The Pointdexter 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
Harrison, Henry, Surnames of the United Kingdom: A Concise Etymological Dictionary Baltimore: Geneological Publishing Company, 2013. Print CITATION[CLOSE]
Smith, Eldson Coles, New Dictionary of American Family Names New York, Harper & Row, 1956. Print
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." CITATION[CLOSE]
Lowe, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
Early Origins of the Pointdexter family
The surname Pointdexter 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. CITATION[CLOSE]
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)
Early History of the Pointdexter family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Pointdexter research.Another 44 words (3 lines of text) covering the years 1609, 1691 and 1636 are included under the topic Early Pointdexter History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Pointdexter Spelling Variations
Anglo-Norman names are characterized by a multitude of spelling variations
. When the Normans
became the ruling people of England
in the 11th century, they introduced a new language into a society where the main languages of Old and later Middle English had no definite spelling rules. These languages were more often spoken than written, so they blended freely with one another. Contributing to this mixing of tongues was the fact that medieval scribes spelled words according to sound, ensuring that a person's name would appear differently in nearly every document in which it was recorded. The name has been spelled Poindexter, Poingdester, Poingdestre, Puddister and many more.
Early Notables of the Pointdexter 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... Another 42 words (3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Pointdexter Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the Pointdexter family to the New World and Oceana
For many English families, the political and religious disarray that plagued their homeland made the frontiers of the New World an attractive prospect. Thousands migrated, aboard cramped disease-ridden ships. They arrived sick, poor, and hungry, but were welcomed in many cases with far greater opportunity than at home in England
. Many of these hardy settlers went on to make important contributions to the emerging nations in which they landed. Among early immigrants bearing the name Pointdexter or a variant listed above were: George Poindexter, progenitor of a distinguished American family, originally of the Island of Jersey, who settled in Virginia in 1650; Jacob Poindexter, who came to Salem, MA sometime between 1600 and 1692.
The Pointdexter 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.