Freeman History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The surname Freeman is a ancient Anglo-Saxon name whose history dates back to the days before the Norman Conquest of 1066. The name is derived from "freomann" or "frigmann," Old English words and personal names meaning "free-born man." [1] [2] [3]

We did find this interesting take on the origin of the name: "In the early days of feudalism two neighbours bearing some common Christian name would be distinguished by epithets denoting their respective conditions, as John le Freeman and John le Bonde, and these epithets would often become family names. In the Hundredorum Rolls we have not only many Le Fremans, but also one Matilda Frewoman, and an Agnes Frewif, or free wife, probably the wife of a bondman." [4]

Early Origins of the Freeman family

The surname Freeman was first found in the county of Essex, where it was borne as a personal name by Freman Sceil in 1188. The first recorded instance of Freeman as a surname appeared shortly thereafter; William Freman was listed in the Feet of Fines of Norfolk in 1196. A few years later, Reginald le Freman was found in the Assize Rolls for Worcestershire in 1221 and Osbert Friman was listed in the Liber Feodorum [5] for Bedfordshire in 1240. As a forename, Freman Sceil was listed in the Pipe Rolls for Essex in 1188. [6]

Later the Hundredorum Rolls of 1273 listed: John le Freman, Huntingdonshire; and Geoffrey le Freman, Buckinghamshire. [7]

"This name is confined to the centre of England and to the adjoining eastern and western counties. Two lines drawn west from the Wash and the Thames to the Welsh border will roughly include the principal area of this name, which for au area of its size is remarkably well defined. It is at present most numerous in Suffolk and in Worcester; and likely enough the Freemans of the west and of the east may owe their surname to different events in the history of our country. Not improbably "Freeman" early appeared as an appellation in the counties bordering Wales, since we learn that in the 10th century the Welsh captives, reduced to slavery, were so numerous in the English shires on the border that the proportion of slaves to freemen would seem to have been unusually large. " [8]

The first record of the family in Scotland was Jacob Freman del counte de Pebbles who rendered homage to King Edward I of England in 1296. [9]

Early History of the Freeman family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Freeman research. Another 88 words (6 lines of text) covering the years 1196, 1627, 1630, 1645, 1611, 1575, 1670, 1720, 1610, 1655, 1646, 1710, 1667, 1723, 1821, 1794, 1655, 1680, and are included under the topic Early Freeman History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Freeman Spelling Variations

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 Freeman include Freeman, Fryman, Friman and others.

Early Notables of the Freeman family (pre 1700)

Distinguished members of the family include Francis Freeman (c.1645), a British religious writer; and John Freeman (fl. 1611), an English divine, matriculated in the University of Cambridge as a sizar of Trinity College, 26 Nov. 1575. [10] John Freeman (fl. 1670-1720), was an English painter who had some repute as a history painter in the reign of Charles II; Sir Ralph Freeman (fl. 1610-1655), was English civilian and dramatist, who was probably the son of Martin Freeman. Richard Freeman (1646-1710) was...
Another 80 words (6 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Freeman Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Freeman World Ranking

In the United States, the name Freeman is the 123rd most popular surname with an estimated 184,038 people with that name. [11] However, in Canada, the name Freeman is ranked the 596th most popular surname with an estimated 8,448 people with that name. [12] And in Newfoundland, Canada, the name Freeman is the 751st popular surname with an estimated 57 people with that name. [13] Australia ranks Freeman as 176th with 17,943 people. [14] New Zealand ranks Freeman as 291st with 2,089 people. [15] The United Kingdom ranks Freeman as 207th with 27,270 people. [16]

Ireland Migration of the Freeman family to Ireland

Some of the Freeman family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 150 words (11 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Freeman migration to the United States +

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 Freeman or a variant listed above:

Freeman Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Bernardns Freeman, who landed in New Netherland(s) in 1620 [17]
  • Domine Bernardus Freeman, who landed in New Netherland(s) in 1620 [17]
  • Ralph Freeman who settled in Virginia in 1622
  • Bridges Freeman, who landed in Virginia in 1623 [17]
  • Edmund Freeman, who landed in Lynn, Massachusetts in 1632 [17]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Freeman Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Edward Freeman, who arrived in Virginia in 1705 [17]
  • Thomas Freeman, who arrived in America in 1706 [17]
  • Abraham Freeman, who arrived in Pennsylvania in 1731 [17]
  • Abram Freeman, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1731 [17]
  • Georg Freeman, who arrived in Pennsylvania in 1739 [17]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Freeman Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Michael Freeman, who arrived in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1807 [17]
  • Thomas D Freeman, who landed in America in 1809 [17]
  • Bernard Freeman, aged 34, who landed in Missouri in 1840 [17]
  • Anthony Freeman, who landed in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1848 [17]
  • Joseph Freeman, aged 26, who arrived in New York in 1849 [17]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Freeman Settlers in United States in the 20th Century
  • Andrew Freeman, who arrived in Alabama in 1920 [17]

Canada Freeman migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Freeman Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
  • William Freeman, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1749
  • Robert Freeman, who landed in Halifax, Nova Scotia in 1749
  • William Freeman, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1750
  • James Freeman, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1750
  • James Freeman, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1750
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Freeman Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • Frederick Freeman, aged 12, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick aboard the ship "Ranger" in 1834
  • Bridger Freeman, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1838
  • Mr. Pheasant Freeman, aged 59, English farmer, settled in Rochester, Ontario prior to the 1871 Census of Canada [18]
  • Mrs. Sarah Freeman, aged 56, English settler, settled in Rochester, Ontario prior to the 1871 Census of Canada [18]
  • Miss Mary Freeman, aged 29, English settler, settled in Rochester, Ontario prior to the 1871 Census of Canada [18]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Freeman Settlers in Canada in the 20th Century
  • Arthur Ben Freeman, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick in 1907

Australia Freeman migration to Australia +

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

Freeman Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mr. Charles Freeman, (Lapish, Ingram), British Convict who was convicted in Leeds, Yorkshire, England for 7 years, transported aboard the "Earl Cornwallis" in August 1800, arriving in New South Wales, Australia [19]
  • Mr. Samuel Freeman, (b. 1785), aged 15, English millwright who was convicted in Hertfordshire, England for life for stealing, transported aboard the "Earl Cornwallis" in August 1800, arriving in New South Wales, Australia, he died in 1855 [19]
  • Mr. Thomas Freeman, British Convict who was convicted in Gloucester, Gloucestershire, England for 7 years, transported aboard the "Earl Cornwallis" in August 1800, arriving in New South Wales, Australia [19]
  • John Freeman, English convict from Middlesex, who was transported aboard the "Almorah" on April 1817, settling in New South Wales, Australia [20]
  • Mr. John Freeman, 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) [21]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

New Zealand Freeman 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:

Freeman Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • George Freeman, who landed in Wellington, New Zealand in 1840
  • J S Freeman, who landed in Auckland, New Zealand in 1840 aboard the ship Westminster
  • Thomas Graham Freeman, aged 39, who arrived in Nelson, New Zealand aboard the ship "London" in 1842
  • Margaret Freeman, aged 33, who arrived in Nelson, New Zealand aboard the ship "London" in 1842
  • Ann Elizabeth Freeman, aged 15, who arrived in Nelson, New Zealand aboard the ship "London" in 1842
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

West Indies Freeman 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. [22]
Freeman Settlers in West Indies in the 17th Century
  • Miss Elizabeth Freeman, (b. 1617), aged 18, British settler traveling aboard the ship "John" arriving in St Christopher (Saint Kitts) in 1635 [23]
  • Mr. Thomas Freeman, (b. 1616), aged 19, British settler travelling aboard the ship "Expedition" arriving in Barbados in 1636 [24]
Freeman Settlers in West Indies in the 18th Century
  • Arthur Freeman, who landed in Antigua (Antego) in 1785 [17]

Contemporary Notables of the name Freeman (post 1700) +

  • Morgan Porterfield Freeman Jr. (b. 1937), American Academy Award, Golden Globe Award and Screen Actors Guild Award winning actor, film director, and narrator, currently ranked as the 3rd highest box office star
  • Martin John Christopher Freeman (b. 1971), English Emmy Award, BAFTA Award and an Empire Award winning actor, best known for portraying Tim Canterbury in The Office and Dr. John Watson in the British crime drama Sherlock
  • Heath Freeman (1980-2021), American film and television actor, best known for playing the role of Gavin Dillon in the American legal drama television series Raising the Bar
  • Robert Thomas "Bobby" Freeman (1940-2017), American soul and R&B singer, songwriter and record producer, best known for his 1958 hit "Do You Want to Dance"
  • Julius Freeman (d. 2016), American fighter pilot, was one of the Documented Original Tuskegee Airmen, awarded the Congressional Gold Medal
  • Dennis Edward "Denny" Freeman (1944-2021), American Texas and electric blues guitarist, born in Orlando, Florida
  • S. David Freeman (1926-2020), American engineer, attorney, and author, from Chattanooga, Tennessee
  • Frankie Muse Freeman (1916-2018), born Marie Frankie Muse, an American civil rights attorney, the first woman to be appointed to the United States Commission on Civil Rights (1964-1979)
  • Lorenzo Z. Freeman (1964-2016), American football defensive tackle who played for the Pittsburgh Steelers (1987–1990) and the New York Giants (1991)
  • Robert Louis "Bobby" Freeman Sr. (1934-2016), American attorney and politician, 47th Lieutenant Governor of Louisiana (1980-1988)
  • ... (Another 30 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Empress of Ireland
  • Mrs. Mary Freeman (1869-1914), née Massoth American Second Class Passenger from West Allis, Wisconsin, United States who survived the sinking on the Empress of Ireland [25]
  • Mr. Henry Freeman (1865-1914), American Second Class Passenger from West Allis, Wisconsin, United States who survived the sinking on the Empress of Ireland [25]
Halifax Explosion
  • Mr. Mason  Freeman, Canadian resident from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada who died in the explosion [26]
HMS Halsted
  • Mr. Thomas Mcilroy Freeman (b. 1918), Scottish Royal Navy Volunteer Reserve ordinary seaman from Renfrewshire, Scotland was stationed aboard the "HMS Halsted" when it was struck by torpedo by Jaguar and Mowe of the Cherbourg coast on 11th June 1944, he did not survive
HMS Hood
  • Mr. Mark H P Freeman (b. 1925), English Midshipman serving for the Royal Navy Reserve from England, who sailed into battle and died in the sinking [27]
  • Mr. Douglas E Freeman (b. 1923), English Ordinary Seaman serving for the Royal Navy from Leicester, England, who sailed into battle and died in the sinking [27]
HMS Prince of Wales
  • Mr. Leslie Freeman, British Able Seaman, who sailed into battle on the HMS Prince of Wales and survived the sinking [28]
  • Mr. Alexander Freeman, British Stoker, who sailed into battle on the HMS Prince of Wales and survived the sinking [28]
Pan Am Flight 103 (Lockerbie)
  • Paul Matthew Stephen Freeman (1963-1988), Canadian Passenger from London, England, who flew aboard the Pan Am Flight 103 from Frankfurt to Detroit, known as the Lockerbie bombing in 1988 and died [29]
RMS Lusitania
  • Mr. Matthew Freeman, English Waiter from England, who worked aboard the RMS Lusitania and survived the sinking [30]
  • Mrs. Rachel Freeman, (née Grant), Canadian 2nd Class passenger from Falkain, British Columbia, Canada, who sailed aboard the RMS Lusitania and survived the sinking by escaping on a starboard boat [31]
  • Mr. John Freeman, Canadian 2nd Class passenger from Falkain, British Columbia, Canada, who sailed aboard the RMS Lusitania and survived the sinking [31]
  • Mr. Richard Rich Freeman Jr., American 1st Class Passenger from Boston, Massachusetts, USA, who sailed aboard the RMS Lusitania and died in the sinking [32]
RMS Titanic
  • Mr. Ernest Edward Samuel Freeman (d. 1912), aged 43, English Deck Steward from Southampton, Hampshire who worked aboard the RMS Titanic and died in the sinking and was recovered by CS Mackay-Bennett [33]


Suggested Readings for the name Freeman +

  • Coppedge/Freeman and Next of Kin by Mildred C. Siever.
  • Freeman-Palmer and Related Families by Mary Ann Palmer-Schrepfer.

  1. ^ Smith, Eldson Coles, New Dictionary of American Family Names New York: Harper & Row, 1956. Print
  2. ^ Arthur, William , An Etymological Dictionary of Family and Christian Names. London: 1857. Print
  3. ^ Harrison, Henry, Surnames of the United Kingdom: A Concise Etymological Dictionary Baltimore: Geneological Publishing Company, 2013. Print
  4. ^ Lower, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  5. ^ Testa de Nevill or "Liber Feodorum" or "Book of Fees," thought to have been written by Ralph de Nevill, for King John (1199–1216)
  6. ^ Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  7. ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  8. ^ Guppy, Henry Brougham, Homes of Family Names in Great Britain. 1890. Print.
  9. ^ Black, George F., The Surnames of Scotland Their Origin, Meaning and History. New York: New York Public Library, 1946. Print. (ISBN 0-87104-172-3)
  10. ^ Smith, George (ed), Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1885-1900. Print
  11. ^ https://namecensus.com/most_common_surnames.htm
  12. ^ https://forebears.io/surnames/
  13. ^ The order of Common Surnames in 1955 in Newfoundland retrieved on 20th October 2021 (retrieved from Family Names of the Island of Newfoundland by E.R. Seary corrected edition ISBN 0-7735-1782-0)
  14. ^ https://forebears.io/australia/surnames
  15. ^ https://forebears.io/new-zealand/surnames
  16. ^ https://www.surnamemap.eu/unitedkingdom/surnames_ranking.php?p=10
  17. ^ 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)
  18. ^ Canada, Library and Archives. (retrieved 8 Apr. 2020, www.bac-lac.gc.ca/eng/census/1871/Pages/1871.aspx.)
  19. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 13th August 2021). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/earl-cornwallis
  20. ^ State Library of Queensland. (Retrieved 2016, October 27) Almorah voyage to New South Wales, Australia in 1817 with 180 passengers. Retrieved from http://www.convictrecords.com.au/ships/almorah/1817
  21. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 12th March 2021). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/coromandel
  22. ^ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_West_Indies
  23. ^ Pilgrim Ship's of 1600's (Retrieved October 4th 2021, retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/daphne)
  24. ^ Pilgrim Ship Lists Early 1600's retrieved 29th September 2021. (Retrieved from https://www.packrat-pro.com/ships/shiplist.htm)
  25. ^ Commemoration Empress of Ireland 2014. (Retrieved 2014, June 16) . Retrieved from http://www.empress2014.ca/seclangen/listepsc1.html
  26. ^ 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
  27. ^ 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
  28. ^ HMS Prince of Wales Crew members. (Retrieved 2014, April 9) . Retrieved from http://www.forcez-survivors.org.uk/biographies/listprincecrew.html
  29. ^ Pan Am Flight 103's victims: A list of those killed 25 years ago | syracuse.com. (Retrieved 2014, April 9) . Retrieved from http://www.syracuse.com/news/index.ssf/2013/12/pan_am_flight_103s_victims_a_list_of_those_killed_25_years_ago.html
  30. ^ Lusitania Passenger List - The Lusitania Resource. (Retrieved 2014, March 10) . Retrieved from http://www.rmslusitania.info/lusitania-passenger-list/
  31. ^ Lusitania Passenger List - The Lusitania Resource. (Retrieved 2014, March 7) . Retrieved from http://www.rmslusitania.info/lusitania-passenger-list/
  32. ^ Lusitania Passenger List - The Lusitania Resource. (Retrieved 2014, March 6) . Retrieved from http://www.rmslusitania.info/lusitania-passenger-list/
  33. ^ Titanic Passenger List - Titanic Facts. (Retrieved 2016, July 13) . Retrieved from http://www.titanicfacts.net/titanic-passenger-list.html


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