Woolbirn History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The name Woolbirn reached English shores for the first time with the ancestors of the Woolbirn family as they migrated following the Norman Conquest of 1066. The Woolbirn family lived in Lincolnshire. Their name is derived from the Old English word welle, meaning well, and the Old Norse word brunnr, meaning stream or spring, and indicates that the original bearer lived near a well by a stream or spring. [1]

The Domesday Book of 1086 has three listings: Welborne (Walebruna), Norfolk; Welbourne (Wellebrune), Lincolnshire; and Welburn (Wellebrune), North Yorkshire. [2]

Early Origins of the Woolbirn family

The surname Woolbirn was first found in Lincolnshire where they were Lords of the manor of Welbourn and conjecturally descended from a Norman noble, Robert Malet, who was granted the church and mill by King William the Conqueror in 1066. The ancestry of Robert goes back to Graville near Havre in Normandy in 990, where he was descended from Algar, the seventh Earl of Mercia. [3]

Early rolls gave a glimpse at the various spellings in use over the years: Walebrun was recorded in Lincolnshire c. 1155; Robert Walebrun was registered in the Subsidy Rolls for Sussex in 1296; and John Walebron was listed in the Subsidy Rolls for Sussex in 1327. [4] The Hundredorum Rolls of 1273 had one entry for the family, that of Hugh de Welleburn, Lincolnshire. [5]

Early History of the Woolbirn family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Woolbirn research. Another 42 words (3 lines of text) covering the years 1605, 1929, 1640, 1702, 1699, 1702 and 1697 are included under the topic Early Woolbirn History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Woolbirn Spelling Variations

Before the advent of the printing press and the first dictionaries, the English language was not standardized. Sound was what guided spelling in the Middle Ages, so one person's name was often recorded under several variations during a single lifetime. Spelling variations were common, even among the names of the most literate people. Known variations of the Woolbirn family name include Welborne, Welborn, Welbourne, Welburn and others.

Early Notables of the Woolbirn family (pre 1700)

Outstanding amongst the family at this time was Thomas Welbourne (Welbourn) (executed at York, 1 August 1605), an English Roman Catholic teacher, Catholic martyr, beatified in 1929. Thomas Wellborn (also: Welbourn, Welbourne, Wellbourne), (1640-1702), served as Captain in the King's Militia, and...
Another 41 words (3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Woolbirn Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Migration of the Woolbirn family

To escape the political and religious chaos of this era, thousands of English families began to migrate to the New World in search of land and freedom from religious and political persecution. The passage was expensive and the ships were dark, crowded, and unsafe; however, those who made the voyage safely were encountered opportunities that were not available to them in their homeland. Many of the families that reached the New World at this time went on to make important contributions to the emerging nations of the United States and Canada. Research into various historical records has revealed some of first members of the Woolbirn family to immigrate North America: Sam, Mathew, and Robert Welbourne settled in Virginia in 1652.



  1. ^ Mills, A.D., Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4)
  2. ^ Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds., Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8)
  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)
  4. ^ Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  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)


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