Stephen History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Stephen is a name that came to England in the 11th century wave of migration that was set off by the Norman Conquest of 1066. Stephen comes from the ancient personal name Stephen, meaning crown, wreath, or garland.

"This name was introduced into Britain by the Normans, with whom it was a favorite. Although found occasionally in England before 1066 its use then was due really to Christian tradition, Stephen (Stephanos) having been the first Christian martyr after Christ." [1]

"This scripture name, like many others, was not introduced here until the Norman Conquest, after which we find it in the form of Fitz-Stephen. It occupies a large place among our surnames in the usual genitive forms of Stephens. Stevens, Steevens, Stephenson, Stevenson." [2]

Early Origins of the Stephen family

The surname Stephen was first found in Gloucestershire where they were descended from FitzStephen, a Breton knight who was conjecturally descended from Count Stephen of Brittany and accompanied William the Conqueror into England and fought at the Battle of Hastings in 1066. Stephen FitzAirard was the captain of the "Mora," the ship which brought William the Conqueror over from Normandy. His son, Thomas FitzStephen (died 1120) was captain of the ill-fated White Ship (la Blanche-Nef), which sank off Barfleur, Normandy, on 25 November 1120.

There was of course, King Stephen (c. 1097-1154,) King of England (1135-1154); he was the son of Stephen, Count of Blois and Chartres. Robert FitzStephen (d.1183) was a Welsh soldier of Norman descent and one of the leaders of the Norman invasion of Ireland.

William Fitzstephen (fitz Stephen) (died c. 1191) was a cleric and administrator in the service of Thomas Becket.

The Hundredorum Rolls of 1273 listed Gilbert filius Stephani, Lincolnshire; Jordan filius Stephani, Essex; and Richard Stephen, Oxfordshire. Note the Stephani spelling was the Latin form of the name [3]

The name is "mostly confined south of a line drawn west from the Wash, being represented in the counties north of that line by Stephenson and Stevenson. Its great home is in Cornwall, and there are secondary centres in Sussex, and in South Wales and in the adjoining English county of Hereford. The name is said to have been introduced after the Conquest. In Cornwall it is of very ancient date, as is evidenced by the family of Stephens of Tregeuna, who, according to Lower, are the descendants of the Stephyns of St. Ives in the. reign of Edward IV., their name being written then in the singular." [4]

In Scotland, "Ada filius Stephani was burgess of Elgin in 1286 (REM., 221), Henricus Stephani had a charter of land in Ayr in 1409 (Friars Ayr, p. 43), William Stephani appears as rector of the church of Lestalric in 1418 (CMN., 28), John Stephani was burgess of Forfar in 1434 (RAA., II, 71) and witness in Brechin in 1435. Nichol fitz Steven, chaplain of Scotland, had license to take shipping at London or Dovorre at pleasure in 1372 " [1]

Early History of the Stephen family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Stephen research. Another 211 words (15 lines of text) covering the years 1086, 1805, 1589, 1660, 1628, 1653, 1603, 1679, 1645, 1660, 1683, 1656, 1659, 1647, 1718, 1629, 1669, 1667, 1669 and are included under the topic Early Stephen History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Stephen Spelling Variations

Before the last few hundred years the English language had no fixed system of spelling rules. For that reason, spelling variations occurred commonly in Anglo Norman surnames. Over the years, many variations of the name Stephen were recorded, including Stephens, Stevens, Stephen, Steven, Stiven and many more.

Early Notables of the Stephen family (pre 1700)

Outstanding amongst the family at this time was Sir John Stephens of Finglas; Nathaniel Stephens (1589-1660), an English politician who sat in the House of Commons between 1628 and 1653, supporter of the Parliamentarian cause in the English Civil War; John Stephens (1603-1679), an English politician who sat in the House of Commons...
Another 53 words (4 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Stephen Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Stephen Ranking

In the United States, the name Stephen is the 3,845th most popular surname with an estimated 7,461 people with that name. [5] However, in Australia, the name Stephen is ranked the 848th most popular surname with an estimated 4,655 people with that name. [6]

Ireland Migration of the Stephen family to Ireland

Some of the Stephen family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 68 words (5 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Stephen migration to the United States +

The unstable environment in England at this time caused numerous families to board ships and leave in search of opportunity and freedom from persecution abroad in places like Ireland, Australia, and particularly the New World. The voyage was extremely difficult, however, and only taken at great expense. The cramped conditions and unsanitary nature of the vessels caused many to arrive diseased and starving, not to mention destitute from the enormous cost. Still opportunity in the emerging nations of Canada and the United States was far greater than at home and many went on to make important contributions to the cultures of their adopted countries. An examination of many early immigration records reveals that people bearing the name Stephen arrived in North America very early:

Stephen Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • D. Stephen who settled in Virginia in 1620
  • John Stephen, who arrived in Maryland in 1638 [7]
  • Ro Stephen, who landed in Virginia in 1650 [7]
  • William Stephen, who landed in Virginia in 1653 [7]
  • William Stephen who settled in Virginia in 1653
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Stephen Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Mary Stephen, who landed in Virginia in 1704 [7]
  • A Maria Stephen, who landed in America in 1716 [7]
  • Anne Stephen, who arrived in Virginia in 1719 [7]
  • Ulrich Stephen, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1727 [7]
  • Baeba Stephen, aged 20, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1732 [7]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Stephen Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Robert Stephen, aged 39, who arrived in New York in 1812 [7]
  • Sophia Stephen, aged 7, who landed in Mobile, Ala in 1832 [7]
  • Thomas Stephen, aged 45, who arrived in Mobile, Ala in 1832 [7]
  • Mickel Stephen, aged 20, who arrived in Mobile, Ala in 1832 [7]
  • Marblin Stephen, aged 18, who arrived in Mobile, Ala in 1832 [7]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Canada Stephen migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Stephen Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • John Stephen, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1834

Australia Stephen migration to Australia +

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

Stephen Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mr. Stephen Curran, English convict who was convicted in Middlesex, England for 14 years, transported aboard the "Baring" in April 1815, arriving in New South Wales, Australia [8]
  • Mr. James Stephen, Scottish convict who was convicted in Aberdeen, Scotland for 7 years, transported aboard the "Florentia" on 14th August 1827, arriving in New South Wales, Australia [9]
  • Mr. Stephen Anderson, (b. 1788), aged 48, English farm servant who was convicted in Hertford, Hertfordshire, England for 14 years for receiving stolen goods, transported aboard the "Bengal Merchant" on 4th August 1836, arriving in New South Wales, Australia, he died in 1862 [10]
  • Mr. Stephen Jones who was convicted in Monmouthshire, Wales for 14 years, transported aboard the "Bengal Merchant" on 4th August 1836, arriving in New South Wales, Australia [10]
  • Mr. Stephen Fitzgerald, (b. 1820), aged 19, English convict who was convicted in Kent, England for 15 years for robbery, transported aboard the "Barossa" on 8th December 1839, arriving in New South Wales, Australia, he died in 1900 [11]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

New Zealand Stephen 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:

Stephen Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Richard Stephen, aged 37, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Westminster" in 1843
  • Ann Stephen, aged 35, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Westminster" in 1843
  • Eliza Stephen, aged 8, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Westminster" in 1843
  • John Stephen, aged 5, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Westminster" in 1843
  • Ann Stephen, aged 2, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Westminster" in 1843
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Contemporary Notables of the name Stephen (post 1700) +

  • George A. Stephen Sr. (1921-1993), American inventor, entrepreneur and the founder of Weber-Stephen Products Co., best known for their brand Weber charcoal and gas grills
  • Joseph D. Stephen, American Democratic Party politician, Candidate for New York State Assembly from Franklin County, 1958 [12]
  • John Stephen, American politician, U.S. Attorney for Maryland, 1806-10; Presidential Elector for Maryland, 1812, 1816, 1820 [12]
  • James Barnett Stephen, American politician, Member of South Carolina State Senate 4th District, 1969-76 [12]
  • James Stephen, American politician, Member of Nebraska State House of Representatives, 1913 [12]
  • Alan Stephen, American Democratic Party politician, Candidate for Presidential Elector for Indiana, 1972 [12]
  • Sir James Fitzjames Stephen (1829-1894), English judge, born at Kensington on 3 March, the second son of Sir James Stephen (1789–1859)
  • James Stephen (1758-1832), English Master in Chancery, born at Poole in Dorset, the son of James Stephen, born about 1733
  • Sir George Stephen (1794-1879), English miscellaneous author, the fourth son of James Stephen (1758–1832)
  • Susan Stephen (1931-2000), English film actress
  • ... (Another 9 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

HMS Cornwall
  • Eric Berkeley Stephen (d. 1942), British Ordinary Seaman aboard the HMS Cornwall when she was struck by air bombers and sunk; he died in the sinking [13]
HMS Royal Oak
  • George P. Stephen, British Seaman with the Royal Navy aboard the HMS Royal Oak (1939) when she was torpedoed by U-47 and sunk; he survived the sinking [14]
RMS Lusitania
  • Mr. Thomas Ohan Stephen, American 3rd Class passenger from Chicago, Illinois, USA, who sailed aboard the RMS Lusitania (1915) and survived the sinking [15]


  1. ^ Black, George F., The Surnames of Scotland Their Origin, Meaning and History. New York: New York Public Library, 1946. Print. (ISBN 0-87104-172-3)
  2. ^ Lower, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  3. ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  4. ^ Guppy, Henry Brougham, Homes of Family Names in Great Britain. 1890. Print.
  5. ^ https://namecensus.com/most_common_surnames.htm
  6. ^ https://forebears.io/australia/surnames
  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. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 16th September 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/baring
  9. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 5th October 2022). https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/florentia
  10. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 7th October 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/bengal-merchant
  11. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 24th September 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/barossa
  12. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, November 9) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html
  13. ^ Force Z Survivors Crew List HMS Cornwall (Retrieved 2018, February 13th) - Retrieved from https://www.forcez-survivors.org.uk/biographies/listcornwallcrew.html#A
  14. ^ 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
  15. ^ Lusitania Passenger List - The Lusitania Resource. (Retrieved 2014, March 6) . Retrieved from http://www.rmslusitania.info/lusitania-passenger-list/


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