Alten History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Alten is a name of ancient Norman origin. It arrived in England with the Norman Conquest of 1066. The Alten family lived in Nottinghamshire and Staffordshire, where they held lands and estates for many years. They were granted these lands by William the Conqueror for their efforts at the Norman Conquest in 1066. The name is habitational in derivation, and comes from the Old English awiell, which means spring, and tun, which means enclosure or settlement.

Early Origins of the Alten family

The surname Alten was first found in Northumberland, Staffordshire, and Lancashire. Of the latter, we found more records than the other branches. At first, the family held estates at Bispham, a village within the borough of Blackpool as far back as the 14th century. Roger Dalton had thirteen children by four wives. This branch also held estates at Thurnham, again in Lancashire.

The Hundredorum Rolls of 1273 had two listings for the family, both in Northumberland: Henry de Dalton; and William de Dalton. [1]

Of note was Lawrence Dalton who died in 1561 and was an officer of arms at the College of Arms in London. "He entered the College of Arms as Calais pursuivant extraordinary, became Rouge Croix pursuivant in 1546, Richmond herald in 1547, and Norroy king of arms by patent 6 Sept. 1557, though his creation as Norroy by Queen Mary at Somerset Place was postponed till 9 Dec. 1558." [2]

"The manor was subsequently held by Thomas Lonne, citizen and grocer of London, who, in the reign of Philip and Mary, sold it to the Daltons, of Bispham, which family continues to possess nearly the whole township." [3]

Some of the family were found in Scotland where they were "doubtless from Dalton in Northumberland. Mention was made c. 1315 of certain lands in Roxburgh, Kerton, etc., which had belonged to quondam William de Dalton (RSM., I, 14). William de Dalton was bailie of Aberdeen in 1368, Helisei de Dalton was a bailie there, 1396, and Thomas Dalton was admitted burgess of the town in 1409. " [4]

Early History of the Alten family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Alten research. Another 81 words (6 lines of text) covering the years 1284, 1648, 1709, 1763, 1705, 1712, 1709, 1190, 1792, 1867, 1792, 1814 and 1874 are included under the topic Early Alten History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Alten Spelling Variations

It is only in the last few hundred years that the English language has been standardized. For that reason, Anglo-Norman surnames like Alten 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 Alten include Alton, Allton, Allten, Alten, Altoun, Althoun, Althan, Althaun, Aulton, Dalton and many more.

Early Notables of the Alten family (pre 1700)

Outstanding amongst the family at this time was Michael Dalton (d. 1648?), English author of two legal works of high repute in the seventeenth century, the son of Thomas Dalton...
Another 29 words (2 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Alten Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Alten family to Ireland

Some of the Alten family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 104 words (7 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Alten migration to the United States +

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 Alten, or a variant listed above:

Alten Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • John Alten, age 56 settled in America in 1709 with his wife and 4 daughters
Alten Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Gottfried Conrad Alten, who landed in America in 1851 [5]
  • G. N. Alten, who arrived in San Francisco in 1852
  • Herman Alten, who arrived in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1877 [5]

Contemporary Notables of the name Alten (post 1700) +

  • Steve Alten (b. 1959), American science fiction author
  • Jack Van Alten, American Democrat politician, Candidate for Michigan State Senate 16th District, 1940 [6]
  • Cornelius Van Alten, American politician, Socialist Labor Candidate for Michigan State Auditor General, 1916 [6]
  • Karl August Alten (1764-1840), German statesman

USS Arizona
  • Mr. Ernest Mathew Alten, American Seaman Second Class from California, 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 [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. ^ Smith, George (ed), Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1885-1900. Print
  3. ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, 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 2015, December 10) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html
  7. ^ Pearl Harbour: USS Arizona Casualties List Pearl Harbour December 7, 1941. (Retrieved 2018, July 31st). Retrieved from http://pearl-harbor.com/arizona/casualtylist.html


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