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


Alabaster is one of the many names that the Normans brought with them when they conquered England in 1066. Alabaster is a name for a arbalester, a person who either built or operated a 12th century variation of the medieval European crossbow named "arbalest." Derived from the Medieval French term, it actually dates back to Roman times when the crossbow was referred to as a "arcuballista."

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It is only in the last few hundred years that the English language has been standardized. For that reason, Anglo-Norman surnames like Alabaster are characterized by many spelling variations. Scribes and monks in the Middle Ages spelled names they sounded, so it is common to find several variations that refer to a single person. As the English language changed and incorporated elements of other European languages such as Norman French and Latin, even literate people regularly changed the spelling of their names. The variations of the name Alabaster include Arblaster, Arblast, Alablaster, Alabaster, Allblaster, Arbalistrius, Arbalistarius, Albalistarius, Arbelestre, Aleblaster, Allyblaster, Arbalister, Arbelaster and many more.

First found in Norfolk, where they held a family seat after 1066.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Alabaster research. Another 417 words (30 lines of text) covering the years 1086, 1140, 1198, 1198, 1273, 1273, 1278, 1296, 1565, 1624, 1700, 1567 and 1640 are included under the topic Early Alabaster History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Another 45 words (3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Alabaster Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Faced with the chaos present in England at that time, many English families looked towards the open frontiers of the New World with its opportunities to escape oppression and starvation. People migrated to North America, as well as Australia and Ireland in droves, paying exorbitant rates for passages in cramped, unsafe ships. Many of the settlers did not make the long passage alive, but those who did see the shores of North America were welcomed with great opportunity. Many of the families that came from England went on to make essential contributions to the emerging nations of Canada and the United States. Some of the first immigrants to cross the Atlantic and come to North America carried the name Alabaster, or a variant listed above: who migrated to North America before the 19th century and contributed to the development of a new society.

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  • Chaloner Grenville Alabaster (1930-1941), son of Chaloner Grenville Alabaster, Attorney General of Hong Kong
  • Chaloner Grenville Alabaster (1838-1898), English administrator in China, Consul General at Hankow, Wuhan (1880 to 1886)
  • Rear Admiral Martin Alabaster CBE (1958-2007), retired former senior officer in the British Royal Navy from Totnes, Devon, Commander of Royal Naval College, Dartmouth (2007-2008)
  • Grenville David Alabaster (b. 1933), former New Zealand first class cricketer for Otago, Canterbury
  • John Chaloner "Jack" Alabaster (1930-1955), New Zealand cricketer who played 21 Tests for New Zealand from 1955 to 1972


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  1. 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.
  2. Hanks, Hodges, Mills and Room. The Oxford Names Companion. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002. Print. (ISBN 0-19-860561-7).
  3. MacAulay, Thomas Babington. History of England from the Accession of James the Second 4 volumes. New York: Harper and Brothers, 1879. Print.
  4. Hinde, Thomas Ed. The Domesday Book England's Heritage Then and Now. Surrey: Colour Library Books, 1995. Print. (ISBN 1-85833-440-3).
  5. Foster, Joseph. Dictionary of Heraldry Feudal Coats of Arms and Pedigrees. London: Bracken Books, 1989. Print. (ISBN 1-85170-309-8).
  6. Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at Galveston Texas 1896-1951. National Archives Washington DC. Print.
  7. Crispin, M. Jackson and Leonce Mary. Falaise Roll Recording Prominent Companions of William Duke of Normandy at the Conquest of England. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  8. Robb H. Amanda and Andrew Chesler. Encyclopedia of American Family Names. New York: Haper Collins, 1995. Print. (ISBN 0-06-270075-8).
  9. Chadwick, Nora Kershaw and J.X.W.P Corcoran. The Celts. London: Penguin, 1790. Print. (ISBN 0140212116).
  10. Reaney P.H and R.M. Wilson. A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X).
  11. ...

The Alabaster Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Alabaster 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 29 January 2013 at 08:30.

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