Thornburg History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The ancestors of the Thornburg surname lived among the ancient Anglo-Saxon culture. The name comes from when they lived in Thornborough found in the counties of Buckinghamshire and North Yorkshire. Thornburg is a topographic surname, which was given to a person who resided near a physical feature such as a hill, stream, church, or type of tree. During the Middle Ages, as society became more complex, individuals needed a way to be distinguishable from others. Toponymic surnames were developed as a result of this need. Various features in the landscape or area were used to distinguish people from one another. In this case the surname was originally derived from the Old English thorn broc which means that the original bearers of the surname Thornburg were named due to their close proximity to the stream by the thorns.

Early Origins of the Thornburg family

The surname Thornburg was first found in Cumberland where they held a family seat at Selsheyd (now known as Selside.) This chapelry, in the parish, union, and ward of Kendal is now in the county of Westmorland. "The chapel, dedicated to St. Thomas, was erected in lieu of a more ancient edifice, about 1720, by the inhabitants, on a site given by William Thornburgh, Esq.; and was rebuilt on an enlarged scale in 1837, at an expense of about £600." [1]

Early History of the Thornburg family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Thornburg research. Another 63 words (4 lines of text) covering the years 1313, 1391, 1394, 1401, 1414, 1401, 1404, 1416, 1419, 1563, 1593, 1551, 1641, 1593, 1603, 1617, 1588 and 1603 are included under the topic Early Thornburg History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Thornburg Spelling Variations

Before English spelling was standardized a few hundred years ago, spelling variations of names were a common occurrence. Elements of Latin, French and other languages became incorporated into English through the Middle Ages, and name spellings changed even among the literate. The variations of the surname Thornburg include Thornborough, Thornbury, Thornberry, Thornborrowe, Thornbery, Thornburgh and many more.

Early Notables of the Thornburg family (pre 1700)

Notables of this surname at this time include: Sir John Thornbury; and Walter de Thornbury (died 1313), an English-born statesman and cleric probably born in Herefordshire who held the office of Lord Chancellor of Ireland. William Thornburgh was Member of Parliament for Westmorland in 1391, 1394, 1401 and 1414. Roland Thornburgh was Member of Parliament for Westmorland in 1401, 1404, 1416 and 1419. Edward Thornborough (born c.1563) was an English politician, Member...
Another 72 words (5 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Thornburg Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

United States Thornburg migration to the United States +

A great wave of immigration to the New World was the result of the enormous political and religious disarray that struck England at that time. Families left for the New World in extremely large numbers. The long journey was the end of many immigrants and many more arrived sick and starving. Still, those who made it were rewarded with an opportunity far greater than they had known at home in England. These emigrant families went on to make significant contributions to these emerging colonies in which they settled. Some of the first North American settlers carried this name or one of its variants:

Thornburg Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Edgar Thornburg, who settled in America, in 1892
  • Mrs. Thornburg, who immigrated to America, in 1892
  • R. Thornburg, aged 18, who landed in America, in 1892
  • Mr. Frank Thornburg, aged 38, who landed in America, in 1894
  • T. G. Thornburg, aged 48, who landed in America, in 1897
Thornburg Settlers in United States in the 20th Century
  • Lena Thornburg, aged 42, who immigrated to the United States, in 1904
  • Bernhard Thornburg, aged 0, who immigrated to the United States, in 1905
  • Sophie Thornburg, aged 50, who immigrated to the United States from Paris, France, in 1912

Contemporary Notables of the name Thornburg (post 1700) +

  • Zene C. Thornburg, American Republican politician, Postmaster at Des Moines, Iowa, 1924-25 [2]
  • Mark G. Thornburg (1882-1962), American Republican politician, Iowa Secretary of agriculture, 1924-33, 1939-43 [2]
  • Lisa Thornburg, American Republican politician, Candidate for West Virginia State Auditor, 2004 [2]
  • G. E. Thornburg, American Democrat politician, Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Missouri, 1960 [2]
  • Zene C. Thornburg, American politician, Postmaster at Des Moines, Iowa, (1924-1925)
  • Mark G. Thornburg (1882-1962), American politician, Iowa Secretary of Agriculture (1924-1933) and (1939-1943)
  • Lisa Thornburg, American political candidate for West Virginia State Auditor in 2004
  • Lacy Herman Thornburg (b. 1929), American politician, North Carolina State Attorney General, (1985-1993)
  • John W. Thornburg (1834-1888), American politician, Member of West Virginia State House of Delegates from Cabell County in 1875
  • G. E. Thornburg, American politician, Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Missouri in 1960
  • ... (Another 5 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

The Thornburg Motto +

The motto was originally a war cry or slogan. Mottoes first began to be shown with arms in the 14th and 15th centuries, but were not in general use until the 17th century. Thus the oldest coats of arms generally do not include a motto. Mottoes seldom form part of the grant of arms: Under most heraldic authorities, a motto is an optional component of the coat of arms, and can be added to or changed at will; many families have chosen not to display a motto.

Motto: Spectemur agendo
Motto Translation: Let us be judged by our acts

Suggested Readings for the name Thornburg +

  • 2385 "Forebears of the Thornburg and Hockett Families" by Velma Hockett Bosworth.

  1. ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
  2. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2016, August 18) . Retrieved from on Facebook
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