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

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

Howe is a name of ancient Anglo-Saxon origin and comes from the family once having lived near a hill or steep ridge of land. The surname Howe is usually derived from the Old English word hoh, which means heel or projecting ridge of land. However, it is sometimes derived from the Old Norse word haugr, which means mound or hill. Furthermore, the name Howe may be derived from residence in one of a variety of similarly named places: Hoe is in Norfolk; Hoo is in Kent; places called Hooe are in Devon and Sussex; Hose is in Leicestershire; places named Heugh are in Durham and Northumberland; and settlements called Hough are found in both Cheshire and Derby.


Sound was what guided spelling in the essentially pre-literate Middle Ages, so one person's name was often recorded under several variations during a single lifetime. Also, before the advent of the printing press and the first dictionaries, the English language was not standardized. Therefore, spelling variations were common, even among the names of the most literate people. Known variations of the Howe family name include Howe, Howes, How and others.

First found in Berkshire, where the name could also have been a baptismal name as in "son of Hugh," [1] while another reference claims the name has geographical significance as in the south: "a small round hill" and in the north: "a hollow place or plain." The medieval form of the name is "At How" and is usually synonymous with Hill having derived from the Anglo-Saxon "how," meaning a mountain. [2] However, we must look to Cambridgeshire to find the first listings on the name where Roger del Howes and Richard del Howes were listed there in the Hundredorum Rolls of 1273. [1]


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Howe research. Another 175 words(12 lines of text) covering the years 1066, 1671, 1654, 1656, 1625, 1679, 1659, 1679, 1627, 1676, 1660, 1676, 1635, 1692, 1611, 1701, 1648, 1713, 1673, 1685, 1689, 1691, 1657, 1722, 1700, 1735, 1722, 1732, 1733, 1735 and are included under the topic Early Howe History in all our PDF Extended History products.


Another 289 words(21 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Howe Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.


Some of the Howe family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 87 words(6 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.


For political, religious, and economic reasons, thousands of English families boarded ships for Ireland, Canada, the America colonies, and many of smaller tropical colonies in the hope of finding better lives abroad. Although the passage on the cramped, dank ships caused many to arrive in the New World diseased and starving, those families that survived the trip often went on to make valuable contributions to those new societies to which they arrived. Early immigrants bearing the Howe surname or a spelling variation of the name include:

Howe Settlers in United States in the 17th Century

  • Rice Howe, who settled in Virginia in 1618
  • Rice Howe, who arrived in Virginia in 1618
  • Daniel Howe, who landed in Lynn, Massachusetts in 1634
  • Edward Howe, who landed in Lynn, Massachusetts in 1635
  • Elizabeth Howe, aged 50, landed in New England in 1635

Howe Settlers in United States in the 18th Century

  • David Howe, who arrived in Boston, Massachusetts in 1764

Howe Settlers in United States in the 19th Century

  • George Howe, who arrived in New York, NY in 1811
  • William Howe, aged 25, landed in New York in 1812
  • Michael Howe, who landed in Charleston, South Carolina in 1813
  • Eberh W Howe, who arrived in America in 1834
  • E C Howe, who landed in San Francisco, California in 1851

Howe Settlers in United States in the 20th Century

  • Ralph Marcus Howe, who landed in Wisconsin in 1922

Howe Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century

  • James Howe, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1750
  • Mr. John Howe U.E. (b. 1752) who settled in Saint John, New Brunswick c. 1784 he died in 1823 was a City Bellman
  • Mr. Nathaniel Howe U.E. who settled in Canada c. 1784
  • Mr. Stephen Howe U.E. who settled in New Brunswick c. 1784 he was part of the Cape Ann Association
  • Mr. William Howe U.E. who settled in Kingston, Ontario c. 1784

Howe Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century

  • Thomas Howe, aged 20, a tinman, arrived in Saint John, NB in 1833 aboard the ship "Reward" from Cork

Howe Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century

  • Matthew Howe arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Bolton" in 1848
  • Charlotte Ann Howe arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Success" in 1848
  • Sarah Howe, aged 21, arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Macedon" in 1849
  • John Howe, English convict from Huntingdon, who was transported aboard the "Adelaide" on August 08, 1849, settling in Van Diemen's Land and Port Phillip, Australia
  • Sarah Howe, aged 21, a domestic, arrived in South Australia in 1849 aboard the ship "Macedon"

Howe Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century

  • Charles Howe landed in Wellington, New Zealand in 1841 aboard the ship Clifton
  • John Howe landed in Wellington, New Zealand in 1841 aboard the ship Clifton
  • Wm Howe landed in Nelson, New Zealand in 1842 aboard the ship Olympus
  • John Howe, aged 39, a brickmaker, arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Clifton" in 1842
  • Elizabeth Howe, aged 39, arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Clifton" in 1842


  • Elias Howe (1819-1867), American inventor credited with inventing the first practical sewing machine
  • Tina Howe (b. 1937), award-winning American playwright
  • James Wong Howe (1899-1976), American cinematographer nominated for ten Academy Awards for cinematography, winning twice
  • William Howe KB, PC (1729-1814), 5th Viscount Howe, British army officer,Commander-in- Chief of British forces during the American War of Independence
  • Louis McHenry Howe (1871-1936), political advisor to President Franklin D. Roosevelt
  • Brigadier-General William Francis Howe (1888-1952), American Professor at Yale University (1943)
  • Richard Howe (1726-1799), British admiral known for his service during the American War of Independence and French Revolutionary Wars, made 1st Earl Howe in 1788
  • Stephen James "Steve" Howe (b. 1947), English guitarist, best known for his work with the Rock group Yes
  • John Howe (b. 1957), Canadian illustrator
  • Gordon "Gordie" Howe (b. 1928), Canadian NHL hockey player generally regarded as one of the greatest players of all time




  1. ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  2. ^ Lowe, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.

Other References

  1. Hanks, Patricia and Flavia Hodges. A Dictionary of Surnames. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988. Print. (ISBN 0-19-211592-8).
  2. Zieber, Eugene. Heraldry in America. Philadelphia: Genealogical Publishing Co. Print.
  3. Magnusson, Magnus. Chambers Biographical Dictionary 5th edition. Edinburgh: W & R Chambers, 1990. Print.
  4. Bradford, William. History of Plymouth Plantation 1620-1647 Edited by Samuel Eliot Morrison 2 Volumes. New York: Russell and Russell, 1968. Print.
  5. Foster, Joseph. Dictionary of Heraldry Feudal Coats of Arms and Pedigrees. London: Bracken Books, 1989. Print. (ISBN 1-85170-309-8).
  6. Robb H. Amanda and Andrew Chesler. Encyclopedia of American Family Names. New York: Haper Collins, 1995. Print. (ISBN 0-06-270075-8).
  7. Shirley, Evelyn Philip. Noble and Gentle Men of England Or Notes Touching The Arms and Descendants of the Ancient Knightley and Gentle Houses of England Arranged in their Respective Counties 3rd Edition. Westminster: John Bowyer Nichols and Sons, 1866. Print.
  8. Dunkling, Leslie. Dictionary of Surnames. Toronto: Collins, 1998. Print. (ISBN 0004720598).
  9. 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).
  10. Browning, Charles H. Americans of Royal Descent. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  11. ...

The Howe Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Howe 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 13 May 2015 at 16:50.

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