Horsburgh History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The origins of the Horsburgh name Horsburgh are rooted in the ancient Anglo-Saxon culture of Britain. The surname comes from when they lived in the settlement of Horsburgh in Innerleithen, in the county of Peebles, Scotland. As such, the Horsburgh surname belongs to the large category of Anglo-Saxon habitation names, which are derived from pre-existing names for towns, villages, parishes, or farmsteads.

Early Origins of the Horsburgh family

The surname Horsburgh was first found in Peeblesshire, where they held a family seat from very ancient times, and the first on record was Symon de Horsbroc, who witnessed a charter during the reign of Alexander II of Scotland (1214-49). It is thought that they came originally from the north bank of the Tweed in Northumberland, where an Anglo-Saxon known by Horse or Orse is said to have built a "burg."

"The first of the race is believed to have been an Anglo-Saxon, designated Horse, or Orse, who, settling on lands on the north bank of the Tweed, there reared the castle or burg which communicated the present surname to his descendants." [1]

"William de Horsebroch, 'clericus decani et capellani Ecclesie de Glasguensis,' is in record in 1283. William de Horsbroch, likely the same person, was a notary public in 1287. Simon de Horsbrok, who entered the foreign service of Edward I of England in 1297, had his lands restored to him in that year. He is mentioned again in the years 1302 and 1304 as holding his lands of the same king." [1]

Early History of the Horsburgh family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Horsburgh research. Another 207 words (15 lines of text) covering the years 1306, 1330, 1329, 1404, 1440, 1479, 1550, 1640, 1686, 1620, 1597 and 1479 are included under the topic Early Horsburgh History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Horsburgh 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 Horsburgh has undergone many spelling variations, including Horsburgh, Horsbrough, Horseburgh, Horsbrook and many more.

Early Notables of the Horsburgh family (pre 1700)

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


United States Horsburgh 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 Horsburgh were among those contributors:

Horsburgh Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • William Horsburgh, who settled in Carolina in 1761
Horsburgh Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Janet Horsburgh, who settled in New York in 1874

Canada Horsburgh migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Horsburgh Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • Robert Horsburgh, who settled in Ontario in 1848

Australia Horsburgh migration to Australia +

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

Horsburgh Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Agnes Horsburgh, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Delhi" in 1839 [2]
  • John Horsburgh, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Indus" in 1839 [3]
  • Mr. George Horsburgh, (b. 1822), aged 41, Irish labourer travelling from Queenstown, Ireland aboard the ship "Golden Empire" arriving in Brisbane, Australia in July 1863 [4]
  • Mrs. Jessie Horsburgh, (b. 1822), aged 41, Irish settler travelling from Queenstown, Ireland aboard the ship "Golden Empire" arriving in Brisbane, Australia in July 1863 [4]
  • Mr. George Horsburgh, (b. 1845), aged 18, Irish labourer travelling from Queenstown, Ireland aboard the ship "Golden Empire" arriving in Brisbane, Australia in July 1863 [4]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

West Indies Horsburgh 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. [5]
Horsburgh Settlers in West Indies in the 18th Century
  • John Horsburgh, who arrived in Jamaica in 1725

Contemporary Notables of the name Horsburgh (post 1700) +

  • Christy Horsburgh, American Senior Biological Scientist in the Department of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences at the University of Florida
  • C Robert Horsburgh Jr., American Chairman of the Department of Epidemiology at Boston University School of Public Health
  • James Horsburgh (1762-1836), Scottish hydrographer, the son of parents in a very humble position, born at Elie in Fifeshire on 23 Sept. 1762 [6]
  • John Horsburgh (1791-1869), Scottish historical engraver, born in 1791 at Prestonpans, near Edinburgh; he was left an orphan early, and studied drawing at the Trustees' Academy in Edinburgh [6]
  • Karen Horsburgh Ph.D., Scottish Deputy Director of the Centre for Neuroscience Research at the University of Edinburgh
  • Margaret Horsburgh Ph.D., New Zealand Associate Professor of Medical & Health Sciences at the University of Auckland
  • Martha E Horsburgh RN, Ph.D., Canadian Professor and Dean of the Faculty of Nursing at the University of Alberta
  • Wayne Horsburgh (b. 1955), Australian country music entertainer

RMS Lusitania
  • Miss Martha Horsburgh, American 2nd Class passenger from Bernardsville, New York, USA, who sailed aboard the RMS Lusitania and died in the sinking [7]


The Horsburgh 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: Aegre de tramite recto
Motto Translation: Having safely passed through a rough path.


  1. ^ 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)
  2. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) DELHI 1839. Retrieved from http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1839Delhi.htm
  3. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) INDUS 1839. Retrieved from http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1839Indus.htm
  4. ^ The Ships List Passenger Lists Ship Golden Empire (Retrieved 26th October 2018). Retrieved from http://www.ozlists.com/genies/shipping/special_lists/s_golden_empire.htm
  5. ^ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_West_Indies
  6. ^ Wikisource contributors. "Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900." Wikisource . Wikisource , 4 Jun. 2018. Web. 4 August 2020
  7. ^ Lusitania Passenger List - The Lusitania Resource. (Retrieved 2014, March 6) . Retrieved from http://www.rmslusitania.info/lusitania-passenger-list/


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