Read History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The Read surname is derived from the Old English word "read," meaning "red." It is most likely that the name was used as nickname for someone with red hair, before becoming their surname. In other instances, the Read surname no doubt came from some of the places so named in Britain, such as Read, Lancashire, Rede, Suffolk, and Reed in Hertfordshire.

Early Origins of the Read family

The surname Read was first found in Northumberland where they held a family seat from early times. One branch was found at Troughend-Ward. "The present house was built in the last century (c. 1700) by EIrington Reed, Esq., who also greatly improved the place by planting, and whose ancestors were settled in the township at a remote date. " [1]

Another branch of the family was found at Weston in Suffolk. " Weston Hall, the ancient seat of the family of Rede, a handsome mansion in the Elizabethan style, was partly taken down within a few years, and the remainder converted into a farmhouse." [1]

Early History of the Read family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Read research. Another 116 words (8 lines of text) covering the years 1758, 1600, 1385, 1415, 1502, 1511, 1579, 1609, 1692, 1692, 1721, 1519, 1593, 1683, 1620, 1644, 1541, 1551, 1795, 1866 and are included under the topic Early Read History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Read Spelling Variations

Although the name, Read, appeared in many references, from time to time, the surname was shown with the spellings Read, Reid, Reed, Reede, Redd, Reade and others.

Early Notables of the Read family (pre 1700)

Notable amongst the family name during their early history was William Rede or Reade (died 1385), Bishop of Chichester, a native of the diocese of Exeter; Robert Reed (died 1415), Bishop of Waterford and Lismore, Bishop of Carlisle and Bishop of Chichester; Sir John Reid of Barruck; Bartholomew Rede, Lord Mayor of London in 1502; Sir Richard Rede (1511-1579), English Master of Requests, came of a family settled at Nether Wallop in Hampshire; Sir John Read, of Wrangle was Sheriff of the County of Lincoln in 1609. Wilmot Redd (Read, Reed) (died September 22, 1692), was one of the victims of the...
Another 121 words (9 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Read Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Read World Ranking

In the United States, the name Read is the 1,957th most popular surname with an estimated 14,922 people with that name. [2] However, in Canada, the name Read is ranked the 947th most popular surname with an estimated 5,723 people with that name. [3] And in Australia, the name Read is the 299th popular surname with an estimated 11,875 people with that name. [4] New Zealand ranks Read as 204th with 2,726 people. [5] The United Kingdom ranks Read as 247th with 24,271 people. [6]

Ireland Migration of the Read family to Ireland

Some of the Read family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 116 words (8 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Read migration to the United States +

Gradually becoming disenchanted with life in Ireland many of these uprooted families sailed aboard the armada of sailing ships known as the "White Sails" which plied the stormy Atlantic. These overcrowded ships often arrived with only 60 to 70% of their original passenger list, many dying of cholera, typhoid, dysentery or small pox. In North America, some of the first immigrants who could be considered kinsmen of the Read family name Read, or who bore a variation of the surname were

Read Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • James Read who settled in Virginia in 1607
  • Anthony Read who settled in Virginia in 1623
  • Anthony Read, who landed in Virginia in 1623 [7]
  • Ellianor Read, who landed in Virginia in 1629 [7]
  • George Read, aged 6, who landed in New England in 1635 [7]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Read Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Ely Read who settled in Virginia in 1725
  • Anne Read who settled in Virginia in 1738
  • Mary Read who settled in Virginia in 1774
  • Andrew Read, who arrived in New York in 1784 [7]
Read Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Hen Read, aged 30, who landed in New York, NY in 1803 [7]

Canada Read migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Read Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
  • James Read, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1749
  • David Read, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1750
  • Mr. Moses Read U.E. born in Norwalk, Connecticut, USA who settled in Ontario, Canada c. 1784 married to Rebecca Pratt having 1 child, he died in 1802 [8]
  • Major. William Read U.E. (b. 1748) born in Donagel, Ireland from Georgia, USA who settled in Manchester Township, Guysborough County, Nova Scotia c. 1784, then resettled in Hinchinbrook, Châteauguay Valley, Montreal in 1794, then moved to Elizabeth Town [Elizabethtown], Leeds County, Ontario in 1796, in 1801 he moved to Frankville [Elizabeth-Kitley], Leeds and Greenville where he remained married to Agnes (Nancy) Russell having 11 children, he died in 1828 [8]
Read Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • James Read, aged 38, an engineer, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick in 1833 aboard the barque "Charlotte Lungan" from Liverpool, England
  • Ephraim Read, who arrived in Halifax, Nova Scotia in 1864

Australia Read migration to Australia +

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

Read Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Miss Elizabeth Read, (b. 1783), aged 30, Irish convict who was convicted in Dublin, Ireland for 7 years, transported aboard the "Catherine" on 8th December 1813, arriving in New South Wales, Australia [9]
  • Miss Mary Read, (Reid, Reed), (b. 1774), aged 39, Irish house keeper who was convicted in County Mayo, Ireland for 7 years, transported aboard the "Catherine" on 8th December 1813, arriving in New South Wales, Australia [9]
  • Mr. Richard Read, British Convict who was convicted in London, England for 14 years, transported aboard the "Earl Spencer" in May 1813, arriving in New South Wales, Australia [10]
  • W.W. Read, a blacksmith, who arrived in Van Diemen’s Land (now Tasmania) sometime between 1825 and 1832
  • Mr. William Read, English convict who was convicted in Westminster, London, England for 7 years, transported aboard the "Clyde" on 20th August 1830, arriving in Tasmania ( Van Diemen's Land) [11]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

New Zealand Read 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:

Read Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Henry Read, aged 27, a smith, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Aurora" in 1840
  • Caroline Read, aged 28, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Aurora" in 1840
  • John Read, aged 35, a farm labourer, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Birman" in 1842
  • Prudence Read, aged 38, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Birman" in 1842
  • Mr. Henry Read, Cornish settler travelling from Launceston, UK aboard the ship "Brothers" arriving in New Zealand in 1850 [12]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

West Indies Read 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]
Read Settlers in West Indies in the 17th Century
  • Mr. James Read, (b. 1615), aged 19, British settler travelling from Gravesend, UK aboard the ship "Hopewell" arriving in Barbados on 17th February 1634 [7]
  • Mr. Marmaduke Read, (b. 1610), aged 25, British settler traveling aboard the ship "Matthew" arriving in St Christopher (Saint Kitts) in 1635 [14]
  • James Read, who arrived in Barbados in 1679
Read Settlers in West Indies in the 18th Century
  • Delahay Read, who arrived in St Christopher in 1760 [7]

Contemporary Notables of the name Read (post 1700) +

  • Richard Read (b. 1957), American Pulitzer Prize-winning American journalist
  • Nathan Read (1759-1849), American teacher and U.S. Representative from Massachusetts
  • Sister Joel Read (1925-2017), American nun and the president of Alverno College from 1968 until 2003
  • Lieutenant-General George Windle Jr. Read (1900-1974), American Commanding General 2nd Army (1957-1960) [15]
  • Wendy Kilbourne Read (b. 1964), American former television actress and currently an attorney
  • George Read (1733-1798), American lawyer and politician from Delaware, signer of the Declaration of Independence
  • Thomas Buchanan Read (1822-1872), American poet and portrait painter
  • Opie Read (1852-1939), American journalist and humorist
  • Leonard Read (1898-1983), American economist and the founder of the Foundation for Economic Education
  • Gardner Read (1913-2005), American composer and musical scholar
  • ... (Another 24 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

HMS Cornwall
  • Arthur William Read (d. 1942), British Able Seaman aboard the HMS Cornwall when she was struck by air bombers and sunk; he died in the sinking [16]
  • Alfred Rupert Read (d. 1942), British Ordinary Seaman aboard the HMS Cornwall when she was struck by air bombers and sunk; he died in the sinking [16]
HMS Hood
  • Mr. Douglas Read (b. 1923), English Boy 1st Class serving for the Royal Navy from Portchester, Fareham, England, who sailed into battle and died in the sinking [17]
  • Mr. Anthony V Read (b. 1923), English Ordinary Seaman serving for the Royal Navy from Southampton, Hampshire, England, who sailed into battle and died in the sinking [17]
HMS Repulse
  • Mr. James Frederick Read, British Stoker 2ne Class, who sailed into battle on the HMS Repulse and died in the sinking [18]
HMS Royal Oak
  • Reginald Victor Read (d. 1939), British Petty Officer Stoker with the Royal Navy aboard the HMS Royal Oak when she was torpedoed by U-47 and sunk; he died in the sinking [19]
RMS Titanic
  • Mr. Joseph Read, aged 21, English Trimmer from Southampton, Hampshire who worked aboard the RMS Titanic and survived the sinking [20]


The Read 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: Pax copia
Motto Translation: Peace, plenty.


Suggested Readings for the name Read +

  • A Read Genealogy by Hugh S. Austin.
  • The Read Family History, 1740 to 1978 by Mildred Edgington.
  • The Reads, an American Saga by Dorothy Lutomski.

  1. ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
  2. ^ https://namecensus.com/most_common_surnames.htm
  3. ^ https://forebears.io/surnames/
  4. ^ https://forebears.io/australia/surnames
  5. ^ https://forebears.io/new-zealand/surnames
  6. ^ https://www.surnamemap.eu/unitedkingdom/surnames_ranking.php?p=10
  7. ^ 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)
  8. ^ 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
  9. ^ Convict Records of Australia (Retreived 2nd January 2021, retreived from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/catherine
  10. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 8th September 2021). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/earl-spencer
  11. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 19th February 2021). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/clyde
  12. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 17th October 2018). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  13. ^ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_West_Indies
  14. ^ Pilgrim Ship's of 1600's (Retrieved October 4th 2021, retrieved from https://www.packrat-pro.com/ships/shiplist.htm)
  15. ^ Generals of World War II. (Retrieved 2014, March 26) George Read. Retrieved from http://generals.dk/general/Read/George_Windle_Jr./USA.html
  16. ^ Force Z Survivors Crew List HMS Cornwall (Retrieved 2018, February 13th) - Retrieved from https://www.forcez-survivors.org.uk/biographies/listcornwallcrew.html#A
  17. ^ 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
  18. ^ HMS Repulse Crew members. (Retrieved 2014, April 9) . Retrieved from http://www.forcez-survivors.org.uk/biographies/listrepulsecrew.html
  19. ^ 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
  20. ^ Titanic Passenger List - Titanic Facts. (Retrieved 2016, July 13) . Retrieved from http://www.titanicfacts.net/titanic-passenger-list.html


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