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

Origins Available: English-Alt, English

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

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.

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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.

First found in Surrey where they were granted lands by William the Conqueror after the Norman Conquest in 1066. Anciently they held lands in Normandy as St. James.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our James research. Another 397 words(28 lines of text) covering the years 1210, 1610, 1681, 1653, 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.

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Another 247 words(18 lines of text) are included under the topic Early James Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Some of the James family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 43 words(3 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.

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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
  • Thomas James, who arrived in Charlestown, Massachusetts in 1632
  • Henry James, who arrived in Maryland in 1633
  • Ursula James, aged 19, landed in Virginia in 1635


James Settlers in United States in the 18th Century


  • Sarah James, who landed in Virginia in 1702
  • James James, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1703
  • Abra James, who landed in Virginia in 1713
  • Harry James, who landed in Virginia in 1718
  • Henry James, who settled in Maryland in 1739


James Settlers in United States in the 19th Century


  • Simon James, who arrived in Pennsylvania in 1802
  • Anthony James, aged 28, arrived in New York in 1812
  • Daniel James, aged 39, arrived in New York in 1812
  • Jane James, who arrived in New York, NY in 1816
  • Mary James, who arrived in New York, NY in 1816


James Settlers in United States in the 20th Century


  • Gus James, who arrived in Alabama in 1915

James Settlers in Canada in the 17th Century


  • Henry James who settled in Harbour Grace, Newfoundland in 1681

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
  • Mr. Robert James U.E. who settled in Carleton [Saint John City], New Brunswick c. 1784 son of Benjamin and Sarah James
  • Mrs. Sarah James U.E., "Whitney" (née Whitney) who settled in Carleton [Saint John City], New Brunswick c. 1784
  • Mr. Stephen James U.E. who settled in Carleton [Saint John City], New Brunswick c. 1784 son of Benjamin and Sarah James
  • 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


James Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century


  • Jane James, aged 34, arrived in Saint John, NB in 1833 aboard the barque "Alchymist" from Falmouth
  • Thomas James, aged 20, arrived in Saint John, NB in 1833 aboard the barque "Alchymist" from Falmouth
  • Ann James, aged 9, arrived in Saint John, NB in 1833 aboard the barque "Alchymist" from Falmouth
  • Caroline James, aged 7, arrived in Saint John, NB in 1833 aboard the barque "Alchymist" from Falmouth
  • George James, aged 36, a merchant, arrived in Saint John, NB in 1833 aboard the ship "Lord Goderich" from London


James Settlers in Canada in the 20th Century


  • Fred James, who landed in St John, New Brunswick in 1907
  • Walter L James, who landed in St John, New Brunswick in 1907

James Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century


  • Charles James, English convict from London, who was transported aboard the "Ann" on August 1809, settling in New South Wales, Australia
  • Richard James, English convict from Middlesex, who was transported aboard the "Asia" on September 3rd, 1820, settling in New South Wales, Austraila
  • Thomas James, English convict from London, who was transported aboard the "Agamemnon" on April 22, 1820, settling in New South Wales, Australia
  • John James, English convict from Middlesex, who was transported aboard the "Adamant" on March 16, 1821, settling in New South Wales, Australia
  • Joseph James, English convict from Plymouth, who was transported aboard the "Albion" on May 17, 1823, settling in Van Diemen's Land, Australia


James Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century


  • John James landed in Bay of Islands, New Zealand in 1836
  • John Charles James landed in Wellington, New Zealand in 1840
  • William James landed in Wellington, New Zealand in 1840 aboard the ship Martha Ridgway
  • Joseph James landed in Wellington, New Zealand in 1841 aboard the ship Catherine Stuart Forbes
  • Hannah James, aged 25, arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Catherine Stewart Forbes" in 1841


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  • Miles James (1829-1871), Union Army soldier during the American Civil War, recipient of the Medal of Honor for his actions at the Battle of Chaffin's Farm
  • Jesse Woodson James (1847-1882), American outlaw and folk hero
  • Edmund Janes James (1855-1925), American educator and political scientist, founder and 1st president of the American Academy of Political and Social Science
  • Arthur Horace James (1883-1973), American politician, governor of Pennsylvania from 1939-1943
  • Harry Haag James (1916-1983), American jazz bandleader, musician, and trumpeter
  • William Hartford James (1831-1920), American politician best known as the second Governor of Nebraska
  • Mr. Oswald James (d. 1915), English 1st Class Steward from Clubmoor, Liverpool, England, who worked aboard the RMS Lusitania and died in the sinking
  • Mr. Ray James (b. 1917), "Jimmie" English Ordinary Seaman from England, who sailed in to battle on the HMS Prince of Wales and survived the sinking
  • Mr. Thomas James (d. 1912), aged 27, English Fireman/Stoker from Southampton, Hampshire who worked aboard the RMS Titanic and died in the sinking
  • Alex James (b. 1968), English musician, songwriter and journalist

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

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  1. Robb H. Amanda and Andrew Chesler. Encyclopedia of American Family Names. New York: Haper Collins, 1995. Print. (ISBN 0-06-270075-8).
  2. Shaw, William A. Knights of England A Complete Record from the Earliest Time to the Present Day of the Knights of all the Orders of Chivalry in England, Scotland, Ireland and Knights Bachelors 2 Volumes. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print. (ISBN 080630443X).
  3. Elster, Robert J. International Who's Who. London: Europa/Routledge. Print.
  4. Burke, Sir Bernard. Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Peerage and Baronetage, The Privy Council, Knightage and Compainonage. London: Burke Publishing, 1921. Print.
  5. MacAulay, Thomas Babington. History of England from the Accession of James the Second 4 volumes. New York: Harper and Brothers, 1879. Print.
  6. Sanders, Joanne McRee Edition. English Settlers in Barbados 1637-1800. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  7. Bullock, L.G. Historical Map of England and Wales. Edinburgh: Bartholomew and Son, 1971. Print.
  8. Marcharn, Frederick George. A Constitutional History of Modern England 1485 to the Present. London: Harper and Brothers, 1960. Print.
  9. Filby, P. William and Mary K Meyer. Passenger and Immigration Lists Index in Four Volumes. Detroit: Gale Research, 1985. Print. (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8).
  10. Egle, William Henry. Pennsylvania Genealogies Scotch-Irish and German. Harrisburg: L.S. Hart, 1886. Print.
  11. ...

The James Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The James 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 17 August 2015 at 11:30.

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