Show ContentsPunch History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The name Punch came to England with the ancestors of the Punch family in the Norman Conquest of 1066. It comes from the Latin-Norman personal name Pontius, "hence, doubtless, as a diminutive the name Puncheon, variant of Punshon." [1]

Two other sources claim the name was Norman in origin: having derived from the Old Norman French name Ponche or the Old French name Ponce; [2] and/or from the Norman name Poyntz or Ponz, a branch of the Fitz-Ponce family. [3]

However, two other very reputable sources are at a loss to the name's origin. "This surname is derived from a nickname. I cannot explain this name." [4] "Its etymology has not occurred to me." [5]

Early Origins of the Punch family

The surname Punch was first found in various counties throughout Britain. The first record of the family was found in the Pipe Rolls of 1181 where Godfrey, Phillip Punch(e) was listed. Seman Ponche was listed in the Subsidy Rolls of Suffolk in 1327. [2] The Hundredorum Rolls of 1273 list: Robert Punche in Oxfordshire; and Philip Punche in Suffolk. Later the Rolls of Parliament listed John Punche, yeoman of the crown (no date given.) [4]

"The manor [of Linch in Sussex] is described in the Domesday Survey under the name of Lince, and at the time when that record was compiled, there were two ministers here, with a church. In the 16th century, the place was parcel of the estates of the dukes of Norfolk; it afterwards became the property of Viscount Montague, and eventually of the family of Poyntz." [6]

In Somerset, "Leighland, in the parish of Old Cleeve, was the property of the Poyntz family. From them it descended to the Rowes, in the reign of William III." [7]

Early History of the Punch family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Punch research. Another 89 words (6 lines of text) covering the years 1480, 1507, 1510, 1521, 1522, 1527, 1528, 1533, 1556, 1559, 1569, 1570, 1571, 1585, 1603, 1607 and 1661 are included under the topic Early Punch History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Punch Spelling Variations

Anglo-Norman names tend to be marked by an enormous number of spelling variations. This is largely due to the fact that Old and Middle English lacked any spelling rules when Norman French was introduced in the 11th century. The languages of the English courts at that time were French and Latin. These various languages mixed quite freely in the evolving social milieu. The final element of this mix is that medieval scribes spelled words according to their sounds rather than any definite rules, so a name was often spelled in as many different ways as the number of documents it appeared in. The name was spelled Punch, Poyntz, Pons and others.

Early Notables of the Punch family

More information is included under the topic Early Punch Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Punch Ranking

In the United States, the name Punch is the 14,788th most popular surname with an estimated 2,487 people with that name. [8]

United States Punch migration to the United States +

Because of the political and religious discontent in England, families began to migrate abroad in enormous numbers. Faced with persecution and starvation at home, the open frontiers and generally less oppressive social environment of the New World seemed tantalizing indeed to many English people. The trip was difficult, and not all made it unscathed, but many of those who did get to Canada and the United States made important contributions to the young nations in which they settled. Some of the first North American settlers with Punch name or one of its variants:

  • John Punch (fl. 1640) was an enslaved African from Cameroon, Gabon or Ivory Coast to the colony of Virginia. He attempted an escape but was sentenced to serve the remainder of his life as a slave. It should be noted the two men who were Scottish and Dutch accompanied John received a lesser punishment than he. John is known as the first official slave in the English colonies. [9]
Punch Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Mary Punch, who landed in Virginia in 1702 [10]
  • Hans Michael Punch, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1737 [10]
  • David Punch, who settled in Philadelphia in 1739
Punch Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • John Punch, who settled in Philadelphia in 1860

Canada Punch migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Punch Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • John Punch, who settled in Halifax, Nova Scotia in 1837
  • John Punch, who arrived in Halifax, Nova Scotia in 1843

Australia Punch migration to Australia +

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

Punch Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mr. James Punch, English convict who was convicted in London, England for 7 years, transported aboard the "Blundell" on 13th March 1844, arriving in Tasmania (Van Diemen's Land) [11]

New Zealand Punch 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:

Punch Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Miss Emma Punch, (b. 1834), aged 25, Cornish settler departing on 20th January 1859 aboard the ship "Victory" arriving in Lyttelton, Canterbury, New Zealand on 14th May 1859 [12]
  • Mr. William Punch, (b. 1823), aged 36, Cornish mason departing on 20th January 1859 aboard the ship "Victory" arriving in Lyttelton, Canterbury, New Zealand on 14th May 1859 [12]
  • Patt Punch, aged 33, a labourer, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Rodney" in 1875
  • Mary Punch, aged 30, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Rodney" in 1875
  • Janet Punch, aged 1, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Rodney" in 1875
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

West Indies Punch 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. [13]
Punch Settlers in West Indies in the 17th Century
  • James Punch, who settled in Barbados in 1679

Contemporary Notables of the name Punch (post 1700) +

  • Johnny Punch (b. 1978), American professional wrestler
  • Jerry Punch (b. 1953), American auto racing and college football commentator on ESPN
  • Lucy Punch (b. 1977), English Angel Film Award winning actress
  • Gary Francis Punch (b. 1957), former Australian politician and government minister
  • Leon Ashton Punch (1928-1991), Australian politician, Deputy Premier of New South Wales (1975-1976)
  • Sean Punch (b. 1967), Canadian writer and game designer

  1. Charnock, Richard, Stephen, Ludus Patronymicus of The Etymology of Curious Surnames. London: Trubner & Co., 60 Paternoster Row, 1868. Print.
  2. Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  3. 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)
  4. Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  5. Lower, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  6. Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
  7. Oliver, George, Collections Illustrating the History of the Catholic Religion in the Counties of Cornwall, Devon, Dorset, Somerset, Wilts, and Gloucester London: Charles Dolman, 61, New Bond Street, 1857. Print
  8. "What are the 5,000 Most Common Last Names in the U.S.?".,
  9. Coates (2003). "Law and the Cultural Production of Race and Racialized Systems of Oppression" (PDF). American Behavioral Scientist. 47 (3): 329, 351. doi:10.1177/0002764203256190. S2CID 146357699. Retreived 23rd September 2021 from
  10. 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)
  11. Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 25th October 2020). Retrieved from
  12. Cornwall Online Parish Clerks. (Retrieved 2018, April 30). Emigrants to Lyttelton 1858-84 [PDF]. Retrieved from
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