Show ContentsColburn History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The Anglo-Saxon name Colburn comes from when the family resided in Colbourne, a township in the parish of Catterick in the North Riding of Yorkshire. [1] It is from the place-name that the family name is derived. [2] [3]

The place-names come from the Old English words "col," meaning "cool," and "burna," meaning "stream," collectively meaning "dweller near a cold stream." [4]

The Domesday Book of 1086 lists this place as Corburne [5] and by 1198 it was known as Coleburn.

Early Origins of the Colburn family

The surname Colburn was first found in Yorkshire where one of the first of the name on record was Geoffrey de Colebrunn in 1208 who held estates in the North Riding of Yorkshire in the parish of Catterick. Later, William de Colburn was listed as a Freeman of York in 1386. [6]

The Yorkshire Poll Tax Rolls of 1379 included Ricardus Collebround and Margarela Colbrand. [7]

Researching old Somerset records we found Robert Colbern and William Colebrond both listed 1 Edward III (during the first year of King Edward III's reign.) [8]

Early History of the Colburn family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Colburn research. Another 115 words (8 lines of text) covering the years 1370, 1386, 1693, 1631, 1677, 1695, 1686, 1622, 1701, 1701, 1778, 1863, 1778, 1794, 1795, 1799, 1801, 1800 and 1808 are included under the topic Early Colburn History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Colburn Spelling Variations

Before English spelling was standardized a few hundred years ago, spelling variations of names were a common occurrence. Elements of Latin, French and other languages became incorporated into English through the Middle Ages, and name spellings changed even among the literate. The variations of the surname Colburn include Colburn, Colburne, Colborne, Colbourne, Coulbourne, Colbourn, Cullburn, Colborn, Colbryn, Coulbryne, Culbourne, Cullburne and many more.

Early Notables of the Colburn family (pre 1700)

Notables of the family at this time include Prisca Coborn (1622-1701) an English wealthy widow of a brewer, who established the Coopers' Company and Coborn School, a coeducational school in Bow in 1701. Sir John Colborne, first Baron Seaton (1778-1863), general, only son of Samuel Colborne of Lyndhurst, Hampshire, was born there on 16 Feb. 1778. He entered the army as an ensign in the 20th regiment on 10 July 1794, and won every step of promotion without purchase. He was promoted lieutenant on 4 Sept. 1795, and captain-lieutenant on 11 Aug...
Another 90 words (6 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Colburn Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Colburn Ranking

In the United States, the name Colburn is the 2,918th most popular surname with an estimated 9,948 people with that name. [9]

United States Colburn migration to the United States +

A great wave of immigration to the New World was the result of the enormous political and religious disarray that struck England at that time. Families left for the New World in extremely large numbers. The long journey was the end of many immigrants and many more arrived sick and starving. Still, those who made it were rewarded with an opportunity far greater than they had known at home in England. These emigrant families went on to make significant contributions to these emerging colonies in which they settled. Some of the first North American settlers carried this name or one of its variants:

Colburn Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • William Colburn of Boston who came in Winthrop's fleet in 1630. He was elected Deacon and ruling elder of the Colony's Church
  • Samuel Colburn, who arrived in Salem, Massachusetts in 1637 [10]
  • John Colburn of Dedham, Massachusetts, settled in 1640 and had five sons
  • Nathaniel Colburn, who landed in New England in 1641 [10]
  • Robert Colburn, who landed in Ipswich, Massachusetts in 1648 [10]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Colburn Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Cassle Colburn, who landed in New York in 1784 [10]
Colburn Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Jonas W, Colburn Jr., who arrived in San Francisco, California in 1850 [10]
  • William Colburn, who landed in San Francisco, California in 1850 [10]
  • I Colburn, who landed in San Francisco, California in 1851 [10]
  • Miss P Colburn, who arrived in San Francisco, California in 1851 [10]
  • G. D. and J. A. Colburn, who settled in San Francisco, California in 1852
Colburn Settlers in United States in the 20th Century
  • Charles S Colburn, who arrived in Mobile, Ala in 1900 [10]

New Zealand Colburn 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:

Colburn Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • William Colburn, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Pegasus" in 1865

Contemporary Notables of the name Colburn (post 1700) +

  • Brigadier-General Albert Elbert Colburn (b. 1895), American Commanding Officer 40th Antiaircraft Artillery Brigade, Australia (1942-1945) [11]
  • Reuben Colburn (1740-1818), American shipbuilder and patriot who led an unsuccessful attack to capture Quebec city in 1775
  • Zerah Colburn (1832-1870), American steam locomotive engineer and designer, nephew of Zerah
  • Zerah Colburn (1804-1840), American child math prodigy
  • Irving Wightman Colburn (1861-1917), American inventor and manufacturer in the glass industry
  • Henry Colburn (d. 1855), British publisher
  • Charles Colburn Glidden (b. 1855), American Democratic Party politician, Mayor of Portsmouth, Ohio, 1897-1901; Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Ohio, 1900 [12]
  • Colburn G. Cherney, American Republican politician, Delegate to Republican National Convention from Wisconsin, 1960 [13]

Suggested Readings for the name Colburn +

  • Genealogy of the Descendants of Edward Colburn [or] Coburn by George Augustus Gordon.

  1. Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
  2. Smith, Eldson Coles, New Dictionary of American Family Names New York: Harper & Row, 1956. Print
  3. Lower, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  4. Mills, A.D., Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4)
  5. Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds., Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8)
  6. Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  7. Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  8. Dickinson, F.H., Kirby's Quest for Somerset of 16th of Edward the 3rd London: Harrison and Sons, Printers in Ordinary to Her Majesty, St, Martin's Lane, 1889. Print.
  9. "What are the 5,000 Most Common Last Names in the U.S.?".,
  10. 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)
  11. Generals of World War II. (Retrieved 2011, November 3) Albert Colburn. Retrieved from
  12. The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, November 16) . Retrieved from
  13. The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2016, January 12) . Retrieved from on Facebook