Greenwell History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The ancestors of the name Greenwell date back to the Anglo-Saxon tribes of Britain. The name is derived from when the Greenwell family lived as dwellers beside the green grassy hill or body of water. The name comes from the Old English words "green," and "well." No doubt, the first to use this surname were a family who lived on lush green ground near a well, spring or stream. As such, the surname is classed as a topographic surname, one based on physical features near the residence, such as hills, streams, churches, etc.

Early Origins of the Greenwell family

The surname Greenwell was first found in Durham where they held a family seat from very ancient times, as Lords of the manor of Greenwell in the parish of Walsingham, and are descended from Gulielmus the Presbyter who held those lands in 1183. His son James assumed the name of the lands, Greenwell. [1]

"Greenwell is a very ancient Durham surname. The Greenwells of Stobilee, who carry their pedigree back to the beginning of the 16th century, seem to have been one of the principal stocks in modern times; the property of Broomshields has been for four centuries in the possession of a branch of this family." [2]

Early History of the Greenwell family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Greenwell research. Another 96 words (7 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Greenwell History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Greenwell Spelling Variations

It is only in the last few hundred years that the English language has been standardized. For that reason, early Anglo-Saxon surnames like Greenwell are characterized by many spelling variations. As the English language changed and incorporated elements of other European languages, even literate people changed the spelling of their names. The variations of the name Greenwell include: Grenwell, Greenwell, Greenwall, Grenwall and others.

Early Notables of the Greenwell family (pre 1700)

More information is included under the topic Early Greenwell Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Greenwell migration to the United States +

Many English families tired of political and religious strife left Britain for the new colonies in North America. Although the trip itself offered no relief - conditions on the ships were extremely cramped, and many travelers arrived diseased, starving, and destitute - these immigrants believed the opportunities that awaited them were worth the risks. Once in the colonies, many of the families did indeed prosper and, in turn, made significant contributions to the culture and economies of the growing colonies. An inquiry into the early roots of North American families has revealed a number of immigrants bearing the name Greenwell or a variant listed above:

Greenwell Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Richard Greenwell, who landed in Virginia in 1650 [3]
  • James Greenwell, who landed in Maryland in 1654 [3]
  • John Greenwell, who arrived in Maryland in 1654 [3]
Greenwell Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Acton Greenwell who settled in New England in 1775
Greenwell Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Richard Greenwell who arrived in Philadelphia in 1852
  • Richard Greenwell who arrived in Philadelphia in 1855
  • Thomas Greenwell who arrived in Philadelphia in 1862
  • Francis Greenwell who arrived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1862
  • Benjamin Greenwell, aged 2, who landed in America, in 1894
Greenwell Settlers in United States in the 20th Century
  • Arthur B. Greenwell, aged 27, who settled in America from Sunderland, in 1905
  • John Greenwell, aged 23, who landed in America from Newcastle on Tyne, in 1905
  • John Wilson Greenwell, aged 74, who settled in America from Newcastle, England, in 1907
  • Mathew Temperby Greenwell, aged 23, who settled in America from Belfast, Ireland, in 1907
  • William Greenwell, aged 54, who immigrated to America, in 1907
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Canada Greenwell migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Greenwell Settlers in Canada in the 20th Century
  • Francis Greenwell, aged 41, who settled in Toronto, Canada, in 1913

Contemporary Notables of the name Greenwell (post 1700) +

  • Michael Lewis Greenwell (b. 1963), American professional Major League baseball player
  • Tom Greenwell, American Republican politician, Candidate in primary for Judge of Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, 2000 [4]
  • Linda Greenwell, American Republican politician, Delegate to Republican National Convention from Kentucky, 2004 [4]
  • J. L. Greenwell, American Republican politician, Alternate Delegate to Republican National Convention from Washington, 1952 [4]
  • Dora Greenwell (1821-1882), English author and biographer, born on 6 Dec. 1821 at Greenwell Ford in the county of Durham where her father, an active country gentleman [5]
  • Canon William Greenwell FRS, FSA, FSA.Scot (1820-1918), English archaeologist
  • Jack Greenwell (1884-1942), former English footballer and manager
  • J Richard Greenwell (1942-2005), English cryptozoologist and explorer
  • Sir Leonard Greenwell (1781-1844), British major-general, third son of Joshua Greenwell of Kibblesworth, of the family of Greenwell of Greenwell Ford, county Durham [5]
  • Carlyle Greenwell (1884-1961), Australian architect


  1. ^ Lowe, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  2. ^ Guppy, Henry Brougham, Homes of Family Names in Great Britain. 1890. Print.
  3. ^ 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)
  4. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, November 13) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html
  5. ^ Wikisource contributors. "Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900." Wikisource . Wikisource , 4 Jun. 2018. Web. 30 June 2020


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