Tracing an English surname may take you back in time to the very foundation of the United States. In the seventeenth century, English aristocrats settled the Jamestown Colony in Virginia. A few years later, the humble, deeply devout Pilgrims started the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Within the next few decades, Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, and most of the other thirteen original colonies had sizable English populations.
Throughout the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, many of the new immigrants bore an English surname. They came from all classes: wealthy aristocrats, merchants, farmers, and craftsmen all came to the new country. Some sailed in high style, while others paid their hard-earned money for passage in steerage compartments.
Some came alone; others traveled as an entire family. The ships crossing the Atlantic were often overcrowded as they headed for the great Atlantic ports: Boston, Philadelphia, Baltimore and New York. Between 1880 and 1930, 2.3 million British people arrived at immigration ports; after 1892, they came through Ellis Island.
Your English surname is likely traceable through a variety of historical documents. Ships' registers may list family members, occupation, birthplace, age, and marital status as well as name and destination. Church records give dates of baptism, marriage, and burial. Census records list residence, profession, age, and often more.
An English surname may lead you back to a poet, a soldier, a farmer, a politician, but it will surely lead you to a family with strength and courage enough to start fresh in a new world. Discover your English surname on OneGreatFamily.com, the original Internet family tree. You can rapidly add new branches to your tree.