Show ContentsDevon History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The ancestry of the name Devon dates from the ancient Anglo-Saxon culture of Britain. It comes from when the family lived near a body of water derived from the Old English word that means deep waters.

Early Origins of the Devon family

The surname Devon was first found in Sussex where they held a family seat from very ancient times, some say well before the Norman Conquest and the arrival of Duke William at Hastings in 1066 A.D.

Early History of the Devon family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Devon research. Another 70 words (5 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Devon History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Devon Spelling Variations

Spelling variations in names were a common occurrence before English spelling was standardized a few hundred years ago. In the Middle Ages, even the literate spelled their names differently as the English language incorporated elements of French, Latin, and other European languages. Many variations of the name Devon have been found, including Devenish, Devonish, Devanay, Devenay, Deveney, Devenney, Devenny, O'Devanny, O'Devenish, O'Devonish and many more.

Early Notables of the Devon family (pre 1700)

More information is included under the topic Early Devon Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Devon family to Ireland

Some of the Devon family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 54 words (4 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

United States Devon migration to the United States +

Families began migrating abroad in enormous numbers because of the political and religious discontent in England. Often faced with persecution and starvation in England, the possibilities of the New World attracted many English people. Although the ocean trips took many lives, those who did get to North America were instrumental in building the necessary groundwork for what would become for new powerful nations. Some of the first immigrants to cross the Atlantic and come to North America bore the name Devon, or a variant listed above:

Devon Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Ann Devon, aged 20, who arrived in New York in 1849 [1]

Australia Devon migration to Australia +

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

Devon Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Caroline Devon, aged 19, a maid servant, who arrived in South Australia in 1854 aboard the ship "Navarino" [2]

New Zealand Devon 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:

Devon Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Mr. Devon, British settler travelling from London via Plymouth aboard the ship "Tasmania" arriving in Otago, South Island, New Zealand on to Lyttelton on 26th February 1853 [3]

Contemporary Notables of the name Devon (post 1700) +

  • Arnold Devon, American politician, Mayor of East Liverpool, Ohio, 1951-53 [4]
  • Ryan Devon Torain (b. 1986), former American football running back for the Denver Broncos (2008), Washington Redskins (2010–2011) and the New York Giants (2012–2013)
  • Anthony Devon Pleasant (b. 1968), American football defensive line coach
  • Jason Devon Bostic (b. 1976), former American football defensive back
  • Anthony Devon Cannon (b. 1984), American football linebacker
  • Jimmie Devon Dixson, American Democratic Party politician, Alternate Delegate to Democratic National Convention from California, 1988 [5]
  • Devon McKenney (b. 1984), American professional soccer player from North Olmsted, Ohio
  • Devon Malcolm (b. 1963), Jamaica-born, English cricketer who played in 40 Test matches
  • Devon Kershaw (b. 1982), Canadian gold medalist cross country skier at the 2011 World Championships
  • Devon Kenneth-Thomas Bostick (b. 1991), Canadian actor, best known for his roles in the film Adoration, and as Rodrick Heffley in the Diary of a Wimpy Kid movies

The Devon 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: Spero et captivus nitor
Motto Translation: I hope, and though a captive I strive.

  1. 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)
  2. South Australian Register Monday 14th August 1854. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) Navarino 1854. Retrieved
  3. New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 26th March 2019). Retrieved from
  4. The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, November 17) . Retrieved from
  5. The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, December 10) . Retrieved from on Facebook