Show ContentsAbbs History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The history of the Abbs family goes back to the ancient Anglo-Saxon culture of Britain. It is derived from the family living near one or more notable aspen trees. The surname Abbs is derived from the Old English word æpse, which means aspen. The surname may also be a nickname in jest, for a timid person, referring to the trembling leaves of the tree. 1

However, one source notes that name may be "a genitive form of Ape or Appe; a personal name, ante [(before)]1066 [and in the] Domesday Book. " 2

Early Origins of the Abbs family

The surname Abbs was first found in Huntingdonshire where the singular name Eppe was recorded c. 1250. A few years later, Roger Eppe was listed in Norfolk according to the Hundredorum Rolls of 1275. The name could have originated at Epps Farm in Bentley, Warwickshire. 3

Early History of the Abbs family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Abbs research. Another 185 words (13 lines of text) covering the years 1307, 1327, 1524, 1534, 1604, 1628, 1658, 1779, 1787, 1805, 1815, 1823, 1833, 1845, 1869 and 1874 are included under the topic Early Abbs History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Abbs Spelling Variations

Until quite recently, the English language has lacked a definite system of spelling rules. Consequently, Anglo-Saxon surnames are characterized by a multitude of spelling variations. Changes in Anglo-Saxon names were influenced by the evolution of the English language, as it incorporated elements of French, Latin, and other languages. Although Medieval scribes and church officials recorded names as they sounded, so it is common to find one person referred to by several different spellings of his surname, even the most literate people varied the spelling of their own names. Variations of the name Abbs include Apps, Apse, Abbs, Abb, App, Apsey, Epps, Ebbs, Epsey, Epp and many more.

Early Notables of the Abbs family

More information is included under the topic Early Abbs Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

United States Abbs migration to the United States +

Searching for a better life, many English families migrated to British colonies. Unfortunately, the majority of them traveled under extremely harsh conditions: overcrowding on the ships caused the majority of the immigrants to arrive diseased, famished, and destitute from the long journey across the ocean. For those families that arrived safely, modest prosperity was attainable, and many went on to make invaluable contributions to the development of the cultures of the new colonies. Research into the origins of individual families in North America revealed records of the immigration of a number of people bearing the name Abbs or a variant listed above:

Abbs Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Edward Abbs, who settled in Virginia in 1635
  • Edward Abbs, aged 37, who arrived in Virginia in 1635 4
  • Henry Abbs, who landed in Virginia in 1649 4
  • Thomas Abbs, who settled in Virginia in 1649

Contemporary Notables of the name Abbs (post 1700) +

  • Tom Abbs (b. 1972), American multi-instrumentalist and filmmaker
  • Annabel Abbs (b. 1964), English writer and novelist, daughter of poet and academic, Professor Peter Abbs
  • Peter Francis Abbs (1942-2020), English poet and academic, from Cromer, Norfolk, father of writer Annabel Abbs
  • Louisa Sewell Abbs (1811-1872), née Skipper, the wife of Rev. John Abbs who helped establish the lace and embroidery industry in Travancore, Southern India
  • Rev. John Abbs (1810-1888), English missionary who spent twenty-two years in Travancore, Southern India
  • Gordon Abbs, Australian radio operator at Mawson Station in 1956, eponym of Mount Abbs, Antarctica

The Abbs Motto +

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: In Te Domine Speravi
Motto Translation: In thee, O Lord, I have placed my hope.

  1. Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  2. Lower, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  3. Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  4. Filby, P. William, Meyer, Mary K., Passenger and immigration lists index : a guide to published arrival records of about 500,000 passengers who came to the United States and Canada in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. 1982-1985 Cumulated Supplements in Four Volumes Detroit, Mich. : Gale Research Co., 1985, Print (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8) on Facebook