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Papillon History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms


Origins Available: English, French


From the historical and enchanting region of France emerged a multitude of noble families, including the distinguished Papillon family. Originally, the French people were known only by a single name. The process by which hereditary surnames were adopted in France is extremely interesting. Surnames evolved during the Middle Ages when people began to assume an extra name to avoid confusion and to further identify themselves. Often they adopted names that were derived from nicknames. Nickname surnames were derived from an eke-name, or added name. They usually reflected the physical characteristics or attributes of the first person that used the name. The name Papillon is a nickname type of surname for a dainty person, being derived from the Old French word "papilon," which meant "butterfly".

Early Origins of the Papillon family


The surname Papillon was first found in Maine where they held a family seat in the seigneurie of Braiteau and were included amongst the aristocracy of that province on the southern borders of Normandy in the north of France.

The movie Papillon (1973) starring Steve McQueen was based on the 1969 autobiography by the French convict Henri Charrière. "Papillon was Henri Charrière's nickname.


Early History of the Papillon family


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Papillon research.
Another 189 words (14 lines of text) covering the year 1680 is included under the topic Early Papillon History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Papillon Spelling Variations


Spelling variations of this family name include: Papillon, Papilon, Papillin, Papilin, Papillo, Papilleau, Papillault, Papillaud, Papillot, Papilot, Papillote, Papillots, Papilotes, Parpillon and many more.

Early Notables of the Papillon family (pre 1700)


More information is included under the topic Early Papillon Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Migration of the Papillon family to the New World and Oceana


Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Papillon Settlers in United States in the 18th Century

  • François Papillon who settled in Louisiana in 1712

Papillon Settlers in United States in the 19th Century

  • Francois Papillon, aged 22, who landed in America, in 1892

Papillon Settlers in United States in the 20th Century

  • Georges Papillon, aged 27, who landed in America from France, in 1904
  • Louisa Papillon, aged 25, who emigrated to the United States from Paris, in 1905
  • George Papillon, aged 26, who emigrated to America from Paris, in 1906
  • Olle Papillon, aged 23, who landed in America from Havre, in 1922

Papillon Settlers in Canada in the 17th Century

  • Etienne Papillon, who settled in Quebec in 1691
  • Genevieve Garnier Papillon, who arrived in Quebec in 1691

Papillon Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century

  • Pierre, Andre, Daniel, and Elie Papillon, who were listed among the "Families from La Rochelle in Canada"

Contemporary Notables of the name Papillon (post 1700)


  • Jean-François Papillon (d. 1800), African-born slave in Haiti, one of the principal leaders in the Haitian Revolution against slavery and French rule
  • Denis-Pierre-Jean Papillon (1727-1794), French connoisseur of art and an administrator
  • John Papillon (1806-1889), English cricketer from Acrise, Kent who later became a Church of England priest, Rector of Bonnington, Kent (1831-1841), and Lexden, Essex (1841-1889)
  • Godfrey Keppel Papillon (1867-1942), English cricketer who played for Northamptonshire (1901-1903)
  • Annick Papillon (b. 1980), Canadian politician, Member of the Canadian Parliament for Québec (2011-2015)
  • John Ashton Papillon (1838-1891), British photographer and Royal Engineer

Papillon Family Crest Products



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