
  • Brian Greene (b. 1963), American theoretical physicist, Professor at Columbia University (1996-)
  • George Sears Greene (1801-1899), American civil engineer and Union general in the American Civil War
  • Eugene Delbert "Gene" Greene (1881-1930), American entertainer, singer and composer, nicknamed The Ragtime King
  • Major-General Douglass Taft Greene (1891-1964), American Deputy Commanding General 2nd Army (1944)
  • Alan "Al" Greene (1911-2001), American bronze medalist diver at the 1936 Summer Olympics
  • Ashley Michele Greene (b. 1987), American five-time Teen Choice Award winning actress and model, best known for her role as Alice Cullen in the film adaptations of the Twilight novels



  • The Descendants of John Segar of South Kingstown, Rhode Island: Including the Descendants of William Browning and Mary Hoxsie (Lewis) Greene of Charlestown, Rhode Island by William E. Wright.
  • Ancestry and Descendants of Stephen Green and Martha Mifflin Houston, His Wife by Walter Lee Sheppard.
  • Chronology 1600-1650 Virginia by Dorothy H. Ward.

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: Virtus semper viridis
Motto Translation: Virtue is always flourishing.


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  1. Lennard, Reginald. Rural England 1086-1135 A Study of Social and Agrarian Conditions. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1959. Print.
  2. Hinde, Thomas Ed. The Domesday Book England's Heritage Then and Now. Surrey: Colour Library Books, 1995. Print. (ISBN 1-85833-440-3).
  3. Foster, Joseph. Dictionary of Heraldry Feudal Coats of Arms and Pedigrees. London: Bracken Books, 1989. Print. (ISBN 1-85170-309-8).
  4. Markale, J. Celtic Civilization. London: Gordon & Cremonesi, 1976. Print.
  5. Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds. Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8).
  6. Reaney P.H and R.M. Wilson. A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X).
  7. Crispin, M. Jackson and Leonce Mary. Falaise Roll Recording Prominent Companions of William Duke of Normandy at the Conquest of England. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  8. Robb H. Amanda and Andrew Chesler. Encyclopedia of American Family Names. New York: Haper Collins, 1995. Print. (ISBN 0-06-270075-8).
  9. Burke, John Bernard Ed. The Roll of Battle Abbey. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  10. Shaw, William A. Knights of England A Complete Record from the Earliest Time to the Present Day of the Knights of all the Orders of Chivalry in England, Scotland, Ireland and Knights Bachelors 2 Volumes. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print. (ISBN 080630443X).
  11. ...

The Greene Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Greene 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 16 June 2015 at 17:24.

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