Norton Surname Genealogy
surname Norton comes from the place-name Norton (from nor meaning
“north” plus tun “farm” or “settlement”), of which
there have been many in
England. Similar type
English place-names and surnames are Sutton, Easton, and Weston.
the Norton place-name could be found as far apart as Runcorn in
Doncaster in south Yorkshire, as well as Northamptonshire and Suffolk
the name are
Midsomer Norton, Chipping Norton, and Brize
Norton. An early example of the surname
was Osuuardus de Nordtone of Kent,
in the Domesday Book.
Ireland and Scotland Naughton or MacNaughton could become Norton.
Norton Resources on
- Norton Families
- Norton Family History
- Norton Family History
Nortons in south Derbyshire and Burton on Trent.
- The Norton Family
Nortons of Martha’s Vineyard.
- Norton DNA Project
The Norton family of Sharpenhoe in Bedfordshire
was one early Norton line, beginning with le
de Norville in
the 12th century. Norville
Norton sometime in the 13th century.
Thomas Norton of Sharpenhoe prospered as a grocer in London in
times and his son Thomas made a name for himself as a poet and as a
From this family, it was
thought, came the Nortons of York. The
male line there was originally Coigners.
When Roger Conyers married the Norton heiress around the year
family adopted the Norton name. Richard
Norton and many of his kinfolk were involved in the Catholic Rising of the
North in 1569 and had their estates attainted as a consequence. Still, the line did continue to Sir Fletcher
Norton of Grantley who became Speaker of the House of Commons in 1769.
Speaker with a dubious reputation. He
by satirists as Sir Bullface Doublefee
and described by Horace Walpole as
rose from obscure infamy to that infamous fame which will long stick to
Another early Norton family traced its
ancestry back to East Tisted in Hampshire in 1308.
During the course of the 16th century they
became one of the leading families of Hampshire. Colonel
Richard Norton was a Parliamentary
officer of some distinction in the Civil War.
He survived the Restoration.
However, his line ended with the next generation.
Meanwhile John Norton was the first of the
Nortons of Sheldwich in Kent, inheriting the Lees-court estate there
marriage in the 1450’s. Sir John
of this family was sheriff of Kent in 1513 and again in 1522.
Robert de Norton was Sheriff of Norfolk in 1269.
And there were some early Nortons also
in the west country. The spelling in
Somerset was Nourton or Nurton in the 15th century but became Norton a
later. William Norton was a churchwarden
at Ilminster in 1543; while a Norton family of tanners lived nearby at
and White Lackington around this time.
Subsequent Nortons were embroiled in a
Norton family dispute
which impoverished the family.
distribution of the Norton name reflected to some extent this earlier
incidence. Yorkshire was one
concentration, London and the southeast another. There
was also a number of Nortons in Norfolk
Ireland. The Gaelic O’Neachtain was most commonly anglicized as
Naughton but sometimes as Norton. In
early times the O’Neachtains were recognized as the hereditary
the kings of Connacht and the chief commanders of the cavalry of Ui
They were displaced at the
time of the Anglo-Norman invasion and they then
settled in the Athlone region of Roscommon.
clan until the English incursions during the reign of Elizabeth. Many lost their lands
at the time of Cromwell.
elsewhere in Ireland were often of Scottish origin.
The Naughton/Norton name also appeared on the west coast of Scotland in
what is now Argyllshire. Naughton here
came from the Pictish name Nechtan.
The MacNaughton name appeared in Lochowe as
early as the 12th century. The
MacNaughtons of Dunderawe were a pro-Royalist family at the time of the
War. But John MacNaughton, who was born
in the region in 1760, became John Norton.
And the family thereafter were Nortons.
Nortons from England came mainly to New England and some
to Virginia and
elsewhere. America also had Irish
Nortons and even some Jewish Nortons.
a number of early Norton arrivals:
Norton who came to Salem in 1629 and died thirty years later in
Wenham. He was by trade a carpenter and later in his life an
- two brothers, the Revs.
John and William, who arrived from Bedfordshire and settled in Ipswich
around the year 1632. They were followed by their uncle Thomas
years later. He made his home in Guilford, Connecticut.
There were several other
Norton relatives who
settled elsewhere in Connecticut.
Nicholas Norton arrived from Somerset around the year 1640, settling
Weymouth and moving to Edgarstown
Vineyard some twenty years later. He lived onto
1690. His progeny were prolific. In 1790, one hundred years
it was said that 174 of the 1,350 inhabitants of Martha’s Vineyard were
Bedfordshire line of Nortons in America (with antecedents in England)
presented in Charles Eliot Norton’s 1863 account The Genealogy of
Family. The main descent in America
was via the Rev. William Norton. From
his line came the 19th century Unitarian preacher Andrews Norton, a
opposer of Emerson’s trancendentalism, and Charles Eliot Norton, his
It is thought that Hiram
Norton’s family originated from Connecticut.
They were Loyalists who took refuge in Canada during the
War. Hiram started a stage coach service
between Montreal and Toronto in the 1830’s.
He later left Canada and settled in Lockport, Illinois where he
an extensive canal operation for grain and ran a large water-powered
mill. He became by the 1860’s one of the
wealthiest people in northern Illinois.
Nortons of Fluvanna in
Virginia started with Christopher
a British naval officer who came to Virginia in the 1730’s and later
there. His grandchildren all fought on
the American side in the Revolutionary War.
After the War, two of these grandchildren settled in Kentucky:
line from there led to Nimrod Norton who
moved to Missouri and later to Texas. He
was a Confederate officer during the Civil War.
another Kentucky line came David Norton
who became a Mormon and headed to Salt Lake in 1847 on the first
Norton was a 27 year old watchmaker who left London for Philadelphia on
in 1774. A descendant is the actor
Norton had arrived in Pennsylvania in the early 1800’s from
sons James and Matthew worked on the railroad in Canada where they met
Laird brothers and learnt the lumber
trade. But it was in Winoma, Minnesota where
they started the Laird Norton company in
the 1850’s. That company, in its seventh generation of family
is now spread over the American West.
was James Naughton in Roscommon in 1834 and James Norton there in 1839. He and his wife emigrated first to New York
and then to Illinois in the late 1840’s.
Michael Norton, born in Roscommon, came to New York as a child
this time. He became a New York state
senator in the 1870’s.
Norton can be a Jewish name. The most famous bearer of the name
undoubtedly Joshua Norton who was born in London, emigrated with his
South Africa in 1820, and then arrived in San Francisco at the time of
Rush. There he remained, the celebrated Emperor
Norton who died poor but famous.
Canada. Richard Norton from London came out as a
young man to Canada in 1714 under the auspices of the Hudson Bay
Company. His son Moses, thought to have
mixed-blood son of his father and a native woman, was also a factor in
company’s employ. Moses’s only known
descendant was a daughter named Polly, also born to a native woman.
Australia also had a prominent Norton father/son but from a later time. John Norton arrived from London in 1884 and
made his name in newspapers, acquiring The Truth in Sydney in
1896. He was a hugely controversial owner,
drunk and abusive at work, but highly successful. He
disinherited his only son Ezra. But after
his death in 1916, Ezra managed to
gain control of The Truth. He too
was a successful and combative newspaper man before selling the paper
If you would like to read more, click on the miscellany page for
further stories and accounts:
Thomas Norton was a prominent
anti-Catholic Puritan, known in the 1570’s as the Rackmaster General. Joseph
known as Emperor Norton, was an eccentric
self-publicizer who became famous in San Francisco in the latter part
James (Pa) Norton
was a pioneer
of the British
motorcycle industry with his Norton bike
which was first produced in 1902.
Norton, the son of a Dublin tram driver, was the leader of the
Party from 1932 to 1960.
Graham Norton, born Graham Walker,
is a popular Irish-born TV chat-show host in Britain
Select Nortons Today
- 17,000 in the UK (most numerous
- 24,000 in America (most numerous in California)
- 12,000 elsewhere (most numerous in Australia)
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