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

Origins Available: Borderlands, Scottish


The Cobourn surname is derived from a place in Berwickshire named Cockburn. The place name in turn, comes from the Old English "cocc," meaning "rooster," and "burna," meaning "a stream." As such, the surname is classed as a local, or habitational name, derived from a place where the original bearer lived or held land.

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Spelling variations of this family name include: Cockburn, Cockbourne, Cockbourn, Cockburne, Cocburn, Coburn, Cobourne, Coburne and many more.

First found in Roxburghshire (now part of the region of Borders). One of the first times the name was listed, was during the reign of William the Lion (1165-1214) when a Cukoueburn was listed in the area of Clifton. Typical of these early entries, no given name was provided. Peter de Cokburne witnessed a grant in 1220. One of the earliest records of a Clan crest was in 1296, when a rooster (cock) is shown on the seal of Peres de Cokeburne. Sir Alexander Cockburn was killed at the battle of Bannockburn in 1314. In 1390, his grandson Alexander was appointed Keeper of the Great Seal of Scotland. Around this time, some of the family settled in Danzig and changed their name to Kabrun.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Cobourn research. Another 231 words (16 lines of text) covering the years 1390, 1395, 1656, 1735, 1685, 1770 and are included under the topic Early Cobourn History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Another 109 words (8 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Cobourn Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Some of the Cobourn family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 173 words (12 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Cobourn Settlers in United States in the 17th Century


  • Thomas Cobourn, who arrived in Pennsylvania in 1682

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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: In dubiis constans
Motto Translation: Steady in doubtful affairs.

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  1. Hanks, Hodges, Mills and Room. The Oxford Names Companion. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002. Print. (ISBN 0-19-860561-7).
  2. Mills, A.D. Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4).
  3. Hanks, Patricia and Flavia Hodges. A Dictionary of Surnames. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988. Print. (ISBN 0-19-211592-8).
  4. Marcharn, Frederick George. A Constitutional History of Modern England 1485 to the Present. London: Harper and Brothers, 1960. Print.
  5. MacAulay, Thomas Babington. History of England from the Accession of James the Second 4 volumes. New York: Harper and Brothers, 1879. Print.
  6. Dunkling, Leslie. Dictionary of Surnames. Toronto: Collins, 1998. Print. (ISBN 0004720598).
  7. Burke, Sir Bernard. Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Peerage and Baronetage, The Privy Council, Knightage and Compainonage. London: Burke Publishing, 1921. Print.
  8. 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).
  9. Colletta, John P. They Came In Ships. Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1993. Print.
  10. Le Patourel, John. The Norman Empire. New York: Oxford University Press, 1976. Print. (ISBN 0-19-822525-3).
  11. ...

The Cobourn Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Cobourn 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 17 January 2014 at 13:15.

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