Coburn History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

In the annals of Scottish history, few names go farther back than Coburn, whose ancestors go back to the people of the Boernician tribe. The first family to use the name Coburn lived 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.

Early Origins of the Coburn family

The surname Coburn was first found in Roxburghshire in the lands of Merse. One of the first recorded instances of the name was during the reign of William the Lion (1165-1214) when a Cukoueburn was listed in the area of Clifton, Roxburghshire. 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.

Early History of the Coburn family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Coburn research. Another 67 words (5 lines of text) covering the years 1281, 1595, 1656, 1735, 1685, 1770, 1685, 1770 and are included under the topic Early Coburn History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Coburn Spelling Variations

Over the years, Coburn has been written It appears under these variations because medieval scribes spelled names according to sound rather than by any over-arching set of rules. Cockburne, Cobourne, Coburn, Coburne, Cocburn, Cockbain, Cockborne, Cockbourn, Cobourn, Cockburn, Cokburn, Cogburn, Cokbain, Cokborne, Cokbourn, Cokbourne, Cokburne, Cowburn and many more.

Early Notables of the Coburn family (pre 1700)

Notable amongst the family name during their early history was Adam Cockburn, Laird of Ormiston, Lord Ormiston (1656-1735), a Scottish administrator, politician and judge; John Cockbourn (1685-1770), Scottish improver of agriculture; Lord Cockburn, a Judge...
Another 34 words (2 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Coburn Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Coburn Ranking

In the United States, the name Coburn is the 2,356th most popular surname with an estimated 12,435 people with that name. [1]

Ireland Migration of the Coburn family to Ireland

Some of the Coburn family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 69 words (5 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

United States Coburn migration to the United States +

When these Boernician-Scottish settlers arrived in North America they brought little with them and often had restart their lives from scratch. Through time, much of their heritage was lost, and it is only this century through Clan societies and highland games that many have recovered their national heritage. Research into various historical records has revealed some of first members of the Coburn family to immigrate North America:

Coburn Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Edward Coburn, who landed in Boston, Massachusetts in 1635 [2]
Coburn Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • John Coburn, who arrived in Virginia in 1711 [2]
  • Patrick Coburn, who landed in Virginia in 1714 [2]
Coburn Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Robert Coburn, aged 24, who landed in New York, NY in 1806 [2]
  • Samuel Coburn, aged 28, who arrived in New York, NY in 1806 [2]
  • Thomas Coburn, aged 23, who arrived in New York, NY in 1806 [2]
  • William Coburn, who arrived in New York, NY in 1811 [2]
  • Robert Coburn, who arrived in America in 1811 [2]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

New Zealand Coburn migration to New Zealand +

Emigration to New Zealand followed in the footsteps of the European explorers, such as Captain Cook (1769-70): first came sealers, whalers, missionaries, and traders. By 1838, the British New Zealand Company had begun buying land from the Maori tribes, and selling it to settlers, and, after the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, many British families set out on the arduous six month journey from Britain to Aotearoa to start a new life. Early immigrants include:

Coburn Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Mary A. Coburn, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Avon" in 1860

Contemporary Notables of the name Coburn (post 1700) +

  • Thomas Allen "Tom" Coburn (1948-2020), American politician and physician, Southern Baptist deacon, United States Senator from Oklahoma (2005-2015)
  • Frank Potter Coburn (1858-1932), American politician, Member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Wisconsin (1891-1893)
  • Charles Douville Coburn (1877-1961), American Academy Award winning film and theater actor, known for his work in The Devil and Miss Jones (1941), The More the Merrier (1943), Heaven Can Wait (1943), Has Anybody Seen My Gal? (1952) and many more
  • Abner Coburn (1803-1885), American politician, 30th Governor of Maine from 1863 to 1864
  • Brigadier-General Henry Clay Jr. Coburn (1879-1958), American Assistant Surgeon Fort Bragg Station Hospital (1939) [3]
  • Donald L. Coburn (b. 1938), American dramatist awarded the 1978 Pulitzer Prize for Drama for his play, The Gin Game
  • Alvin Langdon Coburn (1882-1966), American photographer, known for his portraits, he became a key figure in the development of American pictorialism, he later became a British subject and lived in Wales for the rest of his life
  • James Harrison Coburn III (1928-2002), American Academy Award-winning movie actor, best known for his roles in The Great Escape, The Magnificent Seven, Hell Is for Heroes, his "Flint" movies and many more
  • Willie Simpson Coburn (1941-2015), Scottish footballer
  • Mr. Nicholas David George Coburn C.B.E. (b. 1959), Irish Group Managing Director and Deputy Chairman of Ulster Carpet Mills (Holdings) Limited, was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire on 29th December 2018 for services to the Economy in Northern Ireland by her Majesty The Queen [4]
  • ... (Another 5 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

USS Arizona
  • Mr. George W. Coburn, American Seaman First Class working aboard the ship "USS Arizona" when she sunk during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on 7th December 1941, he survived the sinking [5]
  • Mr. Walter Overton Coburn, American Seaman First Class from Oklahoma, USA working aboard the ship "USS Arizona" when she sunk during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on 7th December 1941, he died in the sinking [5]

The Coburn 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: Accenti cantu
Motto Translation: He animates by crowing.

Suggested Readings for the name Coburn +

  • Ancestors and Descendants of James William Coburn, 1850-1929 by Raymond H. Coburn.
  • Genealogy of the Descendants of Edward Colburn [or] Coburn by George Augustus Gordon.

  1. ^
  2. ^ 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)
  3. ^ Generals of World War II. (Retrieved 2011, November 3) Henry Coburn. Retrieved from
  4. ^ "Birthday and New Year Honours Lists (1940 to 2019)." Issue 62507, 28 December 2018 | London Gazette, The Gazette, Dec. 2018,
  5. ^ Pearl Harbour: USS Arizona Casualties List Pearl Harbour December 7, 1941. (Retrieved 2018, July 31st). Retrieved from on Facebook