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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright 2000 - 2015

Origins Available: English, German

Where did the English Helm family come from? What is the English Helm family crest and coat of arms? When did the Helm family first arrive in the United States? Where did the various branches of the family go? What is the Helm family history?

The name Helm is from the ancient Anglo-Saxon tribes of Britain. The name was given to a person who was a herdsman. The surname Helm is derived from the Old English word helm, which means a covering. In some later dialects, this word took on the which means of a roofed shelter for cattle. Occupational names such as Helm frequently were derived from the principal object associated with the activity of the original bearer, such as tools or products. These types of occupational surnames are called metonymic surnames.


Sound was what guided spelling in the essentially pre-literate Middle Ages, so one person's name was often recorded under several variations during a single lifetime. Also, before the advent of the printing press and the first dictionaries, the English language was not standardized. Therefore, spelling variations were common, even among the names of the most literate people. Known variations of the Helm family name include Helme, Helm, Helms and others.

First found in Surrey where they held a family seat from very ancient times, some say well before the Norman Conquest and the arrival of Duke William at Hastings in 1066 A.D.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Helm research. Another 279 words(20 lines of text) covering the years 1180 and 1500 are included under the topic Early Helm History in all our PDF Extended History products.


More information is included under the topic Early Helm Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.


For political, religious, and economic reasons, thousands of English families boarded ships for Ireland, the Canadas, the America colonies, and many of smaller tropical colonies in the hope of finding better lives abroad. Although the passage on the cramped, dank ships caused many to arrive in the New World diseased and starving, those families that survived the trip often went on to make valuable contributions to those new societies to which they arrived. Investigation of the origins of family names on the North American continent has revealed that early immigrants bearing the name Helm or a variant listed above:

Helm Settlers in United States in the 17th Century

  • Israel Helm, who arrived in Delaware in 1693

Helm Settlers in United States in the 18th Century

  • Johann Michael Helm, who landed in New York in 1709
  • Peter Helm, his wife, and six sons and one daughter who arrived in 1709 in New England
  • Simon Helm, who arrived in New York, NY in 1709
  • Willem Helm, who arrived in America in 1730
  • Joh Adam Helm, who landed in America in 1750-1753

Helm Settlers in United States in the 19th Century

  • Henry Anthony Helm, aged 27, landed in New York in 1812
  • Adam Helm, who arrived in Baltimore, Maryland in 1830
  • Adam Helm, who emigrated from Hessia to Baltimore with his wife and five children in 1830
  • David Helm, aged 45, arrived in America in 1839
  • Michael Helm, aged 48, arrived in America in 1839

Helm Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century

  • Catherine Helm, aged 44, arrived in Halifax, Nova Scotia in 1855
  • Elizabeth Helm, aged 17, arrived in Halifax, Nova Scotia in 1855
  • Friedrich Helm, aged 25, arrived in Halifax, Nova Scotia in 1855
  • Johann Helm, aged 5, landed in Halifax, Nova Scotia in 1855
  • Peter Helm, who landed in Halifax, Nova Scotia in 1855


  • Mark Lavon "Levon" Helm (1940-2012), American three-time Grammy Award winning rock multi-instrumentalist and actor who achieved fame as the drummer and frequently lead and backing vocalist for The Band, inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (2012)
  • Rear Admiral James Meredith Helm (1855-1927), American naval officer, eponym of the USS Helm (DD-388)
  • John LaRue Helm (1802-1867), American politician, the 18th and 24th Governor of Kentucky in 1867 and (1850-1851)
  • Benjamin Hardin Helm (1831-1863), American politician, attorney, Confederate brigadier general, and a brother-in-law of Abraham Lincoln
  • Susan C. Helm (b. 1943), American politician, Member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives (2007-)
  • W. Stuart Helm (1908-1986), American former politician, 126th Speaker of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives (1957-1958)
  • Lorin Edwin Helm (1920-1945), American football coach
  • Thomas George "Tom" Helm (b. 1994), English cricketer who plays for Middlesex County Cricket Club
  • Thomas Richard "Tom" Helm (b. 1941), English-born, former Australian politician, Member of the Western Australian Legislative Council
  • Brunhilde Helm (b. 1923), sociologist in South Africa



  • Vengeance!: The Saga of Poor Tom Cover (also Helm) by Dan L. Thrapp.


  1. Holt, J.C. Ed. Domesday Studies. Woodbridge: Boydell, 1987. Print. (ISBN 0-85115-477-8).
  2. Bullock, L.G. Historical Map of England and Wales. Edinburgh: Bartholomew and Son, 1971. Print.
  3. Robb H. Amanda and Andrew Chesler. Encyclopedia of American Family Names. New York: Haper Collins, 1995. Print. (ISBN 0-06-270075-8).
  4. The Norman People and Their Existing Descendants in the British Dominions and the United States Of America. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0636-X).
  5. Cook, Chris. English Historical Facts 1603-1688. London: MacMillan, 1980. Print.
  6. Hanks, Patricia and Flavia Hodges. A Dictionary of Surnames. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988. Print. (ISBN 0-19-211592-8).
  7. Burke, Sir Bernard. Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Peerage and Baronetage, The Privy Council, Knightage and Compainonage. London: Burke Publishing, 1921. Print.
  8. Egle, William Henry. Pennsylvania Genealogies Scotch-Irish and German. Harrisburg: L.S. Hart, 1886. Print.
  9. Lennard, Reginald. Rural England 1086-1135 A Study of Social and Agrarian Conditions. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1959. Print.
  10. Thirsk, Joan. The Agrarian History of England and Wales. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press: 7 Volumes. Print.
  11. ...

The Helm Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Helm 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 19 May 2015 at 08:40.

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