Webster History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The distinguished surname Webster emerged among the industrious people of Flanders, which was an important trading partner and political ally of Britain during the Middle Ages. As a result of the frequent commercial intercourse between the Flemish and English nations, many Flemish migrants settled in Britain. 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. Occupational surnames were derived from the common trades of the medieval era. The surname Webster is an occupational name for a weaver of cloth. The surname Webster is derived from the Old English word webbestre, which originally meant female weaver. [1]Nevertheless, this name came to commonly refer to male weavers in later times.

Early Origins of the Webster family

The surname Webster was first found in Derbyshire where they held considerable estates at Balsover from about the 13th century. "The Websters have their principal home in Derbyshire and afterwards in Yorkshire and Lancashire. They are also fairly represented in the eastern counties between the Humber and the Thames." [2]

There was only one listing of the family in the Hundredorum Rolls of 1273: John le Webestere who was listed in Norfolk at that time. However, by the time of the Yorkshire Poll Tax Rolls of 1379, there were more listings with spellings that are more contemporary: Alicia Wryght, huswyfe, webster; Robertas Webester, webster; Willelmus Webester, webster. [3] For occupational names such as these, the "occupation" was frequently listed after the entry.

Further to the north in Scotland, where the name had the same occupation, entries were later which could suggest a migration of the family there. Additionally, the name was often rendered in the Latin form of "textor." Robert textor de Inuerdoret was a witness in 1288, Malcolm Wobstare, was burgess of Stirling in 1436 and the house of William the weaver (textor) in Lanark is mentioned in the fifteenth century. [4]

Early History of the Webster family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Webster research. Another 80 words (6 lines of text) covering the years 1250, 1580, 1625, 1571, 1576, 1610, 1682, 1689, 1758, 1689, 1722 and are included under the topic Early Webster History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Webster Spelling Variations

Flemish surnames are characterized by a large number of spelling variations. One reason for this is that medieval English lacked definite spelling rules. The spellings of surnames were also influenced by the official court languages, which were French and Latin. Names were rarely spelled consistently in medieval times. Scribes and church officials recorded names as they sounded, rather than adhering to specific spelling rules, and people often had their names registered in several different forms throughout their lives. One of the greatest reasons for change is the linguistic uniqueness of the Flemish settlers in England, who spoke a language closely related to Dutch. The pronunciation and spelling of Flemish names were often altered to suit the tastes of English-speaking people. In many cases, the first, final, or middle syllables of surnames were eliminated. The name has been spelled Webster, Webstere and others.

Early Notables of the Webster family (pre 1700)

Prominent in the family at this time was John Webster (1580?-1625?), English dramatist, the son of a London tailor. "The father may be identical either with John Webster who was admitted to the freedom of the Merchant Taylors' Company on 10 Dec. 1571, or with John Webster who attained to the like...
Another 52 words (4 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Webster Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Webster family to Ireland

Some of the Webster family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 72 words (5 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Webster migration to the United States +

Investigation of immigration and passenger lists has revealed a number of people bearing the name Webster:

Webster Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Roger Webster, his wife Joanne, settled in Virginia in 1623
  • Roger Webster, who arrived in Virginia in 1623 [5]
  • John Webster, who arrived in Connecticut in 1630
  • John Webster, who landed in Ipswich, Massachusetts in 1634 [5]
  • Ralph Webster, aged 20, who landed in Barbados in 1635 [5]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Webster Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Margaret Webster, who landed in Virginia in 1703 [5]
Webster Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Robert Webster, aged 27, who landed in New York in 1812 [5]
  • Isaac Webster, who arrived in New York in 1822 [5]
  • Frederick L Webster, who arrived in Savanna(h), Georgia in 1829 [5]
  • Richard Webster, who arrived in New York in 1830 [5]
  • Joseph Henry Webster, aged 25, who landed in St Louis, Missouri in 1844 [5]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Canada Webster migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Webster Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
  • Mathew Webster, his wife, and three children, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1774
  • Ann Webster, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1774
  • Jane Webster, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1774
  • Marina Webster, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1774
  • Mary Webster, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1774
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Webster Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • James Webster, who settled in St. John's, Newfoundland, in 1818 [6]
  • Joshua Webster, who arrived in Canada in 1830
  • Henry Boulton Webster, who landed in Canada in 1840

Australia Webster migration to Australia +

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

Webster Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mr. Jonathan Webster, English convict who was convicted in Surrey, England for 14 years, transported aboard the "Asiatic" on 5th June 1819, arriving in New South Wales, Australia [7]
  • Thomas Webster, English convict from York, who was transported aboard the "Albion" on May 29, 1828, settling in New South Wales, Australia [8]
  • Thomas Webster, English convict from Hertfordshire, who was transported aboard the "Arab" on February 22, 1834, settling in Van Diemen's Land, Australia [9]
  • Mr. David Francis Webster, English convict who was convicted in London, England for life, transported aboard the "Bardaster" on 7th September 1835, arriving in Tasmania ( Van Diemen's Land) [10]
  • Mr. John Webster, English convict who was convicted in Norfolk, England for life, transported aboard the "Bardaster" on 7th September 1835, arriving in Tasmania ( Van Diemen's Land) [10]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

New Zealand Webster 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:

Webster Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • George Webster, who landed in Wellington, New Zealand in 1840
  • W Webster, who landed in Wellington, New Zealand in 1840 aboard the ship Bengal Merchant
  • William Webster, aged 23, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Bengal Merchant" in 1840
  • Mr. W. Webster, British settler travelling from London, UK aboard the ship "Bengal Merchant" arriving in Port Nicholson, (Wellington Harbour), New Zealand on 20th February 1840 [11]
  • James Webster, who landed in New Plymouth, New Zealand in 1841 aboard the ship Amelia Thompson
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Webster Settlers in New Zealand in the 20th Century
  • William Webster, aged 23, a farmer, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "S. S. Waimana" in 1926

Contemporary Notables of the name Webster (post 1700) +

  • Clarence Howard "Bud" Webster (1952-2016), American science fiction and fantasy writer
  • George Amon Webster (1945-2013), American baritone vocalist and the pianist with the Cathedral Quartet (1969-1971)
  • Patti Webster (1964-2013), American entertainment publicist and author who represented notable recording artists, athletes, and actors, including Janet Jackson, Alicia Keys, Usher, Halle Berry, Chris Paul and Holly Robinson Peete
  • Howard Webster (1925-2013), American world champion steer roper, inducted into PRCA Hall of Fame and National Cowboy Hall of Fame
  • Nicholas Webster (1912-2006), American film and television director
  • Ben Webster (1909-1973), influential American jazz musician
  • William Hedgcock Webster (b. 1924), Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) from 1978 to 1987, Director of Central Intelligence from 1987 to 1991, and Chairman of the Homeland Security Advisory Council (2006-) [12]
  • John G. Webster, American electrical engineer and a founding pioneer in the field of biomedical engineering
  • Private First Class David Kenyon Webster (1922-1961), American soldier, journalist, and author portrayed in the HBO miniseries Band of Brothers by Eion Bailey
  • Arthur Gordon Webster (1863-1923), American physicist and founder of the American Physical Society
  • ... (Another 11 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

HMS Prince of Wales
  • Mr. Silfred Webster, British Able Seaman, who sailed into battle on the HMS Prince of Wales and survived the sinking [13]
RMS Lusitania
  • Master Henry Webster, Canadian 2nd Class passenger from Toronto, Ontario, Canada, who sailed aboard the RMS Lusitania and died in the sinking [14]
  • Master William Webster, Canadian 2nd Class passenger from Toronto, Ontario, Canada, who sailed aboard the RMS Lusitania and survived the sinking [14]
  • Mrs. Margaret Webster, Canadian 2nd Class passenger from Toronto, Ontario, Canada, who sailed aboard the RMS Lusitania and died in the sinking [14]
  • Mr. Frederick G. Webster, Canadian 2nd Class passenger from Toronto, Ontario, Canada, who sailed aboard the RMS Lusitania and survived the sinking [14]
  • Master Frederick Webster, Canadian 2nd Class passenger from Toronto, Ontario, Canada, who sailed aboard the RMS Lusitania and died in the sinking [14]
USS Arizona
  • Mr. Harold Dwayne Webster, American Seaman Second Class from Colorado, USA working aboard the ship "USS Arizona" when she sunk during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on 7th December 1941, he died in the sinking [15]


The Webster 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: Fides et justitia
Motto Translation: Faith and justice.


Suggested Readings for the name Webster +

  • 390 The Family of William Webster of Rhode Island: A Genealogical History by Leo H. Garman, Indian Hollow Road: A 19th Century American Family, Their Letters, Their Story By Jo Anne Meade Webster, A Webster Genealogy By Myrna V. Sandwall.

  1. ^ Lowe, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  2. ^ Guppy, Henry Brougham, Homes of Family Names in Great Britain. 1890. Print.
  3. ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  4. ^ Black, George F., The Surnames of Scotland Their Origin, Meaning and History. New York: New York Public Library, 1946. Print. (ISBN 0-87104-172-3)
  5. ^ 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)
  6. ^ Seary E.R., Family Names of the Island of Newfoundland, Montreal: McGill's-Queen's Universtity Press 1998 ISBN 0-7735-1782-0
  7. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 14th July 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/atlas
  8. ^ State Library of Queensland. (Retrieved 2014, November 24) Albion voyage to New South Wales, Australia in 1828 with 192 passengers. Retrieved from http://www.convictrecords.com.au/ships/albion/1828
  9. ^ State Library of Queensland. (Retrieved 2015, January 8) Arab voyage to Van Diemen's Land, Australia in 1834 with 230 passengers. Retrieved from http://www.convictrecords.com.au/ships/arab/1834
  10. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 16th September 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/bardaster
  11. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 17th October 2018). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  12. ^ William Webster. (Retrieved 2010, September 27) William Webster. Retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Hedgcock_Webster
  13. ^ HMS Prince of Wales Crew members. (Retrieved 2014, April 9) . Retrieved from http://www.forcez-survivors.org.uk/biographies/listprincecrew.html
  14. ^ Lusitania Passenger List - The Lusitania Resource. (Retrieved 2014, March 6) . Retrieved from http://www.rmslusitania.info/lusitania-passenger-list/
  15. ^ Pearl Harbour: USS Arizona Casualties List Pearl Harbour December 7, 1941. (Retrieved 2018, July 31st). Retrieved from http://pearl-harbor.com/arizona/casualtylist.html


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