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An excerpt from archives copyright 2000 - 2016

The name Garton came to England with the ancestors of the Garton family in the Norman Conquest of 1066. The Garton family lived in Garston, Lancashire, a hamlet on the river Mersey. Here they held the title of Lords of the Manor of Garston, and from it took their name. There are several other locations so named in England and any individual case of the name may be a reference to the bearer's residence in one of these other places. The name of Garston, Lancashire derives from the Old English elements great, which means large or imposing, and stan, which means stone. Other places named Garston generally derive from the Old English elements goers or grass, which means grass, and tun, which means enclosure or settlement. This is a classic example of an English polygenetic surname, which is a surname that was developed in a number of different locations and adopted by various families independently.


Multitudes of spelling variations are a hallmark of Anglo Norman names. Most of these names evolved in the 11th and 12th century, in the time after the Normans introduced their own Norman French language into a country where Old and Middle English had no spelling rules and the languages of the court were French and Latin. To make matters worse, medieval scribes spelled words according to sound, so names frequently appeared differently in the various documents in which they were recorded. The name was spelled Garstone, Garston, Garstin, Garstine and others.

First found in Lancashire where they were Lords of the manor of Garston, a small hamlet on the Mersey. However, the first record was of Matthew de Garston who held land at Garston and the fourth part of the fishing on the River Mersey in 1130. Matthew was succeeded by Henry whose daughter Albrera gave to Henry of Walton one bovate of land. Gilbert de Garston also gave a bovate of land in Garston in 1199 to Roger, son of Osbertus of Aynosdale. Involved in this transaction was John, Earl of Morton, who confirmed this grant when he ascended the throne, King John.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Garton research. Another 75 words (5 lines of text) covering the years 1600, 1641, 1640 and 1641 are included under the topic Early Garton History in all our PDF Extended History products.


Another 47 words (3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Garton Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.


Some of the Garton family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 79 words (6 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.


Because of this political and religious unrest within English society, many people decided to immigrate to the colonies. Families left for Ireland, North America, and Australia in enormous numbers, traveling at high cost in extremely inhospitable conditions. The New World in particular was a desirable destination, but the long voyage caused many to arrive sick and starving. Those who made it, though, were welcomed by opportunities far greater than they had known at home in England. Many of these families went on to make important contributions to the emerging nations of Canada and the United States. Analysis of immigration records indicates that some of the first North American immigrants bore the name Garton or a variant listed above:

Garton Settlers in United States in the 17th Century

  • Stephen Garton, aged 35, arrived in Virginia in 1635
  • Ellinor Garton, who landed in Virginia in 1662

Garton Settlers in United States in the 18th Century

  • Abraham De Garton, who arrived in Pennsylvania in 1736
  • Felix Garton, who arrived in Pennsylvania in 1749
  • Felix De Garton, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1749

Garton Settlers in United States in the 19th Century

  • William Garton, who arrived in New York in 1827
  • Francisco Garton, who landed in New Spain in 1837

Garton Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century

  • Elizabeth Garton, aged 36, a housemaid, arrived in Nelson aboard the ship "Hannibal" in 1875


  • Brad Garton (b. 1957), American composer, Professor of Music at Columbia University
  • Ray Garton (b. 1962), American author of over 60 books, recipient of the World Horror Convention Grand Master Award (2006)
  • Zimry Garton, American politician, Candidate for U.S. Representative from Indiana 2nd District, 1910
  • Art Garton, American Democrat politician, Washington Democratic State Chair, 1949-50
  • Dr John Garton, English inventor and businessman, founder of Gartons Limited (1898), a public seed supply company
  • John Henry Garton (b. 1941), retired Anglican bishop former Bishop of Plymouth (1996 to 2005)
  • George Alan Garton FRS (1922-2010), British biochemist
  • Adam Garton (b. 1962), former Australian rules footballer
  • Andrew Garton (b. 1962), Australian composer and multi-media artist
  • Arthur Stanley Garton (1889-1948), British gold medalist rower at the 1912 Summer Olympics


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  1. Bardsley, C.W. A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6).
  2. Bede, The Venerable. Historia Ecclesiatica Gentis Anglorum (The Ecclesiastical History Of the English People). Available through Internet Medieval Sourcebook the Fordham University Centre for Medieval Studies. Print.
  3. Humble, Richard. The Fall of Saxon England. New York: Barnes and Noble, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-88029-987-8).
  4. Le Patourel, John. The Norman Empire. New York: Oxford University Press, 1976. Print. (ISBN 0-19-822525-3).
  5. Hanks, Patricia and Flavia Hodges. A Dictionary of Surnames. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988. Print. (ISBN 0-19-211592-8).
  6. Reaney P.H and R.M. Wilson. A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X).
  7. Sanders, Joanne McRee Edition. English Settlers in Barbados 1637-1800. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  8. Browning, Charles H. Americans of Royal Descent. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  9. Foster, Joseph. Dictionary of Heraldry Feudal Coats of Arms and Pedigrees. London: Bracken Books, 1989. Print. (ISBN 1-85170-309-8).
  10. Fairbairn. Fairbain's book of Crests of the Families of Great Britain and Ireland, 4th Edition 2 volumes in one. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1968. Print.
  11. ...

The Garton Family Crest was acquired from the archives. The Garton 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 18 November 2015 at 10:09.

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