Show ContentsPutnam History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The lineage of the name Putnam begins with the Anglo-Saxon tribes in Britain. It is a result of when they lived in Puttenham, a place-name found in the counties of Hertfordshire and Surrey. 1 2 Both place-names have an identical etymology. They are derived from the Old English word ham, which means farm, and either the Old English personal name Putta, or the Old English word putta, which means hawk. The place-name taken as a whole means "farm belonging to Putta," or "farm where there are hawks." 3

Early Origins of the Putnam family

The surname Putnam was first found in Hertfordshire at Puttenham, a small village and parish, in the union of Berkhampstead, hundred of Dacorum. 4 The parish is listed as Puteham in the Domesday Book of 1086. 5 1

Puttenham, Surrey is another parish in the First division of the hundred of Godalming. 4 The first record of this local was in 1199 when it was listed as Puteham. 3

Puttenham Priory is a large house at the eastern end of the village and dates back to 1266. St John the Baptist church "occupies a picturesque situation close to the mansion of Puttenham Priory, is in the later English style, and contains some ancient brasses." 4

One of the first records of the family was Ralph de Puteham who was listed in the Curia Regis Rolls of 1205 for Berkshire. 6Later we found Richard de Puteham in Buckinghamshire in the Hundredorum Rolls of 1273. 7

Early History of the Putnam family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Putnam research. Another 92 words (7 lines of text) covering the years 1520, 1529, 1588, 1589, 1590, 1601, 1615, 1621, 1651, 1679, 1686, 1692, 1699, 1716 and 1774 are included under the topic Early Putnam History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Putnam Spelling Variations

Only recently has spelling become standardized in the English language. As the English language evolved in the Middle Ages, the spelling of names changed also. The name Putnam has undergone many spelling variations, including Puttenham, Putnam, Putman and others.

Early Notables of the Putnam family

Notables of this surname at this time include:

  • Lt. Thomas Putnam Sr. (1615-1686), was one of Salem's wealthiest residents; and his son, Thomas Putnam (1651-1699), American resident of Salem Village, was a significant accuser at the notorious 1692...

Putnam Ranking

In the United States, the name Putnam is the 1,574th most popular surname with an estimated 19,896 people with that name. 8

United States Putnam migration to the United States +

To escape the unstable social climate in England of this time, many families boarded ships for the New World with the hope of finding land, opportunity, and greater religious and political freedom. Although the voyages were expensive, crowded, and difficult, those families that arrived often found greater opportunities and freedoms than they could have experienced at home. Many of those families went on to make significant contributions to the rapidly developing colonies in which they settled. Early North American records indicate many people bearing the name Putnam were among those contributors:

Putnam Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • John Putnam, who settled in Salem in 1630
  • Nathaniel Putnam, who landed in Salem, Massachusetts in 1648 9
  • Thomas Putnam, who arrived in Virginia in 1659 9
  • John Putnam, who landed in Salem, Massachusetts in 1665 9
Putnam Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • David Putnam, who settled in Boston in 1820
  • A D Putnam, who landed in Texas in 1850-1906 9
  • G F Putnam, who arrived in San Francisco, California in 1851 9
  • J P Putnam, who landed in San Francisco, California in 1851 9
  • M Putnam, who arrived in San Francisco, California in 1851 9
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Putnam Settlers in United States in the 20th Century
  • Adelaide Putnam, who landed in America, in 1904
  • Amy Putnam, aged 21, who settled in America, in 1904
  • Claude G. Putnam, aged 20, who landed in America from London, in 1905
  • Charlotte Putnam, aged 30, who landed in America, in 1906
  • Avis Putnam, who landed in America, in 1906
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Canada Putnam migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Putnam Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
  • Mr. Daniel Putnam U.E. who settled in Parr Town, Saint John, New Brunswick c. 1784 10
  • Mr. Ebenezer Putnam U.E. (b. 1762) born in Worchester, Massachusetts, USA who settled in Saint John, New Brunswick c. 1784 he died in 1798 10
  • Mr. Ephraim Putnam U.E. who settled in Canada c. 1784 10

New Zealand Putnam 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:

Putnam Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Miss Sarah Putnam, British settler travelling from London aboard the ship "John Scott" arriving in Auckland, New Zealand on 7th March 1858 11
  • Mr. Richard Putnam, British settler travelling from London aboard the ship "John Scott" arriving in Auckland, New Zealand on 7th March 1858 11

Contemporary Notables of the name Putnam (post 1700) +

  • Hilary Whitehall Putnam (1926-2016), American philosopher, mathematician, and computer scientist, Cogan University Professor Emeritus at Harvard University, awarded the 2011 Rolf Schock Prize in Logic and Philosophy
  • James Putnam U.E. (1756-1838), American born immigrant to Canada as a United Empire Loyalist, Member of the Sydney County in the Legislative Assembly of Nova Scotia, (1785 to 1793), son of Samuel Putnam
  • Samuel Putnam U.E. (1725-1789), American born and educated at Harvard judge and politician who emigrated to Canada as a United Empire Loyalist, Member of New Brunswick's first Council, judge in the Supreme Court of New Brunswick
  • William Lowell "Bill" Putnam III (1924-2014), American broadcasting executive, Trustee Emeritus of the Lowell Observatory
  • Israel Putnam (1718-1790), popularly known as "Old Put," an American army general who fought with distinction at the Battle of Bunker Hill (1775) during the American Revolutionary War (1775–1783)
  • Palmer Cosslett Putnam (1900-1984), American consulting engineer and wind power pioneer
  • George Putnam (1914-2008), American television news reporter and talk show host
  • David Endicott Putnam (1898-1918), American flying Ace of World War I
  • Helen Putnam (1909-1984), American educator and politician, mayor of Petaluma, California (1965-79) and County Supervisor for southern Sonoma County (1979-84)
  • Herbert Putnam (1861-1955), American librarian, who introduced the Library of Congress classification system
  • ... (Another 1 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

USS Arizona
  • Mr. Avis Boyd Putnam, American Ship's Cook Third Class from Alabama, USA working aboard the ship "USS Arizona" when she sunk during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on 7th December 1941, he died in the sinking 12

Suggested Readings for the name Putnam +

  • The Putman Family, New York and Beyond by Warren Thomas Putnam.
  • A Brief History of the Family of Nathan Allen And Mary Putnam by Augustus L. Allen.
  • A Family Tree in America: Being a Genealogical Story of the Families of Deane, Putman, Boynton, Gager, Bull, and Allied Families by Frank Putnam Deane.

  1. Lower, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  2. Smith, Eldson Coles, New Dictionary of American Family Names New York: Harper & Row, 1956. Print
  3. Mills, A.D., Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4)
  4. Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
  5. Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds., Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8)
  6. Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  7. Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  8. "What are the 5,000 Most Common Last Names in the U.S.?".,
  9. 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)
  10. 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
  11. New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 17th October 2018). Retrieved from
  12. Pearl Harbour: USS Arizona Casualties List Pearl Harbour December 7, 1941. (Retrieved 2018, July 31st). Retrieved from on Facebook