Gainsbrough History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Early Origins of the Gainsbrough family

The surname Gainsbrough was first found in Lincolnshire at Gainsborough, town in the West Lindsey district that dates back to the Domesday Book of 1086 where it was listed as Gainesburg and literally meant "stronghold of a man called Gegn" having derived from the Old English personal name + "burh." [1] Conjecturally, the family is descended from Rainald, tenant of the lordship of Gainsborough listed in the Domesday Book. [2] Gainsborough was one of the capital cities of Mercia during the Anglo-Saxon period, and another reference claims the town's origin is from Gaini (Ganni) an ancient Anglo-Saxon tribe.

The famed English portrait and landscape artist Thomas Gainsborough (1727-1788) born in Sudbury, Suffolk, the youngest son of John Gainsborough, a weaver and maker of woolen goods. His birthplace, Gainsborough's House is now a museum and gallery.

Early History of the Gainsbrough family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Gainsbrough research. Another 81 words (6 lines of text) covering the years 1166, 1177, 1714, 1307, 1302 and 1307 are included under the topic Early Gainsbrough History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Gainsbrough Spelling Variations

A multitude of spelling variations characterize Norman surnames. Many variations occurred because Old and Middle English lacked any definite spelling rules. The introduction of Norman French to England also had a pronounced effect, as did the court languages of Latin and French. Therefore, one person was often referred to by several different spellings in a single lifetime. The various spellings include Gainsborough, Gainsborrow, Gainsbrow, Gainsbro, Gainsbrough, Gaynsborough, Gaynsbro, Gainsbrow, Gainsboro, Gaynsborrow, Gainsbury, Gainsbry, Gainsberry, Gainsbrook and many more.

Early Notables of the Gainsbrough family (pre 1700)

Outstanding amongst the family at this time was William Gainsborough (died 1307), English prelate, Bishop of Worcester (1302-1307.) "He was a Franciscan, who is first known as the divinity lecturer of the Franciscans at Oxford. His position seems to have suggested to Edward I that he should be employed as an ambassador to Philip IV of France, with whom the English king wished to be at peace...
Another 67 words (5 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Gainsbrough Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Migration of the Gainsbrough family

Many English families left England, to avoid the chaos of their homeland and migrated to the many British colonies abroad. Although the conditions on the ships were extremely cramped, and some travelers arrived diseased, starving, and destitute, once in the colonies, many of the families prospered and made valuable contributions to the cultures of what would become the United States and Canada. Research into the origins of individual families in North America has revealed records of the immigration of a number of people bearing the name Gainsbrough or a variant listed above: James Gainsbrooke settled in Virginia in 1658.



  1. ^ Mills, A.D., Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4)
  2. ^ Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds., Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8)


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