Martin Surname Genealogy

a famous fourth century saint, St. Martin of Tours, and,
because of him,
the name
became extremely popular throughout Europe during the Middle Ages,
in Mediterranean countries and in Normandy in France.

Martin Resources on

Martin Ancestry

remains a common surname in Spain and France, as well as in England. Martins today run about:

  • 600,000
    in Spain
  • 220,000
    in France
  • versus
    153,000 in the UK.

Martins from France in particular have added to the
Martin numbers in America and Canada. In
France they have been mainly concentrated in the Normandy region of
France (where Martin is the second most common surname today). Blessed
Louis Martin
, the father of Saint Therese, came from Normandy.

The Normans
brought to the name to England. William
Martyn de Tours joined up with William the Conqueror and was granted
Martin in Devon. His family became the
FitzMartins. Another FitzMartin family
owned Blagdon Manor in Somerset.
However, both of these lines apparently died out about 1350. Clusters of Martins were also to be found at
an early date in Sussex, near where the Normans had landed.

The names Martin has remained strong in the
southwest of England, in both Devon and Cornwall, as well as in the
southeast. The variant Martyn is evident
in Cornwall.

A Martin family was established at Anstey village in Leicestershire
from the 14th century.
A branch of this family built Leeds castle in
Kent. They had s strong seafaring side
to them, as their numbers included Admiral Thomas Martin, Captain
Martin, and John Martin who circumvented the world with Sir Francis

Another Martin family, said to have originated from
Dorset, was settled at Melford Place
in Suffolk from the early 1400’s. Roger
Martin was a Catholic recusant during Elizabethan times; but these
Martins, having
supported the Royalist cause, became baronets in the next century. They departed Melford Place in 1762. The last of the Martins died in India in 1854
with his mistress, leaving no heir

Huguenots from France brought
the Martin name to England. Jean Martin
a Huguenot exile in Sandwich, Kent in 1622.
There were 14 Martin exiles recorded as being naturalized in
between 1682 and 1702.

Ireland. The name Martin came with the Normans to
Ireland, Thomas Martyn arriving in Galway around the year 1365. These Martyns were one of the fourteen tribes of Galway at the time
Cromwell, by which time they had become Catholic in their sympathies.

Richard Martin of this family was the founder
of the RSPCA (Society for the Protection of Cruelty to Animals) in
London in
1824. He married twice and had various
literary sons and daughters, but none so noteworthy as his son Thomas:

the revelation of his wife’s
affair, he sued her for ‘criminal conversation’ and was awarded 10,000
pounds. He had this distributed to the
poor by throwing it out of the windows of his coach on the long journey
from London to Galway.”

Martins also
came to Ireland during the Protestant plantations.
Many of them settled in Tyrone where they
became MacMartin or Gilmartin. There
were also some
early Gaelic Martin-like names

Fearghal O’Martain, for
instance, had been Bishop of Killala from 1425 to 1432 – that
Martin during the English

Scotland. Early
Martins or MacMartins
in Highland Scotland were the MacMartins of Letterfinlay, associated
with clan
Cameron, and
the Martins of Skye, associated with clan Donald. Martin
Martin of Skye (Martainn Martainn in
Gaelic) was a travel writer of the Western Isles in the late 17th

Christopher Martin and his
family from Essex arrived on the Mayflower
at Plymouth Rock in 1620. However, they
all perished there that first winter.

early Martin who remained was Peter Martin, a Huguenot refugee
Virginia sometime around 1700. Joseph
Martin, the second son of a Bristol merchant, came to Virginia in the
and settled in Albemarle county. His son
Joseph was a brigadier general of the Virginia militia during the
War and later was an early settler in what was to become Tennessee.

Martin was also a Mennonite name and many Martins arrived in
Philadelphia and settled in Pennsylvania in the years between 1722 and
1732. Christian
, who arrived on the Plaisance
in 1732, is
considered the patriarch of these Martin Mennonite families.

Canada. Jacques Martin from
La Rochelle in France was an early arrival with his family in Quebec
in the 1650’s. Joseph Martin was born in
Nova Scotia in 1736 but made the trek southward with other Acadians to
Louisiana in the 1760’s. However, some
– the Martins of Madawaska – managed to escape the deportation and

Paul Martin, Canada’s Prime Minister from
2003 to 2006, has an Irish immigrant background, his great grandfather
having arrived from county Mayo in the late 19th century.

Martin Miscellany

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

Select Martin Names

Joseph Martin was an Indian
trader and pioneer settler in what was
to become Tennessee.
Lionel Martin founded the
British car company Aston Martin.
Dean Martin, the
Italian-American singer, was born Dino Crocetti.
George Martin was the record
producer for the Beatles.
Paul Martin was Prime Minister
of Canada between 2003 and 2006.
is an American comic actor.

Select Martins Today

  • 153,000 in the UK (most numerous
    in Lancashire)
  • 262,000 in America (most numerous in Texas)
  • 120,000 elsewhere (most numerous in Canada)


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