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

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

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.


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 where they held a family seat at Hoxney before the Conquest in 1066, and were descended from Turstin, a Saxon Noble.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Thurston research. Another 282 words(20 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Thurston History in all our PDF Extended History products.


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


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


  • Howard Thurston (1869-1936), American performing magician
  • William Paul Thurston (1946-2012), American mathematician awarded the Fields Medal in 1982
  • Scott Troy Thurston (b. 1952), American guitarist, keyboardist, songwriter, and session musician, member of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
  • Robert Henry Thurston (1839-1903), American engineer, the first Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Stevens Institute of Technology
  • Samuel Royal Thurston (1815-1851), American pioneer, lawyer and politician, Delegate to the U.S. House of Representatives from Oregon Territory (1849-1851)
  • David Thurston (1918-2013), American aircraft designer
  • Baratunde Rafiq Thurston (b. 1977), American comedian
  • Mr. John Thurston (d. 1915), American 2nd Class passenger from Bridgeport, Connecticut, USA, who sailed aboard the RMS Lusitania and died in the sinking
  • Lorrin Andrews Thurston (1858-1931), Hawaiian lawyer and newspaper publisher, a leader of the annexation by the USA
  • Ernest Temple Thurston (1879-1933), Irish poet, playwright and author



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. Leeson, Francis L. Dictionary of British Peerages. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1986. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-1121-5).
  2. Hanks, Patricia and Flavia Hodges. A Dictionary of Surnames. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988. Print. (ISBN 0-19-211592-8).
  3. Colletta, John P. They Came In Ships. Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1993. 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. Thirsk, Joan. The Agrarian History of England and Wales. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press: 7 Volumes. Print.
  6. 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).
  7. Hinde, Thomas Ed. The Domesday Book England's Heritage Then and Now. Surrey: Colour Library Books, 1995. Print. (ISBN 1-85833-440-3).
  8. Hitching, F.K and S. Hitching. References to English Surnames in 1601-1602. Walton On Thames: 1910. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0181-3).
  9. Library of Congress. American and English Genealogies in the Library of Congress. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1967. Print.
  10. 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).
  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 17 November 2014 at 09:22.

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