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

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".

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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.

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


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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.

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

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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"

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  • Denis-Pierre-Jean Papillon (1727-1794), French connoisseur of art and an administrator
  • John Ashton Papillon (1838-1891), British photographer and Royal Engineer
  • Dr. Agnès Papillon, General Practitioner, of Paris, France


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  1. De Ville, Winston. Gulf Coast Colonials, A Compendium of French Families in Early Eighteenth Century Louisiana. Baltimore, MD: Clearfield, 1999. Print.
  2. Rietstap, Johannes Baptist. Armorial Général. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co. Print.
  3. Matthews, John. Matthews' American Armoury and Blue Book. London: John Matthews, 1911. Print.
  4. Colletta, John P. They Came In Ships. Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1993. Print.
  5. Crozier, William Armstrong Edition. Crozier's General Armory A Registry of American Families Entitled to Coat Armor. New York: Fox, Duffield, 1904. Print.
  6. Best, Hugh. Debrett's Texas Peerage. New York: Coward-McCann, 1983. Print. (ISBN 069811244X).
  7. Annuaire Général Héraldique Universel. Paris: Institut Héraldique, 1901. Print.
  8. de la Porte, A. Tresor Heraldique. Paris: F. Casterman, 1864. Print.
  9. Zieber, Eugene. Heraldry in America. Philadelphia: Genealogical Publishing Co. Print.
  10. Bentley, Elizabeth P. Passenger Arrivals at the Port of New York 1820-1829. Baltimore, Maryland: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1999. Print.
  11. ...

The Papillon Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Papillon 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 2011 at 12:22.

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