Tonkin 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 Aramaic personal name Teoma, meaning twin.

Early Origins of the Tonkin family

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

Early History of the Tonkin family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Tonkin research. Another 78 words (6 lines of text) covering the years 1652, 1711, 1701, 1702, 1678 and 1742 are included under the topic Early Tonkin History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Tonkin 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 Tonkin, Tonkyn, Tonkeyne, Tonkyne and others.

Early Notables of the Tonkin family (pre 1700)

Another 37 words (3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Tonkin Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Tonkin migration to the United States +

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

Tonkin Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Ralph Tonkin, who landed in New England in 1709 [1]
Tonkin Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Caroline Tonkin, aged 15, who arrived in New York, NY in 1842 [1]
  • Caroline Tonkin, who arrived in New York NY in 1842
  • William Tonkin, who arrived in Philadelphia in 1875

Australia Tonkin migration to Australia +

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

Tonkin Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mr. Henry Tonkin, (b. 1806), aged 30 born in Cornwall, Cornwall, UK convicted in Central Criminal Court on 19th September 1836, sentenced for life for stealing from a master, transported aboard the ship "Elphinstone" on 1837 to Van Diemen's Land, Tasmania, Australia [2]
  • Mr. Caleb Tonkin, (b. 1804), aged 36, Cornish harness maker travelling aboard the ship "Royal Consort" arriving in New South Wales, Australia on 9th November 1840 [3]
  • Mrs. Susannah Tonkin, (b. 1809), aged 31, Cornish dressmaker travelling aboard the ship "Royal Consort" arriving in New South Wales, Australia on 9th November 1840 [3]
  • Mr. Andrew Tonkin, (b. 1828), aged 12, Cornish settler travelling aboard the ship "Royal Consort" arriving in New South Wales, Australia on 9th November 1840 [3]
  • Mr. William Tonkin, (b. 1830), aged 10, Cornish settler travelling aboard the ship "Royal Consort" arriving in New South Wales, Australia on 9th November 1840 [3]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Tonkin Settlers in Australia in the 20th Century
  • Jessie Tonkin, (b. 1886), aged 26, Cornish settler travelling aboard the ship "Orsova" arriving in Queensland, Australia on 5th February 1912 [4]
  • Miss Violet Tonkin, (b. 1910), aged 2, Cornish settler travelling aboard the ship "Orsova" arriving in Queensland, Australia on 5th February 1912 [4]
  • Miss Elizabeth Tonkin, (b. 1911), aged 1, Cornish settler travelling aboard the ship "Orsova" arriving in Queensland, Australia on 5th February 1912 [4]

New Zealand Tonkin 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:

Tonkin Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • John Tonkin, aged 34, a bootmaker, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Waitangi" in 1874
  • Emma Tonkin, aged 33, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Waitangi" in 1874
  • Jane Tonkin, aged 7, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Waitangi" in 1874
  • John Tonkin, aged 5, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Waitangi" in 1874
  • Bessie Tonkin, aged 1, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Waitangi" in 1874
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Contemporary Notables of the name Tonkin (post 1700) +

  • Humphrey Tonkin (b. 1939), American professor of English, president emeritus of the University of Hartford
  • Anthony Tonkin (b. 1980), English professional football player
  • Shirley Lyford Tonkin OBE (1921-2016), née Curtis, New Zealand pediatrician and sudden infant death syndrome researcher
  • Phoebe Tonkin (b. 1989), Australian actress and model, best known for portraying Cleo Sertori in H2O: Just Add Water
  • John Trezise Tonkin AC (1902-1995), Australian politician, Premier of Western Australia (1971 to 1974), eponym of the Tonkin Highway
  • David Tonkin (1929-2000), Australian politician, Premier of South Australia (1979 to 1982)
  • Derek Tonkin, H.M. Diplomatic Service, Foreign and Commonwealth Office

HMS Repulse
  • Mr. Percy Tonkin, British Petty Officer Stoker, who sailed into battle on the HMS Repulse and died in the sinking [5]


The Tonkin 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: Kensol tra Tonkein ouna Diu mathern yn
Motto Translation: Before all things, Tonkin, fear God in the king.


  1. ^ 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)
  2. ^ Cornwall Online Parish Clerks. (Retrieved 30th May 2018). Retrieved from http://www.opc-cornwall.org/Resc/pdfs/tasmanian_convicts_cornish.pdf
  3. ^ Cornwall Online Parish Clerks. (Retrieved 2018, May 30). Ships' Passenger Lists of Arrivals in New South Wales on (1828 - 1842, 1848 - 1849) [PDF]. Retrieved from http://www.opc-cornwall.org/Resc/pdfs/emigration_nsw_1838_on.pdf
  4. ^ Cornwall Online Parish Clerks. (Retreived 3rd May 2018). Retrieved from http://www.opc-cornwall.org/Resc/pdfs/emigration_australia_queensland.pdf
  5. ^ HMS Repulse Crew members. (Retrieved 2014, April 9) . Retrieved from http://www.forcez-survivors.org.uk/biographies/listrepulsecrew.html


Houseofnames.com on Facebook
Shipping
Fastest Delivery Possible

Digital Products on Checkout, all other products filled in 1 business day

Money Back
Money Back Guarantee

Yes, all products 100% Guaranteed

Support
BBB A+ Rating

The Best Rating possible

Payment
Secure Online Payment

Entire site uses SSL / Secure Certificate