Show ContentsBertram History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Bertram is one of the many new names that came to England following the Norman Conquest of 1066. The name Bertram comes from the Germanic personal name Bertram, which is composed of the elements berht, meaning "bright" or "famous," and hrabn, meaning "raven." [1]

Early Origins of the Bertram family

The surname Bertram was first found in Northumberland where "William de Bertram, the son or grandson of the Norman soldier, founded the Augustinian Priory of Brinkburn. His descendants - the Bertrams of Mitford castle, were potent feudal lords, distinguished in the Scottish wars and baronial contests. The last male heir, Roger Bertram, second Baron Bertram, died 1311." [2] Bertrannus was listed in the Domesday Book of 1086. [3]

The History of Northumberland lists Richard Bertam as holding lands there in 1168 and Berteram le Barbur was listed in the Hundredorum Rolls of Shropshire in 1273. [4]

Another source gives more details about the early influence of the family, specifically in the parish of Mitford. "This manor, in the time of the Saxons, belonged to the family of Mitford, and at the Conquest was part of the possessions of John, lord of Mitford, whose only daughter, Sybil, was married by the Conqueror to Sir Richard Bertram, son of the lord of Dignam, in Normandy.

The family of Bertram became very numerous, and acquired large estates in this part of the kingdom, which they retained till the reign of John, when, taking part with the barons against that monarch, their castle here, and also the town, were burnt, and the lands laid waste, by the Flemish allies of the king; the barony, becoming forfeited to the crown, was bestowed upon Philip de Hulcoates. The possessions were subsequently restored by Henry III. to the Bertrams; but after the death of Roger de Bertram in 1242, his son and successor being taken prisoner among the insurgents at Northampton, the castle and estates were seized by the king, and never regained. The castle was taken and dismantled by Alexander, King of Scotland, in 1318." [5]

Nunriding a township, in the parish of Mitford, was anciently called Baldwineswood and was home to Roger Bertram who during the reign of Henry II, gave the lands to the Benedictine convent of Hallystone. [5]

Another branch of the family was found at Earsdon in Northumberland. "Sir John Bertram, Knt., who died in 1449, possessed of 16 messuages, 14 cottages, 8 acres of meadow, 494 of arable land, 400 of wood, and 300 of moor, in 'Eresdon.'" [5]

Early History of the Bertram family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Bertram research. Another 216 words (15 lines of text) covering the years 1168, 1296 and 1482 are included under the topic Early Bertram History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Bertram 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 Bertram 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 Bertram include Bertram, Bartram, Battram, Berttram, Beartram, Beertram, Bertrim, Bertrem, Berttrim, Berttrem, Barttrem, Bartrim, Bertrame, Bartramn, Bartramm, Bertramm, Bortram, Bortrem and many more.

Early Notables of the Bertram family (pre 1700)

More information is included under the topic Early Bertram Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Bertram Ranking

In the United States, the name Bertram is the 3,960th most popular surname with an estimated 7,461 people with that name. [6]

United States Bertram 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 Bertram, or a variant listed above:

Bertram Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • John Bertram, who landed in Virginia in 1650 [7]
  • William Bertram, who arrived in Lynn, Massachusetts in 1669 [7]
Bertram Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Jacob Bertram, who arrived in New York, New York in 1710
  • Jacob Bertram, who arrived in New York, NY in 1710 [7]
  • William Bertram, who settled in Pennsylvania in 1732
  • John Henry Bertram, who arrived in Pennsylvania in 1773 [7]
  • Hans Henry Bertram, aged 19, who arrived in Pennsylvania in 1776 [7]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Bertram Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Andrew Bertram, aged 27, who landed in New York in 1812 [7]
  • John Bertram, aged 21, who landed in New Orleans, La in 1832 [7]
  • Jose Bertram, aged 25, who arrived in New Orleans, La in 1837 [7]
  • Henry Bertram, who arrived in Missouri in 1845
  • H. Bertram, accompanied by his wife and five children, who arrived in New Orleans in 1845
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Bertram Settlers in United States in the 20th Century
  • Mr. Joseph Bertram, (b. 1871), aged 34, Cornish miner travelling aboard the ship "Philadelphia" arriving at Ellis Island, New York in 1905 en route to Kofa, Arizona, USA [8]

Canada Bertram migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Bertram Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • William Bertram, who arrived in Canada in 1820
  • Henry Bertram, who landed in Canada in 1820
  • William Bertram, who landed in Canada in 1820

Australia Bertram migration to Australia +

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

Bertram Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mr. George Bertram, Scottish convict who was convicted in Glasgow, Scotland for 14 years, transported aboard the "Exmouth" on 3rd March 1831, arriving in New South Wales, Australia [9]
  • Henry Julius Wilhelm Bertram, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Lady Bute" in 1839 [10]
  • Caroline Bertram, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Lady Bute" in 1839 [10]
  • Mr. Thomas Bertram, English convict who was convicted in Sheffield, Yorkshire, England for 10 years, transported aboard the "Bangalore" on 28th March 1848, arriving in Tasmania (Van Diemen's Land) from Bermuda [11]
  • Helen Bertram, aged 34, a domestic servant, who arrived in South Australia in 1852 aboard the ship "Medina" [12]

New Zealand Bertram 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:

Bertram Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • A. Bertram, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Telegraph" in 1863

Contemporary Notables of the name Bertram (post 1700) +

  • Vedah Bertram (1891-1912), American actress
  • Charles Bertram (1723-1765), or, as he sometimes chose to sign himself, Charles Julius, was the cleverest and most successful literary impostor of modern times; he started his life of forgery at the age of twenty-four [13]
  • James Munro Bertram (1910-1993), Rhodes Scholar, journalist, writer, relief worker, prisoner of war and university professor
  • Charles Binning Bertram (1909-1976), Canadian artist, architectural innovator, and art educator
  • Laura Maureen Bertram (b. 1978), Canadian actress
  • Douglas Somerville Bertram (b. 1913), British Professor of Medical Entomology and Director of Department of Entomology, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine
  • Kate Bertram, British biologist, President, Lucy Cavendish College, Cambridge, and a Justice of the Peace in Cambridgeshire
  • Anthony Bertram, British writer, and art historian
  • William Bertram (1880-1933), Canadian actor, writer, film director
  • Dr. Christoph Bertram (b. 1937), German Director for the International Institute for Strategic Studies
  • ... (Another 1 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

  • Hans Bertram (1921-1941), German Matrosengefreiter who served aboard the German Battleship Bismarck during World War II when it was sunk heading to France; he died in the sinking [14]

The Bertram 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: J'avance
Motto Translation: I advance.

  1. Lower, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  2. Burke, John Bernard, The Roll of Battle Abbey. London: Edward Churton, 26, Holles Street, 1848, Print.
  3. Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  4. Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  5. Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
  6. "What are the 5,000 Most Common Last Names in the U.S.?".,
  7. 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)
  8. Cornwall Online Parish Clerks. (Retreived 3rd May 2018). Retrieved from
  9. Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 25th May 2022).
  10. State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) LADY BUTE 1839. Retrieved from
  11. Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 15th September 2020). Retrieved from
  12. South Australian Register Tuesday 3 February 1852. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) MEDINA 1852. Retrieved
  13. Wikisource contributors. "Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900." Wikisource . Wikisource , 4 Jun. 2018. Web. 17 June. 2019
  14. Bismarck & Tirpitz Class - Crew List Bismarck. (Retrieved 2018, February 06). Retrieved from on Facebook