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

Origins Available: English, Scottish

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

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. While the account of the fight is most certainly true and well documented, the legend behind the name Turnbull is questionable.


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.

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.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Trimble research. Another 460 words(33 lines of text) covering the years 1214, 1296, 1315, 1329, 1333, 1400, 1447, 1450, and 1545 are included under the topic Early Trimble History in all our PDF Extended History products.


Another 32 words(2 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 243 words(17 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


  • Isaac Ridgeway Trimble (1802-1888), United States Army officer, Confederate general in the American Civil War
  • Robert Trimble (1776-1828), United States Supreme Court justice
  • Laurence Trimble (1885-1954), American silent film actor, best known for his films starring his dogs, Jean, the Vitagraph Dog, and Strongheart
  • Charles Trimble, American founder of Trimble Navigation, Los Altos, California in 1978
  • James W. "Jim" Trimble (1918-2006), nicknamed, "Jungle Jim", American NFL and CFL head football coach, co-creator of the "slingshot" goalpost now the standard of play
  • Allen Trimble (1783-1870), American Federalist politician, the 8th and 10th Governor of Ohio
  • South Trimble (1864-1946), American politician, U.S. Representative from Kentucky, 27th and 29th Clerk of the United States House of Representatives
  • James William Trimble (1894-1972), American politician, Member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Arkansas's 3rd district (1945-1967)
  • Louis Preston Trimble (1917-1988), American science fiction, westerns, and mysteries writer and academic
  • 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)



  • 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. Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at Galveston Texas 1896-1951. National Archives Washington DC. Print.
  2. Crozier, William Armstrong Edition. Crozier's General Armory A Registry of American Families Entitled to Coat Armor. New York: Fox, Duffield, 1904. Print.
  3. Le Patourel, John. The Norman Empire. New York: Oxford University Press, 1976. Print. (ISBN 0-19-822525-3).
  4. Moody David. Scottish Family History. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1994. Print. (ISBN 0806312688).
  5. Bowman, George Ernest. The Mayflower Reader A Selection of Articales from The Mayflower Descendent. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  6. Catholic Directory For Scotland. Glasgow: Burns Publications. 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. Browning, Charles H. Americans of Royal Descent. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  10. 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.
  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 6 July 2015 at 23:37.

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