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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright 2000 - 2016

Origins Available: English, French, Scottish


The Porter family name was originally adopted from the original bearers' occupation. Porter was an occupational name for a gatekeeper or watchman deriving its origin from the Old French word "portier," meaning "doorman." In the royal castles, and in some monasteries, the office of Porter was usually hereditary, and lands and privileges were usually connected to the position.

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

First found in Kyle, where Radulfus the porter witnessed the gift of the church of Cragyn (Craigie) to the monastery of Paisley in 1177.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Porter research. Another 198 words (14 lines of text) covering the year 1296 is included under the topic Early Porter History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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More information is included under the topic Early Porter Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Some of the Porter family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 140 words (10 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.

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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
  • John Porter (c.1605-1674), English settler to the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1633, signer of the Portsmouth Compact
  • Edmond Porter, aged 35, landed in Virginia in 1635
  • Edward Porter, aged 21, landed in St Christopher in 1635
  • Henry Porter, aged 30, arrived in Virginia in 1635


Porter Settlers in United States in the 18th Century


  • Hendrik Porter, aged 14, landed in New York in 1710
  • Hannah Porter, who landed in Virginia in 1717
  • Charles Ram Porter, who landed in Antigua (Antego) in 1752-1756

Porter Settlers in United States in the 19th Century


  • Elitia Porter, aged 44, landed in New Castle or Philadelphia in 1804
  • Catherine Porter, aged 22, landed in New Castle or Philadelphia in 1804
  • Farr Porter, who arrived in America in 1805
  • Hugh Porter, aged 24, landed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1805
  • James Porter, who arrived in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1808


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
  • 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
  • Mrs. Anna Porter U.E. who settled in Saint John, New Brunswick c. 1784


Porter Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century


  • Elisha Porter, who arrived in Canada in 1828
  • William Porter, aged 22, a labourer, arrived in Saint John, NB in 1833 aboard the brig "Ugoni" from Belfast
  • Michael Porter, aged 20, a labourer, arrived in Saint John, NB aboard the ship "William" in 1834
  • Matthew Porter, aged 40, a labourer, arrived in Saint John, NB aboard the ship "Ambassador" in 1834
  • Rachel Porter, aged 35, arrived in Saint John, NB aboard the ship "Ambassador" in 1834


Porter Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century


  • Jacob Porter, English convict from Gloucester, who was transported aboard the "Asia" on September 3rd, 1820, settling in New South Wales, Austraila
  • James Porter, English convict from Surrey, who was transported aboard the "Asia" on July 29th, 1823, settling in Van Diemen's Land, Australia
  • Peter Porter, English convict from Essex, who was transported aboard the "Argyle" on March 5th, 1831, settling in Van Diemen's Land, Austraila
  • James Porter arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Rajasthan" in 1838
  • Jane Porter arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Recovery" in 1839


Porter Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century


  • William Porter arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Cashmere" in 1853
  • Maria Porter arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Cashmere" in 1853
  • Alfred Porter arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Cashmere" in 1853
  • Augustine Porter arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Cashmere" in 1853
  • Edward Porter arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Jura" in 1861


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  • David Hugh Porter (1935-2016), American academic, 5th President of Skidmore College (1987-1999)
  • 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
  • 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)
  • Major-General Ray Edison Porter (1891-1963), American Commanding General 101st Airborne Division (1951-1953)
  • Brigadier-General John Andrew Porter (1886-1950), American Commanding General of Army Service Forces Depot, Fort Sam Houston (1943-1946)
  • 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
  • Peter Buell Porter (1773-1844), American lawyer, soldier and politician, United States Secretary of War (1828 to 1829)
  • Rufus M. Porter (1792-1884), American painter, inventor, founder of Scientific American magazine in 1845
  • James Davis Porter (1828-1912), American politician, 20th Governor of Tennessee (1875-1879)

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  • 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.
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  1. Urquhart, Blair Edition. Tartans The New Compact Study Guide and Identifier. Secauccus, NJ: Chartwell Books, 1994. Print. (ISBN 0-7858-0050-6).
  2. Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at Galveston Texas 1896-1951. National Archives Washington DC. Print.
  3. Barrow, G.W.S Ed. Acts of Malcom IV 1153-65 Volume I Regesta Regum Scottorum 1153-1424. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1960. Print.
  4. Scarlett, James D. Tartan The Highland Textile. London: Shepheard-Walwyn, 1990. Print. (ISBN 0-85683-120-4).
  5. Browne, James. The History of Scotland it's Highlands, Regiments and Clans 8 Volumes. Edinburgh: Francis A Niccolls & Co, 1909. Print.
  6. Innes, Thomas and Learney. Socts Heraldry A Practical Handbook on the Historical Principles and Modern Application of the Art of Science. London: Oliver and Boyd, 1934. Print.
  7. Prebble, John. The Highland Clearances. London: Secker & Warburg, 1963. Print.
  8. Bloxham, Ben. Key to Parochial Registers of Scotland From Earliest Times Through 1854 2nd edition. Provo, UT: Stevenson's Genealogical Center, 1979. Print.
  9. Innes, Thomas and Learney. Scots Heraldry A Practical Handbook on the Historical Principles and Mordern Application of the Art and Science. London: Oliver and Boyd, 1934. Print.
  10. Samuelsen, W. David. New York City Passenger List Manifests Index 1820 - 1824. North Salt Lake, Utah: Accelerated Indexing Systems International, 1986. Print.
  11. ...

The Porter Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Porter Family Crest was drawn according to heraldic standards based on published blazons. We generally include the oldest published family crest once associated with each surname.

This page was last modified on 6 April 2016 at 09:44.

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