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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright 2000 - 2015

Where did the English Claiborne family come from? What is the English Claiborne family crest and coat of arms? When did the Claiborne family first arrive in the United States? Where did the various branches of the family go? What is the Claiborne family history?

The ancestors of the name Claiborne date back to the days of the Anglo-Saxon tribes of Britain. The name is derived from their residence in Cliburn, a small parish in the county of Westmorland (now part of Cumbria). The place name dates back to c. 1140 when it was listed as Clibbrun. Literally it means "stream by the cliff or bank," from the Old English words "clif" + "burna." [1]


Claiborne 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. Clibborn, Cliborn, Cliburn, Cilborne, Cliburne, Clibborne, Clairborne, Claiborn, Claiborne, Clayborn, Clayborne, Claybourne, Claybourn, Clayburn, Clayburne, Cliburn, Cleburn, Cleborne, Cliburne, Cleburne and many more.

First found in Westmorland at Cliburn, a village and civil parish, in the West ward and union [2], now in the Eden District of Cumbria. "The parish is pleasantly situated between the rivers Eden and Lavennet, which bound it on two sides, and is intersected by the small river Lethe." [2] Cliburn Hall, is a three storey Pele tower built by Robert de Cliburn in 1387. Richard Cliburn made changes to the hall in 1567 and added a stone which reads "Richard Cleburn this they me called. In which my time hath built this Hall. A.D. 1567." St Cuthbert's Church dates back to the 12th century and was restored in the 19th century.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Claiborne research. Another 165 words (12 lines of text) covering the years 1364, 1475, 1660, 1600, 1677 and 1621 are included under the topic Early Claiborne History in all our PDF Extended History products.


Another 57 words (4 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Claiborne Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.


Some of the Claiborne family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 47 words (3 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 Claibornes to arrive on North American shores:

Claiborne Settlers in United States in the 17th Century

  • William Claiborne, who arrived in Virginia in 1621

Claiborne Settlers in United States in the 19th Century

  • Clarith Claiborne, aged 19, who landed in America, in 1894
  • Mary Claiborne, aged 15, who emigrated to America, in 1894
  • E. B. Claiborne, aged 24, who landed in America, in 1895

Claiborne Settlers in United States in the 20th Century

  • Maud L. Claiborne, aged 22, who landed in America, in 1904
  • Francis Claiborne, who landed in America, in 1905
  • J.H. Claiborne, who settled in America, in 1906
  • Herbert A. Claiborne, aged 25, who emigrated to the United States, in 1911
  • Eleanor Claiborne, aged 24, who settled in America, in 1913


  • Sybil Claiborne (1923-1992), American novelist, short story writer, and antiwar activist
  • Robert Watson Claiborne Jr. (1919-1990), American folk singer, labor organizer and writer
  • Thomas Claiborne (1749-1812), American planter and politician
  • Harry C. Claiborne (1859-1918), American lighthouse keeper
  • Christopher Ashone Claiborne (b. 1978), American football linebacker
  • William F. Claiborne (1860-1882), American outlaw and gunfighter in the American Old West
  • William Charles Cole Claiborne (1772-1817), American politician, best known as the first Governor of Louisiana
  • Nathaniel Herbert Claiborne (1777-1859), American nineteenth century politician from Virginia
  • Craig Claiborne (1920-2000), American restaurant critic, food writer and former food editor of the New York Times
  • Jerry Claiborne (1928-2000), American football player and coach



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: Virtus vincit invidiam
Motto Translation: Virtue overcometh envy.


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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.

Other References

  1. 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).
  2. Reaney P.H and R.M. Wilson. A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X).
  3. Mills, A.D. Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4).
  4. Browning, Charles H. Americans of Royal Descent. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  5. Marcharn, Frederick George. A Constitutional History of Modern England 1485 to the Present. London: Harper and Brothers, 1960. Print.
  6. Zieber, Eugene. Heraldry in America. Philadelphia: Genealogical Publishing Co. Print.
  7. Crozier, William Armstrong Edition. Crozier's General Armory A Registry of American Families Entitled to Coat Armor. New York: Fox, Duffield, 1904. Print.
  8. Foster, Joseph. Dictionary of Heraldry Feudal Coats of Arms and Pedigrees. London: Bracken Books, 1989. Print. (ISBN 1-85170-309-8).
  9. Hitching, F.K and S. Hitching. References to English Surnames in 1601-1602. Walton On Thames: 1910. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0181-3).
  10. 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.
  11. ...

The Claiborne Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Claiborne 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 8 September 2015 at 09:37.

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