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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright 2000 - 2015

Where did the English Devon family come from? What is the English Devon family crest and coat of arms? When did the Devon family first arrive in the United States? Where did the various branches of the family go? What is the Devon family history?

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.


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.

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.


Devon Early History

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Devon research. Another 139 words (10 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Devon History in all our PDF Extended History products.


Devon Early Notables

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


Devon In Ireland

Some of the Devon family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 97 words (7 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.


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, arrived in New York in 1849

Devon Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century

  • Caroline Devon, aged 19, a maid servant, arrived in South Australia in 1854 aboard the ship "Navarino"


  • Arnold Devon, American politician, Mayor of East Liverpool, Ohio, 1951-53
  • Baron John Foot of Devon,


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.


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  1. Thirsk, Joan. The Agrarian History of England and Wales. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press: 7 Volumes. Print.
  2. Shirley, Evelyn Philip. Noble and Gentle Men of England Or Notes Touching The Arms and Descendants of the Ancient Knightley and Gentle Houses of England Arranged in their Respective Counties 3rd Edition. Westminster: John Bowyer Nichols and Sons, 1866. Print.
  3. Zieber, Eugene. Heraldry in America. Philadelphia: Genealogical Publishing Co. Print.
  4. Papworth, J.W and A.W Morant. Ordinary of British Armorials. London: T.Richards, 1874. Print.
  5. Crozier, William Armstrong Edition. Crozier's General Armory A Registry of American Families Entitled to Coat Armor. New York: Fox, Duffield, 1904. Print.
  6. Hitching, F.K and S. Hitching. References to English Surnames in 1601-1602. Walton On Thames: 1910. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0181-3).
  7. Le Patourel, John. The Norman Empire. New York: Oxford University Press, 1976. Print. (ISBN 0-19-822525-3).
  8. Reaney P.H and R.M. Wilson. A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X).
  9. Sanders, Joanne McRee Edition. English Settlers in Barbados 1637-1800. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  10. Bradford, William. History of Plymouth Plantation 1620-1647 Edited by Samuel Eliot Morrison 2 Volumes. New York: Russell and Russell, 1968. Print.
  11. ...

The Devon Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Devon Family Crest was drawn according to heraldic standards based on published blazons. We generally include the oldest published family crest once associated with each surname.

This page was last modified on 17 November 2015 at 11:45.

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