Place History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The vast movement of people that followed the Norman Conquest of England of 1066 brought the Place family name to the British Isles. They lived in south-eastern counties of England. "More probably from a ' place,' or mansion. What is called in other shires a hall, or a court, is frequently known in the south-eastern counties as a ' place.' e.g.: Brasted Place, co. Kent, Wakehurst Place, co. Sussex, Crowhurst Place, co. Surrey." [1]

However, the name is also a reference to Plaise, Normandy, the where the family lived prior to the Norman Conquest of England in 1066. The family is "armorially identified with Plaiz, or De Plessetis, a Norman baronial family." [2]

This name can be traced to the Old French word plais, which meant an enclosure or coppice surrounded by a fence of living wood.

Early Origins of the Place family

The surname Place was first found in Norfolk where "the noble family of De Playz were,' says Blomfield, in his History of Norfolk' soon after the Conquest, enfeoffed of several lordships by the Earl Warren.' Ralph de Playz witnesses a charter of William, second Earl 1091-97, granting the church of Coningsburgh, in South Yorkshire, to the monastery that his father had founded at Lewes. 'Sir Hugh was Lord in the time of King Stephen,' and was succeeded by a second Ralph. 'The family of De Playz had a considerable estate in Otringhythe and in the reign of King Henry II. there was a church concerning the patronage of which there was a great controversy between Sir Ralph de Playz and others, which was adjusted by the Bishop of Norwich, when it was allowed to be the right of the said Ralph, and his heirs for ever, to present to the same.' Among the adherents of the rebellious barons under King John we find another Sir Hugh, who held seven knight's fees at Ifford and Werpesburn in Sussex, and was twice married. From his first wife, Beatrix de Say, widow of Hugh de Nevill, he was divorced; but the second, Philippa, one of the co-heiresses of Richard de Montfichet, brought him a great estate in Essex, where the manor of Play; in Beacontree hundred, and the hamlet of Plaistow, near Stratford, are named from him. His great-grandson Giles was summoned to a great council held by Edward I. in 1293, followed him to Gascony in the ensuing year, and was a Baron by writ in 1297. Sir Richard, the grandson of Giles, was, in 1334, found heir to Stansted Montfichet on the death of John de Lancaster ; and the next heir, Sir John, called the fourth baron (though neither he not his predecessor were ever summoned to parliament) was the father of Margery, the heiress of the house, who carried the barony to the Howards." [3]

Another source notes the family can be found in various counties throughout ancient Britain as the name "is derived from a geographical locality. 'at the place.' " [4]

William de la Place who was listed in the Hundredorum Rolls of 1273. Later, Kirby's Quest listed John atte Place in Somerset, 1 Edward III (during the first year of the reign of Edward III.) [5]

Early History of the Place family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Place research. Another 85 words (6 lines of text) covering the years 1647, 1728, 1665, 1771 and 1854 are included under the topic Early Place History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Place Spelling Variations

A multitude of spelling variations characterize Norman surnames. Many variations occurred because Old and Middle English lacked any definite spelling rules. The introduction of Norman French to England also had a pronounced effect, as did the court languages of Latin and French. Therefore, one person was often referred to by several different spellings in a single lifetime. The various spellings include Place, Plaice, Plaiz, Plaise, Playse, Playses and many more.

Early Notables of the Place family (pre 1700)

Outstanding amongst the family at this time was Francis Place (1647-1728), English amateur artist, was fifth son of Rowland Place of Dinsdale, co. Durham. He was articled as a lawyer but due to Great Plague...
Another 34 words (2 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Place Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Place Ranking

In the United States, the name Place is the 4,438th most popular surname with an estimated 7,461 people with that name. [6] However, in France, the name Place is ranked the 2,134th most popular surname with an estimated 2,976 people with that name. [7]


United States Place migration to the United States +

Many English families left England, to avoid the chaos of their homeland and migrated to the many British colonies abroad. Although the conditions on the ships were extremely cramped, and some travelers arrived diseased, starving, and destitute, once in the colonies, many of the families prospered and made valuable contributions to the cultures of what would become the United States and Canada. Research into the origins of individual families in North America has revealed records of the immigration of a number of people bearing the name Place or a variant listed above:

Place Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Mr. Peter Place, (b. 1615), aged 20, British settler traveling aboard the ship "Truelove" arriving in Massachusetts Bay in 1635 [8]
  • James Place, who settled in Virginia in 1636
  • James Place, who arrived in Virginia in 1636 [9]
  • Mary Place, who arrived in Virginia in 1636 [9]
  • Thomas Place, who landed in Massachusetts in 1640 [9]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Place Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Rowland Place, who landed in Virginia in 1713 [9]
  • Lorentz Place, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1742 [9]
Place Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Godfred Place, who arrived in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1856 [9]
  • Catalina Place, aged 19, who arrived in New Orleans, La in 1858 [9]
  • Elizabeth Place, aged 59, who landed in New York in 1862 [9]
  • Rees Place, aged 17, who arrived in New York in 1862 [9]
  • William Place, aged 15, who arrived in New York in 1862 [9]
Place Settlers in United States in the 20th Century
  • Lewis Halvorson Place, who arrived in Wisconsin in 1910 [9]

Canada Place migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Place Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
  • Miss. Elizabeth Place U.E. who settled in Belle Vue, Beaver Harbour, Charlotte County, New Brunswick c. 1783 listed as a child more than 10 years of age [10]
  • Miss. Rosetta Place U.E. who settled in Belle Vue, Beaver Harbour, Charlotte County, New Brunswick c. 1783 listed as a child less than 10 years of age [10]
  • Mr. William Place U.E. who settled in Parr Town, Saint John, New Brunswick c. 1783 he is also listed on a Roll of Loyalists settling in Belle Vue, Beaver Harbour, Charlotte County, New Brunswick [10]
  • Mr. Aaron Place U.E. who settled in Parr Town, Saint John, New Brunswick c. 1784 [10]
  • Mr. Smith Place U.E. who settled in Belle Vue, Beaver Harbour, Charlotte County, New Brunswick c. 1784 listed as a child more than 10 years of age [10]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Australia Place migration to Australia +

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

Place Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mr. John Place, English convict who was convicted in Leeds, Yorkshire, England for 7 years, transported aboard the "David Clarke" on 3rd June 1841, arriving in Tasmania ( Van Diemen's Land) [11]
  • John Place, aged 37, a labourer, who arrived in South Australia in 1852 aboard the ship "Amazon" [12]
  • Mr. Isaac Place, English convict who was convicted in Liverpool, Merseyside, England for 10 years, transported aboard the "Clyde" on 11th March 1863, arriving in Western Australia, Australia [13]

West Indies Place 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. [14]
Place Settlers in West Indies in the 17th Century
  • John Place, who settled in Barbados in 1634
  • Mr. John Place, (b. 1612), aged 22, British settler travelling from London, UK arriving in St Christopher (St. Kitts) on 5th January 1634 [9]

Contemporary Notables of the name Place (post 1700) +

  • Martha M. Place (1849-1899), born Martha "Mattie" Garretson, American murderer, the first woman to die in the electric chair
  • Robert M. Place (b. 1947), American artist and author, best known for developing the identity theory of mind
  • Mary Kay Place (b. 1947), American Primetime Emmy Award winning actress, singer, director and screen writer, known for Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman (1976), Being John Malkovich (1999) and Sweet Home Alabama (2002)
  • Etta Place (b. 1878), American companion and close friend of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid; her real name is a mystery
  • John A. Place, American politician, Member of New York State Assembly from Oswego County 1st District, 1868 [15]
  • John Place, American politician, Representative from California 10th District, 1996, 1998 [15]
  • James N. Place, American politician, Member of Pennsylvania State House of Representatives from Monroe County, 1903-06 [15]
  • Isaac V. Place, American politician, Representative from New York 20th District, 1876 [15]
  • Harris L. Place, American Democratic Party politician, Candidate in primary for Delegate to Michigan State Constitutional Convention from Wayne County 12th District, 1961 [15]
  • Frank E. Place, American politician, Member of Pennsylvania State House of Representatives from Monroe County, 1897-98 [15]
  • ... (Another 9 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)


  1. ^ Lower, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  2. ^ 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)
  3. ^ Cleveland, Dutchess of The Battle Abbey Roll with some Account of the Norman Lineages. London: John Murray, Abermarle Street, 1889. Print. Volume 3 of 3
  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. ^ https://namecensus.com/most_common_surnames.htm
  7. ^ http://www.journaldesfemmes.com/nom-de-famille/nom/
  8. ^ Pilgrim Ship's of 1600's (Retrieved October 6th 2021, retrieved from https://www.packrat-pro.com/ships/shiplist.htm)
  9. ^ 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)
  10. ^ Rubincam, Milton. The Old United Empire Loyalists List. Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc, 1976. (Originally published as; United Empire Loyalists. The Centennial of the Settlement of Upper Canada. Rose Publishing Company, 1885.) ISBN 0-8063-0331-X
  11. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 3rd June 2021). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/david-clarke
  12. ^ South Australian Register Tuesday 3 February 1852. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) AMAZON 1852. Retrieved http://www.theshipslist.com/ships/australia/amazon1852.shtml
  13. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 25th February 2021). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/clyde
  14. ^ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_West_Indies
  15. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, October 13) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html


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