Show ContentsSam History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Early Origins of the Sam family

The surname Sam was first found in Essex where the surname is descended from the tenant of the lands of Kelveden Hatch held by a steward of Westminster Abbey who was recorded in the Domesday Book census of 1086.

William de Sahan (died 1304), was an English judge, who may have been the son of Robert de Saham, but his father's name seems to have been Ralph. It is generally thought that he was a native of Saham Toney, Norfolk. [1]

Early History of the Sam family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Sam research. Another 116 words (8 lines of text) covering the years 1510, 1600, 1636 and 1679 are included under the topic Early Sam History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Sam Spelling Variations

Endless spelling variations are a prevailing characteristic of Norman surnames. Old and Middle English lacked any definite spelling rules, and the introduction of Norman French added an unfamiliar ingredient to the English linguistic stew. French and Latin, the languages of the court, also influenced spellings. Finally, Medieval scribes generally spelled words according to how they sounded, so one person was often referred to by different spellings in different documents. The name has been spelled Sames, Sams, Sammes, Samms, Sam, Same, Samme and others.

Early Notables of the Sam family

Outstanding amongst the family at this time was

  • Aylett Sammes (1636?-1679?), grandson of John Sammes, Lord of the Manor of Little Totham, Essex, an English antiquary, noted for his theories of Phoenician influence on the Welsh language[1]...

Sam World Ranking

In the United States, the name Sam is the 4,017th most popular surname with an estimated 7,461 people with that name. [2] However, in France, the name Sam is ranked the 4,589th most popular surname with an estimated 1,500 - 2,000 people with that name. [3] And in South Africa, the name Sam is the 878th popular surname with an estimated 7,947 people with that name. [4]

United States Sam migration to the United States +

To escape the political and religious persecution within England at the time, many English families left for the various British colonies abroad. The voyage was extremely difficult, though, and the cramped, dank ships caused many to arrive in the New World diseased and starving. But for those who made it, the trip was most often worth it. Many of the families who arrived went on to make valuable contributions to the emerging nations of Canada and the United States. An inquiry into the early roots of North American families reveals a number of immigrants bearing the name Sam or a variant listed above:

Sam Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Daniel Sam, who landed in Virginia in 1701 [5]
Sam Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Capt. Sam, who landed in Mobile, Ala in 1822 [5]
  • Dr. Sam, who arrived in San Francisco, California in 1850 [5]
  • Ramon Sam, aged 13, who landed in New Orleans, La in 1856 [5]

West Indies Sam 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. [6]
Sam Settlers in West Indies in the 17th Century
  • Gregory Sam, aged 15, who arrived in St Christopher in 1633 [5]

Contemporary Notables of the name Sam (post 1700) +

  • Joseph L. Sam, American Republican politician, Candidate for Texas State House of Representatives 109th District, 2002 [7]
  • Geraldine Sam, American Democratic Party politician, Democratic Candidate for U.S. Representative from Texas 9th District, 1994, 1996, 1996 [7]
  • Robert Sam Anson (1945-2020), American journalist and author, contributing editor to Vanity Fair for over 20 years
  • W. Sam Wightman, American politician, Candidate for U.S. Representative from Missouri 3rd District, 1912 [8]
  • Ahmad Sam Esman, American Republican politician, Candidate in primary for Michigan State Senate 12th District, 2001 [9]
  • Martin Sam Milner (1931-2015), American film, stage, radio and television actor, best known for his roles in Route 66 (1960 to 1964), and Adam-12 (1968 to 1975)
  • Alec Sam Denton (b. 1994), English footballer
  • Joseph Sam Beeler (1921-2002), American infielder in Major League Baseball
  • H. Sam Ansell Jr., American Republican politician, Candidate in primary for Michigan State House of Representatives 46th District, 1974 [10]
  • Sam Shepard (1943-2017), born Samuel Shepard Rogers III, American playwright and actor, recipient of the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1979 for his play, Buried Child, and was an Academy Award nominee for his portrayal of pilot Chuck Yeager

  1. Smith, George (ed), Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1885-1900. Print
  2. "What are the 5,000 Most Common Last Names in the U.S.?".,
  4. "Most Common Last Names in South Africa." Forebears,
  5. 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)
  7. The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, October 22) . Retrieved from
  8. The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2016, January 18) . Retrieved from
  9. The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, October 30) . Retrieved from
  10. The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, November 23) . Retrieved from on Facebook