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

The Anglo-Saxon name Birmingham comes from the family having resided in or around the city of Birmingham in Warwickshire. This place-name predates the Domesday Book and is thought by historians to have evolved from the Old English Beornmundingaham, meaning, homestead of the people of Beornmund. [1] Another source claims that the place name's "etymology is involved in great uncertainty. Dugdale, from its Saxon termination, deduces it from the first Saxon lord; while others assign to it an origin of much higher antiquity, inferring that, with more probability, the first Saxon proprietor took his name from that of the town, which they suppose to have been originally 'Bromwych,' from the quantity of broom formerly growing in the neighbourhood". [2]


The surname Birmingham was first found in Warwickshire. While the family is generally understood to have hailed from this area, we must look to Staffordshire to find the first record of the name, specifically Peter de Bremingeham who was listed there in the Pipe Rolls of 1170. Gilbert de Birmingeham was listed in the Feet of Fines for Lincolnshire in 1271 and John de Burmyngham was listed in Warwickshire in 1333. [3] The place name dates back to the Domesday Book of 1086 when it was first listed as Bermingeham. [4] The family is just as populous in Ireland as "the noble and warlike family of the Bremichams, earls of Louth, in Ireland were instrumental in assisting Strongbow, Earl of Pembroke, in the conquest of that country. " [2] Little Barningham in Norfolk was an ancient family seat. "A charter for a market and a fair was granted by Edward I. to Walter de Berningham, who at that time possessed the manor." [2] William de Bermingham, who attended Edward I. into Gascony, was made prisoner at the siege of Bellegarde in 1297 and his descendant William, who was summoned to parliament by the title of William, Lord Birmingham, in the 1st of Edward III.

Birmingham has been spelled many different ways, including Before English spelling became standardized over the last few hundred years, spelling variations in names were a common occurrence. As the English language changed in the Middle Ages, absorbing pieces of Latin and French, as well as other languages, the spelling of people's names also changed considerably, even over a single lifetime. Bermingham, Berminean, Bermingcham, Berminham, Bremingham, Birmingham and many more.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Birmingham research. Another 115 words (8 lines of text) covering the years 1328, 1050, 1170, 1515, 1584 and 1992 are included under the topic Early Birmingham History in all our PDF Extended History products.


More information is included under the topic Early Birmingham Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.


Some of the Birmingham family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 301 words (22 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.


In an attempt to escape the chaos experienced in England, many English families boarded overcrowded and diseased ships sailing for the shores of North America and other British colonies. Those families hardy enough, and lucky enough, to make the passage intact were rewarded with land and a social environment less prone to religious and political persecution. Many of these families became important contributors to the young colonies in which they settled. Early immigration and passenger lists have documented some of the first Birminghams to arrive on North American shores:

Birmingham Settlers in United States in the 19th Century

  • John Birmingham, who landed in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1812
  • Andrew Birmingham, who landed in New York in 1837
  • Timothy Birmingham, who arrived in Charleston, South Carolina in 1846
  • Bridget Birmingham, Daniel, Gillespie, James, John, Margaret, Mary, Michael, Pat, Thomas, and Biddy, all arrived in Philadelphia between 1849 and 1878
  • Margt Birmingham, aged 13, arrived in Mobile, Ala in 1851

Birmingham Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century

  • Mr. James Birmingham U.E who settled in New Brunswick c. 1783

Birmingham Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century

  • John Birmingham arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Birman" in 1840
  • Ann Birmingham arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Trafalgar" in 1847
  • William Birmingham arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Harry Lorrequer" in 1849
  • William Birmingham, aged 44, arrived in South Australia in 1849 aboard the ship "Harry Lorrequer"

Birmingham Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century

  • John Birmingham, aged 25, a labourer, arrived in Port Nicholson aboard the ship "Olympus" in 1841
  • Henry Birmingham, aged 41, arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Inchinnan" in 1852
  • Bridget Birmingham, aged 41, arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Inchinnan" in 1852
  • Elinore Birmingham, aged 6, arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Inchinnan" in 1852
  • George Birmingham, aged 2, arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Inchinnan" in 1852


  • Stephen Gardner Birmingham (1929-2015), American author of both fiction and non-fiction; his biographies include those of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Wallis Warfield Windsor, and novelist John Marquand
  • Thomas Francis Birmingham (b. 1949), former President of the Massachusetts Senate
  • John Birmingham (b. 1977), American filmmaker
  • Joseph Leo "Joe" Birmingham (1884-1946), American Major League Baseball outfielder for the Cleveland Naps
  • DeCori Birmingham (b. 1982), American retired NFL football running back
  • Joe Birmingham (1884-1946), American Major League Baseball player
  • John Birmingham (b. 1964), Australian author
  • Simon John Birmingham (b. 1974), Australian Liberal Party politician, member of the Australian Senate
  • John Birmingham (b. 1953), British-born Falkland Islands politician
  • John Birmingham (1816-1884), Irish astronomer, amateur geologist, polymath and poet



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  1. ^ Mills, A.D., Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4)
  2. ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 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. ^ Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds., Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8)

Other References

  1. MacAulay, Thomas Babington. History of England from the Accession of James the Second 4 volumes. New York: Harper and Brothers, 1879. Print.
  2. Bolton, Charles Knowles. Bolton's American Armory. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1964. Print.
  3. Cook, Chris. English Historical Facts 1603-1688. London: MacMillan, 1980. Print.
  4. 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.
  5. Papworth, J.W and A.W Morant. Ordinary of British Armorials. London: T.Richards, 1874. Print.
  6. The Norman People and Their Existing Descendants in the British Dominions and the United States Of America. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0636-X).
  7. Weis, Frederick Lewis, Walter Lee Sheppard and David Faris. Ancestral Roots of Sixty Colonists Who Came to New England Between 1623 and 1650 7th Edition. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0806313676).
  8. Sanders, Joanne McRee Edition. English Settlers in Barbados 1637-1800. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  9. Fairbairn. Fairbain's book of Crests of the Families of Great Britain and Ireland, 4th Edition 2 volumes in one. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1968. Print.
  10. Crozier, William Armstrong Edition. Crozier's General Armory A Registry of American Families Entitled to Coat Armor. New York: Fox, Duffield, 1904. Print.
  11. ...

The Birmingham Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Birmingham 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 14 March 2016 at 16:09.

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