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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright 2000 - 2016

Origins Available: English, Irish


The Anglo-Saxon name Farnham comes from when the family resided at Farnham, in several different counties including Buckinghamshire, Dorset, Essex, Suffolk, and the West Riding of Yorkshire. They were derived from pre-existing names for towns, villages, parishes, or farmsteads. In this case the surname Farnham was originally derived from the Old English words fearn + hamm which means a fern-covered homestead or property.

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The surname Farnham was first found in one of the many villages names Farnham throughout England in the following counties or shires: Dorset, Essex, North Yorkshire, Suffolk, and Surrey. Farnham Common and Farnham Royal are located in Buckinghamshire. [1] The name has numerous listings in the Domesday Book with various spellings that were in use at the time: Fernham, Dorset; Phernham Essex; Fareham North Yorkshire; Farnham, Suffolk; and Fernham Surrey. Farnham Royal was listed as Fernham Riall. [2] While one would suppose the surname originated from one or more of the aforementioned locals, another reference suggests we must look to Leicestershire, specifically Quorndon to find the surname's true origin as in "this ancient family was certainly seated at Quorndon two descents before the reign of Edward I." [3]

The English language only became standardized in the last few centuries; therefore, spelling variations are common among early Anglo-Saxon names. As the form of the English language changed, even the spelling of literate people's names evolved. Farnham has been recorded under many different variations, including Farnham, Farnhams, Farnhan, Fearnham, Farneham and others.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Farnham research. Another 199 words (14 lines of text) covering the years 1290, 1312, 1483, 1753 and are included under the topic Early Farnham History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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

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Some of the Farnham family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 87 words (6 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.

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For many English families, the political and religious disarray that shrouded England made the far away New World an attractive prospect. On cramped disease-ridden ships, thousands migrated to those British colonies that would eventually become Canada and the United States. Those hardy settlers that survived the journey often went on to make important contributions to the emerging nations in which they landed. Analysis of immigration records indicates that some of the first North American immigrants bore the name Farnham or a variant listed above:

Farnham Settlers in United States in the 17th Century


  • Thomas and Ralph Farnham came to Roxbury, Massachusetts in 1634
  • Alice, Mary, and Ralph Farnham settled in Boston Massachusetts in 1635
  • Henry Farnham of Warwickshire, settled in Massachusetts in 1644
  • Jos Farnham, who landed in Virginia in 1663

Farnham Settlers in United States in the 18th Century


  • Robert Farnham settled in Maryland in 1741

Farnham Settlers in United States in the 19th Century


  • C W Farnham, who arrived in San Francisco, California in 1850
  • S Farnham, who arrived in San Francisco, California in 1850
  • C N Farnham, who landed in San Francisco, California in 1850
  • J Farnham, who landed in San Francisco, California in 1850
  • George and W. Farnham settled in San Francisco, California in 1852


Farnham Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century


  • Mr. Ephraim Farnham U.E. who settled in New Brunswick c. 1784 he was part of the Penobscot Association

Farnham Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century


  • John Farnham settled in Trinity Bay, Newfoundland, in 1802
  • John Farnham, who arrived in Canada in 1834

Farnham Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century


  • Giles Farnham arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "David Malcolm" in 1847
  • Ruth Farnham arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "David Malcolm" in 1847
  • Jane Farnham, aged 26, a domestic servant, arrived in South Australia in 1859 aboard the ship "Escort"

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  • Mark Buddy Farnham (b. 1987), American football wide receiver
  • Sally James Farnham (b. 1869), American sculptor
  • Jeremiah W. Farnham (d. 1905), American merchant sailor and sea captain
  • Brian Farnham, American journalist and editor in chief of Patch
  • Russel Farnham (1784-1832), American frontiersman, explorer, and fur trader
  • Eliza Farnham (1815-1864), 19th-century American novelist, feminist, abolitionist, and activist
  • Joseph White Farnham (1884-1931), American playwright and a film writer and film editor
  • Augustus B. Farnham, American Republican politician, Postmaster at Bangor, Maine, 1871-87, 1890-94
  • Bela Farnham (1770-1857), American politician, Member of Connecticut State House of Representatives from East Haven, 1820, 1823-24
  • Benjamin Franklin Farnham (1831-1889), American politician, U.S. Consul in Bombay, 1883-84

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  1. ^ Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds., Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8)
  2. ^ Mills, A.D., Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4)
  3. ^ Shirley, Evelyn Philip, The Noble and Gentle Men of England; The Arms and Descents. Westminster: John Bower Nichols and Sons, 1866, Print.

Other References

  1. Burke, John Bernard Ed. The Roll of Battle Abbey. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  2. Filby, P. William and Mary K Meyer. Passenger and Immigration Lists Index in Four Volumes. Detroit: Gale Research, 1985. Print. (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8).
  3. Burke, Sir Bernard. Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Peerage and Baronetage, The Privy Council, Knightage and Compainonage. London: Burke Publishing, 1921. Print.
  4. Hitching, F.K and S. Hitching. References to English Surnames in 1601-1602. Walton On Thames: 1910. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0181-3).
  5. Virkus, Frederick A. Ed. Immigrant Ancestors A List of 2,500 Immigrants to America Before 1750. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1964. Print.
  6. Browning, Charles H. Americans of Royal Descent. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  7. Hanks, Hodges, Mills and Room. The Oxford Names Companion. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002. Print. (ISBN 0-19-860561-7).
  8. Thirsk, Joan. The Agrarian History of England and Wales. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press: 7 Volumes. Print.
  9. Chadwick, Nora Kershaw and J.X.W.P Corcoran. The Celts. London: Penguin, 1790. Print. (ISBN 0140212116).
  10. Colletta, John P. They Came In Ships. Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1993. Print.
  11. ...

The Farnham Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Farnham 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 30 March 2016 at 14:46.

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