Show ContentsClaiborne History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

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]

Early Origins of the Claiborne family

The surname Claiborne was 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.

Early History of the Claiborne family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Claiborne research. Another 83 words (6 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 and printed products wherever possible.

Claiborne Spelling Variations

Claiborne has been spelled many different ways. 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. Many variations of the name Claiborne have been found, including Clibborn, Cliborn, Cliburn, Cilborne, Cliburne, Clibborne, Clairborne, Claiborn, Claiborne, Clayborn, Clayborne, Claybourne, Claybourn, Clayburn, Clayburne, Cliburn, Cleburn, Cleborne, Cliburne, Cleburne and many more.

Early Notables of the Claiborne family (pre 1700)

Another 34 words (2 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Claiborne Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Claiborne Ranking

In the United States, the name Claiborne is the 8,315th most popular surname with an estimated 2,487 people with that name. [3]

Ireland Migration of the Claiborne family to Ireland

Some of the Claiborne family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. More information about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

United States Claiborne migration to the United States +

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 [4]
Claiborne Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Clarith Claiborne, aged 19, who landed in America, in 1894
  • Mary Claiborne, aged 15, who immigrated 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 immigrated to the United States, in 1911
  • Eleanor Claiborne, aged 24, who settled in America, in 1913
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Contemporary Notables of the name Claiborne (post 1700) +

  • 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
  • ... (Another 3 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

The Claiborne 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: Virtus vincit invidiam
Motto Translation: Virtue overcometh envy.

  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. "What are the 5,000 Most Common Last Names in the U.S.?".,
  4. 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) on Facebook