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

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

Soon after the Norman Conquest of England in 1066, the name Nightingale was recognized on the island as a name for a person with a good singing voice. The name is a metaphor likening the original bearer of the name to the nocturnal songbird called a nightingale. Its name is derived from the Old English words niht, meaning night, and galan, meaning to sing.


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 Nightingale, Nightingall, Nightengale and others.

First found in Norfolk where they held a family seat from very early times and were granted lands by Duke William of Normandy, their liege Lord, for their distinguished assistance at the Battle of Hastings in 1066 A.D.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Nightingale research. Another 165 words (12 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Nightingale History in all our PDF Extended History products.


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


Some of the Nightingale 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.


Many English families emigrated to North American colonies in order to escape the political chaos in Britain. 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 Nightingale or a variant listed above:

Nightingale Settlers in United States in the 17th Century

  • Thomas Nightingale, who came to Virginia in 1648
  • Tho Nightingale, who landed in Virginia in 1648
  • Kath Nightingale, who arrived in Virginia in 1649
  • William Nightingale, who arrived in Massachusetts in 1690

Nightingale Settlers in United States in the 18th Century

  • Mathew Nightingale, who settled in Virginia in 1764
  • Henry Nightingale, who came to Charleston in 1792

Nightingale Settlers in United States in the 19th Century

  • Thomas Nightingale, who came to Philadelphia in 1802
  • A.F. Nightingale, aged 52, who emigrated to the United States, in 1896

Nightingale Settlers in United States in the 20th Century

  • Alma Sabina Nightingale, aged 7, who settled in America from Allett Yorks, England, in 1906
  • Arthur P Nightingale, aged 26, who settled in America from Dorset, in 1906
  • Alice Nightingale, aged 28, who emigrated to America from Bury, England, in 1907
  • Alice Nightingale, aged 21, who landed in America from London, England, in 1908
  • Arthur P. Nightingale, aged 29, who emigrated to the United States from Salisbury, England, in 1908

Nightingale Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century

  • William Nightingale arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Nimroud" in 1860


  • John Nightingale (b. 1928), American Olympic figure skater
  • James Nightingale, American Republican politician, Delegate to Republican National Convention from New Jersey, 1868
  • Mrs. J. A. Nightingale, American Republican politician, Alternate Delegate to Republican National Convention from Minnesota, 1952
  • William Edward Nightingale (1794-1874), English Unitarian and the father of Florence Nightingale
  • Warwick Alan "Wally" Nightingale (1956-1996), English musician, best known as the guitarist and founder of the band the Sex Pistols
  • Mark Daryl Nightingale (b. 1967), English jazz trombonist
  • Anne "Annie" Nightingale MBE (b. 1942), English radio broadcaster
  • Luke Nightingale (b. 1980), English footballer
  • Maxine Nightingale (b. 1952), English singer, best known for her hit "Right Back Where We Started From"
  • Mr. William Nightingale, British Stoker 2ne Class, who sailed into battle on the HMS Repulse and survived the sinking



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  1. MacAulay, Thomas Babington. History of England from the Accession of James the Second 4 volumes. New York: Harper and Brothers, 1879. Print.
  2. Browning, Charles H. Americans of Royal Descent. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  3. Sanders, Joanne McRee Edition. English Settlers in Barbados 1637-1800. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  4. Marcharn, Frederick George. A Constitutional History of Modern England 1485 to the Present. London: Harper and Brothers, 1960. Print.
  5. Bolton, Charles Knowles. Bolton's American Armory. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1964. Print.
  6. Bede, The Venerable. Historia Ecclesiatica Gentis Anglorum (The Ecclesiastical History Of the English People). Available through Internet Medieval Sourcebook the Fordham University Centre for Medieval Studies. Print.
  7. 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.
  8. Papworth, J.W and A.W Morant. Ordinary of British Armorials. London: T.Richards, 1874. Print.
  9. Fairbairn. Fairbain's book of Crests of the Families of Great Britain and Ireland, 4th Edition 2 volumes in one. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1968. Print.
  10. Lennard, Reginald. Rural England 1086-1135 A Study of Social and Agrarian Conditions. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1959. Print.
  11. ...

The Nightingale Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Nightingale 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 11 December 2015 at 10:30.

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