Toms History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

While surnames were well-known during the English medieval period, Cornish People originally used only a single name. The way in which hereditary surnames came into common use is interesting. Under the Feudal System of government, surnames evolved and they often reflected life on the manor and in the field. Patronymic surnames were derived from given names and were the predominant type of surname among the Celtic peoples of Britain. However, the people of Cornwall provide a surprising exception to this rule, and patronymic surnames are less common among them than other people of Celtic stock, such as their Welsh neighbors. This type of surname blended perfectly with the prevailing Feudal System. One feature that is occasionally found in Cornish surnames of this type is the suffix -oe or -ow; this is derived from the Cornish plural suffix -ow. is a patronymic surname that came from the ancient given name Thomas, which itself is derived from the Aramaic name Teoma, meaning twin.

Early Origins of the Toms family

The surname Toms was first found in Cornwall where they held a family seat from very ancient times, some say before the Norman Conquest in 1066.

Early History of the Toms family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Toms research. Another 111 words (8 lines of text) covering the years 1433, 1473, and 1663 are included under the topic Early Toms History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Toms Spelling Variations

Cornish surnames are characterized by a multitude of spelling variations. The frequent changes in surnames are due to the fact that the Old and Middle English languages lacked definite spelling rules. The official court languages, which were Latin and French, were also influential on the spelling of a surname. Since the spelling of surnames was rarely consistent in medieval times, and scribes and church officials recorded names as they sounded rather than adhering to any specific spelling rules, it was common to find the same individual referred to with different spellings of their surname in the ancient chronicles. Moreover, a large number of foreign names were brought into England, which accelerated and accentuated the alterations to the spelling of various surnames. Lastly, spelling variations often resulted from the linguistic differences between the people of Cornwall and the rest of England. The Cornish spoke a unique Brythonic Celtic language which was first recorded in written documents during the 10th century. However, they became increasingly Anglicized, and Cornish became extinct as a spoken language in 1777, although it has been revived by Cornish patriots in the modern era. The name has been spelled Thom, Thomes, Thome, Toms, Tom, Thoms and others.

Early Notables of the Toms family (pre 1700)

More information is included under the topic Early Toms Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Toms Ranking

In the United States, the name Toms is the 6,056th most popular surname with an estimated 4,974 people with that name. [1] However, in Newfoundland, Canada, the name Toms is ranked the 674th most popular surname with an estimated 65 people with that name. [2]

Ireland Migration of the Toms family to Ireland

Some of the Toms family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. More information about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Toms migration to the United States +

A search of the immigration and passenger lists has shown a number of people bearing the name Toms:

Toms Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Eliz Toms, who arrived in Virginia in 1665 [3]
  • Mary Toms, who arrived in Virginia in 1665 [3]
  • Fran Toms, who landed in Virginia in 1666 [3]
  • William Toms, who arrived in Maryland in 1672 [3]
  • John Toms, who landed in Maryland in 1676 [3]
Toms Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Gabriel Toms, who arrived in Virginia in 1703 [3]
  • Edward Toms, who landed in Virginia in 1725 [3]
  • Catherine Toms, who landed in Frederick County, Maryland in 1768 [3]
Toms Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Samuel Toms, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1833 [3]
  • A C Toms, who landed in San Francisco, California in 1850 [3]
  • James Toms, who settled in Shoe Cove in 1851
  • Cornelius Toms, aged 37, who arrived in New York, NY in 1873 [3]

Canada Toms migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Toms Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
  • Sarah Toms, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1750
  • Thorns Toms, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1750
Toms Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • Mary Toms, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick aboard the ship "Zephyr" in 1833
  • Albert Toms, who arrived in Canada in 1839

Australia Toms migration to Australia +

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

Toms Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mr. William Toms, Jr., English convict who was convicted in Middlesex, England for 7 years, transported aboard the "Florentia" on 14th August 1827, arriving in New South Wales, Australia [4]
  • William Toms, English convict from Surrey, who was transported aboard the "Albion" on May 29, 1828, settling in New South Wales, Australia [5]
  • Mr. Edmond Toms, English convict who was convicted in Middlesex, England for 7 years, transported aboard the "Exmouth" on 3rd March 1831, arriving in New South Wales, Australia [6]
  • Mr. Henry Toms, English convict who was convicted in London, England for 14 years, transported aboard the "Captain Cook" on 2nd May 1833, arriving in New South Wales, Australia [7]
  • Mr. William Toms, English convict who was convicted in Nottingham, Nottinghamshire, England for 7 years, transported aboard the "David Clarke" on 3rd June 1841, arriving in Tasmania (Van Diemen's Land) [8]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

New Zealand Toms 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:

Toms Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Joseph Toms, who landed in Queen Charlotte Sound, New Zealand in 1830
  • John Toms, aged 44, a labourer, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "New Era" in 1855
  • Mary A. Toms, aged 44, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "New Era" in 1855
  • Charles Toms, aged 21, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "New Era" in 1855
  • Elizabeth Toms, aged 21, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "New Era" in 1855
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Contemporary Notables of the name Toms (post 1700) +

  • David Wayne Toms (b. 1967), American professional golfer
  • Robert M. Toms, American Republican politician, Circuit Judge in Michigan 3rd Circuit, 1929-59; Appointed 1929 [9]
  • Charles French Toms, American Republican politician, Delegate to Republican National Convention from North Carolina, 1908 [9]
  • Peter Toms (d. 1777), English painter, herald, and royal academician, son of William Henry Toms, an engraver of note early in the eighteenth century
  • Wendy Toms (b. 1962), English football referee
  • William "Billy" Toms (b. 1895), Irish footballer from Curragh
  • Edward James Toms (1899-1971), British Olympic bronze medalist relay runner at the 1924 Summer Olympics

HMS Dorsetshire
  • David William Toms, British Warrant Officer Gunner aboard the HMS Dorsetshire (1945) when she was struck by air bombers and sunk; he survived the sinking [10]


  1. ^ https://namecensus.com/most_common_surnames.htm
  2. ^ The order of Common Surnames in 1955 in Newfoundland retrieved on 20th October 2021 (retrieved from Family Names of the Island of Newfoundland by E.R. Seary corrected edition ISBN 0-7735-1782-0)
  3. ^ 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)
  4. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 5th October 2022). https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/florentia
  5. ^ State Library of Queensland. (Retrieved 2014, November 24) Albion voyage to New South Wales, Australia in 1828 with 192 passengers. Retrieved from http://www.convictrecords.com.au/ships/albion/1828
  6. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 25th May 2022). https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/exmouth
  7. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 17th December 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/captain-cook
  8. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 3rd June 2021). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/david-clarke
  9. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, October 21) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html
  10. ^ Force Z Survivors HMS Dorsetshire Crew List, (Retrieved 2018, February 13th), https://www.forcez-survivors.org.uk/biographies/listdorsetshirecrew.html


Houseofnames.com on Facebook