Show ContentsAddams History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

It was among those Anglo-Saxon tribes that once ruled over Britain that the name Addams was formed. The name was derived from the given name Adam, which is itself derived from the Latin name Adamus which means earth.

Early Origins of the Addams family

The surname Addams was first found in many counties throughout England and Scotland.

"Six centuries ago Adam probably ranked as second or third favourite among boys' names throughout England. In the north it attained a most remarkable pre-eminence." 1

Another source notes the name is "rare in the eastern and northern counties. In the north, however, its place is sometimes taken by Adamson and Addison, as in the county of Durham. It is at present best represented in Buckinghamshire, Devon, Hampshire, and Staffordshire, and in the counties on the Welsh border, Shropshire and Monmouthshire. " 2

Shortly after the Conquest, forenames were still rare, but for popular names such as this an appellation was typically added denoting "from where they hailed" or in some cases, an occupation. By example, Adam of Barking (fl. 1217?), was a Benedictine monk belonging to the abbey of Sherborne in Dorset; Adam of Buckfield (fl. 1300?), was an English commentator on Aristotle; Adam the Carthusian (fl. 1340) was described as a Carthusian monk and a doctor of theology; Adam of Domerham (d. after 1291), was a monk of Glastonbury, a native of Domerham, a village in Wiltshire belonging to Glastonbury Abbey; Adam de Marisco (d. 1257?), was a learned Franciscan, is said to have been a native of Somerset; and Adam of Orlton (d. 1345), successively bishop of Hereford, Worcester, and Winchester. 3

As far as early rolls are concerned, England and Scotland had the lion's share of early entries.

The Hundredorum Rolls of 1273 had the following entries: John filius Adam, Oxfordshire; Hugh filius Adam, Oxfordshire; German Adam, Cambridgeshire; and Juliana Adams, Huntingdonshire. Further to the north and over one hundred years later, the Yorkshire Poll Tax Rolls of 1379 listed: Johannes Adamson; Johannes Adam; and Thomas Adamson. 1

In Scotland, "Adam sub-prior of Melrose became abbot of Cupar, 1189. Adam son of Adam was one of the witnesses to the charter by William Bruce to Adam of Carlyle of the lands of Kynemund, c. 1194-1214, and he also witnessed the resignation by Dunegal, son of Udard of a carucate of land in Warmanbie within the same period. Adam became abbot of Newbattle in 1201, and another Adam, a native of Lennox (Levenax), was a monk of great sanctity. " 4

Early History of the Addams family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Addams research. Another 186 words (13 lines of text) covering the years 1189, 1281, 1327, 1329, 1460, 1585, 1586, 1626, 1651, 1654, 1655, 1656, 1658, 1661, 1662, 1667, 1685, 1689, 1695, 1697, 1698, 1712, 1719, 1720, 1748, 1760, 1789, 1808, 1829, 1890 and 1891 are included under the topic Early Addams History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Addams Spelling Variations

Until the dictionary, an invention of only the last few hundred years, the English language lacked any comprehensive system of spelling rules. Consequently, spelling variations in names are frequently found in early Anglo-Saxon and later Anglo-Norman documents. One person's name was often spelled several different ways over a lifetime. The recorded variations of Addams include Adam, Adams, MacAdam, MacAdams, MacCaw and others.

Early Notables of the Addams family

Notable amongst bearers of this family name during their early history was William Adams (1585-1661), London Haberdasher born in Newport, Shropshire, who founded Adams' Grammar School in 1656; Sir Thomas Adams, 1st Baronet (1586-1667), Lord Mayor of the City of London and a Member of Parliament for the City of London from 1654-1655 and...
Another 54 words (4 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Addams Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Addams family to Ireland

Some of the Addams 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 and printed products wherever possible.

United States Addams migration to the United States +

Thousands of English families boarded ships sailing to the New World in the hope of escaping the unrest found in England at this time. Although the search for opportunity and freedom from persecution abroad took the lives of many because of the cramped conditions and unsanitary nature of the vessels, the opportunity perceived in the growing colonies of North America beckoned. Many of the settlers who survived the journey went on to make important contributions to the transplanted cultures of their adopted countries. The Addams were among these contributors, for they have been located in early North American records:

Addams Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Robert Addams, who arrived in Virginia in 1619 aboard the ship "Bona Nova" 5
  • Ann Addams, who landed in Virginia in 1623 5
  • Ann Addams, who arrived in Jamestown, Va in 1624 5
  • Geo Addams, who arrived in Virginia in 1635 5
  • Tho Addams, who arrived in Virginia in 1636 5
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Addams Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Abigail Addams, who landed in Virginia in 1701 5
  • William Addams, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1761 5
Addams Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • William Addams, who landed in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1845 5

Contemporary Notables of the name Addams (post 1700) +

  • Jane Addams (1860-1935), American sociologist, settlement activist, reformer, social worker, public administrator and author; she co-founded Chicago's Hull House, one of America's most famous settlement houses
  • William Addams (1777-1858), American Democratic Party politician, Member of Pennsylvania State House of Representatives, 1822-24; U.S. Representative from Pennsylvania 7th District, 1825-29; Defeated, 1828 6
  • John Huy Addams (1822-1881), American Republican politician, Member of Illinois State Senate, 1855-61, 1863-71; Delegate to Republican National Convention from Illinois, 1868 6
  • C. E. Addams, American Democratic Party politician, Arizona Democratic State Chair, 1931 6
  • Charles Samuel Addams (1912-1988), American artist and cartoonist, born in Westfield, New Jersey, author of "The Addams Family"
  • Dawn Addams (1930-1985), English actress, born in Felixstowe, Suffolk, known for Night Into Morning (1951), Plymouth Adventure (1952), Young Bess (1953) and The Robe (1953)
  • James Addams Beaver (1837-1914), American Republican politician, attorney, recruiter and field commander of Pennsylvania Infantry who was wounded four times during the Civil War, and politician who served as the 20th Governor of Pennsylvania from 1887 to 1891; he also served as the acting president of the Pennsylvania State University from 1906 to 1908 7

  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. Guppy, Henry Brougham, Homes of Family Names in Great Britain. 1890. Print.
  3. Smith, George (ed), Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1885-1900. Print
  4. 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)
  5. 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)
  6. The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2016, January 15) . Retrieved from
  7. The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, November 13) . Retrieved from on Facebook