Long Surname Genealogy

There appears to be two competing theories for the origin of the Long

  • the first is that it is variation on a Norman-French
    place name de Longues or de Longa.
  • the other theory is
    that it is based on a physical characteristic, similar to surnames such
    as Short or Strong.

The Latin longus produced the
Old Englsh lang, meaning
“long” or “tall,” which in turn gave rise to the Long, Lang, and Laing

The spelling may have something to do with local
pronunciation. Long as a surname appeared mainly in the south of
England, Lang in Devon in the southwest and in the north (early
spellings were Berard Long in Suffolk and Adam ye Langge in
Yorkshire). There were Longs in Scotland who became Lang or
Laing; while the German
Lang or Lange often became Long in America.

Well-known extensions
of the Long name are Longman, the book publisher, and Longfellow, the

Resources on

Long Ancestry

The Ancient History of the
Distinguished Surname of Long
started as follows:

“The first record of the name Long was
found in Wiltshire where they were seated from early times and their
first records appeared on the early census rolls taken by the early
Kings of Britain to determine the rate of taxation of their
subjects. They were descended from a Norman noble of Preux in

Wiltshire The
first known of these Longs was the 14th century Roger le
Long. His son Robert Long took possession of the South Wraxall
and Draycot estates and the Long line extended from him
down through thirteen generations. The Longs led colorful and
influential lives in Tudor times. They were in favor at the time
of Henry VIII, friends with the adventurer Sir Walter Raleigh, yet
involved in deadly feuds with their neighbors the Danvers.
The line died out in the early 19th century.

A subsidiary line, through Samuel Long, was involved in the conquest of
Jamaica in the 1650’s. When Samuel returned to England he
acquired Hurts Hall in Suffolk. This house remained with the Long
family until the 1950’s. Later came the Viscount Longs, the
descendants of the 18th century banker and politician Richard Godolphin
Long. Walter Long of this line was the leader of the Irish
Unionist party in the early 1900’s.

Norfolk The Long
name also surfaced in Norfolk. The Longs of Hingham date
from the 1550’s. They took possession of Spixworth Hall in the
early 1700’s. The Rev. John Long of Spixworth was chaplain to
King George III. Another Long family held Dunston Hall and were the rectors of St.
Mary’s church in Newton Flotman
. These Longs built an
impressive new manor house of Dunston Hall in 1859. But Fortescue
Long who inherited the estate was to spend little time there. He
suffered from mental problems and lived most of his life in

The 19th century distribution of the Long name showed two main
clusters: one around Wiltshire in Somerset and Gloucestershire and
south into Hampshire; and the other from East Anglia south into London
and Kent.

Early documents showed Longus and Long
spellings. But Lang and increasingly Laing dominated
as a surname. Long had mainly disappeared by the time of the 1901
census in Scotland.

The Longs in Ireland got their names from a
number of different origins. Some are from Norman, English and
Scottish descent. The Norman de Longs arrived in the
12th century with the Anglo-Norman conquest and established themselves
in a number of locations.

The Longs of Longfield House in Tipperary began with Robert Long from
England in the late 1600’s. They remained there as gentry until
the famine of the 1840’s. During an outbreak of agrarian violence
in 1820, Richard Long, the unpopular landlord at the time, was shot
dead while sitting on the toilet. A later Richard Long emigrated to
America and a Robert Long of this family became a foreign correspondent
for the New York Times.

The Long name also came from the Irish septs of O’Longain and O’Longaig. One sept was
located in county Armagh. But the greater numbers were to be
found in
central Cork. In 1631 John Long built a mansion overlooking
Oysterhaven creek known as Mount Long. He was killed
in the subsequent upheavals and his lands were then confiscated.
Long as a name did continue in Cork.

Caribbean. Samuel Long of
the Wiltshire Longs had arrived in Jamaica in 1655 as a lieutenant in
the English army and his family established itself as part of the
island’s governing planter elite. Edward Long was the author of The
History of Jamaica
in 1774; while Beeston Long at this time
was a highly successful London-based West Indian merchant.

America. Long in America
may be of English, Scottish, Irish or German origin. Early Long
arrivals from England were:

  • Joseph Long from Dorset who came
    with Winthrop’s fleet in 1630 and settled in Dorchester, Massachusetts
  • Robert Long from a family of London innkeepers who arrived on the
    Defense in 1635 and came
    Charlestown (a branch of this family were among the early settlers on
    Nantucket island)
  • and Deacon Robert Long who was in Newbury,
    by 1645.

A Long family settled in Culpepper county, Virginia sometime in the
late 1600’s. Ware Long of this family was thought by his grandson
to have been 112 years old when he died in 1803 (he was in fact
probably only in his eighties). J.T. Long wrote Genealogy of the Descendants of Ware Long
in 1908.

Meanwhile, John Long had come to Queen Anne’s county, Maryland in the
late 1600’s.
His descendants later moved onto Pennsylvania, Indiana, and Ohio.
And it was from Maryland that the forefathers of Huey Long, the
Louisiana populist, originated. James Long had moved south to
Mississippi in 1841 and it was Huey’s grandfather who then settled in

Irish Longs
Irish arrivals included:

  • Pierse Long from Limerick in Ireland who came to
    Portsmouth, New
    Hampshire in 1730. His son became a prosperous merchant,
    trading to the Caribbean, and fought on the American side in the
    Revolutionary War.
  • Francis Long, Scots Irish from Ulster, who had
    come to Chester county, Pennsylvania in the late 1720’s.
  • and another
    Pennsylvania arrival, around 1750, William Long, who had come
    with his father from Derry. It was said that he had seventeen
    sons, all of whom fought in the Revolutionary War. William, the
    only one of these sons who has been traced, subsequently married and
    moved south to Alabama.

German Longs
Pennsylvania was and still is a state with a large Long
population. This reflects as well German Langs/Langes who became
Longs. Included in this number were:

  • John Martin Lang who came from Germany around 1720 and settled in
  • William Long who was born in Pennsylvania in 1769 and moved onto
    Kentucky and Indiana
  • Ludvig Long who was born in Berks county, Pennsylvania in 1773
    and later moved to Ohio
  • George Long who was born in Perry county, Pennsylvania in the
    early 1800’s and also moved to Ohio
  • and Henry Long who was born in Pennsylvania in 1831 and later
    moved to Indiana;

while Christian Lange had immigrated to upstate New York in the early
1700’s. It was his grandson Adam, born in 1764, who changed the
name to Long.

Canada. An early Long in
Canada was the Loyalist Zachariah Long who crossed the border in 1796
into Prescott county, Ontario. Another Loyalist was
Philip Long who settled in New Brunswick. His story was narrated
in John Lang’s 1984 book From Hero
to Zero: The Story of Philip Long

Robert Long arrived from county Cork in Irelans in 1835 and settled in
Russell, Ontario. He and his wife Sarah raised seven children

Long Miscellany

If you would like to read more, click on the miscellany page for
further stories and accounts:

Select Long Names

Sir Walter Long of the Wiltshire
Longs was a leading Elizabethan courtier and close friend to Sir Walter
Viscount Walter Long was the
leader of the Irish
Unionist party in the early 1900’s.
R.A. Long was an early 20th
century lumber baron from Kansas after whom the town of Longview in
Washington was named.
Huey P. Long was Governor and
Senator of Louisiana in the 1930’s (until his assassination in
1935). Nicknamed “the Kingfish,” he was a man noted for his
radical populist views.

Select Longs

  • 36,000 in the UK (most numerous
    in Essex)
  • 84,000 in America (most numerous
    in Pennsylvania)
  • 29,000 elsewhere (most numerous in Canada).




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