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


The name Thurston belongs to the early history of Britain, it's origins lie with the Anglo-Saxons. It is a product of their having lived in the village of Thurston found in the county of Suffolk. The surname Thurston is a habitation name that was originally derived from pre-existing names for towns, villages, parishes, or farmsteads. The surname originated as a means of identifying individuals from a particular area. As a general rule, the greater the distance between an individual and their homeland, the larger the territory they were named after. For example, a person who only moved to another parish would be known by the name of their original village, while people who migrated to a different country were often known by the name of a region or country from which they came.

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Until the dictionary, an invention of only the last few hundred years, the English language lacked any comprehensive system of spelling rules. Consequently, spelling variations in names are frequently found in early Anglo-Saxon and later Anglo-Norman documents. One person's name was often spelled several different ways over a lifetime. The recorded variations of Thurston include Thurston, Turston, Thruston, Turstin and others.

First found in Suffolk at Thurston, a parish, in the union of Stow, hundred of Thedwastry. [1] The place name dates back to the Domesday Book of 1086 where it was first listed as Thurstuna. [2] Literally the place name means "farmstead of a man called Thori," from the Viking personal name + the Old English word "tun." [3] It is generally believed that the name originated in this parish. However, the name could have perhaps been derived "from the Teutonic name Turstin, which is found in the Domesday [Book] as the designation of persons both Norman and Saxon. One Turstanus is there described as 'machinator' - probably a military engineer." [4]


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Thurston research. Another 109 words (8 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Thurston History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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More information is included under the topic Early Thurston Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Thousands of English families boarded ships sailing to the New World in the hope of escaping the unrest found in England at this time. Although the search for opportunity and freedom from persecution abroad took the lives of many because of the cramped conditions and unsanitary nature of the vessels, the opportunity perceived in the growing colonies of North America beckoned. Many of the settlers who survived the journey went on to make important contributions to the transplanted cultures of their adopted countries. The Thurston were among these contributors, for they have been located in early North American records:

Thurston Settlers in United States in the 17th Century


  • Daniel Thurston settled in New England in 1635
  • John and Margaret Thurston, who settled in Boston Massachusetts in 1637 with their two sons
  • Daniel Thurston, who arrived in Newbury, Massachusetts in 1637
  • Richard Thurston, who arrived in Salem, Massachusetts in 1637
  • John Thurston, who landed in Dedham, Massachusetts in 1643


Thurston Settlers in United States in the 18th Century


  • James Thurston, who arrived in Virginia in 1703
  • Sarah Thurston, who arrived in Virginia in 1743
  • Charles Mynn Thurston, who arrived in Virginia in 1765

Thurston Settlers in United States in the 19th Century


  • Joshua Thurston, who arrived in New York, NY in 1831
  • R Thurston, who landed in San Francisco, California in 1850
  • D T Thurston, who landed in San Francisco, California in 1850
  • John M Thurston, who landed in San Francisco, California in 1851
  • S R Thurston, who landed in San Francisco, California in 1851


Thurston Settlers in Canada in the 20th Century


  • H Thurston, who arrived in St John, New Brunswick in 1907

Thurston Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century


  • Sarah Thurston arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Sir Charles Forbes" in 1839
  • Charles Thurston, aged 58, arrived in South Australia in 1850 aboard the ship "Lysander"
  • William Henry Thurston, aged 36, a carpenter, arrived in South Australia in 1850 aboard the ship "Lysander"
  • Catherine Thurston, aged 13, a servant, arrived in South Australia in 1850 aboard the ship "Lysander"
  • Joseph Thurston, aged 21, arrived in South Australia in 1852 aboard the ship "Steadfast"

Thurston Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century


  • James Thurston landed in Wanganui, New Zealand in 1840

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  • Mr. John Thurston (d. 1915), American 2nd Class passenger from Bridgeport, Connecticut, USA, who sailed aboard the RMS Lusitania and died in the sinking
  • Baratunde Rafiq Thurston (b. 1977), American comedian
  • David Thurston (1918-2013), American aircraft designer
  • Samuel Royal Thurston (1815-1851), American pioneer, lawyer and politician, Delegate to the U.S. House of Representatives from Oregon Territory (1849-1851)
  • Robert Henry Thurston (1839-1903), American engineer, the first Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Stevens Institute of Technology
  • Scott Troy Thurston (b. 1952), American guitarist, keyboardist, songwriter, and session musician, member of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
  • William Paul Thurston (1946-2012), American mathematician awarded the Fields Medal in 1982
  • Howard Thurston (1869-1936), American performing magician
  • Edgar Thurston CIE (1855-1935), Indian superintendent at the Madras Government Museum
  • Johnathan Dean Thurston (b. 1983), Australian rugby league player, co-captain of National Rugby League team

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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: Esse quam videri
Motto Translation: To be, rather than to seem.

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  1. ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
  2. ^ Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds., Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8)
  3. ^ Mills, A.D., Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4)
  4. ^ Lowe, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.

Other References

  1. Reaney P.H and R.M. Wilson. A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X).
  2. Marcharn, Frederick George. A Constitutional History of Modern England 1485 to the Present. London: Harper and Brothers, 1960. Print.
  3. Magnusson, Magnus. Chambers Biographical Dictionary 5th edition. Edinburgh: W & R Chambers, 1990. Print.
  4. Thirsk, Joan. The Agrarian History of England and Wales. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press: 7 Volumes. Print.
  5. Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin . Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8).
  6. Virkus, Frederick A. Ed. Immigrant Ancestors A List of 2,500 Immigrants to America Before 1750. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1964. Print.
  7. Colletta, John P. They Came In Ships. Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1993. Print.
  8. Bradford, William. History of Plymouth Plantation 1620-1647 Edited by Samuel Eliot Morrison 2 Volumes. New York: Russell and Russell, 1968. Print.
  9. Sanders, Joanne McRee Edition. English Settlers in Barbados 1637-1800. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  10. Mills, A.D. Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4).
  11. ...

The Thurston Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Thurston 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 15 October 2015 at 14:05.

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