Greene History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The name Greene has a long Anglo-Saxon heritage. The name comes from when a family lived in the village greene which was the center or main square of each region. It is derived from the Old English "grene," meaning "green," and was most likely first borne by a family who lived in the village greene, the center or main square of a region. Alternatively, it may have been bestowed as a nickname on someone who was particularly fond of dressing in green. [1]

Early Origins of the Greene family

The surname Greene was first found in Kent, where the earliest record of the name was Geoffrey Greene who was recorded in a Poll Tax in 1188. As every early English village had a green, the surname Greene emerged independently in many different places during the Middle Ages, thus creating several early branches of the Greene family. Richard de la Grene was listed in the Pipe Rolls of Norfolk in 1200 and Geoffrey Attegrene was listed in the Assize Rolls of Lancashire in 1206. [2] The prefix "atte" was a popular namesake which meant in this case "at the green." [1]

Years later, the Hundredorum Rolls of 1273 list Deonisia ate Grene and Warin de la Grene; while the Yorkshire Poll Tax Rolls of 1379 list Petnis del Grene and Adam del Grene, as holding lands there at that time. [3]

Records in Scotland were very scarce, but we did find "Roger del ('of the') Grene in Roxburghshire [who] rendered homage in 1296 [to King Edward I of England]. Master John Grene, [was] Chancellor of Moray, 1463." [4]

Early History of the Greene family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Greene research. Another 84 words (6 lines of text) covering the years 1221, 1461, 1506, 1462, 1558, 1592, 1636, 1685, 1620, 1708, 1690, 1700, 1614, 1702, 1630, 1679, 1705 and are included under the topic Early Greene History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Greene Spelling Variations

Spelling variations in names were a common occurrence before English spelling was standardized a few hundred years ago. In the Middle Ages, even the literate spelled their names differently as the English language incorporated elements of French, Latin, and other European languages. Many variations of the name Greene have been found, including Greene, Green, Grene, Grean and others.

Early Notables of the Greene family (pre 1700)

Notables of this surname at this time include: Sir Thomas de Green (c.1461-1506), Lord of Greens Norton, received Boughton, Greens Norton, and large monetary grants through his inheritance upon the death of his father in 1462; Dr. John Green, the Bishop of Lincoln; Sir William Greene of Oxford, Alderman Greene of Chester; Robert Greene (1558-1592), English dramatist; John Henry Green (1636-1685), an English...
Another 62 words (4 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Greene Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Greene Ranking

In the United States, the name Greene is the 191st most popular surname with an estimated 131,811 people with that name. [5] However, in Canada, the name Greene is ranked the 916th most popular surname with an estimated 5,906 people with that name. [6]

Ireland Migration of the Greene family to Ireland

Some of the Greene family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 123 words (9 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Greene migration to the United States +

Families began migrating abroad in enormous numbers because of the political and religious discontent in England. Often faced with persecution and starvation in England, the possibilities of the New World attracted many English people. Although the ocean trips took many lives, those who did get to North America were instrumental in building the necessary groundwork for what would become for new powerful nations. Some of the first immigrants to cross the Atlantic and come to North America bore the name Greene, or a variant listed above:

Greene Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Dorothy Greene, who landed in Virginia in 1617 [7]
  • Eliz Greene, who landed in Virginia in 1618 [7]
  • Soiloman Greene, who arrived in Virginia in 1618 [7]
  • Ann Greene, who arrived in Virginia in 1620-1621 [7]
  • Merton Greene, who arrived in Virginia in 1622 [7]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Greene Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Henry Greene, who arrived in Georgia in 1741 [7]
Greene Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Horace Greene, who landed in America in 1811 [7]
  • Hugh Greene, who arrived in New York, NY in 1816 [7]
  • Hetty Greene, aged 40, who arrived in Key West, Fla in 1839 [7]
  • Patrick Greene, who arrived in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1872 [7]
  • Rosa H Greene, who arrived in Colorado in 1877 [7]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Canada Greene migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Greene Settlers in Canada in the 17th Century
  • Nicholas Greene, who immigrated to Newfoundland in 1670 [8]

Australia Greene migration to Australia +

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

Greene Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Thomas Greene, a weaver, who arrived in New South Wales, Australia sometime between 1825 and 1832
  • William Greene, a blacksmith, who arrived in New South Wales, Australia sometime between 1825 and 1832
  • Henry Greene, a bricklayer, who arrived in Van Diemen’s Land (now Tasmania) sometime between 1825 and 1832
  • Jeremiah Greene, a currier, who arrived in Van Diemen’s Land (now Tasmania) sometime between 1825 and 1832
  • Mr. John Greene, (b. 1816), aged 20, Irish ploughman who was convicted in Roscommon, Ireland for 7 years for stealing, transported aboard the "Captain Cook" on 5th July 1836, arriving in New South Wales, Australia [9]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

New Zealand Greene 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:

Greene Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Willman Greene, who landed in Bay of Islands, New Zealand in 1840
  • Mr. Samuel Greene, British settler travelling from London aboard the ship "Matoaka" arriving in Auckland, New Zealand on 26th September 1859 [10]
  • Thomas Greene, aged 22, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Bombay" in 1865

West Indies Greene 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. [11]
Greene Settlers in West Indies in the 17th Century
  • Mr. Thomas Greene, (b. 1610), aged 24, British settler travelling from London, UK arriving in St Christopher (St. Kitts) on 5th January 1634 [7]
  • Mr. John Greene, (b. 1610), aged 25, British settler travelling from London, England aboard the ship "Anne and Elizabeth" arriving in Barbados in 1635 [12]
  • Mr. Nicholas Greene, (b. 1617), aged 18, British settler travelling from London, England aboard the ship "Anne and Elizabeth" arriving in Barbados in 1635 [12]
  • MissSuzan Greene, (b. 1615), aged 20, British settler travelling from London, England aboard the ship "Anne and Elizabeth" arriving in Barbados in 1635 [12]
  • Mr. William Greene, (b. 1618), aged 17, British settler travelling from London, England aboard the ship "Anne and Elizabeth" arriving in Barbados in 1635 [12]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Contemporary Notables of the name Greene (post 1700) +

  • Henry Graham Greene OM CH (1904-1991), known by his pen name Graham Greene, prolific English novelist, regarded by some as one of the great writers of the 20th century; he was shortlisted in 1967 for the Nobel Prize for Literature
  • Burton Greene (1937-2021), American free jazz pianist born in Chicago, Illinois
  • Aurelia Greene (1934-2021), American politician, Member of the New York State Assembly (1982-2009)
  • Kevin Darwin Greene (1962-2020), American professional football player who was a linebacker and defensive end, inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2016
  • Stanley Greene (1949-2017), American photojournalist
  • Frederick "Dennis" Greene (1949-2015), American singer, best known as a founding member of Sha Na Na
  • Edward Lee Greene Ph.D., (1843-1915), American botanist
  • Danny Greene (b. 1961), American NFL football wide receiver for the Seattle Seahawks in 1985
  • Colton Greene (1833-1900), American businessman and Confederate general during the American Civil War
  • Charles "Charlie" Edward Greene (b. 1945), American gold and bronze medalist track and field sprinter at the 1968 Summer Olympics
  • ... (Another 205 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Flight TWA 800
  • Ms. Renee   Greene (1929-1996), aged 67, from North Woodmere, New York, USA, American passenger flying aboard flight TWA 800 from J.F.K. Airport, New York to Leonardo da Vinci Airport, Rome when the plane crashed after takeoff ; she died in the crash [13]
HMS Hood
  • Mr. Derek A Greene (b. 1921), English Ordinary Signalman serving for the Royal Navy from Slough, Buckinghamshire, England, who sailed into battle and died in the sinking [14]


The Greene Motto +

The motto was originally a war cry or slogan. Mottoes first began to be shown with arms in the 14th and 15th centuries, but were not in general use until the 17th century. Thus the oldest coats of arms generally do not include a motto. Mottoes seldom form part of the grant of arms: Under most heraldic authorities, a motto is an optional component of the coat of arms, and can be added to or changed at will; many families have chosen not to display a motto.

Motto: Virtus semper viridis
Motto Translation: Virtue is always flourishing.


Suggested Readings for the name Greene +

  • The Descendants of John Segar of South Kingstown, Rhode Island: Including the Descendants of William Browning and Mary Hoxsie (Lewis) Greene of Charlestown, Rhode Island by William E. Wright.
  • Ancestry and Descendants of Stephen Green and Martha Mifflin Houston, His Wife by Walter Lee Sheppard.
  • Chronology 1600-1650 Virginia by Dorothy H. Ward.

  1. ^ Lower, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  2. ^ Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  3. ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  4. ^ 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)
  5. ^ https://namecensus.com/most_common_surnames.htm
  6. ^ https://forebears.io/surnames/
  7. ^ 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)
  8. ^ Seary E.R., Family Names of the Island of Newfoundland, Montreal: McGill's-Queen's Universtity Press 1998 ISBN 0-7735-1782-0
  9. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 17th December 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/captain-cook
  10. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 17th October 2018). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  11. ^ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_West_Indies
  12. ^ Pilgrim Ship Lists Early 1600's retrieved 23rd September 2021. (Retrieved from https://www.packrat-pro.com/ships/shiplist.htm)
  13. ^ The Washington Post Passenger List TWA Flight 800. (Retrieved 2018, February 15th). Retrieved from https://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/national/longterm/twa800/list01.htm
  14. ^ 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


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