Porter History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

In the times when people first began to use surnames, many, such as the ancestors of the Porter family, adopted their occupation as their surname. Porter was an occupational name for a gatekeeper or watchman deriving its origin from the Old French word "portier," meaning "doorman." The meaning was sometimes extended to mean the keeper of the castle. [1] [2]

Early Origins of the Porter family

The surname Porter was first found in Hampshire, where Hugh de Port was listed in the Domesday Book as a major land holder. "Soon after the Conquest, Bicton Manor [Sidmouth, Devonshire] was granted to one of the Norman followers of William a certain William the Porter, whose duty it was to keep the door of the gaol, and who held Bicton by this service. This tenure continued for some 700 years, down to the year 1787; and the early owners of the manor-house at different periods took the names Portitor, De Porta, De la Porte, and Janitor." [3]

A Milo Portarius, worked as a porter at the jail or castle of Winchester and was also listed in Hampshire in the Domesday Book. [4] The Hundredorum Rolls of 1273 list Robert le Porter. [2]

Early History of the Porter family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Porter research. Another 218 words (16 lines of text) covering the years 1183, 1190, 1202, 1263, 1330, 1356, 1296, 1390, 1394, 1599, 1587, 1649, 1689, 1622, 1683, 1636, 1680, 1660, 1640, 1695, 1692, 1696, 1648, 1660, 1686 and 1702 are included under the topic Early Porter History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Porter Spelling Variations

Spelling variations of this family name include: Porter, Pawter, Poreter, Portar and others.

Early Notables of the Porter family (pre 1700)

Outstanding amongst the family at this time was John Porter, English Member of Parliament for Taunton (1390-1394); John Porter (died 1599), English Member of Parliament for Bramber; William Porter, Sergeant at Arms to King Henry VII; Endymion Porter (1587-1649), an English diplomat and Royalist; James Porter, a British politician, Vice-Chamberlain of the Household and a Member of Parliament for Fethard in the 1689 Patriot Parliament, supporter of James II who followed him into exile; George Porter (1622?-1683), English Royalist army officer of the First English Civil War; Thomas Porter (1636-1680), an English dramatist...
Another 93 words (7 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Porter Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Porter World Ranking

In the United States, the name Porter is the 129th most popular surname with an estimated 171,603 people with that name. [5] However, in Canada, the name Porter is ranked the 301st most popular surname with an estimated 14,547 people with that name. [6] And in Newfoundland, Canada, the name Porter is the 72nd popular surname with an estimated 378 people with that name. [7] Australia ranks Porter as 153rd with 19,328 people. [8] New Zealand ranks Porter as 237th with 2,507 people. [9] The United Kingdom ranks Porter as 156th with 33,623 people. [10]

Ireland Migration of the Porter family to Ireland

Some of the Porter family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 120 words (9 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Porter migration to the United States +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Porter Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Abraham Porter, who arrived in Virginia in 1624-1625 [11]
  • John Porter (c.1605-1674), English settler to the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1633, signer of the Portsmouth Compact
  • Edmond Porter, aged 35, who landed in Virginia in 1635 [11]
  • Henry Porter, aged 30, who arrived in Virginia in 1635 [11]
  • Mr. Edmond Porter, (b. 1600), aged 35, British settler traveling aboard the ship "Constance" arriving in Virginia in 1635 [12]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Porter Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Hendrik Porter, aged 14, who landed in New York in 1710 [11]
  • Hannah Porter, who landed in Virginia in 1717 [11]
Porter Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Catherine Porter, aged 22, who landed in New Castle or Philadelphia in 1804 [11]
  • Elitia Porter, aged 44, who landed in New Castle or Philadelphia in 1804 [11]
  • Farr Porter, who arrived in America in 1805 [11]
  • Hugh Porter, aged 24, who landed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1805 [11]
  • James Porter, who arrived in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1808 [11]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Canada Porter migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Porter Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
  • Francis Porter, who landed in Halifax, Nova Scotia in 1749-1752
  • Aaron Porter, who arrived in Halifax, Nova Scotia in 1778
  • Private. John Porter U.E. (b. 1759) born in England who settled in Saint John, New Brunswick c. 1782 he enlisted in 1776 serving in the Queen's American Rangers, married to Mary having 1 son, he died in 1783 upon falling from a raft on the Saint John River before his son was born [13]
  • Private. Thomas Porter U.E. born in England who settled in Canada c. 1782 he enlisted in 1776 serving in the Queen's American Rangers, brother to John Porter [13]
  • Mrs. Anna Porter U.E. who settled in Saint John, New Brunswick c. 1784 [13]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Porter Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • Elisha Porter, who arrived in Canada in 1828
  • William Porter, aged 22, a labourer, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick in 1833 aboard the brig "Ugoni" from Belfast, Ireland
  • Michael Porter, aged 20, a labourer, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick aboard the ship "William" in 1834
  • Matthew Porter, aged 40, a labourer, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick aboard the ship "Ambassador" in 1834
  • Rachel Porter, aged 35, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick aboard the ship "Ambassador" in 1834
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Australia Porter migration to Australia +

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

Porter Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mr. Philip Porter, British convict who was convicted in Lancashire, England for 14 years, transported aboard the "Calcutta" in February 1803, arriving in New South Wales, Australia [14]
  • Miss Betty Porter, British Convict who was convicted in Somerset, England for 14 years, transported aboard the "Experiment" on 4th December 1803, arriving in New South Wales, Australia [15]
  • Mr. Benjamin Porter, (b. 1782), aged 25, Irish convict who was convicted in Dublin, Ireland for life, transported aboard the "Duke of Portland" in January 1807, arriving in New South Wales, Australia, he died in 1860 [16]
  • Miss Hannah Porter, English convict who was convicted in Kent, England for life, transported aboard the "Canada" in March 1810, arriving in New South Wales, Australia [17]
  • Jacob Porter, English convict from Gloucester, who was transported aboard the "Asia" on September 3rd, 1820, settling in New South Wales, Australia [18]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

New Zealand Porter 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:

Porter Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • William Porter, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Cashmere" in 1853
  • Maria Porter, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Cashmere" in 1853
  • Alfred Porter, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Cashmere" in 1853
  • Augustine Porter, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Cashmere" in 1853
  • Mr. David E Porter, British settler travelling from London aboard the ship "Norman Morrison" arriving in Auckland, New Zealand, Via Wellington and Lyttleton in 1854 [19]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

West Indies Porter 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. [20]
Porter Settlers in West Indies in the 17th Century
  • Mr. Robert Porter, (b. 1614), aged 20, British settler travelling from Gravesend, UK aboard the ship "Hopewell" arriving in Barbados on 17th February 1634 [11]
  • Mr. John Porter, (b. 1611), aged 24, British settler travelling from London, England aboard the ship "Anne and Elizabeth" arriving in Barbados in 1635 [21]
  • Edward Porter, aged 21, who landed in St Christopher in 1635 [11]
  • Robert Porter, who settled in Barbados in 1676 with his two children
Porter Settlers in West Indies in the 18th Century
  • Charles Ram Porter, who landed in Antigua (Antego) in 1752-1756 [11]

Contemporary Notables of the name Porter (post 1700) +

  • Charles Ethan Porter (1847-1923), American still life painter
  • Robert Porter (1940-2021), American record producer, discographer, writer, and radio presenter, inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame in 2009
  • Linda Porter (1933-2019), American actress. who made numerous appearances, most prominently in the series Superstore and Twin Peaks and the film Dude, Where's My Car?
  • Nolan Frederick Porter (1949-2021), American R&B singer and songwriter
  • J. W. "Jay" Porter (1933-2020), American Major League Baseball player for the St. Louis Browns (1952), Detroit Tigers (1955–1957), and Cleveland Indians (1958)
  • Bennie "Jean" Porter (1922-2018), American film and television actress, known for her roles in The Youngest Profession (1943), Bathing Beauty (1944), Abbott and Costello in Hollywood (1945) and more
  • Edward Melvin Porter (1930-2016), American lawyer and politician, Member of the Oklahoma Senate (1965-1987)
  • David Hugh Porter (1935-2016), American academic, 5th President of Skidmore College (1987-1999)
  • Charlie Porter (1951-2014), American mountaineer and climate change scientist
  • Major-General William Nichols Porter (1886-1973), American Chief of the Chemical Corps, War Department (1941-1945) [22]
  • ... (Another 40 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

HMS Hood
  • Mr. Reginald J Porter (b. 1910), English Musician serving for the Royal Marine Band from Gosport, Hampshire, England, who sailed into battle and died in the sinking [23]
  • Mr. Frederick A Porter (b. 1903), English Marine serving for the Royal Marine from Gosport, Hampshire, England, who sailed into battle and died in the sinking [23]
  • Mr. Cyril L D Porter (b. 1922), English Ordinary Signalman serving for the Royal Navy from Hounslow, Middlesex, England, who sailed into battle and died in the sinking [23]
HMS Prince of Wales
HMS Royal Oak
  • Jack Stanley Porter (1910-1939), British Shipwright 4th Class with the Royal Navy aboard the HMS Royal Oak when she was torpedoed by U-47 and sunk; he died in the sinking [25]
  • Henry William Porter (1917-1939), British Able Seaman with the Royal Navy aboard the HMS Royal Oak when she was torpedoed by U-47 and sunk; he died in the sinking [25]
  • Ebenezer Riddock Porter (d. 1939), British Seaman with the Royal Navy aboard the HMS Royal Oak when she was torpedoed by U-47 and sunk; he died in the sinking [25]
Pan Am Flight 103 (Lockerbie)
  • Walter Leonard Porter (1953-1988), American Musician from Brooklyn, New York, America, who flew aboard the Pan Am Flight 103 from Frankfurt to Detroit, known as the Lockerbie bombing in 1988 and died [26]
RMS Titanic
  • Mr. Walter Chamberlain Porter (d. 1912), aged 46, American First Class passenger from Worcester, Massachusetts who sailed aboard the RMS Titanic and died in the sinking and was recovered by CS Mackay-Bennett [27]
SS Caribou
  • Mr. Howard Hollis Porter, British passenger was travelling aboard the railway ferry "SS Caribou" when it was struck by a German submarine torpedo on 14th October 1942, the most significant sinking in Canadian waters at that time, he survived the sinking
SS Newfoundland
  • Mr. James Porter (b. 1868), Newfoundlander from Elliston, who on the 30th March 1914 he was part of the Seal Crew of the "SS Newfoundland" leaving the ship to intercept the Stephano which took him to the hunting grounds, he disembarked to begin sealing, but was caught in a thickening storm, attempting to return to the Newfoundland he and the 132 crew made camp for two days the sealers were stranded on the ice in a blizzard attempting to return to the ship, he survived
  • Mr. William Porter (b. 1890), Newfoundlander from Elliston, who on the 30th March 1914 he was part of the Seal Crew of the "SS Newfoundland" leaving the ship to intercept the Stephano which took him to the hunting grounds, he disembarked to begin sealing, but was caught in a thickening storm, attempting to return to the Newfoundland he and the 132 crew made camp for two days the sealers were stranded on the ice in a blizzard attempting to return to the ship, he survived
  • Mr. James Porter (1881-1914), Newfoundlander from Long Pond, who on the 30th March 1914 he was part of the Seal Crew of the "SS Newfoundland" leaving the ship to intercept the Stephano which took him to the hunting grounds, he disembarked to begin sealing, but was caught in a thickening storm, attempting to return to the Newfoundland he and the 132 crew made camp for two days the sealers were stranded on the ice in a blizzard attempting to return to the ship, he died during this time
SS Southern Cross
  • Mr. Robert James Porter (1893-1914), Newfoundlander from Long Pond, Manuels who was aboard the "SS Southern Cross" when it is suspected she sank between the 31st March 1914 and early April during the storm with a heavy load of pelts; no survivors were ever found


The Porter 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: Et fide et virtute
Motto Translation: Both fidelity and virtue.


Suggested Readings for the name Porter +

  • Edward Culver, John Porter and Mary Estey: a Line of Descent from Two Puritans and a Salem Witch, with Allied Families by Marilyn V. Squires Mills.
  • A Family History, William Porter, Jr. of Rockbridge County, Virginia (1740-1804) by Mary E. Porter.

  1. ^ Lower, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  2. ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  3. ^ Worth, R.N., A History of Devonshire London: Elliot Stock, 62, Paternoster Row, E.G., 1895. Digital
  4. ^ Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  5. ^ https://namecensus.com/most_common_surnames.htm
  6. ^ https://forebears.io/surnames/
  7. ^ The order of Common Surnames in 1955 in Newfoundland retrieved on 20th October 2021 (retrieved from Family Names of the Island of Newfoundland by E.R. Seary corrected edition ISBN 0-7735-1782-0)
  8. ^ https://forebears.io/australia/surnames
  9. ^ https://forebears.io/new-zealand/surnames
  10. ^ https://www.surnamemap.eu/unitedkingdom/surnames_ranking.php?p=10
  11. ^ 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)
  12. ^ Pilgrim Ship's of 1600's (Retrieved October 5th 2021, retrieved from https://www.packrat-pro.com/ships/shiplist.htm)
  13. ^ 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
  14. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 25th November 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/calcutta
  15. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 22nd March 2021). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/coromandel-and-experiment
  16. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 28th July 2021). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/duke-of-portland
  17. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 9th December 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/canada
  18. ^ State Library of Queensland. (Retrieved 2016, October 27) Asia 1 voyage to Van Diemen's Land, Australia in 1820 with 192 passengers. Retrieved from http://www.convictrecords.com.au/ships/asia/1820
  19. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 17th October 2018). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  20. ^ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_West_Indies
  21. ^ Pilgrim Ship Lists Early 1600's retrieved 23rd September 2021. (Retrieved from https://www.packrat-pro.com/ships/shiplist.htm)
  22. ^ Generals of World War II. (Retrieved 2014, March 26) William Porter. Retrieved from http://generals.dk/general/Porter/William_Nichols/USA.html
  23. ^ 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
  24. ^ HMS Prince of Wales Crew members. (Retrieved 2014, April 9) . Retrieved from http://www.forcez-survivors.org.uk/biographies/listprincecrew.html
  25. ^ Ships hit by U-boats crew list HMS Royal Oak (08) - (Retrieved 2018 February, 9th) - retrieved from https://uboat.net/allies/merchants/crews/ship68.html
  26. ^ Pan Am Flight 103's victims: A list of those killed 25 years ago | syracuse.com. (Retrieved 2014, April 9) . Retrieved from http://www.syracuse.com/news/index.ssf/2013/12/pan_am_flight_103s_victims_a_list_of_those_killed_25_years_ago.html
  27. ^ Titanic Passenger List - Titanic Facts. (Retrieved 2016, July 13) . Retrieved from http://www.titanicfacts.net/titanic-passenger-list.html


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