Travers History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The Anglo-Saxons of Britain first developed the name Travers. It was a name given to someone who was a person who collected a toll from travelers or merchants crossing a bridge. This common practice had the purpose of providing financial resources to maintain the upkeep of the bridge. The surname Travers is derived from the Old English words travers, travas, traves, and travis. These are all derived from the Old French nouns travers and traverse, which refer to the act of passing through a gate or crossing a river or bridge. [1]

Alternatively the name could have originated in Normandy at Trevieres, between Bayeux and Caen. "The name continued in Normandy, where Ranulph de Chnchamp, after 1138, assumed the name of Travers." [2]

"In the time of the Conqueror, Robert de Travers or d'Estrivers, Baron of Burgh-upon-Sands, married the daughter of Ranulph de Meschines, Lord of Cumberland, and the sister of Ranulph Bricasard, who succeeded his cousin Richard d'Abrincis as Earl of Chester in 1119. He received from his father-in-law the office of Hereditary Forester of Inglewood in fee, which passed through his only child, Ibria, to Ralph de Engayne. This forestership of Inglewood was so honourable, and gave so great command, that there is no wonder the family should wish by every means to set forth their claim to it" [3]

Early Origins of the Travers family

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

The Manor of Skelmerdale in Lancashire proved to reveal some interesting details about the family. According to the Domesday Book, it was originally held by Uctred, who also held Dalton and Uplitherland. Later it was part of the forest fee, held by the Gernet family. "The first of them known to have held it, Vivian Gernet, gave Skelmersdale and other manors to Robert Travers; these were held in 1212 by Henry Travers under Roger Gernet." [4] The manor passed on to the Lovels, but they lost it later after the forfeiture in 1487.

Other early records include Walter de Travers who was listed in Hodgson's History of Northumberland in 1219 and two listings in the Hundredorum Rolls of 1273: Hugh Travers in Lincolnshire; and Nigel Travers in Buckinghamshire. Later the Yorkshire Poll Tax Rolls of 1379 listed Robertus Trauers. [5]

The township of Nateby was an early home to this distinguished family. "This township is said to have been in the tenure of the family of Travers, of Tulketh, so far back as the reign of Henry I.; Laurence Travers, who lived soon after that reign, was succeeded by eleven generations, and Nateby appears in possession of William Travers in the reign of Elizabeth." [6]

Early History of the Travers family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Travers research. Another 127 words (9 lines of text) covering the years 1590, 1578, 1614, 1609, 1614, 1548, 1635, 1594, 1598, 1525, 1522, 1532, 1770, 1834 and 1647 are included under the topic Early Travers History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Travers Spelling Variations

Spelling variations in names were a common occurrence before English spelling was standardized a few hundred years ago. In the Middle Ages, even the literate spelled their names differently as the English language incorporated elements of French, Latin, and other European languages. Many variations of the name Travers have been found, including Travers, Traverse, Travis, Traviss and others.

Early Notables of the Travers family (pre 1700)

Notables of this surname at this time include: Sir Henry Travers of Monkstown Castle whose daughter married the Viscount Baltinglass; and Walter Travers (1548?-1635), an English Puritan theologian, chaplain to William Cecil, 1st Baron Burghley, Provost of Trinity College, Dublin from 1594...
Another 41 words (3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Travers Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Travers Ranking

In the United States, the name Travers is the 4,145th most popular surname with an estimated 7,461 people with that name. [7] However, in France, the name Travers is ranked the 1,363rd most popular surname with an estimated 4,184 people with that name. [8]

Ireland Migration of the Travers family to Ireland

Some of the Travers family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 137 words (10 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Travers migration to the United States +

Families began migrating abroad in enormous numbers because of the political and religious discontent in England. Often faced with persecution and starvation in England, the possibilities of the New World attracted many English people. Although the ocean trips took many lives, those who did get to North America were instrumental in building the necessary groundwork for what would become for new powerful nations. Among the first immigrants of the name Travers, or a variant listed above to cross the Atlantic and come to North America were:

Travers Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Henry Travers, who settled in Massachusetts in 1634
  • Henry Travers, who landed in Newbury, Massachusetts in 1644 [9]
  • Richard Travers, who landed in Boston, Massachusetts in 1652 [9]
  • Daniel Travers, who arrived in Boston, Massachusetts in 1652 [9]
  • James Travers, who settled in Virginia in 1653
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Travers Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Smith Travers, who arrived in America in 1810 [9]
  • James Travers, who landed in New York, NY in 1812 [9]
  • Patrick Travers, who landed in New York, NY in 1816 [9]
  • Franz Karl Travers, who arrived in America in 1850 [9]
  • J W Travers, who arrived in San Francisco, California in 1851 [9]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Canada Travers migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Travers Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
  • Robert Travers, who settled in Placentia, Newfoundland, in 1744 [10]
  • Mr. Francis Travers U.E. (b. 1753) who settled in Saint John, New Brunswick c. 1784 he became a Freeman in 1795 was a Tailor, he died in 1821 [11]
  • Mr. James Travers U.E. who settled in Saint John, New Brunswick c. 1784 [11]
  • Nicholas Travers, who settled in St. John's, Newfoundland in 1796 [10]
  • John Travers, who settled in St. Mary's, Newfoundland in 1797 [10]
Travers Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • Mr. Michael Travers, aged 39 who immigrated to Canada, arriving at the Grosse Isle Quarantine Station in Quebec aboard the ship "Ellen" departing from the port of Sligo, Ireland but died on Grosse Isle in July 1847 [12]
  • Mr. Patrick Travers who was emigrating through Grosse Isle Quarantine Station, Quebec aboard the ship "Sisters" departing 22nd April 1847 from Liverpool, England; the ship arrived on 20th June 1847 but he died on board [13]

Australia Travers migration to Australia +

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

Travers Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Augustus Travers, English convict from Middlesex, who was transported aboard the "Almorah" on April 1817, settling in New South Wales, Australia [14]
  • Henry Travers, a bricklayer, who arrived in Van Diemen’s Land (now Tasmania) sometime between 1825 and 1832
  • Arthur Travers, aged Jane, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Hooghly" in 1839 [15]
  • Anne Travers, aged 23, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Prince Regent" in 1849 [16]
  • Catherine Travers, aged 22, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Prince Regent" in 1849 [16]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

New Zealand Travers 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:

Travers Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Fredrick John Travers, who landed in Auckland, New Zealand in 1840
  • Captain R. A. Travers, British settler travelling from London aboard the ship "St. Michael" arriving in Auckland, New Zealand on 8th January 1850 [17]
  • Mrs. Travers, British settler travelling from London aboard the ship "St. Michael" arriving in Auckland, New Zealand on 8th January 1850 [17]
  • Miss Travers, British settler travelling from London aboard the ship "St. Michael" arriving in Auckland, New Zealand on 8th January 1850 [17]
  • Mr. Washington (William) Travers, British settler travelling from London aboard the ship "Mersey" arriving in Auckland, New Zealand on 11th June 1861 [18]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

West Indies Travers migration to West Indies +

The British first settled the British West Indies around 1604. They made many attempts but failed in some to establish settlements on the Islands including Saint Lucia and Grenada. By 1627 they had managed to establish settlements on St. Kitts (St. Christopher) and Barbados, but by 1641 the Spanish had moved in and destroyed some of these including those at Providence Island. The British continued to expand the settlements including setting the First Federation in the British West Indies by 1674; some of the islands include Barbados, Bermuda, Cayman Island, Turks and Caicos, Jamaica and Belize then known as British Honduras. By the 1960's many of the islands became independent after the West Indies Federation which existed from 1958 to 1962 failed due to internal political conflicts. After this a number of Eastern Caribbean islands formed a free association. [19]
Travers Settlers in West Indies in the 17th Century
  • Phillip Travers, who arrived in Barbados in 1680 with his servants

Contemporary Notables of the name Travers (post 1700) +

  • William Edward Travers (b. 1952), American former Major League Baseball pitcher
  • Aloysius Joseph "Allan" Travers (1892-1968), American Major League Baseball pitcher for the Detroit Tigers in 1912
  • Mary Allin Travers (1936-2009), American folk singer in the group "Peter, Paul and Mary"
  • Jerome Dunstan "Jerry" Travers (1887-1951), American golfer who won the US Open in 1915
  • Susan Travers (1909-2003), Englishwoman who was the only woman to serve officially with the French Foreign Legion
  • John Travers (1703-1758), English composer
  • Henry Travers (1874-1965), born Travers John Heagerty, an English actor, best known for his role as the angel Clarence Odbody in the 1946 film It's a Wonderful Life
  • James Edward "George" Travers (1888-1946), English professional footballer
  • Bill Travers (1922-1994), born William Lindon-Travers, an English actor, screenwriter, director and animal rights activist
  • Morris William Travers (1872-1961), English chemist, co-discoverer of Xenon
  • ... (Another 13 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

RMS Lusitania
  • Mrs. Jane Travers, English 3rd Class passenger residing in Newark, New Jersey, USA, who sailed aboard the RMS Lusitania and died in the sinking [20]


The Travers 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: Nec temere nec timide
Motto Translation: Neither rashly nor timidly.


Suggested Readings for the name Travers +

  • Southern Travis, Travers, Traverse, Families from Lancashire and Post-Elizabethean Ireland by Albert Eugene Casey.

  1. ^ Lower, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  2. ^ 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)
  3. ^ Cleveland, Dutchess of The Battle Abbey Roll with some Account of the Norman Lineages. London: John Murray, Abermarle Street, 1889. Print. Volume 3 of 3
  4. ^ 'Townships: Scarisbrick', in A History of the County of Lancaster: Volume 3, ed. William Farrer and J Brownbill (London, 1907), pp. 265-276. British History Online http://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/lancs/vol3/pp265-276 [accessed 21 January 2017].
  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. ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
  7. ^ https://namecensus.com/most_common_surnames.htm
  8. ^ http://www.journaldesfemmes.com/nom-de-famille/nom/
  9. ^ 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)
  10. ^ Seary E.R., Family Names of the Island of Newfoundland, Montreal: McGill's-Queen's Universtity Press 1998 ISBN 0-7735-1782-0
  11. ^ 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
  12. ^ Charbonneau, André, and Doris Drolet-Dubé. A Register of Deceased Persons at Sea and on Grosse Île in 1847. The Minister of Canadian Heritage, 1997. ISBN: 0-660-198/1-1997E (p. 58)
  13. ^ Charbonneau, André, and Doris Drolet-Dubé. A Register of Deceased Persons at Sea and on Grosse Île in 1847. The Minister of Canadian Heritage, 1997. ISBN: 0-660-198/1-1997E (p. 97)
  14. ^ State Library of Queensland. (Retrieved 2016, October 27) Almorah voyage to New South Wales, Australia in 1817 with 180 passengers. Retrieved from http://www.convictrecords.com.au/ships/almorah/1817
  15. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) HOOGHLY 1839. Retrieved from http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1839Hooghly.htm
  16. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) "PRINCE REGENT" 1849. Retrieved from http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1849PrinceRegent.htm
  17. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 26th March 2019). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  18. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 17th October 2018). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  19. ^ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_West_Indies
  20. ^ Lusitania Passenger List - The Lusitania Resource. (Retrieved 2014, March 6) . Retrieved from http://www.rmslusitania.info/lusitania-passenger-list/


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