Francis History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The earliest forms of hereditary surnames in Scotland were the patronymic surnames, which are derived from the father's given name, and metronymic surnames, which are derived from the mother's given name. Scottish patronymic names emerged as early as the mid-9th century. The patronyms were derived from a variety of given names that were of many different origins. The surname Francis is derived from the popular medieval given name Franciscus. Francis is a patronymic surname, which belongs to the category of hereditary surnames. Many patronyms were formed when a son used his father's personal name as a surname, but in this case, the surname was originally derived from the famous religious figure, St. Francis of Assisi. The Francis family was established in Derbyshire, prior to the Norman invasion of England, in 1066.

Early Origins of the Francis family

The surname Francis was first found in Derbyshire, 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 Francis family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Francis research. Another 218 words (16 lines of text) covering the years 1143, 1189, 1190, 1213, 1249, 1307, 1314, and 1400 are included under the topic Early Francis History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Francis Spelling Variations

The frequent translations of surnames from and into Gaelic, accounts for the multitude of spelling variations found in Scottish surnames. Furthermore, the spelling of surnames was rarely consistent because medieval scribes and church officials recorded names as they sounded, rather than adhering to any specific spelling rules. The different versions of a surname, such as the inclusion of the patronymic prefix "Mac", frequently indicated a religious or Clan affiliation, or even a division of the family. Moreover, a large number of foreign names were brought into Scotland, accelerating accentuating the alterations to various surnames. The name Francis has also been spelled Francis, Frances, Franceys, Francies, Fraunces, Francys, Francess and many more.

Early Notables of the Francis family (pre 1700)

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

Francis World Ranking

In the United States, the name Francis is the 385th most popular surname with an estimated 72,123 people with that name. [1] However, in Canada, the name Francis is ranked the 324th most popular surname with an estimated 13,820 people with that name. [2] And in France, the name Francis is the 4,861st popular surname with an estimated 1,500 - 2,000 people with that name. [3] Australia ranks Francis as 145th with 19,777 people. [4] New Zealand ranks Francis as 220th with 2,582 people. [5] The United Kingdom ranks Francis as 169th with 31,991 people. [6] South Africa ranks Francis as 552nd with 12,589 people. [7]

Ireland Migration of the Francis family to Ireland

Some of the Francis family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 80 words (6 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Francis migration to the United States +

Some of the first North American settlers with Francis name or one of its variants:

Francis Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Daniel Francis, who arrived in Virginia in 1624 [8]
  • Jon Francis, who landed in Virginia in 1637 [8]
  • James Francis, who settled in Virginia in 1640
  • Bedford Francis who settled in Virginia in 1642
  • Bedford Francis, who landed in Virginia in 1642 [8]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Francis Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Margaret Francis, who arrived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1746 [8]
  • Anne Francis, who arrived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1746 [8]
  • Nicholas Francis, who arrived in Pennsylvania in 1759 [8]
  • Samuel Francis, who landed in America in 1760 [8]
  • Barnaby Francis, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1765 [8]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Francis Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Adam Francis, who arrived in Maryland in 1802 [8]
  • Martha Francis, who arrived in New York, NY in 1811 [8]
  • Patrick Francis, aged 33, who arrived in New York in 1812 [8]
  • Charles Francis, aged 38, who landed in Connecticut in 1812 [8]
  • Frank Hewson Francis, who arrived in America in 1812 [8]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Canada Francis migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Francis Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
  • Edward Francis, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1749
  • Edward Francis, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1750
  • Ann Francis, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1750
  • Peter Francis, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1750
  • Jerem Francis, who landed in Quebec in 1784
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Francis Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • William Francis, who arrived in Canada in 1820
  • James Francis, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1821
  • Miss. Margaret Francis, aged 3 who immigrated to Canada, arriving at the Grosse Isle Quarantine Station in Quebec aboard the ship "Champion" departing from the port of Liverpool, England but died on Grosse Isle in September 1847 [9]
  • Mrs. Mary Francis, aged 60 who was emigrating through Grosse Isle Quarantine Station, Quebec aboard the ship "Lord Seaton" departing 12th April 1847 from Belfast, Ireland; the ship arrived on 10th June 1847 but she died on board [10]
  • Miss. Mary Francis, aged 2 who was emigrating through Grosse Isle Quarantine Station, Quebec aboard the ship "Lord Seaton" departing 12th April 1847 from Belfast, Ireland; the ship arrived on 10th June 1847 but she died on board [10]

Australia Francis migration to Australia +

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

Francis Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mr. Francis Brine, English convict who was convicted in Wiltshire, England for 7 years, transported aboard the "Baring" in April 1815, arriving in New South Wales, Australia [11]
  • Mr. Francis Turner, English convict who was convicted in Middlesex, England for life, transported aboard the "Baring" in April 1815, arriving in New South Wales, Australia [11]
  • Mr. Francis Parker, English convict who was convicted in Middlesex, England for 7 years, transported aboard the "Baring" in December 1818, arriving in New South Wales, Australia [11]
  • Mr. James Francis, British Convict who was convicted in Middlesex, England for 7 years, transported aboard the "Coromandel" on 27th October 1819, arriving in Tasmania ( Van Diemen's Land) [12]
  • Henry Francis, a engineer, who arrived in New South Wales, Australia sometime between 1825 and 1832
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

New Zealand Francis 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:

Francis Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Joseph Francis, who landed in Wellington, New Zealand in 1840
  • John Francis, who landed in Wellington, New Zealand in 1840
  • Mr. John Francis, (b. 1806), aged 35, British agricultural labourer travelling from Gravesend aboard the ship "Lord William Bentinck" arriving in Wellington, New Zealand on 24th May 1841 [13]
  • Mrs. Frances Francis, (b. 1805), aged 36, British settler travelling from Gravesend aboard the ship "Lord William Bentinck" arriving in Wellington, New Zealand on 24th May 1841 [13]
  • Mr. Thomas Joshua Francis, (b. 1840), aged 9 months, British settler travelling from Gravesend aboard the ship "Lord William Bentinck" arriving in Wellington, New Zealand on 24th May 1841, he died on board [13]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

West Indies Francis migration to West Indies +

The British first settled the British West Indies around 1604. They made many attempts but failed in some to establish settlements on the Islands including Saint Lucia and Grenada. By 1627 they had managed to establish settlements on St. Kitts (St. Christopher) and Barbados, but by 1641 the Spanish had moved in and destroyed some of these including those at Providence Island. The British continued to expand the settlements including setting the First Federation in the British West Indies by 1674; some of the islands include Barbados, Bermuda, Cayman Island, Turks and Caicos, Jamaica and Belize then known as British Honduras. By the 1960's many of the islands became independent after the West Indies Federation which existed from 1958 to 1962 failed due to internal political conflicts. After this a number of Eastern Caribbean islands formed a free association. [14]
Francis Settlers in West Indies in the 18th Century
  • Mr. Peter Francis, aged 19, emigrating from East Looe, Cornwall to St Kitts, West Indies, to become an indebted servant to John Taylor, a yeoman and chapman originally from London, England on 19th July 1722 [15]

Contemporary Notables of the name Francis (post 1700) +

  • Dr. Norman Christopher Francis (b. 1931), American academic, President of Xavier University of Louisiana, recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom (2006)
  • Esther Charlotte Emily Weisbrodt Francis (1836-1913), Italian-born, American Mormon pioneer
  • Kay Francis (1905-1968), born Katharine Edwina Gibbs, an American stage and film actress, nicknamed the "Queen of Warner Brothers," at one time earning almost ten times the salary of Bette Davis
  • Joseph Charles Naekauna "Joe" Francis Jr. (1936-2013), American NFL and CFL quarterback
  • Joseph Francis (1801-1893), American inventor, best known for his life-car which rescued thousands of stranded passengers and crew from shipwrecks near the shore, recipient of the Congressional Gold Medal
  • Connie Francis (b. 1938), born Concetta Rosa Maria Franconero, is an American pop singer, her "Who's Sorry Now?" was named one of the Songs of the Century
  • Arlene Francis (1907-2001), born Arline Francis Kazanjian, an American actress, radio talk show host, and game show panelist, best known for her role as a panelist on the television game show What's My Line? for 25 years
  • Anne Lloyd Francis (1930-2011), American Golden Globe winning Emmy Award nominated actress, best known for her role in the science fiction film classic Forbidden Planet (1956)
  • Thomas Francis Jr. (1900-1969), American physician, virologist, and epidemiologist and recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom
  • Norman C. Francis (b. 1931), President of Xavier University of Louisiana, recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom
  • ... (Another 93 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Halifax Explosion
  • Mrs. Catherine Wood  Francis (1832-1917), Canadian resident from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada who survived the explosion but later died due to injuries [16]
  • Mrs. Edith  Francis (1883-1917), Canadian resident from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada who survived the explosion but later died due to injuries [16]
  • Mr. Charles  Francis (1883-1917), Canadian resident from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada who died in the explosion [16]
HMS Hood
  • Mr. Victor R Francis (b. 1902), English Leading Stoker serving for the Royal Navy from Attleborough, Norfolk, England, who sailed into battle and died in the sinking [17]
  • Mr. Charles A Francis (b. 1924), English Boy 1st Class serving for the Royal Navy from Great Bowden, Leicestershire, England, who sailed into battle and died in the sinking [17]
HMS Prince of Wales
  • Mr. Edward Francis, British signalman, who sailed into battle on the HMS Prince of Wales and survived the sinking [18]
HMS Repulse
  • Mr. Leighton Richard Francis, British Able Bodied Seaman, who sailed into battle on the HMS Repulse and died in the sinking [19]
HMS Royal Oak
  • Hubert Arthur Francis (1919-1939), British Able Seaman with the Royal Navy aboard the HMS Royal Oak when she was torpedoed by U-47 and sunk; he died in the sinking [20]
Prince of Wales colliery
  • Mr. Thomas Francis (b. 1857), Welsh coal miner who was working at the Prince of Wales Colliery in Abercarn, Wales on the 11th September 1878 when there was a coal mine explosion; he died [21]
  • Mr. Sylvester Francis (b. 1849), Welsh coal miner who was working at the Prince of Wales Colliery in Abercarn, Wales on the 11th September 1878 when there was a coal mine explosion; he died [21]
SS Caribou
  • Mr. Everett Samuel Francis (b. 1921), Newfoundland passenger who was Royal Army Corporal from Grand Falls-Windsor, Newfoundland and Labrador was travelling aboard the railway ferry "SS Caribou" when it was struck by a German submarine torpedo on 14th October 1942, the most significant sinking in Canadian waters at that time, he died in the sinking
SS Newfoundland
  • Mr. Joseph Francis (b. 1896), Newfoundlander from Hant's Harbour, who on the 30th March 1914 he was part of the Seal Crew of the "SS Newfoundland" leaving the ship to intercept the Stephano which took him to the hunting grounds, he disembarked to begin sealing, but was caught in a thickening storm, attempting to return to the Newfoundland he and the 132 crew made camp for two days the sealers were stranded on the ice in a blizzard attempting to return to the ship, he survived


Suggested Readings for the name Francis +

  • Captain William Upshaw, Gent., Planter of Virginia: Some of His Georgia Descendants and Allied Families, Francis, Wright, McAllen, Bardwell, Daves, Chalmers by Sophie W. Upshaw.
  • Descendants of Joseph Francis of Maryland and Virginia by L.M. Dickson.

  1. ^ https://namecensus.com/most_common_surnames.htm
  2. ^ https://forebears.io/surnames/
  3. ^ http://www.journaldesfemmes.com/nom-de-famille/nom/
  4. ^ https://forebears.io/australia/surnames
  5. ^ https://forebears.io/new-zealand/surnames
  6. ^ https://www.surnamemap.eu/unitedkingdom/surnames_ranking.php?p=10
  7. ^ https://forebears.io/south-africa/surnames
  8. ^ 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)
  9. ^ Charbonneau, André, and Doris Drolet-Dubé. A Register of Deceased Persons at Sea and on Grosse Île in 1847. The Minister of Canadian Heritage, 1997. ISBN: 0-660-198/1-1997E (p. 29)
  10. ^ Charbonneau, André, and Doris Drolet-Dubé. A Register of Deceased Persons at Sea and on Grosse Île in 1847. The Minister of Canadian Heritage, 1997. ISBN: 0-660-198/1-1997E (p. 76)
  11. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 16th September 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/baring
  12. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 12th March 2021). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/coromandel
  13. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 17th October 2018). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  14. ^ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_West_Indies
  15. ^ Cornwall Online Parish Clerks. (Retrieved 2018, April 30). Emigrants to USA 1718 - 1759, Indentured servitude [PDF]. Retrieved from http://www.opc-cornwall.org/Resc/pdfs/emigration_america_1718_59_indentured_servitude.pdf
  16. ^ Halifax Explosion Book of Remembrance | Maritime Museum of the Atlantic. (Retrieved 2014, June 23) . Retrieved from https://maritimemuseum.novascotia.ca/what-see-do/halifax-explosion/halifax-explosion-book-remembrance
  17. ^ H.M.S. Hood Association-Battle Cruiser Hood: Crew Information - H.M.S. Hood Rolls of Honour, Men Lost in the Sinking of H.M.S. Hood, 24th May 1941. (Retrieved 2016, July 15) . Retrieved from http://www.hmshood.com/crew/memorial/roh_24may41.htm
  18. ^ HMS Prince of Wales Crew members. (Retrieved 2014, April 9) . Retrieved from http://www.forcez-survivors.org.uk/biographies/listprincecrew.html
  19. ^ HMS Repulse Crew members. (Retrieved 2014, April 9) . Retrieved from http://www.forcez-survivors.org.uk/biographies/listrepulsecrew.html
  20. ^ Ships hit by U-boats crew list HMS Royal Oak (08) - (Retrieved 2018 February, 9th) - retrieved from https://uboat.net/allies/merchants/crews/ship68.html
  21. ^ Entombed in flood and flame (retrieved 3rd August 2021). Retrieved from https://web.archive.org/web/20120603025705/http://www.crosskeys.me.uk/history/prince.htm


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