Show ContentsGrinnell History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The name Grinnell is part of the ancient legacy of the Anglo-Saxon tribes of Britain. It is a product of when the family lived in Greenhalg in Kirkham and Greenhalg Castle in Garstang. The surname Grinnell originally derived from greene as n the village greene which was the center or main square of each region. Many inhabitants in various counties adopted this surname as part of their family's nomenclature. The surname Grinnell is a topographic surname, which was given to a person who resided near a physical feature such as a hill, stream, church, or type of tree. Habitation names form the other broad category of surnames that were derived from place-names. They were derived from pre-existing names for towns, villages, parishes, or farmsteads. Other local names are derived from the names of houses, manors, estates, regions, and entire counties. As a general rule, the greater the distance between an individual and their homeland, the larger the territory they were named after. For example, a person who only moved to another parish would be known by the name of their original village, while people who migrated to a different country were often known by the name of a region or country from which they came.

Early Origins of the Grinnell family

The surname Grinnell was first found in Shropshire where Richard de Grenhal was listed in the Pipe Rolls of 1230. A few years later, William de Grenol was listed in the Assize Rolls for Lancashire in 1246, as was Matill de Greenhalgh, William de Grenolf, de Grenholl in the Subsidy Rolls for 1332. 1

One branch originated in Greenhalgh (now known as Greenhalgh-with-Thistleton), a civil parish on the Fylde in Lancashire or possibly Greenhalgh, now Greenhalgh Castle, in Garstang parish, Lancashire, (spelt Greenhaugh) 2

"The Greenhalghs, who are best represented in the Middleton district, derive their name from a Lancashire township. During the 15th century, the Grenehalghs of Brandlesome were hereditary bailiffs of Tottington, and during the two succeeding centuries they gained and retained the position of gentry. The name of Thomas Greenhalgh occurs in the list of intended Knights of the Royal Oak, amongst those of other Lancashire gentlemen, the annual value of his estate being there placed at £1,000: this Order, however, which Charles II. intended as a reward for his followers, was never founded." 3

Early History of the Grinnell family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Grinnell research. Another 269 words (19 lines of text) covering the years 1246, 1576, 1584, 1591, 1599, 1611, 1613, 1615, 1635, 1644, 1646, 1648, 1651, 1652, 1655, 1658, 1661, 1669, 1671, 1672, 1676, 1679, 1708, 1740, 1791 and 1810 are included under the topic Early Grinnell History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Grinnell Spelling Variations

The first dictionaries that appeared in the last few hundred years did much to standardize the English language. Before that time, spelling variations in names were a common occurrence. The language was changing, incorporating pieces of other languages, and the spelling of names changed with it. Grinnell has been spelled many different ways, including Greenhalgh, Greenhow, Greenhough, Greenhall and others.

Early Notables of the Grinnell family

Distinguished members of the family include William Greenhill (1591-1671), an English nonconformist clergyman from Oxfordshire, independent minister, and member of the Westminster Assembly; Thomas Greenhill (1611?-1658), an English colonial administrator, one of the early pioneers of the East India Company and the Agent of Madras for two terms (1648-1652) and (1655-1658); Elizabeth Greenhill, (1615-1679), who bore 39 children alive, and baptised, the last of whom was Thomas Greenhill (1669?-1740), English surgeon to Henry Howard, 7th Duke of Norfolk; Henry Greenhill (1646-1708), Agent-General at...
Another 83 words (6 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Grinnell Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Grinnell Ranking

In the United States, the name Grinnell is the 10,622nd most popular surname with an estimated 2,487 people with that name. 4

United States Grinnell migration to the United States +

Thousands of English families in this era began to emigrate the New World in search of land and freedom from religious and political persecution. Although the passage was expensive and the ships were dark, crowded, and unsafe, those who made the voyage safely were rewarded with opportunities unavailable to them in their homeland. Research into passenger and immigration lists has revealed some of the very first Grinnells to arrive in North America:

Grinnell Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Matthew Grinnell, who arrived in America in 1630 5

Contemporary Notables of the name Grinnell (post 1700) +

  • William F. Grinnell, American politician, U.S. Consul in Bremen, 1878-82; Bradford, 1882-89; Manchester, 1889-98 6
  • Robert Grinnell, American politician, U.S. Vice Consul in Brisbane, 1942-46 6
  • Moses Hicks Grinnell (1803-1877), American Republican politician, U.S. Representative from New York 3rd District, 1839-41; Delegate to Republican National Convention from New York, 1856 (speaker), 1868; Presidential Elector for New York, 1856 6
  • Leo R. Grinnell, American politician, Representative from New York 25th District, 1902 6
  • Joseph Grinnell (1788-1885), American politician, Representative from Massachusetts 10th District, 1843-51; President, Wamsutta Cotton Mills 6
  • Josiah Bushnell Grinnell (1821-1891), American Republican politician, Pastor; Abolitionist; Founder of Grinnell, Iowa; 6
  • H. L. Grinnell Jr., American Republican politician, Alternate Delegate to Republican National Convention from New Hampshire, 1920 6
  • George H. Grinnell, American Republican politician, Member of New Hampshire State House of Representatives from Derry; Elected 1938; Delegate to New Hampshire State Constitutional Convention from Derry, 1956 6
  • George G. Grinnell, American Republican politician, Member of Maine State House of Representatives from Penobscot County, 1919-20 6
  • Cornelius Grinnell, American politician, Member of Massachusetts State House of Representatives from New Bedford; Elected 1819, 1828 6
  • ... (Another 11 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

  1. Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  2. Baines Thomas & William Fairbairn, Lancashire and Cheshire, Past and Present History of Counties London: William MacKenzie, 1867, Digital, 4 vols
  3. Guppy, Henry Brougham, Homes of Family Names in Great Britain. 1890. Print.
  4. "What are the 5,000 Most Common Last Names in the U.S.?".,
  5. 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)
  6. The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2016, July 22) . Retrieved from on Facebook