Show ContentsAbercrombie History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The chronicles of the Abercrombie family reach back into Scottish history to an ancient tribe known as the Picts. The ancestors of the Abercrombie family lived in Fife from a place named Abercrombie (earlier Abarcrumbach), which is of Pictish origin, meaning "a place on the bendy river" or "crooked marsh." [1]

Formerly known as St. Monan's, "this place, which appears to have been a distinct parish since the middle of the 12th century, is in ancient documents invariably called Abercrombie, or Abercrumbin." [2]

Early Origins of the Abercrombie family

The surname Abercrombie was first found in the county of Fifeshire (Gaelic: Fìobh), in southeastern Scotland; an ancient Pictish kingdom, known as Fib, and still commonly known as the Kingdom of Fife. Arguably, the first mention of the Clan was in the Ulster Chronicle as one of the clans that King Malcolm Ceanmore took north to quell the claims of MacBeth for the throne of Scotland in 1057. Today, Abercrombie, or St. Monan's, is a parish, in the district of St. Andrew's.

One of the first records of the family was "William de Abercromby of the county of Fife did homage [to King Edward I of England] in 1296. His seal bears a boar's head and neck on a wreath, star in base and crescent above, and S' Will's de Ab'crumbi." [3]

Also recorded as "William de Haberchrumbi, he was juror on an inquest in the same year which found that Emma la Suchis died seized in demesne in Fife. Johan de Abercromby of the same county also rendered homage in the same year, and in 1305 served on an inquest made at the town of St. John of Perth." [3]

Early History of the Abercrombie family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Abercrombie research. Another 168 words (12 lines of text) covering the years 1296, 1734, 1801, 1456, 1895, 1561, 1561, 1534, 1613, 1603, 1684, 1702, 1656, 1716, 1734, 1801, 1756, 1774, 1780, 1793 and 1800 are included under the topic Early Abercrombie History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Abercrombie Spelling Variations

When the first dictionaries were invented in the last few hundred years, spelling gradually became standardized. Before that time, scribes spelled according to sound. Names were often recorded under different spelling variations every time they were written. Abercrombie has been written Abercrumby, Abircrumby, Abbircummy, Abbircromby, Abircombie, Abircromy, Abircrommbie, Abircromby, Abircrumme, Abircrumbye, Abercrombie, Abercromby, Abyrcrumby, Abyrcrumbie, Abbercrumbie, Abbercrommie, Ebercrombie and many more.

Early Notables of the Abercrombie family (pre 1700)

Notable amongst the Clan at this time was John Abercromby (d. 1561), Scottish monk of the Order of St. Benedict, a staunch opponent of the doctrines of the Reformation, and on that account was condemned to death and executed about the year 1561. [4] Robert Abercromby (1534-1613), a Scotch Jesuit, who, after entering the order, spent twenty-three years in assisting Catholics abroad, and nineteen years on the Scotch mission, where he suffered imprisonment. [4] Sir Alexander Abercromby of Birkenbog, 1st Baronet (c.1603-1684), was a Scottish politician; David Abercromby (died c. 1702), was a Scottish physician and writer. Patrick Abercomby (1656-1716?), was a Scottish...
Another 142 words (10 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Abercrombie Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Abercrombie Ranking

In the United States, the name Abercrombie is the 5,593rd most popular surname with an estimated 4,974 people with that name. [5]

United States Abercrombie migration to the United States +

The crossing to North America did not seem so great in comparison with the hardships many Scots endured at home. It was long, expensive, and cramped, but also rewarding. North America offered land and the chance for settlers to prove themselves in a new place. And many did prove themselves as they fought to forge a new nation in the American War of Independence. The ancestors of those Scots can now experience much of their once-lost heritage through the Clan societies and highland games that have sprung up across North America in the last century. A search of immigration and passenger lists revealed many important, early immigrants to North America bearing the name of Abercrombie:

Abercrombie Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • John Abercrombie, who landed in Virginia in 1716 [6]
  • James Abercrombie, who landed in South Carolina in 1734 [6]
  • Robert Abercrombie, who landed in Massachusetts in 1742 [6]
  • Robert Abercrombie, who arrived in New England in 1742 [6]
  • John Joseph Abercrombie, who arrived in North Carolina in 1744 [6]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Abercrombie Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • John Abercrombie, who landed in New York in 1801 [6]
  • James Abercrombie, who landed in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1832 [6]
  • Charles Abercrombie, who arrived in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1856 [6]
  • John Abercrombie, who arrived in Minnesota in 1871 [6]

Canada Abercrombie migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Abercrombie Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
  • Alexander Abercrombie, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1749

Australia Abercrombie migration to Australia +

Emigration to Australia followed the First Fleets of convicts, tradespeople and early settlers. Early immigrants include:

Abercrombie Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • W Abercrombie, who landed in Sydney, Australia in 1838
  • C Abercrombie, who landed in Sydney, Australia in 1839
  • P Abercrombie, who landed in Sydney, Australia in 1839

New Zealand Abercrombie migration to New Zealand +

Emigration to New Zealand followed in the footsteps of the European explorers, such as Captain Cook (1769-70): first came sealers, whalers, missionaries, and traders. By 1838, the British New Zealand Company had begun buying land from the Maori tribes, and selling it to settlers, and, after the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, many British families set out on the arduous six month journey from Britain to Aotearoa to start a new life. Early immigrants include:

Abercrombie Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • C W Abercrombie, who landed in Auckland, New Zealand in 1840
  • Mr. George Abercrombie, British settler travelling from London aboard the ship "Tamar" arriving in Auckland, New Zealand on 28th January 1858 [7]
  • Mrs. Emma Abercrombie, British settler travelling from London aboard the ship "Tamar" arriving in Auckland, New Zealand on 28th January 1858 [7]
  • Mr. Frederick Abercrombie, British settler travelling from London aboard the ship "Tamar" arriving in Auckland, New Zealand on 28th January 1858 [7]
  • Miss Ann Frances Abercrombie, British settler travelling from London aboard the ship "Tamar" arriving in Auckland, New Zealand on 28th January 1858 [7]

Contemporary Notables of the name Abercrombie (post 1700) +

  • Ensign William Warner Abercrombie USN (1914-1942), United States Navy officer and Naval Aviator during World War II, recipient of the Navy Cross posthumously, eponym of the destroyer escort USS Abercrombie (DE-343)
  • David Thomas Abercrombie (1867-1931), American surveyor and entrepreneur from Baltimore, Maryland, co-founder Abercrombie & Fitch in 1892
  • Josephine Avalona Abercrombie (1926-2022), née Frank, an American horsewoman, businesswoman, boxing promoter, philanthropist, and founder of The Lexington School in Lexington, Kentucky
  • John Laird Abercrombie (1944-2017), American jazz guitarist, composer and bandleader
  • Reginald Damascus "Reggie" Abercrombie (b. 1981), American former Major League Baseball outfielder
  • Thomas J. Abercrombie (1930-2006), American senior staff writer and photographer for National Geographic
  • Walter Augustus Abercrombie (b. 1959), former professional American NFL football running back and kick returner
  • Neil Abercrombie (1938-2010), American politician, 7th Governor of Hawaii since 2010
  • George Abercrombie, American named President and CEO of Hoffmann-La Roche Inc. in 2001
  • John Abercrombie (1780-1844), Scottish physician, the only son of the Rev. George Abercrombie, one of the parish ministers of Aberdeen [8]
  • ... (Another 11 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Empress of Ireland
  • Mr. John Robertson Abercrombie (1889-1914), British First Class Passenger returning from Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada who survived the sinking on the Empress of Ireland [9]
Grover Shoe factory
  • Mr. Wallace R. Abercrombie, American employee of the Grover Shoe factory in Brockton, Massachusetts on 20th March 1905 when the boiler exploded and collapsed the wooden building; he died [10]
USS Arizona
  • Mr. Samuel Adolphus Abercrombie, American Seaman First Class from Texas, USA working aboard the ship "USS Arizona" when she sunk during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on 7th December 1941, he died in the sinking [11]

The Abercrombie 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: Tace
Motto Translation: Keep Silence.

Suggested Readings for the name Abercrombie +

  • A History of Cole, Shipman, and Allied Families by Pauline Callaway Sheriff.

  1. Smith, Eldson Coles, New Dictionary of American Family Names New York: Harper & Row, 1956. Print
  2. Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of Scotland. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
  3. 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)
  4. Smith, George (ed), Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1885-1900. Print
  5. "What are the 5,000 Most Common Last Names in the U.S.?".,
  6. 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)
  7. New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 26th March 2019). Retrieved from
  8. Wikisource contributors. "Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900." Wikisource . Wikisource , 4 Jun. 2018. Web. 17 Apr. 2019
  9. Commemoration Empress of Ireland 2014. (Retrieved 2014, June 16) . Retrieved from
  10. California Digital Newspaper from 21st March 1905 (retrieved on 5th August 2021.) Retrieved from
  11. Pearl Harbour: USS Arizona Casualties List Pearl Harbour December 7, 1941. (Retrieved 2018, July 31st). Retrieved from on Facebook