James History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The name James was brought to England in the great wave of migration following the Norman Conquest of 1066. It comes from the personal name Jacob, the Latin Jacobus via the Late Latin Jacomus. The Latin Jacobus is derived from the Hebrew name Yaakov which is traditionally interpreted as coming from the Hebrew akev, which means heel. [1]

"The first appearance of this Christian name in our annals is in Domesday [Book]." [2]

James the Cistercian ( fl. 1270), also called James the Englishman, "was the first professor of philosophy and theology in the college which Stephen Lexington, Abbot of Clairvaux, founded in the house of the counts of Champagne at Paris for the instruction of young Cistercians. " [3]

Early Origins of the James family

The surname James was first found in Surrey. At an early time the name migrated from Normandy under the name FitzJames, as one of the noble house of Normandy. In nearby Utrecht the name became Van Haestrecht, whence it became FitzJames again, having migrated from Utrecht into England, into the manor of Ightham, at the time of King John, about the year 1210 A.D. They acquired the manors and estates of Hamon de Cravignuier, from De Inge, Zouch of Harringworth, Read, and Willoughby, and thence to the noble house of James.

"In early documents the name is usually Jacobus, but James is occasionally found in the 12th and 13th centuries, sometimes alternating with Jack or its diminutives Jackamin, Jackett and Jacklin." [4]

"The principal home of this name is in South Wales and Monmouthshire. Lower tells us of a very ancient Pembroke family possessing an estate successively held by thirteen persons bearing the name of William James. The name is also frequent in Shropshire and Herefordshire on the Welsh border, and in the neighbouring counties of Gloucester and Stafford. It is also numerous in the south - west of England, especially in Somerset, Dorset, and Cornwall. In the eastern counties it nearly disappears, but it reappears in the north, though in no great numbers. " [5]

Early History of the James family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our James research. Another 117 words (8 lines of text) covering the years 1592, 1638, 1592, 1573, 1629, 1573, 1593, 1635, 1619, 1593, 1542, 1617, 1542, 1610, 1681, 1653, 1661, 1661, 1620, 1700, 1661, 1679, 1689, 1690, 1619, 1670, 1654, 1656, 1624, 1705, 1659, 1626, 1685, 1659, 1673, 1702, 1644 and 1719 are included under the topic Early James History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

James Spelling Variations

A multitude of spelling variations characterize Norman surnames. Many variations occurred because Old and Middle English lacked any definite spelling rules. The introduction of Norman French to England also had a pronounced effect, as did the court languages of Latin and French. Therefore, one person was often referred to by several different spellings in a single lifetime. The various spellings include James, Fitzjames, St. James, Jaimes, Geames and many more.

Early Notables of the James family (pre 1700)

Outstanding amongst the family at this time was Richard James (1592-1638), English scholar, born at Newport in the Isle of Wight in 1592, the third son of Andrew James of that town, by his wife Dorothy, daughter of Philip Poore of Durrington, Wiltshire. [3] Thomas James (1573?-1629), was Bodley's librarian, uncle of Richard James [q. v.], was born about 1573 at Newport, Isle of Wight. [3] Thomas James (1593?-1635?), was a navigator, a kinsman, it is believed, of Thomas James (d. 1619), alderman and twice mayor of Bristol, was born about 1593. [3] William James (1542-1617), was Bishop of Durham, the second son of...
Another 257 words (18 lines of text) are included under the topic Early James Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the James family to Ireland

Some of the James family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. More information about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States James migration to the United States +

Many English families left England, to avoid the chaos of their homeland and migrated to the many British colonies abroad. Although the conditions on the ships were extremely cramped, and some travelers arrived diseased, starving, and destitute, once in the colonies, many of the families prospered and made valuable contributions to the cultures of what would become the United States and Canada. Research into the origins of individual families in North America has revealed records of the immigration of a number of people bearing the name James or a variant listed above:

James Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Edmund James, who settled in Salem Massachusetts in 1630
  • Edmund James, who landed in New England in 1630 [6]
  • Thomas James, who arrived in Charlestown, Massachusetts in 1632 [6]
  • Henry James, who arrived in Maryland in 1633 [6]
  • Ursula James, aged 19, who landed in Virginia in 1635 [6]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
James Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Sarah James, who landed in Virginia in 1702 [6]
  • James James, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1703 [6]
  • Abra James, who landed in Virginia in 1713 [6]
  • Harry James, who landed in Virginia in 1718 [6]
  • Henry James, who settled in Maryland in 1739
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
James Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Simon James, who arrived in Pennsylvania in 1802 [6]
  • Anthony James, aged 28, who arrived in New York in 1812 [6]
  • Daniel James, aged 39, who arrived in New York in 1812 [6]
  • Jane James, who arrived in New York, NY in 1816 [6]
  • Mary James, who arrived in New York, NY in 1816 [6]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
James Settlers in United States in the 20th Century
  • Gus James, who arrived in Alabama in 1915 [6]

Canada James migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

James Settlers in Canada in the 17th Century
  • Henry James who settled in Harbour Grace, Newfoundland in 1681 [7]
James Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
  • Mr. Jonas James U.E. who arrived at Port Roseway [Shelburne], Nova Scotia on December 13, 1783 was passenger number 471 aboard the ship "HMS Clinton", picked up on November 14, 1783 at East River, New York [8]
  • Mr. Robert James U.E. who settled in Carleton [Saint John City], New Brunswick c. 1784 son of Benjamin and Sarah James [8]
  • Mrs. Sarah James U.E., "Whitney" (née Whitney) who settled in Carleton [Saint John City], New Brunswick c. 1784 [8]
  • Mr. Stephen James U.E. who settled in Carleton [Saint John City], New Brunswick c. 1784 son of Benjamin and Sarah James [8]
  • Mr. Benjamin James U.E. born in Connecticut, USA from Darien, Connecticut, USA who settled in Carleton [Saint John City], New Brunswick c. 1784 married to Sarah Whitney having 8 children [8]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
James Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • Jane James, aged 34, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick in 1833 aboard the barque "Alchymist" from Falmouth, Cornwall, England
  • Thomas James, aged 20, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick in 1833 aboard the barque "Alchymist" from Falmouth, Cornwall, England
  • Ann James, aged 9, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick in 1833 aboard the barque "Alchymist" from Falmouth, Cornwall, England
  • Caroline James, aged 7, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick in 1833 aboard the barque "Alchymist" from Falmouth, Cornwall, England
  • George James, aged 36, a merchant, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick in 1833 aboard the ship "Lord Goderich" from London, England
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
James Settlers in Canada in the 20th Century
  • Fred James, who landed in Saint John, New Brunswick in 1907
  • Walter L James, who landed in Saint John, New Brunswick in 1907

Australia James migration to Australia +

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

James Settlers in Australia in the 18th Century
  • Mr. Richard James, Cornish settler convicted in Cornwall, UK on 24th March 1787, sentenced for 7 years for being at large before the expiry of a sentence of transportation, transported aboard the ship "Neptune" on 19th January 1790 to New South Wales, Australia [9]
  • Mr. Thomas James, Cornish settler convicted in Cornwall, UK on 2nd August 1790, sentenced for 7 years for burglary in the house of Reverend Ratcliffe, transported Atlantic" on 27th March 1791 to New South Wales, Australia [9]
James Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mr. Thomas James, Cornish settler convicted in Cornwall, UK on 23rd March 1805, sentenced for 14 years for stealing tobacco from Robert Stephens of Mawgen, transported aboard the ship "Admiral Gambier" on 2nd July 1808 to New South Wales, Australia [9]
  • Charles James, English convict from London, who was transported aboard the "Ann" on August 1809, settling in New South Wales, Australia [10]
  • Mr. James James, English convict who was convicted in Middlesex, England for life, transported aboard the "Atlas" on 16th January 1816, arriving in New South Wales, Australia [11]
  • Mr. David James, English convict who was convicted in Gloucester, Gloucestershire, England for life, transported aboard the "Baring" in December 1818, arriving in New South Wales, Australia [12]
  • Mr. Joseph James, Welsh convict who was convicted in Montgomery, Powys, Wales for life, transported aboard the "Baring" in December 1818, arriving in New South Wales, Australia [12]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

New Zealand James migration to New Zealand +

Emigration to New Zealand followed in the footsteps of the European explorers, such as Captain Cook (1769-70): first came sealers, whalers, missionaries, and traders. By 1838, the British New Zealand Company had begun buying land from the Maori tribes, and selling it to settlers, and, after the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, many British families set out on the arduous six month journey from Britain to Aotearoa to start a new life. Early immigrants include:

James Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Mr. Stephen James, Australian settler travelling from Hobart, Tasmania, Australia aboard the ship "Bee" arriving in New Zealand in 1831 [13]
  • John James, who landed in Bay of Islands, New Zealand in 1836
  • John Charles James, who landed in Wellington, New Zealand in 1840
  • William James, who landed in Wellington, New Zealand in 1840 aboard the ship Martha Ridgway
  • Mr. William James, British settler travelling from England aboard the ship "Martha Ridgway" arriving in Wellington, New Zealand on 14th November 1840 [13]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Contemporary Notables of the name James (post 1700) +

  • Phyllis Dorothy James "P D" James OBE, FRSA, FRSL (1920-2014), Baroness James of Holland Park, English mystery novelist, best known for her detective novels featuring policeman and poet Adam Dalgliesh
  • Henry James OM (1843-1916), American author and novelist, generally regarded to be among the greatest novelists in the English language, nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1911, 1912, and 1916
  • Paul James (1931-2018), American sportscaster and longtime play-by-play announcer on KSL 1160-AM radio broadcasts of football and basketball games
  • Arthur Horace James (1883-1973), American politician, Governor of Pennsylvania from 1939-1943
  • Alice James (1848-1892), American diarist, sister of novelist Henry James and psychologist William James
  • William James (1842-1910), American philosopher and psychologist, first educator to offer a psychology course in the United States
  • Henry James Sr. (1811-1882), American theologian and adherent of Swedenborgianism, father of the philosopher William James, novelist Henry James, and diarist Alice James
  • George Clifton James (1920-2017), American actor, best known for his roles as Sheriff J.W. Pepper in the James Bond films Live and Let Die (1973) and The Man with the Golden Gun (1974)
  • ? Alex-St. James, American Republican politician, Candidate for Governor of California, 2003 [14]
  • Sonny James (1928-2016), stage name of James Hugh Loden, an American country music singer and songwriter best known for his 1957 hit, "Young Love," inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame
  • ... (Another 28 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Halifax Explosion
  • Mr. John Thomas  James (1881-1917), Canadian resident from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada who died in the explosion [15]
HMAS Sydney II
HMS Hood
  • Mr. Phillip A James (b. 1922), English Ordinary Seaman serving for the Royal Navy from Radford, Coventry, England, who sailed into battle and died in the sinking [17]
  • Mr. Leonard A James (b. 1917), English Leading Stoker serving for the Royal Navy from Leonard, Cheshire, Coventry, England, who sailed into battle and died in the sinking [17]
HMS Prince of Wales
  • Mr. William Kenneth James, British Bandboy, who sailed into battle on the HMS Prince of Wales and survived the sinking [18]
  • Mr. Ray James (b. 1917), "Jimmie" English Ordinary Seaman from England, who sailed into battle on the HMS Prince of Wales and survived the sinking [18]
  • Mr. C James, British Able Seaman, who sailed into battle on the HMS Prince of Wales and survived the sinking [18]
  • Mr. A James, British Leading Stoker, who sailed into battle on the HMS Prince of Wales and survived the sinking [18]
HMS Repulse
  • Mr. Ernest W James, British Ordinary Seaman, who sailed into battle on the HMS Repulse and survived the sinking [19]
  • Mr. William Trevor James, British Able Bodied Seaman, who sailed into battle on the HMS Repulse and died in the sinking [19]
HMS Royal Oak
  • Roland James (1921-1939), British Seaman with the Royal Navy aboard the HMS Royal Oak when she was torpedoed by U-47 and sunk; he died in the sinking [20]
  • Leslie Joseph James (1923-1939), British Boy 1st Class with the Royal Navy aboard the HMS Royal Oak when she was torpedoed by U-47 and sunk; he died in the sinking [20]
RMS Lusitania
  • Mr. Oswald James, English 1st Class Steward from Clubmoor, Liverpool, England, who worked aboard the RMS Lusitania and died in the sinking [21]
  • Miss Violet Isabel James, Canadian 3rd Class passenger from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, who sailed aboard the RMS Lusitania and survived the sinking [21]
RMS Titanic
  • Mr. Thomas James (d. 1912), aged 27, English Fireman/Stoker from Southampton, Hampshire who worked aboard the RMS Titanic and died in the sinking [22]
USS Arizona
  • Mr. John Burditt James, American Seaman First Class from Texas, USA working aboard the ship "USS Arizona" when she sunk during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on 7th December 1941, he died in the sinking [23]


The James 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: J'aime à jamais
Motto Translation: I love forever.


Suggested Readings for the name James +

  • 89 James Families of America Since 1630 by Wynne James, The James Family of Wales and Bucks County, Pennsylvania, 1638-1974 by Wynne James.

  1. ^ Harrison, Henry, Surnames of the United Kingdom: A Concise Etymological Dictionary Baltimore: Geneological Publishing Company, 2013. Print
  2. ^ Lowe, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  3. ^ Smith, George (ed), Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1885-1900. Print
  4. ^ Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  5. ^ Guppy, Henry Brougham, Homes of Family Names in Great Britain. 1890. Print.
  6. ^ 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)
  7. ^ Seary E.R., Family Names of the Island of Newfoundland, Montreal: McGill's-Queen's Universtity Press 1998 ISBN 0-7735-1782-0
  8. ^ Rubincam, Milton. The Old United Empire Loyalists List. Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc, 1976. (Originally published as; United Empire Loyalists. The Centennial of the Settlement of Upper Canada. Rose Publishing Company, 1885.) ISBN 0-8063-0331-X
  9. ^ Cornwall Online Parish Clerks. (Retrieved 30th May 2018). Retrieved from http://www.opc-cornwall.org/Resc/pdfs/emigration_australia_convicts.pdf
  10. ^ State Library of Queensland. (Retrieved 2016, October 27) Ann voyage to New South Wales, Australia in 1809 with 200 passengers. Retrieved from http://www.convictrecords.com.au/ships/ann/1809
  11. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 14th July 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/atlas
  12. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 16th September 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/baring
  13. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 17th October 2018). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  14. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, October 2) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html
  15. ^ Halifax Explosion Book of Remembrance | Maritime Museum of the Atlantic. (Retrieved 2014, June 23) . Retrieved from https://maritimemuseum.novascotia.ca/what-see-do/halifax-explosion/halifax-explosion-book-remembrance
  16. ^ HMAS Sydney II, Finding Sydney Foundation - Roll of Honour. (Retrieved 2014, April 24) . Retrieved from http://www.findingsydney.com/roll.asp
  17. ^ H.M.S. Hood Association-Battle Cruiser Hood: Crew Information - H.M.S. Hood Rolls of Honour, Men Lost in the Sinking of H.M.S. Hood, 24th May 1941. (Retrieved 2016, July 15) . Retrieved from http://www.hmshood.com/crew/memorial/roh_24may41.htm
  18. ^ HMS Prince of Wales Crew members. (Retrieved 2014, April 9) . Retrieved from http://www.forcez-survivors.org.uk/biographies/listprincecrew.html
  19. ^ HMS Repulse Crew members. (Retrieved 2014, April 9) . Retrieved from http://www.forcez-survivors.org.uk/biographies/listrepulsecrew.html
  20. ^ Ships hit by U-boats crew list HMS Royal Oak (08) - (Retrieved 2018 February, 9th) - retrieved from https://uboat.net/allies/merchants/crews/ship68.html
  21. ^ Lusitania Passenger List - The Lusitania Resource. (Retrieved 2014, March 6) . Retrieved from http://www.rmslusitania.info/lusitania-passenger-list/
  22. ^ Titanic Passenger List - Titanic Facts. (Retrieved 2016, July 13) . Retrieved from http://www.titanicfacts.net/titanic-passenger-list.html
  23. ^ Pearl Harbour: USS Arizona Casualties List Pearl Harbour December 7, 1941. (Retrieved 2018, July 31st). Retrieved from http://pearl-harbor.com/arizona/casualtylist.html


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