Stephens History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Stephens is one of the names that was brought to England in the wave of migration following the Norman Conquest of 1066. The Stephens family name comes from the ancient personal name Stephen, meaning crown, wreath, or garland.

Early Origins of the Stephens family

The surname Stephens 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 was Thomas FitzStephen (died 1120) who 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.

Early History of the Stephens family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Stephens 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 Stephens History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Stephens Spelling Variations

Spelling variations in names were a common occurrence in the eras before English spelling was standardized a few hundred years ago. In the Middle Ages, even the literate regularly changed the spellings of their names as the English language incorporated elements of French, Latin, and other European languages. Many variations of the name Stephens have been found, including Stephens, Stevens, Stephen, Steven, Stiven and many more.

Early Notables of the Stephens 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 Stephens Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Stephens World Ranking

In the United States, the name Stephens is the 165th most popular surname with an estimated 141,759 people with that name. [1] However, in Canada, the name Stephens is ranked the 666th most popular surname with an estimated 7,840 people with that name. [2] And in Australia, the name Stephens is the 175th popular surname with an estimated 17,952 people with that name. [3] New Zealand ranks Stephens as 197th with 2,833 people. [4]

Ireland Migration of the Stephens family to Ireland

Some of the Stephens 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 Stephens migration to the United States +

For many English families, the social climate in England was oppressive and lacked opportunity for change. For such families, the shores of Ireland, Australia, and the New World beckoned. They left their homeland at great expense in ships that were overcrowded and full of disease. Many arrived after the long voyage sick, starving, and without a penny. But even those were greeted with greater opportunity than they could have experienced back home. Numerous English settlers who arrived in the United States and Canada at this time went on to make important contributions to the developing cultures of those countries. 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 Stephens were among those contributors:

Stephens Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Richard Stephens, who arrived in Jamestown, Va in 1624 [5]
  • John Stephens who settled in Virginia in 1635
  • Tho Stephens, who arrived in Virginia in 1635 [5]
  • Phillipp Stephens, who landed in Virginia in 1636 [5]
  • Jon Stephens, who arrived in Virginia in 1637 [5]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Stephens Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Guian Stephens, who landed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1700-1701 [5]
  • Grace Stephens, who arrived in Virginia in 1702 [5]
  • Hannah Stephens, who arrived in Virginia in 1703 [5]
  • Nicholas Stephens, who arrived in Pennsylvania in 1712 [5]
  • Edward Stephens, who landed in Virginia in 1713 [5]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Stephens Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Hugh Stephens, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1802 [5]
  • Mary Stephens, who landed in America in 1805 [5]
  • Edward Stephens, who landed in America in 1809 [5]
  • Elnor Stephens, who landed in New York, NY in 1811 [5]
  • Thomas Stephens, who landed in New York, NY in 1811 [5]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Canada Stephens migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Stephens Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
  • Thomas Stephens, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1749
  • William Stephens, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1749
  • John Stephens, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1750
  • Mr. Alexanda Stephens U.E. who arrived at Port Roseway, [Shelbourne], Nova Scotia on October 26, 1783 was passenger number 208 aboard the ship "HMS Clinton", picked up on September 28, 1783 at Staten Island, New York, USA [6]
  • Mr. Shadrach Stephens U.E. who settled in New Brunswick c. 1783 resettled in Ontario in 1799 he served in the Prince of Wales Regiment [6]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Stephens Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • Anne Stephens, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1820
  • Jane Stephens, aged 35, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick in 1833 aboard the barque "Alchymist" from Falmouth, Cornwall, England
  • Mary Stephens, aged 12, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick in 1833 aboard the barque "Alchymist" from Falmouth, Cornwall, England
  • Abraham Stephens, aged 15, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick in 1833 aboard the barque "Alchymist" from Falmouth, Cornwall, England
  • Catharine Stephens, aged 8, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick in 1833 aboard the barque "Alchymist" from Falmouth, Cornwall, England
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Stephens Settlers in Canada in the 20th Century
  • D Stephens, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick in 1907

Australia Stephens migration to Australia +

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

Stephens Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Miss Mary Stephens, English convict who was convicted in London, England for 7 years, transported aboard the "Broxbournebury" in January 1814, arriving in New South Wales, Australia [7]
  • Frederick Stephens, English convict from London, who was transported aboard the "Asia" on September 3rd, 1820, settling in New South Wales, Australia [8]
  • Mr. Thomas Stephens, (b. 1804), aged 17, English fisherman who was convicted in London, England for 14 years for uttering forged notes, transported aboard the "Claudine" on 20th May 1821, arriving in Tasmania ( Van Diemen's Land) [9]
  • George Stephens, English convict from Middlesex, who was transported aboard the "Asia" on April 1st, 1822, settling in New South Wales, Australia [10]
  • Edwards Stephens, a spinner, who arrived in New South Wales, Australia sometime between 1825 and 1832
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

New Zealand Stephens 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:

Stephens Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • John Stephens, who landed in Wellington, New Zealand in 1840
  • Alex Stephens, who landed in Bay of Islands, New Zealand in 1840
  • William Stephens, aged 50, a carpenter, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Duke of Roxburgh" in 1840
  • John Stephens, aged 19, a carpenter, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Duke of Roxburgh" in 1840
  • Samuel Stephens, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Whitby" in 1841
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

West Indies Stephens 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. [11]
Stephens Settlers in West Indies in the 17th Century
  • Philipp Stephens, aged 28, who arrived in St Christopher in 1634 [5]
  • Alice Stephens, who settled in Barbados in 1651
  • Benjamin Stephens, who settled in Barbados in 1660

Contemporary Notables of the name Stephens (post 1700) +

  • Edward V. "Mickey" Stephens (1944-2021), American politician, Member of the Georgia House of Representatives from the 165th District, serving since 2008
  • Stanley Graham Stephens (1929-2021), Canadian-born, American politician, journalist, and broadcaster, 20th Governor of Montana from 1989 until 1993
  • John Roger Stephens (b. 1978), known as John Legend, an American singer, songwriter, record producer, actor, film producer and philanthropist. In 2007, he received the Hal David Starlight Award from the Songwriters Hall of Fame. In 2015 he won the Academy Award for Best Original Song and Golden Globe Award for co-writing the song "Glory", he has won eleven Grammy Awards. In 2017, he received a Tony Award for co-producing Jitney for the Broadway stage. He received a Primetime Emmy Award nomination for his acting role in 2018, he has won an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony (EGOT) Award
  • Stephen Owen "Steve" Stephens (1930-2021), American broadcasting pioneer in Arkansas, host of Steve's Show
  • Willis Stephens (b. 1955), U.S. politician
  • Woody Stephens (1913-1998), American Thoroughbred horse racing trainer
  • William Stephens (1859-1944), U.S. politician
  • Vern Stephens (1920-1968), U.S. baseball player
  • Uriah Smith Stephens (1821-1882), U.S. labor leader
  • Rockwell Stephens (1900-1982), American author and recreational skiing pioneer
  • ... (Another 168 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Arrow Air Flight 1285
  • Mr. Dane Stephens (b. 1966), American Specialist 4th Class from Littleton, Colorado, USA who died in the crash [12]
Empress of Ireland
  • Mr. John Stephens, British Fireman from United Kingdom who worked aboard the Empress of Ireland and survived the sinking [13]
  • Mr. John Stephens, British Greaser from United Kingdom who worked aboard the Empress of Ireland and survived the sinking [13]
Halifax Explosion
  • Mr. Isaac James  Stephens (1845-1917), Canadian resident from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada who died in the explosion [14]
HMAS Sydney II
HMS Repulse
  • Mr. William Stephens, British Mechanician 1st Class, who sailed into battle on the HMS Repulse and survived the sinking [16]
  • Mr. Evan Stephens, British Leading Cook, who sailed into battle on the HMS Repulse and survived the sinking [16]
HMS Royal Oak
  • Mark Warren Stephens (1917-1939), British Assistant Cook (S) with the Royal Navy aboard the HMS Royal Oak when she was torpedoed by U-47 and sunk; he died in the sinking [17]
  • Henry Stephens (1921-1939), British Seaman with the Royal Navy aboard the HMS Royal Oak when she was torpedoed by U-47 and sunk; he died in the sinking [17]
RMS Lusitania
  • Master John Harrison Chattan Stephens, Canadian 1st Class Passenger from Montréal, Quebec, Canada, who sailed aboard the RMS Lusitania and died in the sinking [18]
  • Mrs. Frances Stephens, Canadian 1st Class Passenger from Montréal, Quebec, Canada, who sailed aboard the RMS Lusitania and died in the sinking and was recovered [18]
Senghenydd colliery
  • Mr. James Edward Stephens (b. 1881), Welsh coal miner from Abertridwr, Caerphilly, Wales who was working at the Senghenydd colliery when there was an explosion on the 14th October 1913; he died
USS Arizona
  • Mr. Woodrow Wilson Stephens, American Electrician's Mate First Class from Washington, 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 [19]


Suggested Readings for the name Stephens +

  • John Steevens of Guilford, Connecticut by Claude W. Barlow.
  • Stephens-Stevens and Stevenson-Stephenson by A. Maxim Coppage.

  1. ^ https://namecensus.com/most_common_surnames.htm
  2. ^ https://forebears.io/surnames/
  3. ^ https://forebears.io/australia/surnames
  4. ^ https://forebears.io/new-zealand/surnames
  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)
  6. ^ 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
  7. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 3rd November 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/broxbournebury
  8. ^ State Library of Queensland. (Retrieved 2016, October 27) Asia 1 voyage to Van Diemen's Land, Australia in 1820 with 192 passengers. Retrieved from http://www.convictrecords.com.au/ships/asia/1820
  9. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 17th February 2021). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/claudine
  10. ^ State Library of Queensland. (Retrieved 2016, October 27) Asia 1 voyage to Van Diemen's Land, Australia in 1822 with 190 passengers. Retrieved from http://www.convictrecords.com.au/ships/asia/1822
  11. ^ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_West_Indies
  12. ^ American War Memorials - Flight 1285. (Retrieved 2016, August 24) . Retrieved from http://www.uswarmemorials.org/html/monument_details.php?SiteID=317&MemID=550
  13. ^ Commemoration Empress of Ireland 2014. (Retrieved 2014, June 17) . Retrieved from http://www.empress2014.ca/seclangen/listepsc1.html
  14. ^ Halifax Explosion Book of Remembrance | Maritime Museum of the Atlantic. (Retrieved 2014, June 23) . Retrieved from https://maritimemuseum.novascotia.ca/what-see-do/halifax-explosion/halifax-explosion-book-remembrance
  15. ^ HMAS Sydney II, Finding Sydney Foundation - Roll of Honour. (Retrieved 2014, April 24) . Retrieved from http://www.findingsydney.com/roll.asp
  16. ^ HMS Repulse Crew members. (Retrieved 2014, April 9) . Retrieved from http://www.forcez-survivors.org.uk/biographies/listrepulsecrew.html
  17. ^ 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
  18. ^ Lusitania Passenger List - The Lusitania Resource. (Retrieved 2014, March 7) . Retrieved from http://www.rmslusitania.info/lusitania-passenger-list/
  19. ^ Pearl Harbour: USS Arizona Casualties List Pearl Harbour December 7, 1941. (Retrieved 2018, July 31st). Retrieved from http://pearl-harbor.com/arizona/casualtylist.html


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