Show ContentsOverton History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

In ancient Anglo-Saxon England, the ancestors of the Overton surname lived in the region of Overton in various counties throughout England. Overton is a topographic surname, which was given to a person who resided near a physical feature such as a hill, stream, church, or type of tree.

The place name literally means "higher farmstead" and dates back to Saxon times when the first record of the place name was Uferantun in 909 in Hampshire. There are numerous entries in the Domesday Book of 1086 with very early spellings including: Ovretune in Hampshire; Ovretone in Wiltshire; Oureton in Lancashire; and Ovreton in North Yorkshire. [1]

One source claims a dual origin of Overton and Orton. "From one or other of the many places called Overton, or from Orton (Hunts, Leics, Northants, Warwicks, Westmorland), all with ofer, ufera as the first element. In the absence of medieval forms the two names cannot be distinguished." [2]

Early Origins of the Overton family

The surname Overton was first found in Lancashire where "in the reign of Henry III., Adam de Overton held lands here; and here, also, the priory of Lancaster had a grange, the site of which appears to have been granted to the monks about 1272. " [3]

Before this entry we found Æðelweard of Ortun c. 1051 who was listed as an Old English Byname. Henry de Orton was listed in the Feet of Fines for Oxfordshire in 1229. [2]

The following year the Hundredorum Rolls of 1273 eluded to the widespread use of the name throughout ancient Britain: Adam de Overton, Oxfordshire; Ode de Overton, Huntingdonshire; and Geoffrey de Overton, Salop (Shropshire.) [4]

The Writs of Parliament include a listing for John de Overton, Huntingdonshire in 1324. In Somerset, Sarra de Overtone, was listed there 1 Edward III (during the first year of King Edward III's reign.) [5]

Early History of the Overton family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Overton research. Another 170 words (12 lines of text) covering the years 1150, 1203, 1275, 1324, 1624, 1788, 1525, 1609, 1580, 1609, 1520, 1530, 1539, 1551, 1547, 1553, 1562, 1599, 1664, 1629, 1642, 1640, 1668, 1609, 1631, 1609 and 1678 are included under the topic Early Overton History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Overton Spelling Variations

It is only in the last few hundred years that the English language has been standardized. For that reason, early Anglo-Saxon surnames like Overton are characterized by many spelling variations. As the English language changed and incorporated elements of other European languages, even literate people changed the spelling of their names. The variations of the name Overton include: Overton, Oferton, Overtone and others.

Early Notables of the Overton family (pre 1700)

Notables of the family at this time include William Overton (c.1525-1609), an English clergyman, Bishop of Lichfield (1580-1609.) He was "born in London between 1520 and 1530, is said to have been of the same family as Robert Overton, the major-general, and to have owed his early education to Glastonbury Abbey; it is certain that he was elected to a demyship at Magdalen College, Oxford, in 1539, and that he became perpetual fellow of the college in 1551. He graduated B.A. in 1547 and M.A. in 1553; in the latter degree he was incorporated at Cambridge in 1562. " [6] Richard Overton...
Another 101 words (7 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Overton Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Overton Ranking

In the United States, the name Overton is the 1,542nd most popular surname with an estimated 19,896 people with that name. [7]

United States Overton migration to the United States +

Many English families tired of political and religious strife left Britain for the new colonies in North America. Although the trip itself offered no relief - conditions on the ships were extremely cramped, and many travelers arrived diseased, starving, and destitute - these immigrants believed the opportunities that awaited them were worth the risks. Once in the colonies, many of the families did indeed prosper and, in turn, made significant contributions to the culture and economies of the growing colonies. An inquiry into the early roots of North American families has revealed a number of immigrants bearing the name Overton or a variant listed above:

Overton Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • John Overton and his wife Mary, who settled in Virginia in 1654
  • Mary Overton, who landed in Virginia in 1655 [8]
  • Francis Overton, who landed in Maryland in 1667 [8]
  • William Overton, who arrived in Virginia in 1669 [8]
  • Jane Overton, who arrived in Maryland in 1678 [8]
Overton Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Thomas Overton, who landed in Virginia in 1711 [8]
  • Samuel, Overton Jr., who arrived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1719 [8]
Overton Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Robert and Samuel Overton, who arrived in Philadelphia in 1850
  • Charles Overton, who arrived in Texas in 1850-1906 [8]

Australia Overton migration to Australia +

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

Overton Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Bridget Overton, English convict from Middlesex, who was transported aboard the "America" on December 30, 1830, settling in Van Diemen's Land, Australia [9]
  • Miss Martha Overton, English convict who was convicted in Lancaster, Lancashire, England for 10 years, transported aboard the "Emma Eugenia" on 16th November 1841, arriving in Tasmania (Van Diemen's Land) [10]
  • Thomas Overton, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Medway" in 1846 [11]
  • John William Overton, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Medway" in 1846 [11]
  • Mary Overton, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Medway" in 1846 [11]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

West Indies Overton migration to West Indies +

The British first settled the British West Indies around 1604. They made many attempts but failed in some to establish settlements on the Islands including Saint Lucia and Grenada. By 1627 they had managed to establish settlements on St. Kitts (St. Christopher) and Barbados, but by 1641 the Spanish had moved in and destroyed some of these including those at Providence Island. The British continued to expand the settlements including setting the First Federation in the British West Indies by 1674; some of the islands include Barbados, Bermuda, Cayman Island, Turks and Caicos, Jamaica and Belize then known as British Honduras. By the 1960's many of the islands became independent after the West Indies Federation which existed from 1958 to 1962 failed due to internal political conflicts. After this a number of Eastern Caribbean islands formed a free association. [12]
Overton Settlers in West Indies in the 17th Century
  • John Overton, who settled in Barbados in 1693

Contemporary Notables of the name Overton (post 1700) +

  • Douglas "Doug" M. Overton (b. 1969), retired American professional NBA basketball player
  • William Ray Overton (1939-1987), American judge on the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas
  • Spencer A. Overton (b. 1968), American lawyer and law professor of George Washington University Law School
  • Nancy Swain Overton (1926-2009), American pop singer
  • Macon C. Overton (1890-1918), American officer in the United States Marine Corps, eponym of the USS Overton (DD-239/APD–23), a Clemson-class destroyer
  • John Holmes Overton (1875-1948), American attorney and politician, U.S. Representative and U.S. Senator from Louisiana
  • Rick Overton (b. 1954), American writer, actor, and comedian
  • Hall Franklin Overton (1920-1972), American jazz pianist, composer and music teacher
  • Frank Overton (1918-1967), American Broadway and film actor
  • Edward Overton Jr. (1836-1903), American politician, U.S. Representative from Pennsylvania
  • ... (Another 28 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

HMS Royal Oak
  • John Joseph Overton (1919-1939), British Seaman with the Royal Navy aboard the HMS Royal Oak (1939) when she was torpedoed by U-47 and sunk; he died in the sinking [13]

Suggested Readings for the name Overton +

  • The American Ancestry and Descendants of Joel Overton, 1779-1844 by Ernest Clark Overton.
  • The Family History of Wainner, Overton, McMurr(a)y and Interconnecting Lines by Merle Wainner Jeter.

  1. Mills, A.D., Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4)
  2. Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  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)
  5. Dickinson, F.H., Kirby's Quest for Somerset of 16th of Edward the 3rd London: Harrison and Sons, Printers in Ordinary to Her Majesty, St, Martin's Lane, 1889. Print.
  6. Smith, George (ed), Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1885-1900. Print
  7. "What are the 5,000 Most Common Last Names in the U.S.?".,
  8. 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)
  9. State Library of Queensland. (Retrieved 2014, November 26) America voyage to Van Diemen's Land, Australia in 1830 with 135 passengers. Retrieved from
  10. Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 30th March 2022). Retrieved from
  11. State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) MEDWAY 1846. Retrieved from
  13. Ships hit by U-boats crew list HMS Royal Oak (08) - (Retrieved 2018 February, 9th) - retrieved from on Facebook