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

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

In ancient Anglo-Saxon England, the ancestors of the Thorne surname lived near a thorn bush or hedge. Thorne is a local surname, which belongs to the category of hereditary surnames. Other types of local surnames include topographic surnames, which could be given to a person who lived beside any physical feature, such as a hill, stream, church or type of tree. Habitation names form the other broad category of surnames that were derived from place-names. They were derived from pre-existing names for towns, villages, parishes, or farmsteads. Other local names are derived from the names of houses, manors, estates, regions, and entire counties. The surname Thorne comes from the Old English or Old Norse words which mean thorn. The surname Thorne may also be a habitational surname, for someone who came from a place named with this word, for example Thorne, in Somerset, or Thorns, in Suffolk. The Thorne family's origins date back to the period prior to the Norman Conquest of 1066, to the county of Somerset, where they resided at Thorne-Falcon and Thorne-St. Nargaret.


It is only in the last few hundred years that the English language has been standardized. For that reason, early Anglo-Saxon surnames like Thorne are characterized by many spelling variations. As the English language changed and incorporated elements of other European languages, even literate people changed the spelling of their names. The variations of the name Thorne include: Thorn, Thorne and others.

First found in Somerset where it is believed they held a family seat after the Norman Conquest in 1066 as Lords of the manor of Thorne-Falcon and Thorne-St. Nargaret in that shire.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Thorne research. Another 254 words(18 lines of text) covering the year 1610 is included under the topic Early Thorne History in all our PDF Extended History products.


More information is included under the topic Early Thorne Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.


Some of the Thorne family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 107 words(8 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.


Many English families tired of political and religious strife left Britain for the new colonies in North America. Although the trip itself offered no relief - conditions on the ships were extremely cramped, and many travelers arrived diseased, starving, and destitute - these immigrants believed the opportunities that awaited them were worth the risks. Once in the colonies, many of the families did indeed prosper and, in turn, made significant contributions to the culture and economies of the growing colonies. An inquiry into the early roots of North American families has revealed a number of immigrants bearing the name Thorne or a variant listed above:

Thorne Settlers in United States in the 17th Century

  • Henry Thorne settled in Virginia in 1622
  • Henry Thorne, who arrived in Virginia in 1623
  • Peter Thorne settled in Boston Massachusetts in 1635
  • Thomas Thorne settled in Virginia in 1635
  • Arthur Thorne, aged 33, landed in Bermuda in 1635

Thorne Settlers in United States in the 18th Century

  • Eliza Thorne, who landed in Virginia in 1701
  • Katherine Thorne, who landed in Virginia in 1704
  • Philip Thorne, who landed in Virginia in 1713
  • Margaret Thorne, who arrived in New England in 1718

Thorne Settlers in United States in the 19th Century

  • James Thorne, who landed in San Francisco, California in 1850
  • C R Thorne, who arrived in San Francisco, California in 1851
  • Ford Thorne, who arrived in Arkansas in 1878

Thorne Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century

  • William Thorne settled in St. John's Newfoundland in 1762
  • Richard Thorne was a property owner and fisherman of Torbay, Newfoundland, in 1794

Thorne Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century

  • Jane Thorne, aged 28, a servant, arrived in Saint John, NB in 1833 aboard the ship "Branches" from London
  • Sarah Thorne, aged 24, a servant, arrived in Saint John, NB in 1833 aboard the ship "Branches" from London

Thorne Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century

  • Francis Thorne, English convict from Nottingham, who was transported aboard the "Asia" on April 1st, 1822, settling in New South Wales, Austraila
  • John Frank Thorne a seaman, arrived in Kangaroo Island aboard the ship "Rapid" in 1836
  • Anna Thorne arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Constant" in 1849
  • William Thorne, aged 31, arrived in South Australia in 1852 aboard the ship "Surge"
  • Charles Thorne, aged 27, arrived in South Australia in 1853 aboard the ship "Magdalena"

Thorne Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century

  • William Thorne landed in Auckland, New Zealand in 1840
  • James Thorne arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Nimroud" in 1860
  • Frederic Thorne, aged 19, a farm labourer, arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Avalanche" in 1875
  • Charles B. Thorne, aged 36, a blacksmith, arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Dunedin" in 1875
  • Lydia Thorne, aged 28, arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Dunedin" in 1875


  • Isabel Jane Thorne (1833-1910), early American campaigner for medical education for women
  • Kip Stephen Thorne (b. 1940), American theoretical physicist
  • Corporal Horace Marvin "Buddy" Thorne (1918-1944), American soldier awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor in 1944
  • Lieutenant Commander Stephen D. Thorne (1953-1986), Former NASA astronaut
  • Miss Gertrude Maybelle Thorne, aged 38, American First Class passenger from New York City, New York who sailed aboard the RMS Titanic and survived the sinking escaping in life boat D
  • Raymond Thorne, American Olympic sliver medalist for swimming at the 1904 games
  • Jon Thorne (b. 1967), English double bassist
  • Jack Thorne (b. 1978), English screenwriter and playwright
  • Mr. Harry Johnson Thorne (d. 1912), aged 25, English Assistant Ship's Cook from Southampton, Hampshire who worked aboard the RMS Titanic and died in the sinking
  • Leslie Thorne (1916-1993), Scottish Formula One driver



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  1. Foster, Joseph. Dictionary of Heraldry Feudal Coats of Arms and Pedigrees. London: Bracken Books, 1989. Print. (ISBN 1-85170-309-8).
  2. Burke, Sir Bernard. Burke's Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Landed Gentry: Including American Families with British Ancestry. (2 Volumes). London: Burke Publishing, 1939. Print.
  3. Samuelsen, W. David. New York City Passenger List Manifests Index 1820 - 1824. North Salt Lake, Utah: Accelerated Indexing Systems International, 1986. Print.
  4. Fairbairn. Fairbain's book of Crests of the Families of Great Britain and Ireland, 4th Edition 2 volumes in one. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1968. Print.
  5. The Norman People and Their Existing Descendants in the British Dominions and the United States Of America. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0636-X).
  6. Library of Congress. American and English Genealogies in the Library of Congress. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1967. Print.
  7. Colletta, John P. They Came In Ships. Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1993. Print.
  8. Matthews, John. Matthews' American Armoury and Blue Book. London: John Matthews, 1911. Print.
  9. Humble, Richard. The Fall of Saxon England. New York: Barnes and Noble, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-88029-987-8).
  10. Crozier, William Armstrong Edition. Crozier's General Armory A Registry of American Families Entitled to Coat Armor. New York: Fox, Duffield, 1904. Print.
  11. ...

The Thorne Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Thorne 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 8 January 2015 at 12:49.

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