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

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


Anglo-Norman names are characterized by a multitude of spelling variations. When the Normans became the ruling people of England in the 11th century, they introduced a new language into a society where the main languages of Old and later Middle English had no definite spelling rules. These languages were more often spoken than written, so they blended freely with one another. Contributing to this mixing of tongues was the fact that medieval scribes spelled words according to sound, ensuring that a person's name would appear differently in nearly every document in which it was recorded. The name has been spelled Gadsden, Gaddesden, Gadson, Gadsdon, Gadsden, Gadesdon and many more.

First found in Hertfordshire where they held a family seat as Lords of the Manor. After the Battle of Hastings in 1066, William, Duke of Normandy, having prevailed over King Harold, granted most of Britain to his many victorious Barons. It was not uncommon to find a Baron, or a Bishop, with 60 or more Lordships scattered throughout the country. These he gave to his sons, nephews and other junior lines of his family and they became known as under-tenants. They adopted the Norman system of surnames which identified the under-tenant with his holdings so as to distinguish him from the senior stem of the family. After many rebellious wars between his Barons, Duke William, commissioned a census of all England to determine in 1086, settling once and for all, who held which land. He called the census the Domesday Book, [1] indicating that those holders registered would hold the land until the end of time. Hence, conjecturally, the surname is descended from the tenant of the lands of Gaddesden, now Great Gaddesden, held by Edward of Salisbury, a Norman noble, who was recorded in the Domesday Book census of 1086.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Gadsden research. Another 109 words (8 lines of text) covering the years 1230 and 1325 are included under the topic Early Gadsden History in all our PDF Extended History products.


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


For many English families, the political and religious disarray that plagued their homeland made the frontiers of the New World an attractive prospect. Thousands migrated, aboard cramped disease-ridden ships. They arrived sick, poor, and hungry, but were welcomed in many cases with far greater opportunity than at home in England. Many of these hardy settlers went on to make important contributions to the emerging nations in which they landed. Among early immigrants bearing the name Gadsden or a variant listed above were:

Gadsden Settlers in United States in the 19th Century

  • Percy Gadsden, aged 18, who landed in America from London, in 1892
  • Phoebe Gadsden, aged 61, who emigrated to America, in 1895

Gadsden Settlers in United States in the 20th Century

  • George Gadsden, aged 26, who emigrated to the United States from London, in 1903
  • Maud Margaret Gadsden, aged 26, who settled in America from London, in 1903
  • Muriel Gladys Gadsden, aged 25, who emigrated to the United States from Heniel Hempstead, in 1904
  • Wm. Douglas Gadsden, aged 26, who emigrated to the United States from Heniel Hempstead, in 1904
  • Arthur Gadsden, aged 35, who landed in America from Leamington, England, in 1913


  • Oronde Benjamin Gadsden (b. 1971), former professional American football player
  • James Gadsden (1788-1858), American diplomat, soldier and businessman, eponym of the Gadsden Purchase
  • Sir Peter Drury Haggerston Gadsden GBE, AC, JP (1929-2006), Canadian-born, British chartered engineer and politician, 652nd Lord Mayor of London in 1979 and 1980


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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)

Other References

  1. Bradford, William. History of Plymouth Plantation 1620-1647 Edited by Samuel Eliot Morrison 2 Volumes. New York: Russell and Russell, 1968. Print.
  2. Skordas, Guest. Ed. The Early Settlers of Maryland an Index to Names or Immigrants Complied from Records of Land Patents 1633-1680 in the Hall of Records Annapolis, Maryland. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1968. Print.
  3. Markale, J. Celtic Civilization. London: Gordon & Cremonesi, 1976. Print.
  4. 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.
  5. Weis, Frederick Lewis, Walter Lee Sheppard and David Faris. Ancestral Roots of Sixty Colonists Who Came to New England Between 1623 and 1650 7th Edition. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0806313676).
  6. Samuelsen, W. David. New York City Passenger List Manifests Index 1820 - 1824. North Salt Lake, Utah: Accelerated Indexing Systems International, 1986. Print.
  7. Colletta, John P. They Came In Ships. Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1993. Print.
  8. Shaw, William A. Knights of England A Complete Record from the Earliest Time to the Present Day of the Knights of all the Orders of Chivalry in England, Scotland, Ireland and Knights Bachelors 2 Volumes. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print. (ISBN 080630443X).
  9. Burke, John Bernard Ed. The Roll of Battle Abbey. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  10. Browning, Charles H. Americans of Royal Descent. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  11. ...

The Gadsden Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Gadsden 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 August 2015 at 20:51.

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