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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright © 2000 - 2016
Stephen is a name that came to England in the 11th century wave of migration that was set off by the Norman Conquest of 1066. Stephen comes from the ancient personal name Stephen, meaning crown, wreath, or garland.
The surname Stephen was first found in Gloucestershire where they were descended from FitzStephen, a Breton knight who was conjecturally descended from Count Stephen of Brittany and accompanied William the Conqueror into England and fought at the Battle of Hastings in 1066. Stephen FitzAirard was the captain of the "Mora," the ship which brought William the Conqueror over from Normandy. His son was Thomas FitzStephen (died 1120) who was captain of the ill-fated White Ship (la Blanche-Nef), which sank off Barfleur, Normandy, on 25 November 1120. There was of course, King Stephen ( c. 1097-1154,) King of England (1135-1154); he was the son of Stephen, Count of Blois and Chartres. Robert FitzStephen (d.1183) was a Welsh soldier of Norman descent and one of the leaders of the Norman invasion of Ireland. William Fitzstephen (fitz Stephen) (died c. 1191) was a cleric and administrator in the service of Thomas Becket.
Before the last few hundred years the English language had no fixed system of spelling rules. For that reason, spelling variations occurred commonly in Anglo Norman surnames. Over the years, many variations of the name Stephen were recorded, including Stephens, Stevens, Stephen, Steven, Stiven and many more.
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Stephen research. Another 183 words (13 lines of text) covering the years 1086, 1805, 1589, 1660, 1628, 1653, 1603, 1679, 1645, 1660, 1683, 1656, 1659, 1647, 1718, 1629, 1669, 1667 and 1669 are included under the topic Early Stephen History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Outstanding amongst the family at this time was Sir John Stephens of Finglas; Nathaniel Stephens (1589-1660), an English politician who sat in the House of Commons between 1628 and 1653, supporter of the Parliamentarian cause in the English Civil War; John Stephens (1603-1679), an English politician who sat in the House...
Another 55 words (4 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Stephen Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Some of the Stephen family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 123 words (9 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
The unstable environment in England at this time caused numerous families to board ships and leave in search of opportunity and freedom from persecution abroad in places like Ireland, Australia, and particularly the New World. The voyage was extremely difficult, however, and only taken at great expense. The cramped conditions and unsanitary nature of the vessels caused many to arrive diseased and starving, not to mention destitute from the enormous cost. Still opportunity in the emerging nations of Canada and the United States was far greater than at home and many went on to make important contributions to the cultures of their adopted countries. An examination of many early immigration records reveals that people bearing the name Stephen arrived in North America very early:
Stephen Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
Stephen Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
Stephen Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
Stephen Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
Stephen Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
Stephen Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
The Stephen Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Stephen 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 9 November 2015 at 11:03.