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

Origins Available: English, Scottish

The descendants of a Boernician family in ancient Scotland were the first to use the name Trimble. It is a name for a man named Rule (sometimes Ruel) who saved King Robert the Bruce at Stirling Park from a charging bull by turning the bull's head. According to tradition, the King rewarded Rule with lands in Bedrule, and instructed him to change his name to Turnbull. This same man, Rule, is said to have served at the Battle of Halidon Hill in 1333, against the English. Rule preceded the Scottish Army into battle with a huge black dog, and challenged any Englishman to fight him. Sir Robert Venal of Norfolk accepted his challenge and killed both Rule and his dog. [1] While the account of the fight is most certainly true and well documented, the legend behind the name Turnbull is questionable.


The surname Trimble was first found in Roxburghshire. Referring to the aforementioned Rule reference, there was a noble family of Rule, which derived its name from the Water of Rule, an affluent of the Teviot. This family dates back to 1214 when King William the Lion of Scotland granted lands to Alan de Rule. If the bull episode is true, then the bearer was either Adam de Rule or Thomas de Rule, the two Rule chieftains who appeared on the Ragman Rolls in 1296, just after the Stirling Park affair. Later, King Robert the Bruce did in fact grant lands in the west of Fulhophalche to William Turnbull in 1315. King David II also granted the lands of Humdallwalschop (now Hundleshop) to John Turnbull. [1]

Before the printing press and the first dictionaries appeared, names and other words were often spelled differently every time they were written. Trimble has appeared under the variations Turnbull, Turnball, Trimble, Trimbell, Trumbell, Trumbill, Turnbul and many more.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Trimble research. Another 777 words (56 lines of text) covering the years 1214, 1296, 1315, 1333, 1329, 1545, 1400, 1447 and 1450 are included under the topic Early Trimble History in all our PDF Extended History products.


Another 41 words (3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Trimble Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.


Some of the Trimble 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.


The Scots who crossed the Atlantic were often on the run from poverty as well as persecution. They brought little with them, and often had nothing of their home country to hand down to their children. In the 20th century, Clan societies and other patriotic Scottish organizations have helped the ancestors of Boernician Scots to recover their lost national legacy. Many of those families went on to make significant contributions to the rapidly developing colonies in which they settled. Early North American records indicate many people bearing the name Trimble were among those contributors:

Trimble Settlers in United States in the 18th Century

  • Ann Trimble, who arrived in Augusta County, Va in 1740
  • John Trimble, who arrived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1740
  • Margaret Trimble, who landed in Virginia in 1740
  • Mary Trimble, who arrived in Virginia in 1740

Trimble Settlers in United States in the 19th Century

  • William Trimble, who arrived in New York, NY in 1811
  • Edward Trimble, who landed in New York in 1812
  • Gibson Trimble, who arrived in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1823
  • James Trimble, who landed in San Francisco, California in 1850
  • A N Trimble, who landed in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1875

Trimble Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century

  • Mary Trimble arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Inconstant" in 1849
  • James Trimble arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Ramillies" in 1849
  • Thomas Trimble (aged 24) arrived in South Australia in 1856 aboard the ship "Aurora"

Trimble Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century

  • John Trimble landed in Otahuhu, Auckland, New Zealand in 1840
  • Robert Trimble arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Dunedin" in 1875


  • John Trimble (1812-1884), American politician, Member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Tennessee's 5th district (1867-1869)
  • Frederick H. Trimble (1878-1934), American architect in Central Florida, active from the early 1900s through the 1920s
  • Thomas Clark Trimble III (1878-1965), United States federal judge
  • Lawrence Strother Trimble (1825-1904), American politician, United States congressman from Kentucky
  • Steve Trimble (1958-2011), American NFL football defensive back
  • Joseph Gerard Trimble (1930-2011), American Major League Baseball pitcher who played from 1955 through 1957
  • Marshall Trimble (b. 1939), American author, singer, community college professor, Arizona's official state historian
  • Jerry Foster Trimble Jr. (b. 1963), American actor, stuntman, PKC Kickboxing Champion of the World (1986)
  • Lester Albert Trimble (1923-1986), American music critic and composer of contemporary classical music, appointed composer-in-residence for the New York Philharmonic by Leonard Bernstein (1967)
  • Louis Preston Trimble (1917-1988), American science fiction, westerns, and mysteries writer and academic



  • American Beginnings by David B. Trimble.
  • Southwest Virginia Families by David B. Trimble.
  • Trimble Families of America by John Farley Trimble.

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  1. ^ Black, George F., The Surnames of Scotland Their Origin, Meaning and History. New York: New York Public Library, 1946. Print. (ISBN 0-87104-172-3)

Other References

  1. Colletta, John P. They Came In Ships. Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1993. Print.
  2. Scarlett, James D. Tartan The Highland Textile. London: Shepheard-Walwyn, 1990. Print. (ISBN 0-85683-120-4).
  3. Weis, Frederick Lewis, Walter Lee Sheppard and David Faris. Ancestral Roots of Sixty Colonists Who Came to New England Between 1623 and 1650 7th Edition. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0806313676).
  4. Donaldson, Gordon and Robert S. Morpeth. Who's Who In Scotish History. Wales: Welsh Academic Press, 1996. Print. (ISBN 186057-0054).
  5. Papworth, J.W and A.W Morant. Ordinary of British Armorials. London: T.Richards, 1874. Print.
  6. Bradford, William. History of Plymouth Plantation 1620-1647 Edited by Samuel Eliot Morrison 2 Volumes. New York: Russell and Russell, 1968. Print.
  7. Black, George F. The Surnames of Scotland Their Origin, Meaning and History. New York: New York Public Library, 1946. Print. (ISBN 0-87104-172-3).
  8. Paul, Sir James Balfour. An Ordinary of Arms Contained in the Public Register of All Arms and Bearings in Scotland Second Edition. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1903. Print.
  9. Moncrieffe, Sir Ian of That Ilk and David Hicks. The Highland Clans The Dynastic Origins, Cheifs and Background of the Clans. New York: C.N. Potter, 1968. Print.
  10. Crozier, William Armstrong Edition. Crozier's General Armory A Registry of American Families Entitled to Coat Armor. New York: Fox, Duffield, 1904. Print.
  11. ...

The Trimble Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Trimble 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 31 October 2015 at 17:43.

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