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." [1]

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." [1]

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. " [2]

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. " [2] William...
Another 91 words (6 lines of text) are included under the topic Early York Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

York Ranking

In the United States, the name York is the 613rd most popular surname with an estimated 47,253 people with that name. [3]

Ireland 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.


United States York migration to the United States +

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
  • James York and his wife Catherine, who settled in Virginia in 1635
  • Kat York, aged 19, who landed in Virginia in 1635 [4]
  • Thomas York, who arrived in Maryland in 1636 [4]
  • James York, who arrived in Braintree, Massachusetts in 1647 [4]
  • Richard York, who arrived in New Hampshire in 1652 [4]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
York Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Eliza York, who landed in Virginia in 1700 [4]
  • Tho York, who landed in Virginia in 1706 [4]
  • Matthew York, who arrived in Virginia in 1714 [4]
  • Esther York, who arrived in Virginia in 1714 [4]
York Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • William York, who arrived in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1836 [4]
  • John York, who landed in Mississippi in 1840 [4]
  • George York, who landed in San Francisco, California in 1851 [4]
  • Levi York, who arrived in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1876 [4]

Canada York migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

York Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
  • Edward York, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1760
  • James York, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1760
  • James York, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1761
  • Private. Christian York U.E. who settled in Canada c. 1784 [5]
  • Private. George York U.E. who settled in Canada c. 1784 [5]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
York Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • Robert S York, who landed in Canada in 1836
  • Susanna York, aged 21, who arrived in Montreal in 1849
  • William York, aged 5, who landed in Montreal in 1849
  • William York, aged 28, who arrived in Montreal in 1849
  • Mary Ann York, aged 1, who landed in Montreal in 1849
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Australia York migration to Australia +

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

York Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mr. John York, (Yorke), (b. 1768), aged 39, English convict who was convicted in York, Yorkshire, England for 14 years , transported aboard the "Duke of Portland" in January 1807, arriving in New South Wales, Australia, he died in 1840 [6]
  • Mr. James York, (b. 1799), aged 25, English carpenter born in Northamptonshire, England who was convicted in Kesteven (Parts of Kesteven), Lincolnshire, England for 7 years for larceny, transported aboard the "Chapman" on 6th April 1824, arriving in Tasmania ( Van Diemen's Land), he died in 1863 [7]
  • Richard York, English convict from Somerset, who was transported aboard the "Argyle" on March 5th, 1831, settling in Van Diemen's Land, Australia [8]
  • Mr. Samuel York, British Convict who was convicted in Bedford, Bedfordshire, England for 10 years, transported aboard the "Dudbrook" on 17th November 1852, arriving in Western Australia [9]

New Zealand York 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:

York Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Thomas York, who landed in Wellington, New Zealand in 1841
  • Henry York, who arrived in Nelson, New Zealand aboard the ship "John Masterman" in 1857
  • George York, who arrived in Nelson, New Zealand aboard the ship "John Masterman" in 1857
  • Mary Ann York, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Armstrong" in 1865
  • Mr. John York, British settler travelling from London aboard the ship "Queen of India" arriving in Dunedin, Otago, South Island, New Zealand on 23rd June 1865 [10]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

West Indies York migration to West Indies +

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. [11]
York Settlers in West Indies in the 17th Century
  • John York, who arrived in Barbados in 1635
  • Mr. John York, (b. 1609), aged 26, British settler travelling aboard the ship "Expedition" arriving in Barbados in 1636 [12]
York Settlers in West Indies in the 18th Century
  • Sarah York, who settled in Jamaica in 1722

Contemporary Notables of the name York (post 1700) +

  • Alvin Cullum "Sergeant" York (1887-1964), American WWI hero, nicknamed Sergeant York, one of the most decorated American soldiers, recipient of the Medal of Honor
  • Tom York (1924-2021), American television personality, who worked for WBRC in Birmingham, Alabama, from 1957 to 1989
  • Marcus A. "Mark" York (1965-2021), American actor best known for his role as Billy Merchant in NBC's The Office
  • Francine York (1936-2017), born Francine Yerich, an American movie and television actress, known for her roles with Jerry Lewis, Marlon Brando, David Niven and Elvis Presley
  • John Foley York (b. 1946), American bassist and guitarist, best known for his work with The Byrds
  • John Joseph Robert York (b. 1958), American actor
  • Jerome Bailey "Jerry" York (1938-2010), American businessman, Chairman, President and CEO of Harwinton Capital, former CFO of IBM and Chrysler
  • Andrew York (b. 1958), American classical guitarist and composer
  • Richard Allen "Dick" York (1928-1992), American actor perhaps best remembered for his role as the first Darrin Stephens in the fantasy sitcom Bewitched [13]
  • Duke James W. York Jr. (b. 1939), American mathematical physicist
  • ... (Another 50 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

HMAS Sydney II
RMS Lusitania
  • Mr. William York, Canadian 3rd Class passenger from Brantford, Ontario, Canada, who sailed aboard the RMS Lusitania and died in the sinking [15]


The York 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: Nec cupias, nec metuas
Motto Translation: Neither desire nor fear.


  1. ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
  2. ^ Smith, George (ed), Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1885-1900. Print
  3. ^ https://namecensus.com/most_common_surnames.htm
  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. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 28th July 2021). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/duke-of-portland
  7. ^ Convict Records of Australia (Retreived 26th January 2021, retreived from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/chapman)
  8. ^ State Library of Queensland. (Retrieved 2015, January 8) Argyle voyage to Van Diemen's Land, Australia in 1831 with 251 passengers. Retrieved from http://www.convictrecords.com.au/ships/argyle/1831
  9. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 23rd July 2021). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/dudbrook
  10. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 26th March 2019). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  11. ^ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_West_Indies
  12. ^ Pilgrim Ship Lists Early 1600's retrieved 29th September 2021. (Retrieved from https://www.packrat-pro.com/ships/shiplist.htm)
  13. ^ Richard York. (Retrieved 2011, January 21) Richard York. Retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dick_York
  14. ^ HMAS Sydney II, Finding Sydney Foundation - Roll of Honour. (Retrieved 2014, April 24) . Retrieved from http://www.findingsydney.com/roll.asp
  15. ^ Lusitania Passenger List - The Lusitania Resource. (Retrieved 2014, March 6) . Retrieved from http://www.rmslusitania.info/lusitania-passenger-list/


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