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

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

The ancestry of the name Townsend dates from the ancient Anglo-Saxon culture of Britain. It comes from when the family lived on the outskirts of a village. The surname Townsend literally refers to a dweller "at the town's end." The name belongs to the class of topographic surnames, which were given to people who resided near physical features such as hills, streams, churches, or types of trees.

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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 Townsend have been found, including Townsend, Townshend and others.

First found in Norfolk where they held a family seat as Lords of the manor of Snoring Magna from ancient times.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Townsend research. Another 165 words(12 lines of text) covering the years 1350, 1390, 1430, 1493, 1486, 1568, 1603, 1603, 1596, 1637, 1630, 1687, 1682, 1608, 1668, 1630, 1618, 1692, 1674, 1738, 1619 and are included under the topic Early Townsend History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Another 247 words(18 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Townsend Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Some of the Townsend family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 107 words(8 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.

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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 Townsend, or a variant listed above:

Townsend Settlers in United States in the 17th Century


  • William Townsend settled in Boston Massachusetts in 1630
  • Henry Townsend (16261695), English settler to Flushing about 1630
  • John Townsend (ca. 16081668) English settler to America with his brother Henry about 1630, signatory to the Flushing Remonstrance
  • Martin Townsend, who arrived in Watertown, Massachusetts in 1634
  • Francis Townsend, aged 21, arrived in Virginia in 1635


Townsend Settlers in United States in the 18th Century


  • Anne Townsend, who landed in Virginia in 1702
  • Robt Townsend, who arrived in Virginia in 1704
  • Benoni Townsend, who landed in New England in 1717
  • Edward Townsend, who landed in Georgia in 1738
  • Mary Townsend, who landed in Georgia in 1740


Townsend Settlers in United States in the 19th Century


  • Daniel Townsend, who arrived in Pennsylvania in 1863

Townsend Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century


  • Davis Townsend, who landed in Halifax, Nova Scotia in 1749-1752
  • James Townsend, who settled, with his wife and five children, in St. John Island in 1775

Townsend Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century


  • Charles Townsend, who arrived in Canada in 1830
  • Abraham Townsend, who landed in Canada in 1831
  • Platt Townsend, who landed in Canada in 1831
  • Samuel Townsend, who landed in Canada in 1831
  • George Townsend, aged 28, arrived in Saint John aboard the ship "Eleanor Gordon" in 1834


Townsend Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century


  • James Townsend, English convict from Cambridge, who was transported aboard the "Argyle" on March 5th, 1831, settling in Van Diemen's Land, Austraila
  • John Townsend arrived in Kangaroo Island aboard the ship "Hartley" in 1837
  • William Remnant Townsend arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Hooghly" in 1839
  • mary Ann Townsend arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Hooghly" in 1839
  • Lionel Edmund Townsend arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Hooghly" in 1839


Townsend Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century


  • Mr Townsend landed in Wellington, New Zealand in 1841 aboard the ship Lord William Bentinck
  • Chauncy H. Townsend arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Lord William Bentinck" in 1841
  • Michael Townsend, aged 22, arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Shamrock" in 1855
  • John Townsend arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Portland" in 1864
  • George Townsend, aged 40, a railway wagon builder, arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Conflict" in 1874


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  • Francis Everett Townsend (1867-1960), American reformer, leader of an old-age pension movement
  • Robert Townsend (b. 1920), American business executive
  • Anna Townsend (1845-1923), American silent film actress
  • Charles E. Townsend (1856-1924), American politician, U.S. Representative Senator from Michigan
  • Charles Townsend, American fencer and Olympic silver medalist
  • John Townsend (b. 1956), American psychologist and author
  • Henry Townsend (1909-2006), American blues singer, guitarist and pianist
  • Charles Henry Tyler Townsend (1863-1944), American entomologist and biologist
  • Kathleen Hartington Kennedy Townsend (1951-1995), American attorney who was the sixth Lieutenant Governor of Maryland from 1995 to 2003
  • Fitzhugh Townsend (d. 1906), American Olympic sliver medalist for fencing at the 1904 games

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  • Allen Townsend of Madison County, Florida: A Genealogy by Joseph T. Burval.
  • Master Craftsman of Newport: The Townsends and Goddards by Michael Moses.
  • I'm Claiming the Promise: A History and Genealogy of the Wm. Henry and Edith Stratton Family by David C. Stratton.
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  1. Foster, Joseph. Dictionary of Heraldry Feudal Coats of Arms and Pedigrees. London: Bracken Books, 1989. Print. (ISBN 1-85170-309-8).
  2. Matthews, John. Matthews' American Armoury and Blue Book. London: John Matthews, 1911. Print.
  3. Bradford, William. History of Plymouth Plantation 1620-1647 Edited by Samuel Eliot Morrison 2 Volumes. New York: Russell and Russell, 1968. Print.
  4. Burke, Sir Bernard. Burke's Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Landed Gentry: Including American Families with British Ancestry. (2 Volumes). London: Burke Publishing, 1939. Print.
  5. Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at Galveston Texas 1896-1951. National Archives Washington DC. Print.
  6. Reaney P.H and R.M. Wilson. A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X).
  7. Bullock, L.G. Historical Map of England and Wales. Edinburgh: Bartholomew and Son, 1971. Print.
  8. Burke, Sir Bernard. Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Peerage and Baronetage, The Privy Council, Knightage and Compainonage. London: Burke Publishing, 1921. Print.
  9. 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).
  10. Dunkling, Leslie. Dictionary of Surnames. Toronto: Collins, 1998. Print. (ISBN 0004720598).
  11. ...

The Townsend Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Townsend 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 9 February 2015 at 19:37.

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