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Origins Available: English-Alt, English, German, Welsh-Alt, Welsh


The roots of the surname Thomas lie in the rugged landscape of Wales. Thomas was a popular Medieval given throughout Europe, coming the popular biblical name. It is ultimately derived from the Aramaic personal name meaning "twin." Prior to the Norman Conquest, this name was rarely found, but by the 13th and 14th centuries, it became extremely common in Britain.

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The surname Thomas was first found in Breconshire (Welsh: Sir Frycheiniog), a traditional county in southern Wales, which takes its name from the Welsh kingdom of Brycheiniog (5th-10th centuries), where the family claims descendance from Owen Glendower, Lord of Glyndwyrdwy, Prince of South Wales.

Welsh surnames are relatively few in number, but they have an inordinately large number of spelling variations. There are many factors that explain the preponderance of Welsh variants, but the earliest is found during the Middle Ages when Welsh surnames came into use. Scribes and church officials recorded names as they sounded, which often resulted in a single person's name being inconsistently recorded over his lifetime. The transliteration of Welsh names into English also accounts for many of the spelling variations: the unique Brythonic Celtic language of the Welsh had many sounds the English language was incapable of accurately reproducing. It was also common for members of a same surname to change their names slightly, in order to signify a branch loyalty within the family, a religious adherence, or even patriotic affiliations. For all of these reasons, the many spelling variations of particular Welsh names are very important. The surname Thomas has occasionally been spelled Thomas, Tomas, MacThomas, FitzThomas, Thomasett and others.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Thomas research. Another 193 words (14 lines of text) covering the years 1613, 1689, 1665, 1683, 1677, 1683, 1683, 1689, 1633, 1677, 1654, 1656 and are included under the topic Early Thomas History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

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Prominent amongst the family during the late Middle Ages was Sir William Thomas of Folkington; Rt. Rev. William Thomas D.D. (1613-1689), a Welsh Anglican bishop, Dean of Worcester (1665-1683), Bishop of St...

Another 31 words (2 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Thomas Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

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Some of the Thomas family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 149 words (11 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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In the 1800s and 1900s, many Welsh families left for North America, in search of land, work, and freedom. Those who made the trip successfully helped contribute to the growth of industry, commerce, and the cultural heritage of both Canada and the United States. In the immigration and passenger lists were a number of people bearing the name Thomas

Thomas Settlers in United States in the 17th Century

  • Joe, John, Robert, and Nathaniel Thomas, who all settled in Virginia in 1621
  • Christopher Thomas settled in Virginia in 1635
  • Carsten Thomas, aged 28, arrived in New Netherland(s) in 1639
  • Abra Thomas, who arrived in Virginia in 1648
  • Caleb Thomas, who landed in Maryland in 1651
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Thomas Settlers in United States in the 18th Century

  • Matheus Thomas, who sailed for America in 1709 with his wife and daughters
  • Heinrich Thomas came to America in 1709 settling in Carolina or Pennsylvania
  • Andreas Thomas, who landed in New York, NY in 1710-1714
  • Alexander Thomas, who settled in Virginia in 1717
  • Edwin Thomas, who came to Nevis in 1747
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Thomas Settlers in United States in the 19th Century

  • Amyus Thomas, who arrived in New York in 1807
  • Angus Thomas, aged 45, landed in New York in 1812
  • Carl Thomas, who arrived in Texas in 1846
  • Llewellyn Thomas, who was naturalized in Iowa in 1851
  • A S Thomas, who arrived in San Francisco, California in 1851
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Thomas Settlers in United States in the 20th Century

  • Austin William Thomas, who landed in Mississippi in 1902

Thomas Settlers in Canada in the 17th Century

  • Henry Thomas, who came to Harbour Grace, Newfoundland, in 1685

Thomas Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century

  • Mr. William Thomas U.E. who arrived at Port Roseway, [Shelburne], Nova Scotia on October 26, 1783 was passenger number 193 aboard the ship "HMS Clinton", picked up on September 28, 1783 at Staten Island, New York, USA
  • Mr. Samuel Thomas U.E. who settled in Saint John, New Brunswick c. 1784
  • Mr. Samuel Thomas U.E. who settled in Charlotte County, New Brunswick c. 1784
  • Mr. Stephen Thomas U.E. who settled in Saint John, New Brunswick c. 1784
  • Mr. Thomas Thomas U.E. who settled in Saint John, New Brunswick c. 1784 he became a Freeman in 1795 was a Boat Builder
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Thomas Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century

  • Ann Thomas, who arrived in Canada in 1832
  • Mrs. Thomas, aged 35, a lady, arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick in 1833 aboard the brig "Sarah" from Bristol, England
  • Mary Thomas, aged 21, arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick in 1834 aboard the schooner "Sarah" from Belfast, Ireland
  • Ester Thomas, aged 19, arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick in 1834 aboard the schooner "Sarah" from Belfast, Ireland
  • William Thomas, aged 32, a labourer, arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick aboard the ship "Cupid" in 1834
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Thomas Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century

  • James Thomas, English convict from Middlesex, who was transported aboard the "Almorah" on April 1817, settling in New South Wales, Australia
  • John Thomas, English convict from London, who was transported aboard the "Almorah" on April 1817, settling in New South Wales, Australia
  • Hugh Thomas, English convict from Lancaster, who was transported aboard the "Agamemnon" on April 22, 1820, settling in New South Wales, Australia
  • James Thomas, English convict from York, who was transported aboard the "Agamemnon" on April 22, 1820, settling in New South Wales, Australia
  • Morgan Thomas, Welsh convict from Glamorgan, who was transported aboard the "Adamant" on March 16, 1821, settling in New South Wales, Australia
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Thomas Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century

  • William Thomas landed in Korohiwa, opposite Mana, New Zealand in 1836 aboard the ship Caroline
  • Joseph Thomas landed in Wellington, New Zealand in 1840 aboard the ship Adelaide
  • George Thomas landed in Doubtless Bay, New Zealand in 1840
  • George Thomas landed in Wellington, New Zealand in 1840
  • John Thomas landed in Wellington, New Zealand in 1840 aboard the ship Adelaide
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  • Peter Thomas (1924-2016), American announcer and narrator of television programs, known for his work on The Forensic Files (1996), When Trumpets Fade (1998) and Alaska: Big America (2004)
  • Jim "Long Gone" Thomas (1938-2015), American CFL running back who played from 1963 to 1971 for the Edmonton Eskimos; he had the longest CFL run of 104 yards on October 9, 1965
  • Thom Thomas (1941-2015), American actor, screenplay writer and playwright
  • Vincent Thomas (1922-2015), American politician, Mayor of Norfolk, Virginia (1976-1984)
  • Ernest Joseph "Tabby" Thomas (1929-2014), nicknamed Rockin' Tabby Thomas, an American blues musician
  • Edward Alfred Thomas (1919-2015), one of the first African Americans to work as a police officer for the Houston Police Department
  • John Tillman "Bud" Thomas (1929-2015), American Major League Baseball player who played for the St. Louis Browns in 1951
  • Rodney Dejuane Thomas (1973-2014), professional American football player who played from 1995 to 2001
  • William F. Thomas (1924-2014), American newspaper editor, notably as chief editor of the Los Angeles Times from 1971 to 1989
  • Joab Langston Thomas (1933-2014), American university administrator and scientist, President of Pennsylvania State University, North Carolina State University and the University of Alabama
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Thomas Historic Events



Empress of Ireland

  • Mr. William Thomas, British Assistant Steward from United Kingdom who worked aboard the Empress of Ireland and died in the sinking on May 29th 1914

Halifax Explosion

  • Mr. George P.  Thomas (1857-1917), Canadian resident from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada who died in the Halifax Explosion on 6th December 1917
  • Mr. William Charles  Thomas (1872-1917), Canadian resident from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada who died in the Halifax Explosion on 6th December 1917
  • Mrs. Bertha  Thomas (1881-1917), Canadian resident from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada who survived the Halifax Explosion on 6th December 1917 but later died due to injuries
  • Mrs. Martha Lillian  Thomas (1895-1917), Canadian resident from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada who died in the Halifax Explosion on 6th December 1917
  • Mr. Clarence S.  Thomas (1896-1917), Canadian resident from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada who died in the Halifax Explosion on 6th December 1917
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Hillcrest Coal Mine

  • Mr. Deo Thomas (1885-1914), American Driver Boss from Washington State, United States who worked in the Hillcrest Coal Mine, Alberta, Canada and died in the mine collapse on June 19 1914

HMS Hood

  • Mr. Harold J Thomas (b. 1918), Welsh Able Seaman serving for the Royal Navy from Bedwellty, Monmouthshire, Wales, who sailed into battle on the HMS Hood and died on 24th May 1941 in the sinking
  • Mr. Francis J Thomas (b. 1897), English Able Seaman serving for the Royal Navy from St Helier, Channel Islands, England, who sailed into battle on the HMS Hood and died on 24th May 1941 in the sinking

HMS Prince of Wales

  • Mr. W Thomas, British Leading Cook, who sailed in to battle on the HMS Prince of Wales and survived the sinking
  • Mr. Reginald Alfred Thomas, British Sergeant Marine, who sailed in to battle on the HMS Prince of Wales and survived the sinking
  • Mr. G Thomas, British Cook, who sailed in to battle on the HMS Prince of Wales and survived the sinking
  • Mr. Dennis Thomas, British Able Seaman, who sailed in to battle on the HMS Prince of Wales and survived the sinking
  • Mr. D Thomas, British Able Seaman, who sailed in to battle on the HMS Prince of Wales and survived the sinking
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HMS Repulse

  • Mr. Joseph Thomas, British Marine, who sailed into battle on the HMS Repulse and survived the sinking
  • Mr. Emrys Thomas, British Able Bodied Seaman, who sailed into battle on the HMS Repulse and survived the sinking
  • Mr. D Thomas, British Able Bodied Seaman, who sailed into battle on the HMS Repulse and survived the sinking
  • Mr. John Selwyn Thomas, British Ordnance Artificer 4th Class, who sailed into battle on the HMS Repulse and died during the sinking
  • Mr. John Richard Thomas, British Marine, who sailed into battle on the HMS Repulse and died during the sinking
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Pan Am Flight 103 (Lockerbie)

  • Arva Anthony Thomas (1971-1988), American Student from Detroit, Michigan, America, who flew aboard the Pan Am Flight 103 from Frankfurt to Detroit, known as the Lockerbie bombing in 1988 and died
  • Jonathan Ryan Thomas (1988-1988), American Passenger from Southfield, Michigan, America, who flew aboard the Pan Am Flight 103 from Frankfurt to Detroit, known as the Lockerbie bombing in 1988 and died
  • Lawanda Thomas (1967-1988), American Air Force Sergeant from Southfield, Michigan, America, who flew aboard the Pan Am Flight 103 from Frankfurt to Detroit, known as the Lockerbie bombing in 1988 and died

RMS Lusitania

  • Mr. David Alfred Thomas, Welsh 1st Class Passenger from Cardiff, Wales, who sailed aboard the RMS Lusitania and survived the sinking by escaping in life boat 11
  • Mr. John Thomas, English Second Waiter from England, who worked aboard the RMS Lusitania and survived the sinking
  • Mr. William Stanford Thomas, English 2nd Class Cabin Bed Steward from Walton, Liverpool, England, who worked aboard the RMS Lusitania and died in the sinking and was recovered
  • Mr. George Henry Thomas, English Assistant Officers' Mess Steward from Liverpool, England, who worked aboard the RMS Lusitania and died in the sinking
  • Mr. Ernest Thomas, Canadian 2nd Class passenger from Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, who sailed aboard the RMS Lusitania and died in the sinking and was recovered
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RMS Titanic

  • Mr. Joseph Wakefield Thomas (d. 1912), aged 25, English Fireman/Stoker from Southampton, Hampshire who worked aboard the RMS Titanic and died in the sinking
  • Mr. John Thomas (d. 1912), aged 34, Unknown Third Class passenger from Unknown who sailed aboard the RMS Titanic and died in the sinking
  • Mr. Tannous John Thomas (d. 1912), aged 16, Lebanese Third Class passenger from Unknown who sailed aboard the RMS Titanic and died in the sinking
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  • Ancestors and Kin... by Robert Walden Coggeshall.
  • The Descendants of William Thomas by Francis Marion Ammon.
  • Thomas Ancestors: A History of a Thomas Family by Mark Everett Thomas.
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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: I dduw bo'r diolch
Motto Translation: To God be thanks.

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Citations



    Other References

    1. 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).
    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. Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds. . Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-005-8).
    4. Bradford, William. History of Plymouth Plantation 1620-1647 Edited by Samuel Eliot Morrison 2 Volumes. New York: Russell and Russell, 1968. Print.
    5. Ingram, Rev. James. Translator Anglo-Saxon Chronicle 1823. Print.
    6. Magnusson, Magnus. Chambers Biographical Dictionary 5th edition. Edinburgh: W & R Chambers, 1990. Print.
    7. Colletta, John P. They Came In Ships. Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1993. Print.
    8. The Norman People and Their Existing Descendants in the British Dominions and the United States Of America. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0636-X).
    9. Robb H. Amanda and Andrew Chesler. Encyclopedia of American Family Names. New York: Haper Collins, 1995. Print. (ISBN 0-06-270075-8).
    10. Hinde, Thomas Ed. The Domesday Book England's Heritage Then and Now. Surrey: Colour Library Books, 1995. Print. (ISBN 1-85833-440-3).
    11. ...

    The Thomas Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Thomas 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 21 July 2016 at 08:16.

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