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

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


Until quite recently, the English language has lacked a definite system of spelling rules. Consequently, Anglo-Saxon surnames are characterized by a multitude of spelling variations. Changes in Anglo-Saxon names were influenced by the evolution of the English language, as it incorporated elements of French, Latin, and other languages. Although Medieval scribes and church officials recorded names as they sounded, so it is common to find one person referred to by several different spellings of his surname, even the most literate people varied the spelling of their own names. Variations of the name Free include Frese, Freese, Freeze, Freze, Friese, Frieze, Phrese, Phreeze, Frees, Freys, Freyze, Freyse, Freece and many more.

First found in Essex where they held a family seat as Lords of the Manor. The Saxon influence of English history diminished after the Battle of Hastings in 1066. The language of the courts was French for the next three centuries and the Norman ambience prevailed. But Saxon surnames survived and the family name was first referenced in the 12th century when they held estates in that shire.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Free research. Another 280 words (20 lines of text) covering the years 1181, 1455, 1476, 1487, 1510, and 1600 are included under the topic Early Free History in all our PDF Extended History products.


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


Searching for a better life, many English families migrated to British colonies. Unfortunately, the majority of them traveled under extremely harsh conditions: overcrowding on the ships caused the majority of the immigrants to arrive diseased, famished, and destitute from the long journey across the ocean. For those families that arrived safely, modest prosperity was attainable, and many went on to make invaluable contributions to the development of the cultures of the new colonies. Research into the origins of individual families in North America revealed records of the immigration of a number of people bearing the name Free or a variant listed above:

Free Settlers in United States in the 17th Century

  • John Free, who sailed to Barbados in 1634
  • Jim Free, aged 25, landed in Barbados in 1634
  • Jno Free, aged 25, arrived in Barbados in 1634
  • John Free, who landed in Virginia in 1664

Free Settlers in United States in the 18th Century

  • Lorance Free, aged 24, landed in Pennsylvania in 1736
  • Nichlos Free, aged 48, arrived in Pennsylvania in 1736
  • Hendrick Free, aged 17, landed in Pennsylvania in 1736
  • Jacob Free, aged 28, arrived in Pennsylvania in 1736
  • Hans Jacob Free, who arrived in Pennsylvania in 1739

Free Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century

  • Luke Free, English convict from Middlesex, who was transported aboard the "Arab" on July 3, 1822, settling in Van Diemen's Land, Austraila
  • George Free, aged 46, a general servant, arrived in South Australia in 1849 aboard the ship "Duke of Wellington"
  • George Free, aged 40, a servant, arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Duke Of Wellington" in 1849
  • Mary Ann Free, aged 18, a domestic servant, arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Duke Of Wellington" in 1849
  • Elizabeth Free, aged 22, a housemaid, arrived in South Australia in 1854 aboard the ship "Emigrant"


  • World B. Free (b. 1953), born Lloyd Bernard Free, American NBA basketball player who played from 1975 to 1991
  • Travon Free, American comedian, actor, television writer for The Daily Show on Comedy Central
  • Micki Free (b. 1984), American Grammy Award winning guitarist for his work on the Beverly Hills Cop movie soundtrack
  • Marcella Free (1920-2007), American copywriter, founding partner if the agency Avrett Free Ginsberg, known for her work with Nescafé, Coca Cola, Purina, National Airlines, Pfizer and Gillette
  • James S. Free (1908-1996), American journalist
  • Helen Murray Free (b. 1923), American chemist and educator, inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame (2000), recipient of the National Medal of Technology and Innovation (2010)
  • F. William Free (1928-2003), American advertising executive
  • Doug Free (b. 1984), American NFL football offensive tackle for the Dallas Cowboys
  • Arthur M. Free (1879-1953), American politician, Member of the U.S. House of Representatives from California (1921-1933)
  • Ann Cottrell Free (1916-2004), American journalist who wrote extensively on animal protection issues



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  1. Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at Galveston Texas 1896-1951. National Archives Washington DC. Print.
  2. Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin . Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8).
  3. Virkus, Frederick A. Ed. Immigrant Ancestors A List of 2,500 Immigrants to America Before 1750. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1964. Print.
  4. Bolton, Charles Knowles. Bolton's American Armory. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1964. Print.
  5. Chadwick, Nora Kershaw and J.X.W.P Corcoran. The Celts. London: Penguin, 1790. Print. (ISBN 0140212116).
  6. Burke, Sir Bernard. Burke's Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Landed Gentry: Including American Families with British Ancestry. (2 Volumes). London: Burke Publishing, 1939. Print.
  7. Dunkling, Leslie. Dictionary of Surnames. Toronto: Collins, 1998. Print. (ISBN 0004720598).
  8. Innes, Thomas and Learney. The Tartans of the Clans and Families of Scotland 1st Edition. Edinburgh: W & A. K. Johnston Limited, 1938. Print.
  9. Lennard, Reginald. Rural England 1086-1135 A Study of Social and Agrarian Conditions. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1959. Print.
  10. Library of Congress. American and English Genealogies in the Library of Congress. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1967. Print.
  11. ...

The Free Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Free 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 6 November 2015 at 09:48.

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