Main History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Main is an ancient Norman name that arrived in England after the Norman Conquest of 1066. The Main family lived in Maien, or Mayene, from Mayenne in Maine, Normandy and was a powerful baronial house, with Walter de Maynne listed in 976. [1]

Early Origins of the Main family

The surname Main was first found in Devon at King's Nympton, a parish, in the union of South Molton, hundred of Witheridge. The manor, which was parcel of the ancient demesne of the crown, was granted by King John to Joel de Mayne, by whose rebellion it was again vested in the crown: it was given by Henry III. to Roger le Zouch. [2]

"Judael of Mayenne had a vast barony in Devon in 1086, and his family long continued there. In 1165 Walter Fitz Juel de Mayenne (de Meduana) held a barony of twenty-one knight's fees in Kent." [3]

Judael appears in the Domesday Book as Judhel de Totenais, so named for the barony of Totness. He is probably the grandfather of Juhel de Meduana who witnesses one of the Empress Maud's charters to Geoffrey de Mandeville. Nicholas de Meduana, of Dorset and Somerset are listed in the Great Roll of the Pipe (Pipe Rolls) 1 Richard I. [1]

Early History of the Main family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Main research. Another 102 words (7 lines of text) covering the years 1140, 1544, 1577, 1612, 1661, 1633, 1711, 1702, 1711, 1705, 1708, 1654, 1683, 1668, 1631, 1654 and are included under the topic Early Main History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Main Spelling Variations

Norman surnames are characterized by a multitude of spelling variations. The frequent changes in surnames are largely due to the fact that the Old and Middle English languages lacked definite spelling rules. The introduction of Norman French to England, as well as the official court languages of Latin and French, also had pronounced influences on the spelling of surnames. Since medieval scribes and church officials recorded names as they sounded, rather than adhering to any specific spelling rules, it was common to find the same individual referred to with different spellings. The name has been spelled Main, Maine, Mayne and others.

Early Notables of the Main family (pre 1700)

Outstanding amongst the family at this time was Saint Cuthbert Mayne (1544-1577), an English Roman Catholic priest and martyr of the Reformation and Counter-Reformation; Simon Mayne (1612-1661), English Member of Parliament from Dinton Hall in Buckinghamshire, one of the regicides of King Charles I; and Lieutenant-General Edmund Maine (1633-1711), an English soldier and politician, Governor of Berwick-upon-Tweed (1702-1711) and Member of Parliament for Morpeth (1705-1708.) Alexander DelaMaine ( fl. 1654-1683), the Muggletonian...
Another 69 words (5 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Main Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Main family to Ireland

Some of the Main family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 56 words (4 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Main migration to the United States +

Many English families emigrated to North American colonies in order to escape the political chaos in Britain at this time. Unfortunately, many English families made the trip to the New World 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 stormy Atlantic. Despite these hardships, many of the families prospered and went on to make invaluable contributions to the development of the cultures of the United States and Canada. Early North American immigration records have revealed a number of people bearing the name Main or a variant listed above:

Main Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Andrew Main, his wife and child, who settled in Barbados in 1679
  • John Main, who landed in Boston, Massachusetts in 1699 [4]
Main Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Robert Main, who arrived in Boston, Massachusetts in 1766 [4]
  • Captain Main, who settled in Boston in 1768
Main Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Thomas Main, who landed in America in 1806 [4]
  • Alexander Main, aged 24, who landed in New York in 1812 [4]
  • Elizabeth Main, who arrived in Charleston, South Carolina in 1831 [4]
  • Jessie Main, who arrived in New York in 1837 [4]
  • Margaret Main, who arrived in New York in 1837 [4]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Canada Main migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Main Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
  • Pierre Main, aged 22, who arrived in Montreal in 1714
  • James Main, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1749
  • James Main, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1750
  • Thomas Main, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1750
  • Andrew Main, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1773
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Main Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • David Main, who arrived in Canada in 1832
  • George B Main, who landed in Esquimalt, British Columbia in 1862

Australia Main migration to Australia +

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

Main Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mr. James Main, (b. 1817), aged 17, English convict who was convicted in Somerset, England for 7 years for receiving stolen goods, transported aboard the "Bengal Merchant" on 27th September 1834, arriving in New South Wales, Australia, he is listed as hung in 1839 [5]
  • Miss Margaret Main, (Gillies), Scottish Convict who was convicted in Aberdeen, Scotland for life, transported aboard the "Atwick" on 28 September 1837, arriving in Tasmania ( Van Diemen's Land) [6]
  • W. Main, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Fairfield" in 1839 [7]
  • William Main, aged 27, a blacksmith, who arrived in South Australia in 1854 aboard the ship "Nugget" [8]
  • James Main, aged 21, a labourer, who arrived in South Australia in 1860 aboard the ship "Grand Trianon"
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

New Zealand Main 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:

Main Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Miss Clara Main, (b. 1855), aged Infant, British settler travelling from London aboard the ship "Sir Edward Paget" arriving in Lyttelton, Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand on 2nd July 1856 [9]
  • Mr. Robert Main, (b. 1807), aged 44, English settler born in Norfolk travelling from London aboard the ship "Sir Edward Paget" arriving in Lyttelton, Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand on 2nd July 1856 [9]
  • Miss Sarah Main, (b. 1836), aged 20, British settler travelling from London aboard the ship "Sir Edward Paget" arriving in Lyttelton, Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand on 2nd July 1856 [9]
  • Miss Harriett Main, (b. 1840), aged 16, British settler travelling from London aboard the ship "Sir Edward Paget" arriving in Lyttelton, Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand on 2nd July 1856 [9]
  • Miss Susan Elizabeth Main, (b. 1842), aged 13, English settler born in Norfolk travelling from London aboard the ship "Sir Edward Paget" arriving in Lyttelton, Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand on 2nd July 1856 [9]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Contemporary Notables of the name Main (post 1700) +

  • Frank Main, American co-winner of the 2011 Pulitzer Prize for Local Reporting
  • Verner Wright Main (1885-1965), American politician, U.S. Representative from Michigan (1935-1937)
  • Marjorie Main (1890-1975), American actress
  • Doris E. Main, American Republican politician, Candidate in primary for Michigan State House of Representatives 17th District, 1968 [10]
  • Claude E. Main, American Democrat politician, Candidate for U.S. Representative from Kansas 7th District, 1940 [10]
  • Charles W. Main, American Republican politician, Delegate to Republican National Convention from Maryland, 1924, 1936 (alternate), 1940 (alternate), 1948 (alternate) [10]
  • Calvin R. Main, American Democrat politician, Member of Connecticut State House of Representatives from Ledyard; Elected 1934 [10]
  • Appleton Main, American Democrat politician, Candidate for Connecticut State House of Representatives from Preston, 1908 [10]
  • Andrew E. Main, American Democrat politician, Candidate for Connecticut State House of Representatives from Cornwall, 1902 [10]
  • Amasa W. Main, American politician, Member of Connecticut State House of Representatives from North Stonington, 1895-98 [10]
  • ... (Another 21 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Halifax Explosion
  • Mrs. Louise  Main (1842-1917), Canadian resident from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada who died in the explosion [11]
HMS Royal Oak
  • Henry W. Main, British Sick Berth Chief Petty Officer with the Royal Navy aboard the HMS Royal Oak when she was torpedoed by U-47 and sunk; he survived the sinking [12]


The Main 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: Projeci
Motto Translation: I have thrown away.


Suggested Readings for the name Main +

  • 2566 Nimmo, Waddle (Waddell), Gavin Wilson Families Including Mains & Marshall Families of H. Jasper & Marion Counties, IA by Sylvia Nimmo.

  1. ^ Cleveland, Dutchess of The Battle Abbey Roll with some Account of the Norman Lineages. London: John Murray, Abermarle Street, 1889. Print. Volume 2 of 3
  2. ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
  3. ^ 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)
  4. ^ 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)
  5. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 7th October 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/bengal-merchant
  6. ^ Convict Records of Australia (Retreived 23rd August 2020, retreived from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/atwick)
  7. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) FAIRFIELD 1839. Retrieved from http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1839Fairfield.htm
  8. ^ South Australian Register Tuesday 4th July 1854. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) Nugget 1854. Retrieved http://www.theshipslist.com/ships/australia/nugget1854.shtml.
  9. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 26th March 2019). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  10. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, October 7) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html
  11. ^ 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
  12. ^ 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


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