Warren Surname Genealogy

Warren has Norman roots introduced into England at the time of the
Conquest. There are two possible origins of the name.
One source of the name is the Normandy village of La Varenne
which gave
the name to William
de Warenne who fought at the Battle of Hastings and whose
descendants later became Warren. A second derivation is from the
Norman French warrene, a
warren or piece of land
set aside for the breeding of game. The surname could
describe someone who lived by a game park or someone who was employed
in such a place.

Resources on

Warren Ancestry

England. William de Warenne
who had arrived in England with William the Conqueror was the forebear
of the subsequent Earls of Warren and Surrey. However, this line
died out in the 14th century.

The knight Sir Edward de Warren
married Cicely de Eton in the 1340’s and she brought with her the
estates of Poynton and Stockport in Cheshire. Poynton Hall, long
since demolished, was built by Sir Edward Warren in 1552 and then
replaced by Sir George Warren with a larger structure in 1750.

Kent The county
of Kent provided some early Warren sightings. A
certain William Warren left his house to Canterbury Cathedral “for
pious uses” in 1371. The Warrens of Dover may have been
related. William Warren was mayor of Dover in 1493, his son John
three times majyor of Dover in the early 1500’s. Subsequent Warrens
from the village of Ripple near Deal included emigrants to the New

SW England
However, there were probably more Warrens in the southwest, in Devon in
particular. The Warrens were long-established there in the
village of
Ottery St. Mary. One family account follows the Warrens from
Ashburton in Devon to Marnhull in Dorset

Warrens in Dorset
were to be found in Fordington and Tincleton, villages near
Dorchester. Later Warrens have been
traced to the area around Chard and Ilminster in Somerset.
Warrens from Bristol became shipbuilders in Hayle in Cornwall in the
mid 19th century. By the time of the 1891 census the
southwest overall accounted for just over 20 percent of all the Warrens

Ireland. Warren in
Ireland is mainly an English implant. Edward Warren had
arrived with Strongbow in 1172. From their base at Warrenstown in
county Meath, these Warrens became one of the old-established Dublin families.
There were related Warrens in Wexford.

A later line in county
Carlow started with Captain Humphrey Warren in the 1500’s.
Richard Warren and his family lived at Ballymurphy in county Carlow
from 1735 to 1823. Robert Warren, an English soldier in
Cromwell’s army,
was the forebear of the Warren landed gentry in county Cork. And
Irish O’Murmaines anglicized their names to Warren in Cork and Kerry.

America. Warrens came to
New England and also to Virginia and Maryland.

New England
Three early
Warren settlers in New England produced a heap of descendants:

  • Richard Warren from London, a
    passenger on the Mayflower,
    who arrived at Plymouth rock in 1620.
  • John Warren from Suffolk, who
    arrived in 1630 and settled in Watertown, Massachusetts.
  • and Peter Warren, a mariner who
    arrived in Boston in the 1650’s and bought land there. .

Richard Warren and his wife had seven children, all of whom survived,
and a multitude of descendants, including apparently Presidents Ulysses
S. Grant and Franklin Rooseveldt and the actor Richard

John Warren’s descendants included Moses Warren, an
early settler in Ohio, and Levi Gale Warren, a merchant and trader in
Terre Haute, Indiana.

Peter Warren was the forebear of the
famous Warrens from Roxbury:

  • Joseph Warren, the horticulturist who developed the “Warren
    russet” apple (sadly in 1755, whilst gathering fruit in his orchard, he
    fell from his ladder and was instantly killed),
  • Dr.
    Joseph Warren
    , an early hero of the American Revolution (it
    was said, after him, that Warren became popular as a first name in
  • his younger brother John Warren,
    surgeon who founded Harvard Medical School,
  • and his son John Collins Warren,
    one of
    the most renowned surgeons of the 19th century. .

Samuel Warren, born in Grafton, started a paper mill in Pepperell,
Massachusetts and became a very successful paper manufacturer in the
latter part of the 19th century. His family, known in Boston as the Mount Vernon
Street Warrens
, were prominent art conoisseurs and

Other Massachusetts Warrens headed West. Lyman Warren set off in
1818 with his
brother for Wisconsin when it was still largely Indian territory.
This Warren family befriended the local Ojibwe Indians of
that region.
Fitz Henry Warren moved to Iowa territory in 1844. And Francis
Warren headed further west and later represented Wyoming in the US

Virginia and Maryland
There were also early Warren arrivals into Virginia and Maryland:

  • Thomas Warren came to Surry county, Virginia in 1641 with his
    Daniel Gookin, the founder of Newport News.
  • Humphrey Warren from
    Cheshire was in Charles county, Maryland by 1662 and his family
    operated a plantation of 500 acres there at Hatton’s Point.
  • George Warren and his family moved from Maryland to Washington
    Virginia in the 1760’s. They were buried at the Warren family cemetery
    near Abingdon.

Virginia accounts also relate the story of William Johnston Warren, a
slave in Tazewell county who bought his freedom in 1858. He and
his brother-in-law subsequently operated a tannery in Tazewell for many
years. His home there remained in family hands until 1994.

Some Warrens moved onto Kentucky after the Revolutionary War was
over. William Warren came to Lincoln county in 1779 and settled
along the Dix river. Twenty years later, Hugh Warren and his
family arrived in Green county. His son Hardin and wife Lydia
later settled in the Ozone mountain area of Johnson county, Arkansas.

Benjamin Warren headed south at this time to Georgia. He and his
great friend James Coleman were business pioneers in this new
state. He was the owner of the Bedford plantation (which included
land now occupied by the Augusta National Golf Club on which the
Masters is played), a flour milling operation, and several other
business enterprises. It is said that many of Augusta’s
institutions today were influenced and molded by Benjamin Warren.

Other Warrens, in this case from South Carolina, came to Heard county,
Georgia in the 1830’s as a result of a land lottery draw.

Meanwhile, around 1820, Benajah and Ferriba Warren left their home in
Georgia to settle in Jefferson county in the newly opened Mississippi
territory. By the time of the Civil War, Warrens had begun also
settle in Texas. African American Warrens in Linden, Cass county
date from the early 1800’s. By the early 20th century, the state
of Texas had the largest number of Warrens in the United States.

Canada. The Warren name
in Newfoundland records dates back to 1760. Henry Warren was a
fisherman in Petty Harbor in 1794. John Henry Warren arrived from
Devon in the 1830’s and ran a fish export business out of St.
John’s. He turned politician and represented Bonavista Bay where
he found many supporters from Devon. Later, William Robertson
Warren from St. John’s rose to become briefly Prime Minister of the
province in the 1920’s.

Samuel Russell Warren was the outstanding figure in Canadian organ
building in the 19th century. He was a descendant of the Richard
Warren of Mayflower fame and
had come to Montreal from Rhode Island in the 1830’s. Other
Warrens entered Canada by sea around this time, including a number from

Australia. Mary Warren, a
convict, arrived in Australia in 1790 on the notorious Lady Juliana. She married a
few years later but died through drowning in 1804. John Warren –
transported to Western Australia in 1852 – had a happier outcome,
however. Managing to escape the convict stigma by becoming a
schoolmaster, he ended up marrying a wealthy widow who owned a hotel
and a farm.

Early Warren free settlers were:

  • Thomas Warren and his family
    from Sunderland who came on the James
    in 1852. They later settled in Melbourne.
  • James and Mary Warren from
    Suffolk who arrived in the mid-1850’s. Daughter Mary lived to be
    nine before her death in East Maitland, NSW in 1941.

Warren Miscellany

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

Select Warren Names

William de Warenne came over
with William the Conqueror and started an early Warren line.
Peter Warren, from an old-line
Dublin family, was promoted to Admiral of the British
Navy after a successful engagement against the French off Canada in the
Dr Joseph Warren, killed in the
Battle of Bunker Hill in 1775, was an early hero of the American
William Warren, the son of a
British-born actor, was the great comic actor on the American stage in
the second half of the 19th century.
W.K. Warren from Tennessee was
a pioneer in gas liquids production in Oklahoma from the 1920’s to the
Earl Warren was three times
Governor of California and was the 14th Chief Justice of the United
States. He was of Scandinavian stock.
Robert Penn Warren was a mid
20th century American writer and critic.

Select Warrens Today

  • 39,000 in the UK (most numerous
    in Essex)
  • 66,000 in America (most numerous
    in Texas).
  • 33,000 elsewhere (most numerous in Canada).




Click here for reader feedback
Click here for return to front page

Leave a Reply