York History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms
The name York is of Anglo-Saxon origin and came from when the family lived in Yorkshire, the largest county in northern England, which is divided into three administrative ridings: North Riding, West Riding, and East Riding. The town of York was the military capital of Roman Britain, the capital of Northumbria, and was the seat of an Archbishop.
Yorkshire was also the home of the House of York, which was an English royal dynasty from 1461 to 1485. The reigning members of the House of York were Edward IV, Edward V and Richard III. Their rivalry with the House of Lancaster resulted in the Wars of the Roses, which lasted from 1455 to 1485 and ended when the Lancastrian Henry VII united the two houses by marrying Elizabeth, the daughter of Edward IV. The surname York belongs to the large category of Anglo-Saxon habitation names, which are derived from pre-existing names for towns, villages, parishes, or farmsteads.
Early Origins of the York family
The surname York was first found in Wiltshire where they were first listed at Carne, and soon after the Conquest branched to Fillack in Cornwall, and Wellington in Somerset. The church parish of Guilden Morden in Cambridgeshire has an interesting story about the family.
"The parish appears to have taken the affix to its name from the decoration of the steeple of its church with stripes of gilding. It is recorded that Charles Yorke, son of the first lord Hardwicke, died suddenly while the patent for raising him to the peerage by the title of Baron Morden, taken from this place, was in preparation." 
And in Wimpole, Cambridgeshire more early records were found of the family. The reader should note that Philip Yorke, 1st Baron Hardwicke, Lord Chancellor of Great Britain from 1737 to 1756 was the first Earl of Hardwicke.
"This place, which is on the road from Royston to Huntingdon, is remarkable as the residence of the Earl of Hardwicke, whose magnificent seat of Wimpole Hall, splendidly embellished, and surrounded by a beautiful demesne, was visited by Her Majesty and Prince Albert in October 1843. The church, which has been enlarged by fitting up a private chapel with seats, contains various monuments to the Yorke family, including one to the memory of Lord Chancellor Hardwicke, who was interred here." 
One of the first records was William of York (d. 1256), Bishop of Salisbury. " In 1242 he was one of the king's two representatives sent to the parliament of 29 Jan. to ask for money and counsel for the French war, and when the king departed for Gascony he, the archbishop of York, and William de Cantelupe were entrusted with the custody of the realm. " 
Early History of the York family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our York research. Another 164 words (12 lines of text) covering the years 1461, 1569, 1549, 1588, 1595, 1572, 1595, 1609, 1666, 1654, 1666, 1690, 1764, 1658, 1716, 1689, 1690, 1695, 1707, 1687, 1770, 1687, 1705 and 1711 are included under the topic Early York History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
York Spelling Variations
It is only in the last few hundred years that the English language has been standardized. For that reason, early Anglo-Saxon surnames like York are characterized by many spelling variations. As the English language changed and incorporated elements of other European languages, even literate people changed the spelling of their names. Scribes and monks in the Middle Ages spelled names they sounded, so it is common to find several variations that refer to a single person. The variations of the name York include: York, Yorke and others.
Early Notables of the York family (pre 1700)
Notables of this surname at this time include: Sir John York or Yorke (died 1569?), an English merchant and politician, Master of the Mint, Sheriff of London in 1549
Rowland Yorke or York (d. 1588), was a soldier of fortune and is conjectured to have been one of the ten sons of Sir John York. "Being of an adventurous disposition, he volunteered for the Netherlands under Captain Thomas Morgan (d. 1595) in 1572. His heir was Edmund Yorke, who was executed at Tyburn in 1595 for attempting to assassinate Queen Elizabeth. " 
In the United States, the name York is the 613rd most popular surname with an estimated 47,253 people with that name. 
Migration of the York family to Ireland
Some of the York family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. More information about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Many English families tired of political and religious strife left Britain for the new colonies in North America. Although the trip itself offered no relief - conditions on the ships were extremely cramped, and many travelers arrived diseased, starving, and destitute - these immigrants believed the opportunities that awaited them were worth the risks. Once in the colonies, many of the families did indeed prosper and, in turn, made significant contributions to the culture and economies of the growing colonies. An inquiry into the early roots of North American families has revealed a number of immigrants bearing the name York or a variant listed above:
York Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
York Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
York Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
Some of the first settlers of this family name were:
York Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
York Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
Emigration to Australia followed the First Fleets of convicts, tradespeople and early settlers. Early immigrants include:
York Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
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:
York Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
The British first settled the British West Indies around 1604. They made many attempts but failed in some to establish settlements on the Islands including Saint Lucia and Grenada. By 1627 they had managed to establish settlements on St. Kitts (St. Christopher) and Barbados, but by 1641 the Spanish had moved in and destroyed some of these including those at Providence Island. The British continued to expand the settlements including setting the First Federation in the British West Indies by 1674; some of the islands include Barbados, Bermuda, Cayman Island, Turks and Caicos, Jamaica and Belize then known as British Honduras. By the 1960's many of the islands became independent after the West Indies Federation which existed from 1958 to 1962 failed due to internal political conflicts. After this a number of Eastern Caribbean islands formed a free association. 
York Settlers in West Indies in the 17th Century
York Settlers in West Indies in the 18th Century
HMAS Sydney II
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: Nec cupias, nec metuas
Motto Translation: Neither desire nor fear.