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

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

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]

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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.

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] "Oldham was for a long period celebrated for the manufacture of hats, which was established so early as the fifteenth century." [3] However, the first record of the name was not found in Lancashire but as Achard de Aldeham in the Feet of Fines for Kent. Richard de Oldham was listed in Lancashire in 1384. [1] The Yorkshire Poll Tax Rolls of 1379 listed Agnes de Oldom and Robertus de Oldom. [4]


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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.

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Another 77 words (6 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Oldham Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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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


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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  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. Bradford, William. History of Plymouth Plantation 1620-1647 Edited by Samuel Eliot Morrison 2 Volumes. New York: Russell and Russell, 1968. Print.
  2. Colletta, John P. They Came In Ships. Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1993. Print.
  3. Dunkling, Leslie. Dictionary of Surnames. Toronto: Collins, 1998. Print. (ISBN 0004720598).
  4. 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.
  5. 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).
  6. Robb H. Amanda and Andrew Chesler. Encyclopedia of American Family Names. New York: Haper Collins, 1995. Print. (ISBN 0-06-270075-8).
  7. Holt, J.C. Ed. Domesday Studies. Woodbridge: Boydell, 1987. Print. (ISBN 0-85115-477-8).
  8. Cook, Chris. English Historical Facts 1603-1688. London: MacMillan, 1980. Print.
  9. Leeson, Francis L. Dictionary of British Peerages. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1986. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-1121-5).
  10. Elster, Robert J. International Who's Who. London: Europa/Routledge. 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 7 October 2015 at 16:11.

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