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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright 2000 - 2015

Where did the English Sams family come from? What is the English Sams family crest and coat of arms? When did the Sams family first arrive in the United States? Where did the various branches of the family go? What is the Sams family history?


Anglo-Norman names are characterized by a multitude of spelling variations. When the Normans became the ruling people of England in the 11th century, they introduced a new language into a society where the main languages of Old and later Middle English had no definite spelling rules. These languages were more often spoken than written, so they blended freely with one another. Contributing to this mixing of tongues was the fact that medieval scribes spelled words according to sound, ensuring that a person's name would appear differently in nearly every document in which it was recorded. The name has been spelled Sames, Sams, Sammes, Samms, Sam, Same, Samme and others.

First found in Essex where they held a family seat as Lords of the Manor. After the Battle of Hastings in 1066, William, Duke of Normandy, having prevailed over King Harold, granted most of Britain to his many victorious Barons. It was not uncommon to find a Baron, or a Bishop, with 60 or more Lordships scattered throughout the country. These he gave to his sons, nephews and other junior lines of his family and they became known as under-tenants. They adopted the Norman system of surnames which identified the under-tenant with his holdings so as to distinguish him from the senior stem of the family. After many rebellious wars between his Barons, Duke William, commissioned a census of all England to determine in 1086, settling once and for all, who held which land. He called the census the Domesday Book, [1] indicating that those holders registered would hold the land until the end of time. Hence, conjecturally, 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.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Sams research. Another 231 words (16 lines of text) covering the years 1510, 1600, 1636 and 1679 are included under the topic Early Sams History in all our PDF Extended History products.


Another 57 words (4 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Sams Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.


For many English families, the political and religious disarray that plagued their homeland made the frontiers of the New World an attractive prospect. Thousands migrated, aboard cramped disease-ridden ships. They arrived sick, poor, and hungry, but were welcomed in many cases with far greater opportunity than at home in England. Many of these hardy settlers went on to make important contributions to the emerging nations in which they landed. Among early immigrants bearing the name Sams or a variant listed above were:

Sams Settlers in United States in the 17th Century

  • Thomas Sams, who landed in Salem, Massachusetts in 1638
  • Margaret Sams, who arrived in Maryland in 1652

Sams Settlers in United States in the 18th Century

  • George Sams, who arrived in Virginia in 1703
  • Richard Sams, who arrived in Virginia in 1712

Sams Settlers in United States in the 19th Century

  • Jose Sams, who arrived in Puerto Rico in 1855
  • Mike Sams, who landed in Texas in 1876
  • Frank Sams, aged 39, who landed in America from Bremen, in 1892
  • Kathie Sams, aged 11, who emigrated to the United States from Bremen, in 1892
  • Mrs. H. H. Sams, aged 20, who emigrated to the United States, in 1892

Sams Settlers in United States in the 20th Century

  • James Sams, aged 27, who settled in America from Southampton, in 1904
  • Christiana Sams, aged 29, who emigrated to America from Somerset, in 1905
  • William Henry B. Sams, aged 34, who landed in America from London, England, in 1906
  • Laret Sams, aged 13, who settled in America from St. Kitts, British West Indies, in 1910
  • Edward Henry Sams, aged 31, who emigrated to the United States from London, England, in 1911

Sams Settlers in Canada in the 20th Century

  • Peter Sams, aged 27, who emigrated to Winnepeg, Canada, in 1911

Sams Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century

  • William Sams, English convict from Essex, who was transported aboard the "Andromeda" on November 13, 1832, settling in New South Wales, Australia


  • Sheri Lynette Sams, American professional basketball player
  • Lloyd Ekow Sams (b. 1984), professional English footballer
  • Lionel Jeffrey Sams (b. 1961), English darts player who plays for the Professional Darts Corporation
  • Sidney "Sid" Sams (b. 1988), German footballer


  • The Sams Family of Virginia by Crawford F. Sams.
  • The Sams Family by Elizabeth Manuel.

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  1. ^ Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds., Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8)

Other References

  1. Dunkling, Leslie. Dictionary of Surnames. Toronto: Collins, 1998. Print. (ISBN 0004720598).
  2. Hanks, Patricia and Flavia Hodges. A Dictionary of Surnames. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988. Print. (ISBN 0-19-211592-8).
  3. Hitching, F.K and S. Hitching. References to English Surnames in 1601-1602. Walton On Thames: 1910. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0181-3).
  4. Weis, Frederick Lewis, Walter Lee Sheppard and David Faris. Ancestral Roots of Sixty Colonists Who Came to New England Between 1623 and 1650 7th Edition. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0806313676).
  5. Leeson, Francis L. Dictionary of British Peerages. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1986. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-1121-5).
  6. Hanks, Hodges, Mills and Room. The Oxford Names Companion. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002. Print. (ISBN 0-19-860561-7).
  7. Colletta, John P. They Came In Ships. Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1993. Print.
  8. Hinde, Thomas Ed. The Domesday Book England's Heritage Then and Now. Surrey: Colour Library Books, 1995. Print. (ISBN 1-85833-440-3).
  9. Markale, J. Celtic Civilization. London: Gordon & Cremonesi, 1976. Print.
  10. Burke, Sir Bernard. Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Peerage and Baronetage, The Privy Council, Knightage and Compainonage. London: Burke Publishing, 1921. Print.
  11. ...

The Sams Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Sams Family Crest was drawn according to heraldic standards based on published blazons. We generally include the oldest published family crest once associated with each surname.

This page was last modified on 27 November 2014 at 09:43.

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