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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright 2000 - 2016


The history of the Horsfall family goes back to the ancient Anglo-Saxon culture of Britain. It is derived from the family living in the settlement of Horsfall in Todmorden in the West Riding of Yorkshire. The name Horsfall may have also been applied as an occupational surname to someone who worked at a stable or horse pasture. The surname is derived from the Old English words hors, which means horse, and falod, which means enclosure or field.

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The surname Horsfall was first found in Yorkshire, where they held a family seat from very early times.

Until quite recently, the English language has lacked a definite system of spelling rules. Consequently, Anglo-Saxon surnames are characterized by a multitude of spelling variations. Changes in Anglo-Saxon names were influenced by the evolution of the English language, as it incorporated elements of French, Latin, and other languages. Although Medieval scribes and church officials recorded names as they sounded, so it is common to find one person referred to by several different spellings of his surname, even the most literate people varied the spelling of their own names. Variations of the name Horsfall include Horsfall, Horsefall, Horsfal, Horesfall and others.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Horsfall research. Another 127 words (9 lines of text) covering the years 1379, 1661, 1796, 1586 and 1609 are included under the topic Early Horsfall History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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

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Some of the Horsfall family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 41 words (3 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Searching for a better life, many English families migrated to British colonies. Unfortunately, the majority of them traveled under extremely harsh conditions: overcrowding on the ships caused the majority of the immigrants to arrive diseased, famished, and destitute from the long journey across the ocean. For those families that arrived safely, modest prosperity was attainable, and many went on to make invaluable contributions to the development of the cultures of the new colonies. Research into the origins of individual families in North America revealed records of the immigration of a number of people bearing the name Horsfall or a variant listed above:

Horsfall Settlers in United States in the 19th Century


  • James W Horsfall, aged 22, landed in Georgia in 1812
  • John Horsfall to Philadelphia in 1844
  • John Horsfall to Allegheny County, Pennsylvania in 1884

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  • Frank Lappin Horsfall (1906-1971), American clinician and virologist
  • Bernard Horsfall, English television and film actor
  • John Campbell Horsfall (1912-1976), Australian economist and newspaper editor
  • Basil Arthur Horsfall (1887-1918), Ceylonese recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces
  • Alton Horsfall Ph.D., British Lecturer at the School of Electrical, Electronic and Computer Engineering of the University of Newcastle
  • Geoffrey Jonas Horsfall, Australian Judge of the Grand Court of the Cayman Islands


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  1. Cook, Chris. English Historical Facts 1603-1688. London: MacMillan, 1980. Print.
  2. Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at Galveston Texas 1896-1951. National Archives Washington DC. Print.
  3. MacAulay, Thomas Babington. History of England from the Accession of James the Second 4 volumes. New York: Harper and Brothers, 1879. Print.
  4. Leeson, Francis L. Dictionary of British Peerages. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1986. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-1121-5).
  5. Burke, Sir Bernard. General Armory Of England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales. Ramsbury: Heraldry Today. Print.
  6. Le Patourel, John. The Norman Empire. New York: Oxford University Press, 1976. Print. (ISBN 0-19-822525-3).
  7. Bardsley, C.W. A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6).
  8. Skordas, Guest. Ed. The Early Settlers of Maryland an Index to Names or Immigrants Complied from Records of Land Patents 1633-1680 in the Hall of Records Annapolis, Maryland. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1968. Print.
  9. Crozier, William Armstrong Edition. Crozier's General Armory A Registry of American Families Entitled to Coat Armor. New York: Fox, Duffield, 1904. Print.
  10. Browning, Charles H. Americans of Royal Descent. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  11. ...

The Horsfall Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Horsfall 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 5 March 2013 at 07:25.

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