Potts History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The Anglo-Saxon name Potts comes from Phillip. A common medieval English form of the name Phillip is Philpot. This form was often shortened to the diminutive form Pot or Pott. It is from this form of Phillip that the surname Potts is derived. The personal name Phillip was popular thanks to the influence of St. Phillip, one of the twelve apostles of Christ. [1] There is, however, another possible etymology, that better explains some instances of the name. Pott was an Old English word which meant hole or pit. It was sometimes used topographically to indicate residence near such a geographical feature. This makes this surname polygenetic; that is, derived from more than one source and having more than one initial bearer.

Early Origins of the Potts family

The surname Potts was first found in Durham. By the time of the Hundredorum Rolls of 1273, the family had moved throughout ancient Britain: Colin Pot in Lincolnshire; Ricard Pot in Essex; Reginald Pot in Huntingdonshire; and William Pote in Norfolk. [1] Another source claims "Potts was the name of an old Northumbrian clan." [2] And still father to the north, Charles Potts was notary in Kelso, 1727. [3]

Early History of the Potts family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Potts research. Another 111 words (8 lines of text) covering the years 1641, 1644, 1686, 1675, 1721, 1592, 1673, 1640, 1648, 1660, 1605, 1612, 1618 and 1612 are included under the topic Early Potts History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Potts Spelling Variations

Before the last few hundred years, the English language had no fast system of spelling rules. For that reason, spelling variations are commonly found in early Anglo-Saxon surnames. Over the years, many variations of the name Potts were recorded, including Potts, Pott, Pot and others.

Early Notables of the Potts family (pre 1700)

Notables of the family at this time include Sir Thomas Putt, 1st Baronet (1644-1686) of Combe in the County of Devon, Member of Parliament for Honiton; and his son Sir Thomas Putt, 2nd Baronet (c. 1675-1721); Sir William Pott of Norfolk; Sir John Potts, 1st Baronet (c. 1592-1673), an English politician who sat in the House of Commons from 1640 to 1648 and in 1660; and Dr. John Potts (or Pott), originally from Cheshire...
Another 73 words (5 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Potts Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Potts migration to the United States +

To escape oppression and starvation at that time, many English families left for the "open frontiers" of the New World with all its perceived opportunities. In droves people migrated to the many British colonies, those in North America in particular, paying high rates for passages in cramped, unsafe ships. Although many of the settlers did not make the long passage alive, those who did see the shores of North America perceived great opportunities before them. Many of the families that came from England went on to make essential contributions to the emerging nations of Canada and the United States. Research into various historical records revealed some of first members of the Potts family emigrate to North America:

Potts Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Richard Potts, who arrived in Virginia in 1608
  • Anthony Potts, who settled in Virginia in 1635
  • Lacrecia Potts, who landed in Virginia in 1649 [4]
  • Fran Potts, who arrived in Virginia in 1664 [4]
  • Mary Potts, who arrived in Virginia in 1665 [4]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Potts Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Lancelot Potts, who arrived in Virginia in 1719 [4]
  • Margret Potts, aged 22, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1732 [4]
  • Michel Potts, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1732 [4]
  • Hans Michael Potts, who settled in Philadelphia in 1732
  • John Lodwick Potts, who settled in Philadelphia in 1738
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Potts Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Walter Potts, aged 25, who landed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1803 [4]
  • Day Potts, who arrived in America in 1805 [4]
  • Hans Potts, who arrived in America in 1805 [4]
  • Hans and Hanna Potts, who settled in Philadelphia in 1805
  • James Potts, aged 21, who landed in Virginia in 1812 [4]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Canada Potts migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Potts Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
  • Mr. Stephen Potts U.E. who settled in Saint John, New Brunswick c. 1784 [5]

Australia Potts migration to Australia +

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

Potts Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • James Potts, English convict from London, who was transported aboard the "Adamant" on March 16, 1821, settling in New South Wales, Australia [6]
  • Francis Potts, aged 21, a chandler, who arrived in Kangaroo Island aboard the ship "Buffalo" in 1836 [7]
  • Abigail Potts, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Hibernia" in 1851 [8]
  • John Potts, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Hibernia" in 1851 [8]

New Zealand Potts 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:

Potts Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Captain W. Potts, Australian settler travelling from Sydney aboard the ship "David" arriving in New Zealand in 1839 [9]
  • Mr. Potts, British settler travelling from London aboard the ship "Mandarin" arriving in Wellington, New Zealand on 21st May 1841 [9]
  • Christopher Potts, who arrived in Port Nicholson aboard the ship "Mandarin" in 1841
  • David Potts, aged 26, who arrived in Nelson, New Zealand aboard the ship "Martha Ridgway" in 1842
  • Hannah Potts, aged 23, who arrived in Nelson, New Zealand aboard the ship "Martha Ridgway" in 1842
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Contemporary Notables of the name Potts (post 1700) +

  • Erwin Potts (1932-2017), American businessman, the first non-McClatchy family member CEO of the McClatchy Company from 1989 to 1996
  • Andy Potts (b. 1976), American Olympic triathlete
  • Annie Potts (b. 1952), American television and film actress
  • Lieutenant General William Edward Potts (1921-2005), American Army Officer and a member of the Military Intelligence Hall of Fame
  • David Potts Jr. (1794-1863), American politician, Member of Pennsylvania State House of Representatives, 1824-26; U.S. Representative from Pennsylvania, 1831-39 [10]
  • Clyde Potts, American Republican politician, Mayor of Morristown, New Jersey, 1929-37 [10]
  • Charles J. Potts, American politician, Member of Maryland State House of Delegates from Wicomico County, 1947-50 [10]
  • C. H. Potts, American Republican politician, Alternate Delegate to Republican National Convention from Idaho, 1912; Mayor of Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, 1917-19 [10]
  • Benjamin Franklin Potts (1836-1887), American Democrat politician, Member of Ohio State Senate, 1867; Governor of Montana Territory, 1870-83; Member of Montana Territorial Legislature [10]
  • Alpheus Potts, American Republican politician, Candidate for Presidential Elector for New York, 1884; Presidential Elector for New York, 1896 [10]
  • ... (Another 49 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Empress of Ireland
  • Mrs. Margaret Potts (1888-1914), née Heavey Canadian Second Class Passenger from Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada who was traveling aboard the Empress of Ireland and died in the sinking [11]
HMS Hood
  • Mr. Frank S Potts (b. 1920), English Writer serving for the Royal Navy from West Hartlepool, County Durham, England, who sailed into battle and died in the sinking [12]
HMS Repulse
  • Mr. Stewart Potts, British Stoker, who sailed into battle on the HMS Repulse and survived the sinking [13]
  • Mr. Charles S H Potts, British Stoker 2ne Class, who sailed into battle on the HMS Repulse and survived the sinking [13]
HMS Royal Oak
  • Herbert H. Potts, British Seaman with the Royal Navy aboard the HMS Royal Oak when she was torpedoed by U-47 and sunk; he survived the sinking [14]
USS Arizona
  • Mr. Howard K. Potts, American Coxswain working aboard the ship "USS Arizona" when she sunk during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on 7th December 1941, he survived the sinking [15]


The Potts 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: Fortis et astutus
Motto Translation: Bold and Crafty.


Suggested Readings for the name Potts +

  • 773 Thomas Potts (Shield): and Related Families by Gloria(Potts) Stracke, My O'Bryand-Potts-Cowan Family of Union County, Kentucky by Marscena Frakes.

  1. ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  2. ^ Guppy, Henry Brougham, Homes of Family Names in Great Britain. 1890. Print.
  3. ^ Black, George F., The Surnames of Scotland Their Origin, Meaning and History. New York: New York Public Library, 1946. Print. (ISBN 0-87104-172-3)
  4. ^ 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)
  5. ^ 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
  6. ^ State Library of Queensland. (Retrieved 2016, October 27) Adamant voyage to New South Wales, Australia in 1821 with 144 passengers. Retrieved from http://www.convictrecords.com.au/ships/adamant/1821
  7. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) HMS BUFFALO 1836. Retrieved from http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1836Buffalo.htm
  8. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) HIBERNIA 1851. Retrieved http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1851Hibernia.gif
  9. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 17th October 2018). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  10. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, November 13) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html
  11. ^ Commemoration Empress of Ireland 2014. (Retrieved 2014, June 17) . Retrieved from http://www.empress2014.ca/seclangen/listepsc1.html
  12. ^ 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
  13. ^ HMS Repulse Crew members. (Retrieved 2014, April 9) . Retrieved from http://www.forcez-survivors.org.uk/biographies/listrepulsecrew.html
  14. ^ 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
  15. ^ Pearl Harbour: USS Arizona Casualties List Pearl Harbour December 7, 1941. (Retrieved 2018, July 31st). Retrieved from http://pearl-harbor.com/arizona/casualtylist.html


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