Show ContentsGrisham History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The lineage of the name Grisham begins with the Anglo-Saxon tribes in Britain. It is a result of when they lived in the village of Gresham in the county of Norfolk. 1 2 3

Early Origins of the Grisham family

The surname Grisham was first found in Norfolk at Gresham, a parish, in the union of Erpingham, hundred of North Erpingham. "Gresham gave name to the family of which Sir Thomas [Gresham] (c. 1519-1579), the founder of the Royal Exchange and of Gresham College, was a member." 4

The same Sir Thomas is again mentioned in the same source in Battisford, Suffolk. "The framework of the late Royal Exchange, London, erected by Sir Thomas Gresham, was made here; Sir Thomas residing in the adjoining parish of Kingshall, and having considerable property in this." 4

Another family seat was found at Barnby-Upon-Don in the West Riding of Yorkshire. "The church [of Barnby-Upon-Don] is a well-built structure of very ancient date, with a chancel the property of the Gresham family, which contains some handsome monuments to their ancestors and others." 4

Ancient rolls give typically give a glimpse of the many spellings in use over the years, but this name is the exception as William de Gresham was registered in the Pipe Rolls for Norfolk in 1199 and Thomas Gresham was recorded in the Assize Rolls for Lancashire in 1446. It wasn't until the 16 century to find a variant, that of Richard Gressam listed as a Freeman of York in 1551. 5

Early History of the Grisham family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Grisham research. Another 186 words (13 lines of text) covering the years 1485, 1495, 1519, 1537, 1549, 1556, 1579, 1626, 1627, 1649, 1660, 1696, 1709, 1718 and 1776 are included under the topic Early Grisham History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Grisham Spelling Variations

Only recently has spelling become standardized in the English language. As the English language evolved in the Middle Ages, the spelling of names changed also. The name Grisham has undergone many spelling variations, including Gresham, Gressam and others.

Early Notables of the Grisham family

Notables of this surname at this time include: Sir John Gresham (1495-1556), an English merchant, courtier and financier who worked for King Henry VIII of England, Cardinal Wolsey and Thomas Cromwell, Lord Mayor of London and founded Gresham's School, Holt, Norfolk; Sir Richard Gresham (c.1485-1549), an English mercer, Merchant Adventurer, Lord Mayor of London, and Member of Parliament who was descended from an ancient family which long resided in the village...
Another 71 words (5 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Grisham Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Grisham Ranking

In the United States, the name Grisham is the 3,590th most popular surname with an estimated 7,461 people with that name. 6

United States Grisham migration to the United States +

To escape the unstable social climate in England of this time, many families boarded ships for the New World with the hope of finding land, opportunity, and greater religious and political freedom. Although the voyages were expensive, crowded, and difficult, those families that arrived often found greater opportunities and freedoms than they could have experienced at home. Many of those families went on to make significant contributions to the rapidly developing colonies in which they settled. Early North American records indicate many people bearing the name Grisham were among those contributors:

Grisham Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • John Grisham, aged 10, who settled in America, in 1893
  • Thomas Grisham, aged 30, who immigrated to the United States, in 1893
Grisham Settlers in United States in the 20th Century
  • Ivan Grisham, aged 19, who settled in America, in 1920
  • James Grisham, aged 23, who immigrated to the United States, in 1920
  • Ivan Grisham, aged 41, who landed in America, in 1921

Contemporary Notables of the name Grisham (post 1700) +

  • William E. Grisham, American Libertarian politician, Candidate for U.S. Representative from Texas 21st District, 1992; Candidate for Texas State House of Representatives 122nd District, 2000 7
  • Wayne Richard Grisham (1923-2011), American Republicanpolitician, U.S. Representative from California 33rd District, 1979-83; Member of California State Assembly, 1985-89 7
  • Terry Grisham, American Republican politician, Alternate Delegate to Republican National Convention from Texas, 1988 7
  • Richard B. Grisham (b. 1953), American Republican politician, Member of Missouri State House of Representatives, 1981-88 (151st District 1981-82, 145th District 1983-88); Candidate for Lieutenant Governor of Missouri, 1988; Director 7
  • Renee Grisham, American Democratic Party politician, Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Virginia, 2008 7
  • Lin Grisham, American Republican politician, Alternate Delegate to Republican National Convention from Missouri, 1912 7
  • Jack Loyd Grisham, American politician, Independent Candidate for Governor of California, 2003 7
  • Christopher J. "C.J." Grisham (b. 1974), American retired U.S. Army First Sergeant and military blogger
  • Jim Grisham, former American college football fullback and linebacker who played at the University of Oklahoma from 1961 to 1964
  • Jack Grisham (b. 1961), American rock musician, raconteur and political activist, vocalist for the punk band T.S.O.L
  • ... (Another 8 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

  1. Smith, Eldson Coles, New Dictionary of American Family Names New York: Harper & Row, 1956. Print
  2. Lower, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  3. Harrison, Henry, Surnames of the United Kingdom: A Concise Etymological Dictionary Baltimore: Geneological Publishing Company, 2013. Print
  4. Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
  5. Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  6. "What are the 5,000 Most Common Last Names in the U.S.?".,
  7. The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2016, July 22) . Retrieved from on Facebook