Combs History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The ancient roots of the Combs family name are in the Anglo-Saxon culture. The name Combs comes from when the family lived in a small valley; the surname Combs is often derived from the Old English word cumb, which means valley. In this case, it belongs to the class of topographic surnames, which were given to people who resided near physical features such as hills, streams, churches, or types of trees. Alternately, the surname Combs may be derived from residence in one of the many places called Comb, Combe, or Coombe. In this case, it belongs to the large category of Anglo-Saxon habitation names, which are derived from pre-existing names for towns, villages, parishes, or farmsteads.

Early Origins of the Combs family

The surname Combs was first found in Devon where Richard de la Coombe held estates in that county in the year 1194. The name also found in the Feet of Fines of Somerset in 1269 where the entry Alan in la Cumbe was found. Robert atte Cumbe was listed in the Subsidy Rolls of Sussex in 1296, and Thomas de Combe was listed in the Assize Rolls of Kent in the year 1317. John atte Combe was also listed in the same source. [1] Today Combs is a small village in Derbyshire and a parish, in the union and hundred of Stow, Suffolk. [2]

An early record of the family was found in Somerset: John in le Coumbe, l Edward III (in the first year of King Edward III's reign.) [3] The Hundredorum Rolls of 1273 listed: Gilbert ate Cumbe, Oxfordshire; John ate Cumbe, Oxfordshire; Roger de la Cumbe, Oxfordshire; and Henry de la Cumbe, Somerset. [4]

Later the Yorkshire Poll Tax Rolls of 1379 included: Robertas Combe; and Radulphus de Combe; while in Norfolk, Edmund de la Comb was listed there 16 Edward I. [5]

Early History of the Combs family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Combs research. Another 91 words (6 lines of text) covering the years 1460, 1522, 1573, 1651, 1586, 1667, 1616, 1640 and 1786 are included under the topic Early Combs History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Combs Spelling Variations

One relatively recent invention that did much to standardize English spelling was the printing press. However, before its invention even the most literate people recorded their names according to sound rather than spelling. The spelling variations under which the name Combs has appeared include Coombe, Combs, Coombs, Comes, Combes, Combe, Coombes, Cumbe, Coumbes, Coames, Coambes, Cumbes, Cumes, Cummes, Cume, Coomes, Coames, Cooms, Coumes, Coume, Cooms, Coom, Coomb, Comb and many more.

Early Notables of the Combs family (pre 1700)

Distinguished members of the family include William Combe (1586-1667), an English High Sheriff of Warwickshire in 1616 and politician who sat in the House of Commons in 1640. William Francis Coombe was the son of a singing-master at Plymouth, was born there in 1786. At fourteen years of...
Another 47 words (3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Combs Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Combs Ranking

In the United States, the name Combs is the 543rd most popular surname with an estimated 52,227 people with that name. [6]

United States Combs migration to the United States +

At this time, the shores of the New World beckoned many English families that felt that the social climate in England was oppressive and lacked opportunity for change. Thousands left England at great expense in ships that were overcrowded and full of disease. A great portion of these settlers never survived the journey and even a greater number arrived sick, starving, and without a penny. The survivors, however, were often greeted with greater opportunity than they could have experienced back home. These English settlers made significant contributions to those colonies that would eventually become the United States and Canada. An examination of early immigration records and passenger ship lists revealed that people bearing the name Combs arrived in North America very early:

Combs Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • John Combs, who landed in Maryland in 1655 [7]
  • Mary Combs, who landed in Maryland in 1659 [7]
  • George Combs, who arrived in Charlestown, Massachusetts in 1659 [7]
  • Martha Combs, who arrived in Maryland in 1671 [7]
  • Richard Combs, who arrived in Hempstead, NY in 1690 [7]
Combs Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Alexander Combs, who arrived in New York in 1796 [7]
Combs Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • A G Combs, who landed in San Francisco, California in 1851 [7]
  • Samuel Combs, who arrived in Virginia in 1861 [7]
  • Benjamin Combs, who landed in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1872 [7]

Canada Combs migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Combs Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
  • Ann Combs, who settled in Trinity, Newfoundland in 1773
  • Mr. James Combs U.E. who settled in New Brunswick c. 1783; part of the Cape Ann Association [8]
  • Mr. Samuel Combs U.E. who settled in Saint John, New Brunswick c. 1783 [8]
  • Mr. Dennis Combs, "Comb" U.E. who settled in Saint John, New Brunswick c. 1783 [8]

New Zealand Combs 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:

Combs Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • William Combs, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Ann Wilson" in 1857
  • Miss Emma Combs, British settler travelling from London aboard the ship "Victory " arriving in Lyttelton, Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand on 17th October 1863 [9]
  • David Combs, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Woodlark" in 1873
  • Margaret Combs, aged 29, a servant, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Lauderdale" in 1874

Contemporary Notables of the name Combs (post 1700) +

  • Merrill Russell "Merl" Combs (1919-1981), American Major League Baseball shortstop (1947 to 1952)
  • Raymond Neil "Ray" Combs (1956-1996), American television game show host and stand-up comedian
  • Holly Marie Combs (b. 1973), American actress, recipient of the Young Artist Award
  • Rodney Combs (b. 1950), American NASCAR driver
  • Jeffrey Combs (b. 1954), American character actor
  • Earle Combs (1899-1976), American center fielder and Baseball Hall of Fame member
  • Lois Combs Weinberg, American Democratic Party politician, Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Kentucky, 2000, 2008; Candidate for U.S. Senator from Kentucky, 2002 [10]

USS Arizona
  • Mr. Clyde J. Combs, 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 [11]

Suggested Readings for the name Combs +

  • Combs Family by Patricia Combs O'Dell.

  1. ^ Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  2. ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
  3. ^ 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.
  4. ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  5. ^ Rye, Walter, A History of Norfolk. London: Elliot Stock, 62, Paternoster Row, 1885. Print
  6. ^
  7. ^ 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)
  8. ^ Rubincam, Milton. The Old United Empire Loyalists List. Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc, 1976. (Originally published as; United Empire Loyalists. The Centennial of the Settlement of Upper Canada. Rose Publishing Company, 1885.) ISBN 0-8063-0331-X
  9. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 26th March 2019). Retrieved from
  10. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, October 14) . Retrieved from
  11. ^ Pearl Harbour: USS Arizona Casualties List Pearl Harbour December 7, 1941. (Retrieved 2018, July 31st). Retrieved from on Facebook