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

Origins Available: English, Irish

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

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.


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.

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]


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.


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


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.


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 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"


  • Roswell Farnham (b. 1827), American Governor of Vermont
  • Thomas Jefferson Farnham (1804-1848), American lawyer and author, who let an expedition across American to Oregon in 1839
  • Leon Farnham, American former manager of NASA operations
  • Joseph White Farnham (1884-1931), American playwright and a film writer and film editor
  • Eliza Farnham (1815-1864), 19th-century American novelist, feminist, abolitionist, and activist
  • Russel Farnham (1784-1832), American frontiersman, explorer, and fur trader
  • Brian Farnham, American journalist and editor in chief of Patch
  • Jeremiah W. Farnham (d. 1905), American merchant sailor and sea captain
  • Sally James Farnham (b. 1869), American sculptor
  • Mark Buddy Farnham (b. 1987), American football wide receiver



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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. Colletta, John P. They Came In Ships. Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1993. Print.
  2. Bullock, L.G. Historical Map of England and Wales. Edinburgh: Bartholomew and Son, 1971. Print.
  3. Markale, J. Celtic Civilization. London: Gordon & Cremonesi, 1976. Print.
  4. Burke, John Bernard Ed. The Roll of Battle Abbey. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  5. Hanks, Patricia and Flavia Hodges. A Dictionary of Surnames. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988. Print. (ISBN 0-19-211592-8).
  6. Crispin, M. Jackson and Leonce Mary. Falaise Roll Recording Prominent Companions of William Duke of Normandy at the Conquest of England. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  7. Bolton, Charles Knowles. Bolton's American Armory. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1964. Print.
  8. MacAulay, Thomas Babington. History of England from the Accession of James the Second 4 volumes. New York: Harper and Brothers, 1879. Print.
  9. The Norman People and Their Existing Descendants in the British Dominions and the United States Of America. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0636-X).
  10. Le Patourel, John. The Norman Empire. New York: Oxford University Press, 1976. Print. (ISBN 0-19-822525-3).
  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 21 January 2015 at 13:04.

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