Upton History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The proud Upton family originated in Cornwall, a rugged coastal region in southwestern England. In early times, people were known by only a single name. However, as the population grew and people traveled further afield, it became increasingly necessary to assume an additional name to differentiate between bearers of the same personal name. The manner in which hereditary surnames arose is interesting. Local surnames are derived from where the original bearer lived, was born, or held land. The Upton family originally lived in Cornwall, in the village of Upton. which literally means "higher farmstead or village," from the Old English words "upp" + "tun." [1]

Early Origins of the Upton family

The surname Upton was first found in Cornwall at Upton, a hamlet that dates at least back to the Domesday Book of 1086. [1]

"The manor of Trelaske [in the parish of Lewannick, Cornwall] belonged to the Upton family prior to the Reformation ; but in the reign of Henry VIII. it was carried by co-heiresses to two brothers of the Lower family." [2]

While there are numerous place so named in England, it is in this area where "an ancient Cornish family, said to have been originally of Upton, in that county, or, according to Prince in his Worthies of Devon, named from Upton in parish of Collumpton in Devonshire." [3]

Another reference postulates: "they were probably descended from Ralph Fitz-Stephen temp. Henry II, and from the arms appears to be of De la Folie of Normandy." [4]

Early History of the Upton family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Upton research. Another 126 words (9 lines of text) covering the years 1080, 1218, 1308, 1620, 1400, 1457, 1453, 1590, 1641, 1625, 1641, 1687, 1670, 1749, 1670, 1598, 1623, 1706, 1623, 1599, 1653 and 1661 are included under the topic Early Upton History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Upton 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 Upton, Uppeton and others.

Early Notables of the Upton family (pre 1700)

Notable amongst the family at this time was Nicholas Upton (1400?-1457), Precentor of Salisbury and writer on heraldry and the art of war. He is thought to have been the second son of John Upton of Portlinch, Devonshire, by his wife Elizabeth. From a collateral branch of the family, descended Arthur Upton. [5] John Upton (died c.1453), was an English politician, Member of...
Another 62 words (4 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Upton Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Upton family to Ireland

Some of the Upton family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 136 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 Upton migration to the United States +

A look at the immigration and passenger lists has shown a number of people bearing the name Upton:

Upton Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • John Upton, who settled in Virginia in 1623
  • John Upton (1625-1699), who arrived in Massachusetts in 1652 [6]
  • Dorothy Upton, who arrived in Virginia in 1654 [6]
  • Peter Upton, who landed in Virginia in 1664 [6]
  • Grace Upton, who settled in Maryland in 1670
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Upton Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Martha Upton, who settled in Virginia in 1700
  • Margaret Upton, who landed in Virginia in 1703 [6]
  • Elizabeth Upton and her husband settled in Carolina in 1724
  • Thomas Upton, who arrived in Georgia in 1737 [6]
  • Henry Upton, who landed in Virginia in 1747 [6]
Upton Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Ann Caroline Upton, who arrived in New York in 1817 [6]
  • Eliza Mary Upton, who landed in New York in 1817 [6]
  • Francis Dundas Upton, who landed in New York in 1817 [6]
  • James Upton, who landed in San Francisco, California in 1850 [6]
  • J Upton, who arrived in San Francisco, California in 1851 [6]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Canada Upton migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Upton Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • William Upton, who landed in Canada in 1832

Australia Upton migration to Australia +

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

Upton Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mr. Joseph Upton, English convict who was convicted in Derby, Derbyshire, England for 7 years, transported aboard the "Asiatic" on 5th June 1819, arriving in New South Wales, Australia [7]
  • Mr. Michael Upton, British Convict who was convicted in Kent, England for 15 years, transported aboard the "Asia" on 25th April 1840, arriving in Tasmania ( Van Diemen's Land) [8]
  • Miss. Mary Ann Upton, British Convict who was convicted in Knutsford, Cheshire, England for 7 years, transported aboard the "Asia" on 9th March 1847, arriving in Tasmania ( Van Diemen's Land) [9]
  • John Stephen Upton, aged 21, a farm servant, who arrived in South Australia in 1855 aboard the ship "Oriental,"
  • Michael Upton, aged 18, a labourer, who arrived in South Australia in 1856 aboard the ship "Nabob"
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

New Zealand Upton 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:

Upton Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Mr. Alfred Upton, British settler travelling from Gravesend aboard the ship "Evening Star" arriving in Auckland, New Zealand in 1858 [10]
  • Mr. Bertram Upton, British settler travelling from Gravesend aboard the ship "Evening Star" arriving in Auckland, New Zealand in 1858 [10]
  • Mr. William Brown Upton, British settler travelling from Gravesend aboard the ship "Evening Star" arriving in Auckland, New Zealand in 1858 [10]
  • Miss Elizabeth Upton, (b. 1831), aged 28, British settler travelling from Gravesend aboard the ship "Roman Emperor" arriving in Lyttlelton, Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand on 26th January 1860 [11]
  • Mrs. Jane Upton, (b. 1837), aged 26, British settler travelling from Gravesend aboard the ship " Lancashire Witch" arriving in Lyttelton, Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand on 13th October 1863 [10]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Contemporary Notables of the name Upton (post 1700) +

  • Robert William Upton (1884-1972), American politician, United States Senator from New Hampshire (1953-1954)
  • Lee Upton (b. 1953), American poet, fiction writer and literary critic
  • Justin Irvin Upton (b. 1987), American Major League Baseball outfielder for the San Diego Padres
  • Charles W. Upton (b. 1943), American economist
  • Charles Horace Upton (1812-1877), American politician, Member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Virginia (1861-1862)
  • Charles Upton (b. 1948), American poet and metaphysician
  • Lauren Caitlin "Caite" Upton (b. 1989), American fashion model, and beauty queen, Miss South Carolina Teen USA (2007)
  • Ensign Frank Monroe Upton (1896-1962), American sailor in the United States Navy who received the Medal of Honor for his actions during the First World War
  • Katherine Elizabeth "Kate" Upton (b. 1992), American model and actress, known for her appearances in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue
  • Melvin Emanuel "B.J." Upton (b. 1984), American Major League Baseball center fielder with the Atlanta Braves
  • ... (Another 15 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

HMS Hood
  • Mr. Roy R Upton (b. 1923), English Ordinary Telegraphist serving for the Royal Navy from Fareham, Hampshire, England, who sailed into battle and died in the sinking [12]
HMS Prince of Wales
  • Mr. William Upton, British Able Seaman, who sailed into battle on the HMS Prince of Wales and survived the sinking, was listed as missing in action 1942 [13]
HMS Repulse
  • Mr. Albert Edward Upton, British Leading Stoker, who sailed into battle on the HMS Repulse and survived the sinking [14]


The Upton 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: Semper paratus
Motto Translation: Always prepared.


  1. ^ Mills, A.D., Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4)
  2. ^ Hutchins, Fortescue, The History of Cornwall, from the Earliest Records and Traditions to the Present Time. London: William Penaluna, 1824. Print
  3. ^ Shirley, Evelyn Philip, The Noble and Gentle Men of England; The Arms and Descents. Westminster: John Bower Nichols and Sons, 1866, Print.
  4. ^ 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)
  5. ^ Smith, George (ed), Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1885-1900. Print
  6. ^ 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)
  7. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 14th July 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/atlas
  8. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 17th January 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/asia/1840
  9. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 14th February 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/asia/1847
  10. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 17th October 2018). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  11. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 26th March 2019). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  12. ^ H.M.S. Hood Association-Battle Cruiser Hood: Crew Information - H.M.S. Hood Rolls of Honour, Men Lost in the Sinking of H.M.S. Hood, 24th May 1941. (Retrieved 2016, July 15) . Retrieved from http://www.hmshood.com/crew/memorial/roh_24may41.htm
  13. ^ HMS Prince of Wales Crew members. (Retrieved 2014, April 9) . Retrieved from http://www.forcez-survivors.org.uk/biographies/listprincecrew.html
  14. ^ HMS Repulse Crew members. (Retrieved 2014, April 9) . Retrieved from http://www.forcez-survivors.org.uk/biographies/listrepulsecrew.html


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