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

In ancient Anglo-Saxon England, the ancestors of the Cambridge surname lived beside a bridge over the river Cam. This surname originated as a local name for natives who came from the town of Cambridge. Cambridge was in both Gloucestershire and Cambridgeshire.


The surname Cambridge was first found in Yorkshire where they held a family seat from very ancient times, some say well before the Norman Conquest and the arrival of Duke William at Hastings in 1066 A.D.

It is only in the last few hundred years that the English language has been standardized. For that reason, early Anglo-Saxon surnames like Cambridge are characterized by many spelling variations. As the English language changed and incorporated elements of other European languages, even literate people changed the spelling of their names. The variations of the name Cambridge include: Cambridge, Cambrigge, Cambrigg, McCambridge and others.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Cambridge research. Another 256 words (18 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Cambridge History in all our PDF Extended History products.


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


Some of the Cambridge family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 119 words (8 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.


Many English families tired of political and religious strife left Britain for the new colonies in North America. Although the trip itself offered no relief - conditions on the ships were extremely cramped, and many travelers arrived diseased, starving, and destitute - these immigrants believed the opportunities that awaited them were worth the risks. Once in the colonies, many of the families did indeed prosper and, in turn, made significant contributions to the culture and economies of the growing colonies. An inquiry into the early roots of North American families has revealed a number of immigrants bearing the name Cambridge or a variant listed above:

Cambridge Settlers in United States in the 17th Century

  • Nicholas Cambridge settled in New England in 1664
  • Moll Cambridge who settled in Jamaica and Barbados in 1694

Cambridge Settlers in United States in the 18th Century

  • Francis Cambridge, who landed in Virginia in 1711

Cambridge Settlers in United States in the 19th Century

  • Capt. Cambridge, who landed in San Francisco, California in 1851
  • Mr. Cambridge, who arrived in San Francisco, California in 1851

Cambridge Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century

  • Mr. John Cambridge U.E who arrived at Port Roseway [Shelburne], Nova Scotia On December 13, 1783 was passenger number 460 aboard the ship "HMS Clinton", picked up on November 14, 1783 at East River, New York

Cambridge Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century

  • Owen Cambridge arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Gipsy Queen" in 1850


  • Sydney John Guy Cambridge, Diplomat, Head of Financial Relations Dept. Foreign and Commonwealth Office, England
  • George William Frederick Charles Cambridge (1819-1904), British soldier
  • Ada Cambridge (1844-1926), Australian novelist


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: Esse quam videri
Motto Translation: To be, rather than to seem.


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  1. Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at Galveston Texas 1896-1951. National Archives Washington DC. Print.
  2. Bolton, Charles Knowles. Bolton's American Armory. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1964. Print.
  3. Samuelsen, W. David. New York City Passenger List Manifests Index 1820 - 1824. North Salt Lake, Utah: Accelerated Indexing Systems International, 1986. Print.
  4. Matthews, John. Matthews' American Armoury and Blue Book. London: John Matthews, 1911. Print.
  5. Lennard, Reginald. Rural England 1086-1135 A Study of Social and Agrarian Conditions. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1959. Print.
  6. Zieber, Eugene. Heraldry in America. Philadelphia: Genealogical Publishing Co. Print.
  7. Burke, Sir Bernard. Burke's Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Landed Gentry: Including American Families with British Ancestry. (2 Volumes). London: Burke Publishing, 1939. Print.
  8. Leeson, Francis L. Dictionary of British Peerages. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1986. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-1121-5).
  9. Bede, The Venerable. Historia Ecclesiatica Gentis Anglorum (The Ecclesiastical History Of the English People). Available through Internet Medieval Sourcebook the Fordham University Centre for Medieval Studies. Print.
  10. Shaw, William A. Knights of England A Complete Record from the Earliest Time to the Present Day of the Knights of all the Orders of Chivalry in England, Scotland, Ireland and Knights Bachelors 2 Volumes. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print. (ISBN 080630443X).
  11. ...

The Cambridge Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Cambridge 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 18 February 2015 at 13:15.

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