Show ContentsDeadman History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Early Origins of the Deadman family

The surname Deadman was first found in Suffolk at Debenham, a large village and civil parish in the Mid Suffolk district that dates back to the Domesday Book of 1086 where it was listed as Depbenham. [1] [2] The place name literally means "homestead or village by the deep river," from the Old English words "deope" + "ham." [3]

While most of the variants for this family are fairly straightforward, its hard believe that the name Deadman was indeed one of them. [4] [5] [6]

Another reference claims the place name derives its name from its situation on the river Deben, which rises at some distance above the town. The kings of the East Angles are said to have held their courts at Debenham, where they had a palace. Originally a market town, Debenham was originally in the union of Bosmere and Claydon, hundred of Thredling and was held by William de Gulafra from Robert Malet who was recorded in the Domesday Book. At that time, Debenham consisted of two churches, St. Mary and St. Andrew and held twenty pigs and twenty eight goats and was noted for it's Norman church. [1]

Not withstanding the aforementioned Suffolk reference, we must look to Huntingdonshire to find the first entry in early rolls, that of John de Debenham in the Hundredorum Rolls of 1279. [4] [2]

By the seventeenth century, spelling variations were numerous, but all residing in Suffolk: Robert Debenham, Debnam; Francis Debnam, Deadman; John Deadman, Debingham; and Stephen Dedman, Thomas Dednum. All were recorded in 1674. [4]

As one might expect, the famed William Debenham (1794-1863), was born in Apheton, Suffolk. He joined Thomas Clark in a partnership to manage a draper's store at 44 Wigmore Street in London. This store which was later to become known by the eponymous Debenhams grew to 178 locations across the United Kingdom, Denmark and Ireland.

Early History of the Deadman family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Deadman research. Another 100 words (7 lines of text) covering the years 1279, 1404, 1426, 1427, 1432, 1481, 1500, 1503 and 1674 are included under the topic Early Deadman History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Deadman Spelling Variations

Spelling variations of this family name include: Debenham, Debnham, Dedham, Deadham, Dedam, Debynham, Debnam, Deadman, Dedman, Debingham, Dednum, Dednem and many more.

Early Notables of the Deadman family

Another 41 words (3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Deadman Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Deadman migration to the United States +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Deadman Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Thomas Deadman, who landed in Maryland in 1674 [7]
  • Charity Deadman, who arrived in Maryland in 1681
Deadman Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • John Deadman, who settled in Pennsylvania in 1773
Deadman Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • J. O. Deadman, who settled in San Francisco in 1852

Canada Deadman migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Deadman Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • J. D. Deadman, who settled in Ontario in 1871
  • Abdiel G. Deadman, who arrived in Ontario in 1871

Australia Deadman migration to Australia +

Emigration to Australia followed the First Fleets of convicts, tradespeople and early settlers. Early immigrants include:

Deadman Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mr. Aaron Deadman, British Convict who was convicted in Southampton, Hampshire, England for 14 years for machine breaking, transported aboard the "Eleanor" on 26th June 1831, arriving in New South Wales, Australia [8]
  • Mr. Thomas Deadman, (Debman), (b. 1820), aged 14, English convict who was convicted in Middlesex, England for 7 years for theft, transported aboard the "Bengal Merchant" on 27th September 1834, arriving in New South Wales, Australia [9]
  • Nicholas Deadman, aged 31, a labourer, who arrived in South Australia in 1855 aboard the ship "Caroline" [10]

New Zealand Deadman 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:

Deadman Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Maria Deadman, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "New Era" in 1855
  • W. Deadman, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "New Era" in 1855

Contemporary Notables of the name Deadman (post 1700) +

  • Richard Hector Deadman (1872-1962), American Republican politician, Alpena County Treasurer, 1917-21; Member of Michigan State House of Representatives from Alpena District, 1939-50; Defeated in primary, 1936, 1950, 1954 [11]
  • John Flannigan Deadman (1868-1932), American Democratic Party politician, Candidate for Mayor of Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, 1915 [11]
  • Darren Deadman, English football referee, active 2000 to 2005
  • Derek Deadman (b. 1940), British contemporary actor, known for his roles in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (2001), Brazil (1985) and Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (1991)

Victoria steamboat disaster
  • Alice M. Deadman, Canadian passenger who was killed in the Victoria steamboat disaster when the boat capsized in 1881


  1. Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds., Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8)
  2. Guppy, Henry Brougham, Homes of Family Names in Great Britain. 1890. Print.
  3. Mills, A.D., Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4)
  4. Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  5. Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  6. Lower, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  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. Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 9th February 2022). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/eleanor
  9. Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 7th October 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/bengal-merchant
  10. South Australian Register Thursday 26th April 1855. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) Caroline 1855. Retrieved http://www.theshipslist.com/ships/australia/caroline1855.shtml
  11. The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2016, January 12) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html


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