Pinkerton History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

It is generally believed that the English family of this name originated in the locality 'of Punchardon' [1] while the Scottish branch originated "in the old barony of Pinkerton near Dunbar, East Lothian." [2] There is much debate about the former origin, but we include this entry for you the reader to view:

"We search in vain the Gazetteers of England and of Scotland, for any locality bearing this designation; yet the surname is local, being a corruption of the Punchardon, or Pincherdon, of the so-called Battel Abbey Roll, and the Ponte-Cardon of Domesday Book, which is derived from the place now known as Pont-Chardon, near Argentan, in Normandy. The name passed early into Scotland, and in Ragman Roll, A.D. 1296, it is written Pynkerton. It is uncommon in England, but more frequently to be met within Scotland and in the North of Ireland, to which last-named country it was introduced by Scottish colonists." [1]

Another noted source disagrees: "He declares that it is a corruption of Punchardon, and asserts that Punchardon is found as Pynkerton in Ragman Roll, A.D. 1296 (Patronymica Britannica). I doubt not he is right. It is believed that Punchardon is the place now called Pont-Chardon, in the arrondissement of Argentan, Normandy. In Domesday the surname is found as Ponte-Cardon. We may take it therefore that the family came into England at the Conquest." [3]

As to underscore this last entry, we draw your attention to: Magni Rotuli Scaccarii Normanniae which lists William and Robert de Ponte Cardun, Normandy 1180-95. "Pontcardon was near Neaufle, Normandy. Robert de Pontcardon 1083 held lands in Devon from Baldwin the Viscount (Exon. Domesd. 277, &c.) In 1165 William de Pontcardon held four fees in Devon, and two in Somerset, and Roger de Pontcardon held in Lincoln, and Matthew de Pontcardon in York or Northumberland (Lib. Niger). In 1216 the estates of Sir William Pontcardon at Aureville, Avesnes, and St. German, Roche, and Cetrentost, were granted to another by Philip Augustus, probably as an adherent of King John." [4]

Early Origins of the Pinkerton family

The surname Pinkerton was first found in East Lothian where they the first entry for the family was Nicol de Pynkertone of Haddingtonshire who rendered homage in 1296 to King Edward I of England.

In England, the Hundredorum Rolls of 1273 included Olyver de Punchardon, Devon and Eudo de Punchardon, Yorkshire. [3]

Allan Pinkerton, (1819-1884) born in Gorbals, Glasgow, Scotland emigrated to America in 1842. He would go on to found the famous Pinkerton National Detective Agency in 1850 in Chicago.

Early History of the Pinkerton family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Pinkerton research. Another 271 words (19 lines of text) covering the years 1296, 1396, 1494, 1552, 1559, 1566, 1483, 1758, 1826, 1494, 1552, 1551, 1621, 1612, 1649, 1667, 1483, 1900, 1793, 1812, 1750, 1850 and are included under the topic Early Pinkerton History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Pinkerton Spelling Variations

Spelling variations of this family name include: Pinkerton, Pinksten, Pinksen, Pinkston, Pinkertown, Pinkertoun, Pinkertoune, Pincartoune, Pincartoun, Penkarton and many more.

Early Notables of the Pinkerton family (pre 1700)

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

Pinkerton Ranking

In the United States, the name Pinkerton is the 4,386th most popular surname with an estimated 7,461 people with that name. [5]

Ireland Migration of the Pinkerton family to Ireland

Some of the Pinkerton family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 73 words (5 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Pinkerton migration to the United States +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Pinkerton Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Henry Pinkerton, who landed in Georgia in 1732 [6]
Pinkerton Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • James Pinkerton, aged 23, who arrived in New York in 1812 [6]
  • John Pinkerton, aged 48, who landed in Maine in 1812 [6]
  • I. Pinkerton and his wife who settled in Baltimore in 1820
  • Sheriff Pinkerton, who arrived in Philadelphia in 1828
  • Matthew Pinkerton, who arrived in Philadelphia in 1834
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Australia Pinkerton migration to Australia +

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

Pinkerton Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mr. James Pinkerton, (b. 1818), aged 23, Irish labourer from County Derry, Ireland departing on 8th July 1841 from Greenock, Scotland aboard the ship "New York Packet" arriving in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia on 23rd October 1841 [7]

New Zealand Pinkerton migration to New Zealand +

Emigration to New Zealand followed in the footsteps of the European explorers, such as Captain Cook (1769-70): first came sealers, whalers, missionaries, and traders. By 1838, the British New Zealand Company had begun buying land from the Maori tribes, and selling it to settlers, and, after the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, many British families set out on the arduous six month journey from Britain to Aotearoa to start a new life. Early immigrants include:

Pinkerton Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Mr. James Pinkerton, (b. 1838), aged 36, Scottish joiner, from Lanark travelling from Greenock aboard the ship "Nelson" arriving in Port Chalmers, Dunedin, Otago, South Island, New Zealand on 31st December 1874 [8]
  • Mrs. Catherine Pinkerton, (b. 1836), aged 38, Scottish settler, from Lanark travelling from Greenock aboard the ship "Nelson" arriving in Port Chalmers, Dunedin, Otago, South Island, New Zealand on 31st December 1874 [8]
  • Miss Alexandrina Pinkerton, (b. 1868), aged 6, Scottish settler, from Lanark travelling from Greenock aboard the ship "Nelson" arriving in Port Chalmers, Dunedin, Otago, South Island, New Zealand on 31st December 1874 [8]

Contemporary Notables of the name Pinkerton (post 1700) +

  • Allan Pinkerton (1819-1884), Scottish-born, American detective and spy, best known for creating the Pinkerton National Detective Agency
  • Mike "Pink" Pinkerton, American software developer working on the Mozilla browsers
  • Jay Pinkerton (b. 1977), American humorist
  • Robert Pinkerton, American Republican politician, Chair of Phillips County Republican Party, 2011 [9]
  • Lowell Call Pinkerton (1894-1959), American politician, U.S. Ambassador to Sudan, 1956-57 [9]
  • Louis R. Pinkerton, American Democratic Party politician, Candidate for Michigan State House of Representatives from Alpena District, 1950 [9]
  • Lenore Pinkerton, American Republican politician, Presidential Elector for Michigan, 1948, 1952; Member of Michigan Republican State Central Committee, 1949 [9]
  • Julian L. Pinkerton, American politician, U.S. Vice Consul in Loanda, 1922; Durban, 1925; Port Elizabeth, 1925; Lisbon, 1926; U.S. Consul in Lisbon, 1927-29; Rio de Janeiro, 1932; Jerusalem, 1938 [9]
  • Jennie Pinkerton, American Democratic Party politician, Alternate Delegate to Democratic National Convention from North Dakota, 2008 [9]
  • James W. Pinkerton, American politician, Mayor of Lodi, California, 1974-75, 1978-79, 1988-89, 1991-92 [9]
  • ... (Another 9 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

HMS Hood
  • Mr. Robert R Pinkerton (b. 1915), Scottish Wireman serving for the Royal Navy from Edinburgh, Scotland, who sailed into battle and died in the sinking [10]
RMS Lusitania
  • Mr. Robert Pinkerton, Irish Chief Baker from Liverpool, England, who worked aboard the RMS Lusitania and died in the sinking [11]


The Pinkerton Motto +

The motto was originally a war cry or slogan. Mottoes first began to be shown with arms in the 14th and 15th centuries, but were not in general use until the 17th century. Thus the oldest coats of arms generally do not include a motto. Mottoes seldom form part of the grant of arms: Under most heraldic authorities, a motto is an optional component of the coat of arms, and can be added to or changed at will; many families have chosen not to display a motto.

Motto: Post nubila sol
Motto Translation: After clouds sunshine.


  1. ^ Lower, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  2. ^ Black, George F., The Surnames of Scotland Their Origin, Meaning and History. New York: New York Public Library, 1946. Print. (ISBN 0-87104-172-3)
  3. ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  4. ^ The Norman People and Their Existing Descendants in the British Dominions and the United States Of America. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0636-X)
  5. ^ https://namecensus.com/most_common_surnames.htm
  6. ^ 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)
  7. ^ Ship Voyages to New South Wales (Retrieved 18th November 2020). Retrieved from http://indexes.records.nsw.gov.au/ebook/list.aspx?Page=NRS5316/4_4782/New%20York%20Packet_23%20Oct%201841/4_478200095.jpg&No=221
  8. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 17th October 2018). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  9. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, October 21) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html
  10. ^ H.M.S. Hood Association-Battle Cruiser Hood: Crew Information - H.M.S. Hood Rolls of Honour, Men Lost in the Sinking of H.M.S. Hood, 24th May 1941. (Retrieved 2016, July 15) . Retrieved from http://www.hmshood.com/crew/memorial/roh_24may41.htm
  11. ^ Lusitania Passenger List - The Lusitania Resource. (Retrieved 2014, March 7) . Retrieved from http://www.rmslusitania.info/lusitania-passenger-list/


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