Show ContentsPoindexter History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The Poindexter family name is a legacy Britain's Norman past. It comes from the Old French "poing destre," meaning "right fist;" and as such is thought to have originally been some kind of nickname. [1] [2]

However, another source disagrees with this generally accepted origin. "This name does not signify ' the right hand,' as might easily be imagined, but is an old Norman name, signifying Spur the Steed, and analogous to Hotspur. It comes from two old words, which Wace often uses in the Roman de Rou; the first meaning ' to spur,'from the Latin pungo; the second, 'a steed or courser,' in French destrier, Ital. destriere." [3]

Early Origins of the Poindexter family

The surname Poindexter was first found in on the Island of Jersey where the earliest record of the names was of Geoffrey and Raoul Poingdestre as land owners in Jersey in 1250. Looking back further, the Pipe Rolls of the Exchequer of Normandy for the Reign of Henry ll, 1180 and 1184 list Ricardus Poingdestre, in the Bayeux District of the Bessin in Normandy (Lower Normandy) in 1180 and in 1195. Another reference confirms this entry but has modernized the spelling to Richard Poindestre and confirmed the year 1180. [4]

Early History of the Poindexter family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Poindexter research. Another 44 words (3 lines of text) covering the years 1609, 1691 and 1636 are included under the topic Early Poindexter History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Poindexter Spelling Variations

Endless spelling variations are a prevailing characteristic of Norman surnames. Old and Middle English lacked any definite spelling rules, and the introduction of Norman French added an unfamiliar ingredient to the English linguistic stew. French and Latin, the languages of the court, also influenced spellings. Finally, Medieval scribes generally spelled words according to how they sounded, so one person was often referred to by different spellings in different documents. The name has been spelled Poindexter, Poingdester, Poingdestre, Puddister and many more.

Early Notables of the Poindexter family (pre 1700)

Outstanding amongst the family at this time was Jean Poingdestre (1609-1691), a Jersey native who was a supporter of the Royalists in the English Civil War and later became Lieutenant Bailiff of Jersey. He was a writer on the laws and history of Jersey, born in the parish of...
Another 48 words (3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Poindexter Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Poindexter Ranking

In the United States, the name Poindexter is the 2,689th most popular surname with an estimated 12,435 people with that name. [5]

United States Poindexter migration to the United States +

To escape the political and religious persecution within England at the time, many English families left for the various British colonies abroad. The voyage was extremely difficult, though, and the cramped, dank ships caused many to arrive in the New World diseased and starving. But for those who made it, the trip was most often worth it. Many of the families who arrived went on to make valuable contributions to the emerging nations of Canada and the United States. An inquiry into the early roots of North American families reveals a number of immigrants bearing the name Poindexter or a variant listed above:

Poindexter Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • George Poindexter, who arrived in Virginia in 1660 [6]
Poindexter Settlers in United States in the 20th Century
  • Albert M. Poindexter, aged 46, who immigrated to America, in 1908
  • Madeline R. Poindexter, who immigrated to the United States, in 1908
  • Kathleen F. Poindexter, aged 23, who landed in America, in 1909
  • Katharine J. Poindexter, aged 2, who settled in America, in 1909
  • Robert Poindexter, aged 26, who settled in Los Angeles, Calif, in 1914
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Contemporary Notables of the name Poindexter (post 1700) +

  • Captain (USN) Alan Goodwin "Dex" Poindexter (1961-2012), American astronaut with over 306 hours in space and son of Admiral John Poindexter; he died tragically from a water scooter accident at the age of 50 [7]
  • Admiral John Poindexter (b. 1936), retired United States naval officer and Department of Defense official, 14th United States National Security Advisor (1985-1986)
  • Miles Poindexter (1868-1946), American politician, United States Senator from Washington (1911-1923)
  • H. R. Poindexter, American Tony award winning theatre lighting designer and set designer
  • Chester Jennings "Jinx" Poindexter (1910-1983), American Major League Baseball pitcher
  • George Poindexter (1779-1853), American politician, lawyer and judge, United States Senator from Mississippi (1830-1835)
  • Charles D. Poindexter (b. 1942), American Republican politician, Member of the Virginia House of Delegates [8]
  • Joseph Boyd Poindexter (1869-1951), American politician, the 8th Territorial Governor of Hawaii (1934-1942)
  • Emmett Williamson Poindexter (1892-1945), American lawyer and politician
  • Hildrus Augustus Poindexter (1901-1987), American bacteriologist who studied the epidemiology of tropical diseases
  • ... (Another 1 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

The Poindexter 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: Nemo me impune lacessit
Motto Translation: No one provokes me with impunity.

Suggested Readings for the name Poindexter +

  • A Poingdestre-Poindexter Genealogy: an Account of the Lineage of the Houston, Texas Branch of the Family by John D. Poindexter.

  1. Harrison, Henry, Surnames of the United Kingdom: A Concise Etymological Dictionary Baltimore: Geneological Publishing Company, 2013. Print
  2. Smith, Eldson Coles, New Dictionary of American Family Names New York: Harper & Row, 1956. Print
  3. Lower, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  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. "What are the 5,000 Most Common Last Names in the U.S.?".,
  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. NASA Astronauts Homepage. (Retrieved 2010, September 27) Alan Poindexter. Retrieved from
  8. The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2013, January 15) . Retrieved from on Facebook