Converse History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The vast movement of people that followed the Norman Conquest of England of 1066 brought the Converse family name to the British Isles. They lived in Coisgnières, Normandy, "as the name was spelt in Normandy; one of the noblest families in the North of England." [1]

Early Origins of the Converse family

The surname Converse was first found in Durham at Sockburn, where the then Bishop of Durham, Ralph Flambard, granted lands to Roger de Conyers sometime between 1099 and 1133.

"Roger Conyers was by William the Conqueror made Constable of Durham Castle and Keeper of all the arms of ye souldiers within the Castle, was after past to him ye saide Roger by deede to him and his heires mailes for ever, under the great scale of William de Santo Carilepho, Bishop of Durham." [1]

A second Roger succeeded to his father, and to him followed a third to whom "Henricus II. Rex. Anghse dedit vel confirmavit Constabulatum de Dunelme."

"I know, of no actual proof to establish this transmission ; but there is sufficient evidence from charters in the Treasury to prove that the Norman family of Conyers, Lords of Bishopton (and possibly from the same early date owners of Sockburn), held the rank of nobles or Barons of the Bishopric at least from the reign of Henry I. Bishop Ralph Flambard gave Rungetun in Yorkshire to Roger Conyers before 1126. His son was that Roger Conyers whose important services to Bishop William de St. Barbara are on record in Simeon. The story runs thus: Conyers afforded the Bishop a safe retreat in his strength or Peel-house of Bishopton; and he afterwards had the address to bring the Scotch intruder Comyn a humble, kneeling penitent before the Episcopal throne. To bring about this most wished conclusion implies as much courage, and certainly more address, than if the Constable had finished the contest in the usual manner with the bloody hand. The Constable's staff, and the Wardenship of Durham Castle, which he had recovered from Comyn, seems a most appropriate reward; and if the green acres of Sockburn were added to the gift, he was still not overpaid." [2]

Many of the family were found at East and West Newbiggin. "This place formerly belonged to the Conyers family, with whom it continued until the beginning of the 17th century, when Sir George Conyers, Knt., and his son, alienated the manor in various parcels to their tenants. " [3] Hutton-Conyers in the wapentake of Allertonshire in the North Riding of Yorkshire is another ancient family seat. "This place was anciently the residence of a branch of the Conyers family, whose Hall appears to have been on the north side of the village, in a field still called the Hallgarth." [3]

Early History of the Converse family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Converse research. Another 379 words (27 lines of text) covering the years 1195, 1313, 1324, 1507, 1628, 1628, 1731, 1810, 1587, 1663, 1630, 1619, 1684, 1660, 1685, 1758, 1650, 1725, 1695, 1666, 1728, 1633 and 1694 are included under the topic Early Converse History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Converse Spelling Variations

A multitude of spelling variations characterize Norman surnames. Many variations occurred because Old and Middle English lacked any definite spelling rules. The introduction of Norman French to England also had a pronounced effect, as did the court languages of Latin and French. Therefore, one person was often referred to by several different spellings in a single lifetime. The various spellings include Conyers, Coniers, Coigniers, Convers, Converse and many more.

Early Notables of the Converse family (pre 1700)

Outstanding amongst the family at this time was Sir John Conyers of Horden; Deacon Edward Convers (1587-1663) born in Navestock, England, he arrived in Salem, Massachusetts with the Winthrop Fleet in 1630, and quickly became one of the founders of Woburn, Massachusetts; Tristram Conyers (1619-1684), an English lawyer and politician, Member of Parliament for Maldon...
Another 55 words (4 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Converse Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Converse family to Ireland

Some of the Converse 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 Converse migration to the United States +

Many English families left England, to avoid the chaos of their homeland and migrated to the many British colonies abroad. Although the conditions on the ships were extremely cramped, and some travelers arrived diseased, starving, and destitute, once in the colonies, many of the families prospered and made valuable contributions to the cultures of what would become the United States and Canada. Research into the origins of individual families in North America has revealed records of the immigration of a number of people bearing the name Converse or a variant listed above:

Converse Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Edward Converse, who landed in New England in 1630 [4]
Converse Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • J Converse, who landed in San Francisco, California in 1855 [4]

Canada Converse migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Converse Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • Frederick Lewis Converse, who arrived in Canada in 1834
  • Thomas Norton Converse, who arrived in Canada in 1841

Contemporary Notables of the name Converse (post 1700) +

  • Keith Cawthon Converse (b. 1957), American college swimming coach and former competition swimmer at the 1976 Summer Olympics
  • Tony Converse (b. 1935), American television and film producer
  • John Converse (1909-1981), American plastic surgeon
  • Florence Converse (1871-1967), American author from New Orleans
  • Elizabeth Eaton "Connie" Converse (b. 1924), American singer-songwriter who disappeared in 1974
  • George Leroy Converse (1827-1897), American politician, U.S. Representative from Ohio
  • Philip Ernest Converse (b. 1928), American political scientist
  • Julius Converse (1798-1885), American politician, the 34th Governor of Vermont (1872 to 1874) and the 15th Lieutenant Governor of Vermont (1850 to 1852)
  • Frederick Shepherd Converse (1871-1940), American composer of classical music
  • Richard "Ric" Converse (b. 1979), American professional wrestler
  • ... (Another 3 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)


  1. ^ Cleveland, Dutchess of The Battle Abbey Roll with some Account of the Norman Lineages. London: John Murray, Abermarle Street, 1889. Print. Volume 3 of 3
  2. ^ Surtees, Robert, The History and Antiquities of the County Palatine of Durham. London: J. Nichols and Son, 25 Parliament Street, 1820. Print.
  3. ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
  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)


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