Thain History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

A thane was (in like manner as the earl) not probably a title of dignity, but of service, so called in the Saxon of thenian (servire,) and in Latin minister, a ministrando. The Anglo-Saxon Thegn is equivalent to a servant or servitor. Three London traders bear this ancient and honourable name. [1]

Early Origins of the Thain family

The surname Thain was first found in Banffshire (Gaelic: Siorrachd Bhanbh), former Scottish county located in the northeasterly Grampian region of Scotland, now of divided between the Council Areas of Moray and Aberdeenshire, where they held a family seat from very ancient times, before and after the Norman Conquest in 1066.

One of the earliest records of the family was Philip de Thaun (fl. 1120), the Anglo-Norman writer who probably belonged to a Norman family of Thaun or Than, near Caen, but had come to England, perhaps with his uncle Hunfrei de Thaun. [2]

Other early records of the family include: Duncan Thane of Streuelin (Stirling) who witnessed a charter by Gilbert, Earl of Strathem, a. 1198, Lome Theine de Ures who witnessed a charter by Randulf de Strathphetham, c. 1222, and William Theynus de Kintor who appears as charter witness in 1253. [3]

Further south in England, we found Robertus filius Thein and Robert Tein listed in the Pipe Rolls for Norfolk in 1166, and William le Theyn in the Assize Rolls for Somerset in 1243. [4]

The Hundredorum Rolls of 1273 included: John le Theyn, Wiltshire; and Adam Theyn, Norfolk. The Excerpta e Rotulis Finium in Turri Londinensi included early London records. And it was there that we found Roger le Theyn and Nicholas le Then. [5]

In Somerset, Cecilia la Theyn was listed there, 1 Edward III (during the first year of King Edward III's reign.) [6]

Early History of the Thain family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Thain research. Another 124 words (9 lines of text) covering the years 1117, 1198, 1222, 1253, 1541, 1563, 1608, 1640, 1779, 1748, 1818, 1780 and 1793 are included under the topic Early Thain History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Thain Spelling Variations

Spelling variations of this family name include: Thane, Thain, Thaine, Thayne, Theyne and others.

Early Notables of the Thain family (pre 1700)

Notable amongst the Clan at this time was John Thane (1748-1818), English printseller and engraver who carried on business for many years in Soho, London, and became famous for his expert knowledge of pictures, coins, and every species of vertu. He was a friend of the antiquary Joseph Strutt, who at one period resided in his family home. He collected the works of Thomas Snelling, the medallic antiquary, and published them with an excellent portrait...
Another 74 words (5 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Thain Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Thain migration to the United States +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Thain Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Charles Thain, aged 21, who landed in Rhode Island in 1812 [7]
  • Thomas Thain, who landed in New York in 1824 [7]
  • George Thain, who arrived in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1847 [7]
  • Kasper Thain, who arrived in Arkansas in 1888 [7]

Canada Thain migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Thain Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
  • Mr. James Thain U.E. who settled in Saint John, New Brunswick c. 1784 [8]

Australia Thain migration to Australia +

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

Thain Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • J Thain, who landed in Sydney, Australia in 1839

New Zealand Thain 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:

Thain Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • William Thain, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Pegasus" in 1865
  • Charles Thain, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "British King" in 1883

Contemporary Notables of the name Thain (post 1700) +

  • John Alexander Thain (b. 1955), American businessman, investment banker, CEO of the CIT Group
  • Kevin Thain (b. 1969), Scottish shinty player from Tomatin, Scotland
  • Colin Thain (b. 1959), English Professor of Political Science, Head of the Department of Political Science and International Studies at the University of Birmingham
  • Caryl Thain (1895-1969), English cricketer
  • Gary Mervin Thain (1948-1975), New Zealand rock bassist, best known for his work with British band, Uriah Heep
  • The Hon. Thomas Thain (1778-1832), Scottish-born, Canadian merchant and politician in Lower Canada, partner in the North West Company
  • Lieutenant-Colonel Thain Wendell MacDowell (1890-1960), Canadian recipient of the Victoria Cross during the First World War for his actions at Vimy Ridge [9]


  1. ^ Lower, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  2. ^ Smith, George (ed), Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1885-1900. Print
  3. ^ 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)
  4. ^ Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  5. ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  6. ^ Dickinson, F.H., Kirby's Quest for Somerset of 16th of Edward the 3rd London: Harrison and Sons, Printers in Ordinary to Her Majesty, St, Martin's Lane, 1889. Print.
  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. ^ Thain MacDowell. (Retrieved 2010, September 27) Thain MacDowell. Retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thain_Wendell_MacDowell


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