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The name Oldham first arose amongst the Anglo-Saxon tribes of Britain. It is derived from their having lived in Oldham, in Lancashire. This was a town near the city of Manchester; it has since been absorbed by that city. The place-name Oldham is derived from the Old English elements old, which means old, and ham, which means farm. The place-name therefore translates as "the old farm." Alternatively, Oldham could have meant "dweller by the long-cultivate river flat." [1]CITATION[CLOSE]
Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)


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The surname Oldham was first found in Lancashire at Oldham, an enfranchised borough, a parochial chapelry, and the head of a union, in the parish of Prestwich, hundred of Salford. Now part of Greater Manchester, the first record of the placename was found in 1226-1228 when it was listed as Aldholm. [2]CITATION[CLOSE]
Mills, A.D., Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4)
"Oldham was for a long period celebrated for the manufacture of hats, which was established so early as the fifteenth century." [3]CITATION[CLOSE]
Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
Another possible origin of the name was found. "This place [(Werneth, Lancashire) which adjoins to the town of Oldham], anciently Fernet, was held in the reign of Henry III. by Alwardus de Aldholme, founder of the family of Oldham. His daughter and co-heiress conveyed the manor to the Cudworths, a branch of a Yorkshire family; and from them the estate passed by sale to Sir Ralph Assheton, of Middleton." [3]CITATION[CLOSE]
Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
We can only assume that both sources are referring to that same family at different times. Early rolls list the first record of the name not in Lancashire but as Achard de Aldeham in the Feet of Fines for Kent. Richard de Oldham was listed in Lancashire in 1384. [1]CITATION[CLOSE]
Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
The Yorkshire Poll Tax Rolls of 1379 listed Agnes de Oldom and Robertus de Oldom. [4]CITATION[CLOSE]
Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)

One relatively recent invention that did much to standardize English spelling was the printing press. However, before its invention even the most literate people recorded their names according to sound rather than spelling. The spelling variations under which the name Oldham has appeared include Oldham, Oldum, Oldan, Oldhams and others.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Oldham research. Another 207 words (15 lines of text) covering the years 1486, 1480, 1505, 1486, 1480, 1452, 1519, 1653 and 1683 are included under the topic Early Oldham History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

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Another 44 words (3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Oldham Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

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At this time, the shores of the New World beckoned many English families that felt that the social climate in England was oppressive and lacked opportunity for change. Thousands left England at great expense in ships that were overcrowded and full of disease. A great portion of these settlers never survived the journey and even a greater number arrived sick, starving, and without a penny. The survivors, however, were often greeted with greater opportunity than they could have experienced back home. These English settlers made significant contributions to those colonies that would eventually become the United States and Canada. An examination of early immigration records and passenger ship lists revealed that people bearing the name Oldham arrived in North America very early:

Oldham Settlers in United States in the 17th Century

  • John Oldham ( c. 1600-1636) who emigrated to Plymouth in 1623, was involved in establishing the unsuccessful settlement on Cape Ann (1626), and was murdered by the Pequot in an event leading to the Pequot War (1637)
  • Margaret Oldham, who landed in America in 1620
  • James Oldham, who landed in Plymouth, Massachusetts in 1623
  • John Oldham, who landed in Plymouth, Massachusetts in 1623
  • Lucretia Oldham, who arrived in Plymouth, Massachusetts in 1623
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Oldham Settlers in United States in the 19th Century

  • Charles, George, Hugh, James, John, Robert, and William Oldham all arrived in Philadelphia between 1840 and 1860
  • Alice Oldham, aged 22, arrived in New York in 1864
  • Eliza Oldham, aged 6, landed in New York in 1864
  • Ellen Oldham, aged 16, arrived in New York in 1864
  • Maria Oldham, aged 47, arrived in New York in 1864
  • ...

Oldham Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century

  • John Oldham, English convict from Middlesex, who was transported aboard the "Albion" on September 21, 1826, settling in New South Wales, Australia
  • Frederick Bagot Oldham arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Lord Goderich" in 1838
  • William Oldham arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Lord Goderich" in 1838
  • Sarah Oldham arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Lord Goderich" in 1838
  • Maria Oldham arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Ceylon" in 1850
  • ...

Oldham Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century

  • Alfred Oldham arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Mermaid" in 1859
  • Elizabeth Oldham arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Mermaid" in 1859
  • Frank Oldham arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Mermaid" in 1859
  • William Oldham arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Mermaid" in 1859
  • Herbert Oldham arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Mermaid" in 1859
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  • Williamson Simpson Oldham (1813-1868), American politician, Member of Arkansas State Legislature, 1838; Justice of Arkansas State Supreme Court, 1842; Candidate for U.S. Representative from Arkansas, 1846
  • William Kavanaugh Oldham (1865-1938), American Democrat politician, Planter; Member of Arkansas State House of Representatives, 1907; Member of Arkansas State Senate, 1911-13; Governor of Arkansas, 1913
  • W. K. Oldham, American Democrat politician, Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Arkansas, 1944
  • W. D. Oldham, American Democrat politician, Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Nebraska, 1916
  • Samuel E. Oldham, American politician, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Mississippi, 1921-25
  • Robert P. Oldham, American Democrat politician, Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Washington, 1924
  • Naomi H. Oldham, American Republican politician, Alternate Delegate to Republican National Convention from Missouri, 1932, 1944
  • L. E. Oldham, American Republican politician, Delegate to Republican National Convention from Mississippi, 1940
  • Leigh Oldham, American Democrat politician, Postmaster at Fort Worth, Texas, 1859
  • John Oldham, American Republican politician, Chair of Massac County Republican Party, 2002
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  • My Mother Nancy and Her Oldhams by Jessye Ann High.
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Citations



  1. ^ Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  2. ^ Mills, A.D., Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4)
  3. ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
  4. ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)

Other References

  1. Zieber, Eugene. Heraldry in America. Philadelphia: Genealogical Publishing Co. Print.
  2. Mills, A.D. Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4).
  3. 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).
  4. Burke, John Bernard Ed. The Roll of Battle Abbey. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  5. Matthews, John. Matthews' American Armoury and Blue Book. London: John Matthews, 1911. Print.
  6. Shirley, Evelyn Philip. Noble and Gentle Men of England Or Notes Touching The Arms and Descendants of the Ancient Knightley and Gentle Houses of England Arranged in their Respective Counties 3rd Edition. Westminster: John Bowyer Nichols and Sons, 1866. Print.
  7. Colletta, John P. They Came In Ships. Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1993. Print.
  8. Hinde, Thomas Ed. The Domesday Book England's Heritage Then and Now. Surrey: Colour Library Books, 1995. Print. (ISBN 1-85833-440-3).
  9. Bolton, Charles Knowles. Bolton's American Armory. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1964. Print.
  10. Burke, Sir Bernard. Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Peerage and Baronetage, The Privy Council, Knightage and Compainonage. London: Burke Publishing, 1921. Print.
  11. ...

The Oldham Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Oldham 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 29 February 2016 at 15:33.

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