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

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

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]

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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.

First found in Cornwall at Upton, a hamlet that dates at least back to the Domesday Book of 1086. [1] 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." [2] 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." [3]


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Upton research. Another 251 words(18 lines of text) covering the years 1080, 1218, 1308 and 1620 are included under the topic Early Upton History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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

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Some of the Upton family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 51 words(4 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.

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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 settled in Virginia in 1623
  • John Upton, who arrived in Massachusetts in 1652
  • Dorothy Upton, who arrived in Virginia in 1654
  • Peter Upton, who landed in Virginia in 1664
  • Grace Upton settled in Maryland in 1670


Upton Settlers in United States in the 18th Century


  • Martha Upton settled in Virginia in 1700
  • Margt Upton, who landed in Virginia in 1703
  • Elizabeth Upton and her husband settled in Carolina in 1724
  • Thomas Upton, who arrived in Georgia in 1737
  • Henry Upton, who landed in Virginia in 1747

Upton Settlers in United States in the 19th Century


  • Ann Caroline Upton, who arrived in New York in 1817
  • Eliza Mary Upton, who landed in New York in 1817
  • Francis Dundas Upton, who landed in New York in 1817
  • James Upton, who landed in San Francisco, California in 1850
  • J Upton, who arrived in San Francisco, California in 1851


Upton Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century


  • William Upton, who landed in Canada in 1832

Upton Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century


  • John Stephen Upton, aged 21, a farm servant, arrived in South Australia in 1855 aboard the ship "Oriental,"
  • Michael Upton, aged 18, a labourer, arrived in South Australia in 1856 aboard the ship "Nabob"

Upton Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century


  • Thomas Upton arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Pegasus" in 1865
  • Alice Upton arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Pegasus" in 1865
  • Eliza Upton arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Pegasus" in 1865
  • Florence Upton arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Pegasus" in 1865
  • John Henry Upton arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Chile" in 1866


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  • Frederick Upton (1890-1986), American co-founder of the company that would become Whirlpool Corporation
  • Louis Upton (1886-1952), American co-founder of the company that would become Whirlpool Corporation
  • Ensign Frank Monroe Upton (1896-1962), sailor in the United States Navy who received the Medal of Honor for his actions during the First World War
  • Melvin Emanuel "B.J." Upton (b. 1984), American Major League Baseball center fielder with the Atlanta Braves
  • Katherine Elizabeth "Kate" Upton (b. 1992), American model and actress, known for her appearances in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue
  • Barry Upton (b. 1954), English songwriter, arranger, musician, and producer
  • Anthony F. Upton (b. 1929), professor of Nordic history
  • Steve Upton (b. 1946), Welsh powerhouse drummer behind the classic rock band Wishbone Ash
  • James Upton VC (1888-1949), British soldier awarded the Victoria Cross
  • Simon David Upton (b. 1958), New Zealand former politician, 30th Minister of Health (1990-1993), 2nd Minister for the Environment (1990-1999)

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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.

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  1. ^ Mills, A.D., Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4)
  2. ^ Shirley, Evelyn Philip, The Noble and Gentle Men of England; The Arms and Descents. Westminster: John Bower Nichols and Sons, 1866, Print.
  3. ^ 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)

Other References

  1. Colletta, John P. They Came In Ships. Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1993. Print.
  2. Elster, Robert J. International Who's Who. London: Europa/Routledge. Print.
  3. 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.
  4. Bradford, William. History of Plymouth Plantation 1620-1647 Edited by Samuel Eliot Morrison 2 Volumes. New York: Russell and Russell, 1968. Print.
  5. Bullock, L.G. Historical Map of England and Wales. Edinburgh: Bartholomew and Son, 1971. Print.
  6. Skordas, Guest. Ed. The Early Settlers of Maryland an Index to Names or Immigrants Complied from Records of Land Patents 1633-1680 in the Hall of Records Annapolis, Maryland. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1968. Print.
  7. Hitching, F.K and S. Hitching. References to English Surnames in 1601-1602. Walton On Thames: 1910. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0181-3).
  8. MacAulay, Thomas Babington. History of England from the Accession of James the Second 4 volumes. New York: Harper and Brothers, 1879. Print.
  9. Sanders, Joanne McRee Edition. English Settlers in Barbados 1637-1800. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  10. Papworth, J.W and A.W Morant. Ordinary of British Armorials. London: T.Richards, 1874. Print.
  11. ...

The Upton Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Upton 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 23 June 2015 at 16:26.

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