Armstrong History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

From the historical and enchanting region of Scotland emerged a multitude of noble families, including the distinguished Armstrong family. The Armstrong surname is thought to come from the Middle English words "strong" and "arm," and has also been rendered in Gaelic as MacGhillielaidir.

Early Origins of the Armstrong family

The surname Armstrong was first found in Cumberland. This well known Border surname is derived from the Norman surname "Fortenbras" and is an instance of a surname assumed from a personal attribute, strength of arm.

It is said that a Fairbairn, armour bearer to the King of Scotland, lifted the King back onto his horse with one arm, after the King had been unseated in battle. The King then granted him lands in Liddesdale and bestowed on him the name of Armstrong. Although this legend may be true in part, the Armstrongs were of greater nobility than armour bearers.

Perhaps the earliest recorded record is of Adam Armstrong, who was pardoned at Carlisle in 1235 for causing the death of another man. William Armestrangh served on an inquisition in the same city in 1274. [1] Some of the family were found in the burgh of Langholm, Dumfries in early times. "This place derives its name from the level lands, or holms, here, on the river Esk; and appears to have been indebted for its origin to the erection of an ancient border fortress by the powerful family of the Armstrongs, of which fortress the ruins are still in tolerable preservation." [2]

Early History of the Armstrong family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Armstrong research. Another 260 words (19 lines of text) covering the years 1328, 1342, 1363, 1376, 1529, 1587, 1610, 1602, 1658, 1662, 1633, 1684, 1683, 1672 and are included under the topic Early Armstrong History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Armstrong Spelling Variations

Spelling variations of this family name include: Armstrong, Armstrang, Armestrang, Harmestrang and many more.

Early Notables of the Armstrong family (pre 1700)

Notable among the family at this time was William Armstrong (c.1602-c.1658), known as Christie's Will, a Scottish Borders freebooter of the 17th century, celebrated in a ballad by Sir Walter Scott; Colonel Sir Thomas Armstrong (died 1662), a Scottish soldier who fought in the 30 Years War in the Netherlands, a Royalist soldier during the English Civil War, twice imprisoned in the Tower of London...
Another 64 words (5 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Armstrong Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Armstrong World Ranking

In the United States, the name Armstrong is the 188th most popular surname with an estimated 131,811 people with that name. [3] However, in Canada, the name Armstrong is ranked the 101st most popular surname with an estimated 27,703 people with that name. [4] And in Australia, the name Armstrong is the 100th popular surname with an estimated 25,791 people with that name. [5] New Zealand ranks Armstrong as 129th with 3,584 people. [6] The United Kingdom ranks Armstrong as 121st with 40,772 people. [7]

Ireland Migration of the Armstrong family to Ireland

Some of the Armstrong family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 98 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 Armstrong migration to the United States +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Armstrong Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Katherin Armstrong, who arrived in America in 1635 [8]
  • Gregory Armstrong, who arrived in Plymouth, Massachusetts in 1643 [8]
  • Margarett Armstrong, who landed in Maryland in 1650 [8]
  • Fra Armstrong, who landed in Virginia in 1652 [8]
  • Geo Armstrong, who landed in Virginia in 1654 [8]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Armstrong Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Christiann Armstrong, who landed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1710 [8]
  • David Armstrong, who landed in Charleston, South Carolina in 1717 [8]
  • David Armstrong, who arrived in Charles Town [Charleston], South Carolina in 1717
  • John William Armstrong, who landed in Charleston, South Carolina in 1717 [8]
  • Rufus Armstrong, who arrived in Charleston, South Carolina in 1717 [8]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Armstrong Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Mathw Armstrong, aged 23, who landed in Delaware in 1803 [8]
  • Joseph Armstrong, who landed in America in 1803 [8]
  • Charles Armstrong, who landed in New York, NY in 1803 [8]
  • Alexander Armstrong, aged 29, who landed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1803 [8]
  • Alexander Armstrong, aged 29, who arrived in America in 1803 [8]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Armstrong Settlers in United States in the 20th Century
  • Mr. Walter Armstrong, (b. 1884), aged 21, Cornish grocer, from Redruth, Cornwall travelling aboard the ship "St Paul" arriving at Ellis Island, New York on 25th June 1905 en route to Ishpenning, Michigan, USA [9]
  • John Robert Armstrong, who arrived in Wisconsin in 1908 [8]
  • William Smith Armstrong, who arrived in Wisconsin in 1918 [8]

Canada Armstrong migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Armstrong Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
  • Andrew Armstrong, who was constable of the Ferryland district, Newfoundland, in 1730 [10]
  • Christopher Armstrong, who arrived in Prince Edward Island in 1774
  • Mr Al Welch Armstrong, U.E., United Empire Loyalist, who settled in Edwardsburgh [Township of Edwardsburgh/Cardinal], Ontario c. 1783 [11]
  • Mr Edward Armstrong, U.E., United Empire Loyalist, who settled in Canada c. 1783 order in council May 12, 1808 [11]
  • Mr Jesse Armstrong, U.E., United Empire Loyalist, who settled in Canada c. 1783 [11]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Armstrong Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • Elizabeth Armstrong, who arrived in Canada in 1823
  • Jane Armstrong, who landed in Canada in 1823
  • Janny Armstrong, who arrived in Canada in 1823
  • Margaret Armstrong, who arrived in Canada in 1823
  • Rebecca Armstrong, who landed in Canada in 1823
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Australia Armstrong migration to Australia +

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

Armstrong Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Miss Sarah Armstrong, British Convict who was convicted in Northumberland, England for 7 years, transported aboard the "Earl Cornwallis" in August 1800, arriving in New South Wales, Australia [12]
  • Mr. William Armstrong, British Convict who was convicted in Surrey, England for life, transported aboard the "Coromandel" on 4th December 1803, arriving in New South Wales, Australia [13]
  • Mr. Robert Armstrong, British convict who was convicted in London, England for 7 years, transported aboard the "Calcutta" in February 1803, arriving in New South Wales, Australia, the settlement was listed as abandoned and most of the convicts transported to Tasmania on the "Queen" in 1804 [14]
  • Mr. Andrew Armstrong, Irish convict who was convicted in Dublin, Ireland for life, transported aboard the "Boyd" on 10th March 1809, arriving in New South Wales, Australia [15]
  • Mr. Henry Armstrong, (Deamond), Irish convict who was convicted in Armagh, Ireland for 7 years, transported aboard the "Castle Forbes" on 3rd October 1819, arriving in Tasmania ( Van Diemen's Land) [16]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

New Zealand Armstrong 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:

Armstrong Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Robert Armstrong, who landed in Wellington, New Zealand in 1840
  • John Armstrong, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Whitby" in 1841
  • Aurora Armstrong, aged 22, who arrived in Nelson, New Zealand aboard the ship "Indus" in 1843
  • Mr. Robert Armstrong, (b. 1816), aged 26, British settler travelling from London and Plymouth aboard the ship "Thomas Sparks" arriving in Wellington, New Zealand on 31st January 1843, the ship stuck rocks of the coast of Cape of Good Hope delaying her landing by 2 months [17]
  • Mrs. Catherine Armstrong, (b. 1815), aged 27, British settler travelling from London and Plymouth aboard the ship "Thomas Sparks" arriving in Wellington, New Zealand on 31st January 1843, the ship stuck rocks of the coast of Cape of Good Hope delaying her landing by 2 months [17]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

West Indies Armstrong migration to West Indies +

The British first settled the British West Indies around 1604. They made many attempts but failed in some to establish settlements on the Islands including Saint Lucia and Grenada. By 1627 they had managed to establish settlements on St. Kitts (St. Christopher) and Barbados, but by 1641 the Spanish had moved in and destroyed some of these including those at Providence Island. The British continued to expand the settlements including setting the First Federation in the British West Indies by 1674; some of the islands include Barbados, Bermuda, Cayman Island, Turks and Caicos, Jamaica and Belize then known as British Honduras. By the 1960's many of the islands became independent after the West Indies Federation which existed from 1958 to 1962 failed due to internal political conflicts. After this a number of Eastern Caribbean islands formed a free association. [18]
Armstrong Settlers in West Indies in the 17th Century
  • Miss Katherin Armstrong, (b. 1615), aged 20, British settler traveling aboard the ship "Matthew" arriving in St Christopher (Saint Kitts) in 1635 [19]

Contemporary Notables of the name Armstrong (post 1700) +

  • Neil Alden Armstrong (1930-2012), AmericanNASA astronaut, first person to set foot on the moon and recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom [20]
  • Lord William Armstrong (1810-1900), Scottish industrialist, engineer, inventor of the hydraulic crane and the Armstrong gun; his house at Cragside was the first in the world to be lit by hydro-electricity, he later he acquired Bamburgh Castle, still owned by the family
  • Otis D. Armstrong (1950-2021), American professional football player who was a running back in the National Football League (NFL), inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame
  • Karan Armstrong (1941-2021), American operatic soprano who was awarded the title Kammersängerin twice
  • Hunter Armstrong (2001-2020), American swimmer, gold medalist at the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo
  • Bob Armstrong (1939-2020), ring name of Joseph Melton James, American professional wrestler and Hall of Famer
  • Brigadier-General Paul Galloway Armstrong (1890-1958), American Army officer, American Director of Selective Service Illinois [21]
  • Joan Bernard Armstrong (d. 2018), American jurist, the first woman elected to serve as a judge in Louisiana and first African-American to serve as chief judge of the state's Fourth Circuit Court of Appeal
  • Flight Officer William "Will" Armstrong (1924-1945), American World War II-era flight officer with the Tuskegee Airmen; his plane was shot down on Easter Sunday in 1945 over Austria
  • Neill Ford Armstrong (1926-2016), American NFL and CFL football player and coach
  • ... (Another 33 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Flight 191
  • Mrs. R Armstrong, American passenger from Los Angeles, California, USA, who flew aboard American Airlines Flight 191 and died in the crash [22]
Hillcrest Coal Mine
  • Mr. James Armstrong (1878-1914), Scottish Timber Packer from Lochfitty Beath, Fife, Scotland, United Kingdom who worked in the Hillcrest Coal Mine, Alberta, Canada and died in the mine collapse [23]
HMAS Sydney II
  • Mr. Harold James Armstrong (1917-1941), Australian Ordinary Seaman from Geelong West, Victoria, Australia, who sailed into battle aboard HMAS Sydney II and died in the sinking [24]
HMS Dorsetshire
  • Edwin Francis Armstrong (d. 1945), British Telegraphist aboard the HMS Dorsetshire when she was struck by air bombers and sunk; he died in the sinking [25]
HMS Hood
  • Mr. Norman Armstrong (b. 1920), English Able Seaman serving for the Royal Navy from Usworth, County Durham, England, who sailed into battle and died in the sinking [26]
  • Mr. John C Armstrong (b. 1911), English Leading Stoker serving for the Royal Navy from Lemington, Northumberland, England, who sailed into battle and died in the sinking [26]
HMS Prince of Wales
  • Mr. Sidney Armstrong, British Able Bodied Seaman, who sailed into battle on the HMS Prince of Wales and survived the sinking [27]
  • Mr. Alfred Armstrong, British Boy 1st Class, who sailed into battle on the HMS Prince of Wales and survived the sinking [27]
HMS Repulse
  • Mr. Joseph Armstrong, British Able Bodied Seaman, who sailed into battle on the HMS Repulse and survived the sinking [28]
  • Mr. G K Armstrong, British Sub Lieutenant, who sailed into battle on the HMS Repulse and survived the sinking [28]
HMS Royal Oak
  • George Henry Smith Armstrong (1908-1939), born in Chichester, Sussex, England, British Petty Officer with the Royal Navy aboard the HMS Royal Oak when she was torpedoed by U-47 and sunk; he died in the sinking [29]


The Armstrong 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: Invictus maneo
Motto Translation: I remain unvanquished.


Suggested Readings for the name Armstrong +

  • Ancestry Descendants of Daniel F. Armstrong and Sarah Nutter by Evelyn Crawford Fenton.
  • Armstrong Ancestry: A Genealogy of the Descendants of Robert R. Armstrong by John Edward Armstrong.

  1. ^ 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)
  2. ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of Scotland. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
  3. ^ https://namecensus.com/most_common_surnames.htm
  4. ^ https://forebears.io/surnames/
  5. ^ https://forebears.io/australia/surnames
  6. ^ https://forebears.io/new-zealand/surnames
  7. ^ https://www.surnamemap.eu/unitedkingdom/surnames_ranking.php?p=10
  8. ^ 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)
  9. ^ Cornwall Online Parish Clerks. (Retreived 3rd May 2018). Retrieved from http://www.opc-cornwall.org/Resc/pdfs/emigration_ellis_island_1892_on.pdf
  10. ^ Seary E.R., Family Names of the Island of Newfoundland, Montreal: McGill's-Queen's Universtity Press 1998 ISBN 0-7735-1782-0
  11. ^ Rubincam, Milton. The Old United Empire Loyalists List. Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc, 1976. (Originally published as; United Empire Loyalists. The Centennial of the Settlement of Upper Canada. Rose Publishing Company, 1885.) ISBN 0-8063-0331-X
  12. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 13th August 2021). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/earl-cornwallis
  13. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 22nd March 2021). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/coromandel-and-experiment
  14. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 25th November 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/calcutta
  15. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 27th October 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/Boyd
  16. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 17th December 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/castle-forbes
  17. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 26th March 2019). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  18. ^ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_West_Indies
  19. ^ Pilgrim Ship's of 1600's (Retrieved October 4th 2021, retrieved from https://www.packrat-pro.com/ships/shiplist.htm)
  20. ^ NASA Astronauts Homepage. (Retrieved 2010, September 27) Neil Armstrong. Retrieved from http://www.jsc.nasa.gov/Bios/htmlbios/armstrong-na.html
  21. ^ Generals of World War II. (Retrieved 2011, October 6) Paul Armstrong. Retrieved from http://generals.dk/general/Armstrong/Paul_Galloway/USA.html
  22. ^ Flight 191's Victims - latimes. (Retrieved 2014, April 16) . Retrieved from http://articles.latimes.com/1985-08-04/news/mn-4349_1_fort-lauderdale-area
  23. ^ List Of Miners - Hillcrest Mine Disaster Data. (Retrieved 2014, June 24) . Retrieved from http://www.hillcrestminedisaster.com/data/index.php?title=List_Of_Miners
  24. ^ HMAS Sydney II, Finding Sydney Foundation - Roll of Honour. (Retrieved 2014, April 24) . Retrieved from http://www.findingsydney.com/roll.asp
  25. ^ Force Z Survivors HMS Dorsetshire Crew List, (Retrieved 2018, February 13th), https://www.forcez-survivors.org.uk/biographies/listdorsetshirecrew.html
  26. ^ H.M.S. Hood Association-Battle Cruiser Hood: Crew Information - H.M.S. Hood Rolls of Honour, Men Lost in the Sinking of H.M.S. Hood, 24th May 1941. (Retrieved 2016, July 15) . Retrieved from http://www.hmshood.com/crew/memorial/roh_24may41.htm
  27. ^ HMS Prince of Wales Crew members. (Retrieved 2014, April 9) . Retrieved from http://www.forcez-survivors.org.uk/biographies/listprincecrew.html
  28. ^ HMS Repulse Crew members. (Retrieved 2014, April 9) . Retrieved from http://www.forcez-survivors.org.uk/biographies/listrepulsecrew.html
  29. ^ Ships hit by U-boats crew list HMS Royal Oak (08) - (Retrieved 2018 February, 9th) - retrieved from https://uboat.net/allies/merchants/crews/ship68.html


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