Lincoln Surname Meaning, History & Origin

Select Lincoln Meaning
The surname Lincoln derives from the town of Lincoln in Lincolnshire in
the east of England. Lincoln was an important center in the area
during Roman times and during the Middle Ages. The name Lincoln
defined someone from Lincoln who may in fact have been resident somewhere else.

Lincoln Resources on

Lincoln Ancestry

are persons from Lincoln, not necessarily of Lincoln.
London recorded the following Lincoln
immigrants from Lincolnshire in its subsidy rolls of the 13th century:

  • John
    de Lincolne, draper (1266)
  • John
    de Lyncolne, cordwainer (1292)
  • and
    Hugh de Lyncolne, skinner (1309).

Lincoln was a peddler who helped instigate the riots against foreign
tradesmen in London in 1517. He was executed for his pains.
A later John Lincoln was a well-known organ-maker in London in the
early 19th century.

By the time of the 1881 census, London recorded some Lincolns, but
Lincolnshire very few. They were in fact outnumbered by those in
Norfolk to the south of
Lincolnshire, followed by those in Yorkshire to the north.

The Lincoln name had appeared in
Norfolk in the 13th century. William de
Lyncolne was bailiff of Norwich in 1256.
A Thomas Lyncolne was recorded as farming in the Norfolk village of Tasburgh
in 1413 and these Lincolns stayed
in the village for the next four hundred years.

Swanton Morley in Norfolk was home in the 16th
century to Richard Lincoln, a wealthy churchwarden who built the
mansion which is now The Angel pub.
Lincoln disinherited his son Edward
from his will in favor of his fourth wife, thereby throwing the Lincoln
into penury and forcing his young grandsons Thomas and Samuel, then
living in Hingham, to
emigrate to America.

America. The
new colony of Hingham,
had amongst its Norfolk settlers six Lincolns who
were the progenitors of almost all the Lincolns in America. They
included Thomas Lincoln
the weaver
who was granted land in 1636 and his younger son Samuel, Abraham
ancestor in America, who received land there a year later.
Samuel and his wife Martha had eight children
who survived, three of whom lived onto their eighties.

Thomas Lincoln’s line led to Benjamin
, an American general during the
Revolutionary War. It is a point that
in the South have tended to be named after General Benjamin Lincoln
rather than
after the President Abraham Lincoln.

line from Samuel Lincoln

led to:

  • Levi
    Lincoln and his son Levi,
    both Governors of Massachusetts
  • and
    Lincoln, brother of the younger Levi and Governor of Maine in 1827

line to Abraham
went from Massachusetts to New Jersey and then
to Virginia, Kentucky, Indiana and Illinois and to the log cabin there
Abraham grew up, the son of Thomas Lincoln and Nancy nee Hanks. That was the lineage covered
William E. Barton’s 1929
book The Lineage of Lincoln. At
the time some disputed this lineage, maintaining
that Nancy Hanks was indeed his mother but that his father was an
Abraham Enloe
instead. Barton dismissed this as idle
talk and not supported by the facts.

Todd Lincoln had four children, but only their eldest son, Robert
Lincoln, would survive
to adulthood.


Lincoln Miscellany

The Will of Thomas Lincolne of Tasburgh in Norfolk.  In 1475
Thomas Lincolne left in his will a strip of land in Foulesboth Pytll to
be sold
for “prayers to be said for my soul and those of my friends.”  He bequeathed two horses, land, and two
bullocks to his widow Margery and his sons John and Thomas.

The Various Lincolns of Hingham, Massachusetts.  Early in
the 17th century the little town of Hingham in Norfolk was torn by the
religious dissension.  Robert Peck, the
of Hingham. was among the dissenters and he headed a group of which
held prayer
meetings in private houses.  It was his
associate Peter Hobart who led a party of twenty nine to the new
colony of
Massachusetts where they founded the town of Hingham, Massachusetts in

following year lands were granted to the following Lincolns:

  • Thomas
    Lincoln the
  • Thomas
    Lincoln the weaver,
  • and
    Thomas Lincoln the cooper.

In 1637 land was also granted also to Samuel
Lincoln, the brother of Thomas Lincoln the weaver.

Another Thomas Lincoln of Hingham was a large
landowner and he was known as Thomas Lincoln the husbandman, thus
making him the
fourth Thomas Lincoln who settled in Hingham.  This
Thomas Lincoln had come from Wyndham in
Norfolk in 1638 and married Margaret, the daughter of Richard Langer of
around 1642.  Two other Lincolns also
in the region – Stephen Lincoln, brother to Thomas Lincoln the
and the young Sergeant Daniel Lincoln.

Samuel Lincoln – who
came over as a youthful servant/apprentice – seems to have been the
modest of all the Lincolns in point of property.  But
it was this Samuel Lincoln who, by the
irony of democracy, became the progenitor of President Abraham

This proud connection for Hingham in Norfolk
explains why the village hall there was named the Lincoln Hall and why
bust of
Abraham Lincoln takes pride of place in the north aisle of St. Andrews
church.  The memorial was bought by public
and unveiled by the American ambassador in 1919.

The General Benjamin Lincoln House in Hingham, Massachusetts.  Family history
places the initial construction of part of the house as early as 1637,
after Thomas Lincoln’s arrival in Hingham.
However, there is no visible architectural evidence to support

various Benjamin Lincolns
of this family were maltsters and the family had become wealthy by the
mid 18th
century.  General Lincoln’s father was
one of the richest men in Suffolk county at that time.
It was he who probably gave the house its
L-shaped appearance, later expanded upon by his son.

house still stands.  It was declared a
National Historic Landmark
in 1972.  The
original woodwork, mantelpieces, floors, fireplaces, unpainted intact
from the 1715 addition preserved in the attic, and delft tiles
installed around
the parlor firebox have all remained in the house over the years.

When Abe Met Levi.  In 1848,
Abraham Lincoln, the then Congressman from Illinois, arrived in Worcester,
Massachusetts by train with his wife and two children to attend a Whig
political convention.

stayed at one
of the best hotels in the area, the Worcester House, on the corner of
Main and
Elm Street.  Down Main Street, once lit by whale oil lamps, was
Meeting House then considered the center for local politics.  The hall was a rustic auditorium that
uncomfortably held the thousand people that heard Lincoln’s 90 minute

next evening Lincoln and other delegates
were invited to a dinner at Mayor Levi Lincoln’s mansion, at the top of
a steep
hill on Elm Street.   The men were distant relatives and
extensively about their family tree.
Levi was the city’s first mayor and had already served as
Governor for nine years.

mansion is no longer there.  But it has
been saved.  Fearing its demolition when the family heirs sold the
property for development, it was rescued by the trustees of Old
Village, a living history museum.
In 1952 they moved the house thirty miles away to Sturbridge,
near a
bank and a pizza pad.

Abraham Lincoln and His Beard.  When Abraham
Lincoln, then President-elect, passed through Rochester, New York in
1861, en-route to Washington, his face was smooth-shaven.  It was said that in Rochester a little girl
remarked to him:

“Mr. Lincoln, your
face would not seem so long and you would look better if you wore

President laughed,
thanked the young miss, and went on his way.  Thereafter
he let his beard grow.

Abraham Lincoln’s Descendants.  Robert
Todd Lincoln was the only one of Lincoln’s four sons to live
to adulthood.  He later served as
Secretary of War under Presidents Garfield and Arthur.
He lived onto 1926, the
last surviving member
of the Garfield and Arthur Cabinets.

and his wife had three children, one son and two daughters.  Their son Jack died of blood poisoning at the
age of sixteen.  Their two daughters,
Jessie and Mamie, married and had children.
But the Lincoln line ended there.
The last person known to be of direct Lincoln lineage was
grandson through Jessie, Bud Beckwith, who died in 1985.

Beckwith died, the three groups that
were to inherit his millions – Iowa Wesleyan College, the American Red
and the First Church of Christ Scientist – were worried about his
supposed son
Timothy Beckwith, by then seventeen and living in the US with his
mother.  The groups made him an offer, some
say of more
than $1 million.  The teenager said yes
and with that the Lincoln family tree withered into history.


Lincoln Names

  • John Lincoln from Grimsby was the King’s Secretary during the reign of Richard II in the
    late 14th century.
  • Benjamin Lincoln was one of Washington’s generals during the Revolutionary War.
  • Abraham Lincoln was America’s
    16th President and one of its most famous. He was the man who led the country through the trials and tribulations of the Civil War.

Select Lincoln Numbers Today

  • 5,000 in the UK (most numerous
    in Norfolk)
  • 6,000 in America (most numerous in California)
  • 3,000 elsewhere (most numerous in Australia)


Select Lincoln and Like Surnames

The surnames found here cover most of the US Presidential surnames since the first President, George Washington.  Click on the surname below if you wish to know more of that particular President and his name.

ClintonJacksonNixonVan Buren




Click here for return to front page

Leave a Reply