Varnum History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The ancestors of the Varnum surname lived among the ancient Anglo-Saxon culture. The name comes from when they lived at Farnham, in several different counties including Buckinghamshire, Dorset, Essex, Suffolk, and the West Riding of Yorkshire. They were derived from pre-existing names for towns, villages, parishes, or farmsteads. In this case the surname Varnum was originally derived from the Old English words fearn + hamm which means a fern-covered homestead or property.

Early Origins of the Varnum family

The surname Varnum was first found in one of the many villages names Farnham throughout England in the following counties or shires: Dorset, Essex, North Yorkshire, Suffolk, and Surrey. Farnham Common and Farnham Royal are located in Buckinghamshire. [1]

The name has numerous listings in the Domesday Book with various spellings that were in use at the time: Fernham, Dorset; Phernham Essex; Fareham North Yorkshire; Farnham, Suffolk; and Fernham Surrey. Farnham Royal was listed as Fernham Riall. [2]

While one would suppose the surname originated from one or more of the aforementioned locals, another reference suggests we must look to Leicestershire, specifically Quorndon to find the surname's true origin as in "this ancient family was certainly seated at Quorndon two descents before the reign of Edward I." [3]

Early History of the Varnum family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Varnum research. Another 100 words (7 lines of text) covering the years 1290, 1312, 1483, 1753, 1642, 1636 and are included under the topic Early Varnum History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Varnum Spelling Variations

Before English spelling was standardized a few hundred years ago, spelling variations of names were a common occurrence. Elements of Latin, French and other languages became incorporated into English through the Middle Ages, and name spellings changed even among the literate. The variations of the surname Varnum include Farnham, Farnhams, Farnhan, Fearnham, Farneham and others.

Early Notables of the Varnum family (pre 1700)

Notables of the family at this time include Richard Farnham (d. 1642), fanatic, "a weaver who came from Colchester to Whitechapel about 1636, where he and a fellow-craftsman, John Bull, announced that they were prophets inspired with ‘the...
Another 37 words (3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Varnum Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Varnum family to Ireland

Some of the Varnum family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 50 words (4 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

United States Varnum migration to the United States +

A great wave of immigration to the New World was the result of the enormous political and religious disarray that struck England at that time. Families left for the New World in extremely large numbers. The long journey was the end of many immigrants and many more arrived sick and starving. Still, those who made it were rewarded with an opportunity far greater than they had known at home in England. These emigrant families went on to make significant contributions to these emerging colonies in which they settled. Some of the first North American settlers carried this name or one of its variants:

Varnum Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • George Varnum, who arrived in Ipswich, Massachusetts in 1635 [4]
  • Samuel Varnum, who arrived in Ipswich, Massachusetts in 1649 [4]

Canada Varnum migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Varnum Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
  • Mr. Benjamin Varnum U.E. (b. 1748) born in Dracut, Massachusetts, USA from Dracut, Massachusetts, USA who settled in Fredericksburgh [Greater Napanee], Ontarioc. 1770 went to Vermont in 1790, before returning to Sutton, Quebec in 1800 married to Elizabeth Porter having 5 children, he died in 1810 [5]
Varnum Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • Prescott Varnum, who landed in Canada in 1831

Contemporary Notables of the name Varnum (post 1700) +

  • Wilber F. Varnum, American politician, Member of South Dakota State House of Representatives 40th District, 1897-1900; Member of South Dakota State Senate 37th District, 1901-02 [6]
  • Mina Humphrey Varnum, American Republican politician, Presidential Elector for Michigan, 1928; Presidential Elector for Michigan, 1928 [6]
  • Joseph Bradley Varnum (1751-1821), American politician, Representative from Massachusetts, 1795-1811; Speaker of the U.S. House, 1807-11; U.S. Senator from Massachusetts, 1811-17 [6]
  • Joseph B. Varnum Jr., American politician, Member of New York State Assembly from New York County 13th District, 1849-51, 1857 [6]
  • John Varnum (1778-1836), American politician, Member of Massachusetts State Senate, 1811; U.S. Representative from Massachusetts 3rd District, 1825-31 [6]
  • James M. Varnum (1848-1907), American Republican politician, Member of New York State Assembly from New York County 11th District, 1879-80; Candidate for Justice of New York Supreme Court 1st District, 1890 [6]
  • J. B. Varnum, American politician, Member of South Dakota State House of Representatives 44th District, 1889-90 [6]
  • Herbert E. Varnum, American Republican politician, Mayor of Titusville, Pennsylvania, 1964 [6]
  • Charles W. Varnum, American politician, Representative from Colorado 1st District, 1934 [6]
  • Charles H. Varnum (b. 1933), American Republican politician, Alternate Delegate to Republican National Convention from Michigan, 1964; Member of Michigan State House of Representatives 107th District, 1967-82 [6]
  • ... (Another 1 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

  1. ^ Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds., Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8)
  2. ^ Mills, A.D., Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4)
  3. ^ Shirley, Evelyn Philip, The Noble and Gentle Men of England; The Arms and Descents. Westminster: John Bower Nichols and Sons, 1866, Print.
  4. ^ 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)
  5. ^ 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
  6. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, November 10) . Retrieved from on Facebook
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