Show ContentsAusten History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The Austen family name is derived from the given name Austin, which was the vernacular form of the Latin name "Augustus", meaning "majestic." As a personal name, Augustine was popular due to St. Augustine of Hippo (354-430) who had a great influence on early Christianity, as well as St Augustine of Canterbury, first Archbishop of Canterbury, who founded the oldest see in England, in 597.

Early Origins of the Austen family

The surname Austen was first found in Bedfordshire (Old English: Bedanfordscir), located in Southeast-central England, formerly part of the Anglo-Saxon kingdom of Mercia where they held a family seat from ancient times.

"A whole column of Austin appears in the London Directory. The name was made common by the Austin Friars, or Black Canons, as they were often styled from their black cloaks, who were established early in the 12th century in England, and possessed of about 170 houses." [1]

"It is confined for the most part to the central and eastern counties of the south of England; and does not extend in any frequency north of Derbyshire or west of Dorset. The counties of Kent and Oxford contain the greatest numbers of Austins. In the thirteenth century it was a common name in Cambridgeshire." [2]

Early History of the Austen family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Austen research. Another 156 words (11 lines of text) covering the years 1273, 1379, 1538, 1613, 1669, 1629, 1683, 1676, 1580, 1666, 1660, 1661, 1642, 1696, 1666, 1681, 1641, 1699, 1667, 1679, 1664, 1706, 1699, 1701, 1697, 1743, 1728, 1734, 1650 and 1750 are included under the topic Early Austen History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Austen Spelling Variations

Sound was what guided spelling in the essentially pre-literate Middle Ages, so one person's name was often recorded under several variations during a single lifetime. Also, before the advent of the printing press and the first dictionaries, the English language was not standardized. Therefore, spelling variations were common, even among the names of the most literate people. Known variations of the Austen family name include Austin, Austins, Austen, Austeane, Ostian, Ousteane, Owstyne, Ostiane and many more.

Early Notables of the Austen family (pre 1700)

Distinguished members of the family include John Austin or Austen (1613-1669), an English lawyer and controversial writer from Walpole, Suffolk; Katherine Austen (1629-ca.1683), English diarist and poet best known for Book M; Ralph Austen (died 1676), an English writer on gardening; Sir Robert Austen, 1st Baronet (c. 1580-1666) of Hall Place, Bexley, Kent, High Sheriff...
Another 55 words (4 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Austen Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Austen family to Ireland

Some of the Austen family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 37 words (3 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

United States Austen migration to the United States +

For political, religious, and economic reasons, thousands of English families boarded ships for Ireland, Canada, the America colonies, and many of smaller tropical colonies in the hope of finding better lives abroad. Although the passage on the cramped, dank ships caused many to arrive in the New World diseased and starving, those families that survived the trip often went on to make valuable contributions to those new societies to which they arrived. Early immigrants bearing the Austen surname or a spelling variation of the name include:

Austen Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Jonas Austen, from Kent, who landed in New England in 1634 aboard the ship "Hercules", bound for Cambrdige [3]
  • Jonas Austen, Jr., who arrived in New England in 1634 aboard the ship "Hercules" [3]
  • Mrs. Constance Austen, who landed in New England in 1634 aboard the ship "Hercules" [3]
  • Child Austen, who arrived in New England in 1634 aboard the ship "Hercules" [3]
  • Lidia Austen, who arrived in New England in 1634 aboard the ship "Hercules" [3]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Australia Austen migration to Australia +

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

Austen Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • James Austen, English convict from Kent, who was transported aboard the "Albion" on May 29, 1828, settling in New South Wales, Australia [4]
  • Mr. James Austen, (Austin), (b. 1817), aged 23, English convict who was convicted in Berkshire, England for 15 years for assault, transported aboard the "Eden" on 8th July 1840, arriving in New South Wales, Australia, he died in 1840 [5]
  • Charles Austen, aged 18, a labourer, who arrived in South Australia in 1857 aboard the ship "Monsoon"

New Zealand Austen 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:

Austen Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • George Austen, aged 21, a farm labourer, who arrived in Nelson, New Zealand aboard the ship "Hannibal" in 1875

Contemporary Notables of the name Austen (post 1700) +

  • Jane Austen (1775-1817), British author, who wrote Sense and Sensibility (1811), Pride and Prejudice (1813), Mansfield Park (1814) and Emma (1816), featured on the 2017 British £10 note [6]
  • Alice Austen (1866-1952), American photographer
  • Don Austen, English puppeteer, known for his work with Jim Henson on the movies Labyrinth, Santa Claus: The Movie (1985), The Little Shop of Horrors (1986), Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988) and many more
  • Sir Robert Austen (1708-1772), 7th Baronet of Hall Place, Bexley
  • Sir Edward Austen (1705-1760), 6th Baronet of Hall Place, Bexley
  • Sir Sheffield Austen (1700-1758), 5th Baronet of Hall Place, Bexley
  • Ernest Edward Austen (1867-1938), English entomologist
  • Cassandra Elizabeth Austen (1773-1845), English watercolourist, the elder sister of Jane Austen
  • Edward Austen Knight (1768-1852), the third eldest brother of Jane Austen, High Sheriff of Kent in 1801
  • William Chandler Roberts- Austen (1843-1902), English metallurgist, for which austenite is named
  • ... (Another 5 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

  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. 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)
  4. State Library of Queensland. (Retrieved 2014, November 24) Albion voyage to New South Wales, Australia in 1828 with 192 passengers. Retrieved from
  5. Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 20th October 2021). Retrieved from
  6. Wikisource contributors. "Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900." Wikisource . Wikisource , 4 Jun. 2018. Web. 6 June 2019 on Facebook