Palmer Surname Genealogy
Land, they carried palm fronds to show where they had been. The
wearing of a badge with palms denoted the sign for people who had made
that journey. These pilgrims became known as “palmers.”However, not all “palmers” had really been to the Holy Land.
There was a very active trade in false souvenirs and the name also came
to be applied to a cleric who sold indulgencies.
Palmer Resources on
- Palmer. Bitton Palmers from
- The Palmer Family of Angmering. Palmers from Sussex.
- Palmer Family History.
Rev. Joshua Palmer of South Carolina and descendants.
- Palmer Family History. Charles Palmer in New
- Palmer DNA Project Palmer
The first records of the Palmer name were Manfred Palmes living in
Taunton, Somerset in 1141 and Wiger le Palmer in the 1191 Lincolnshire
These two areas of England – the southwest and East Anglia – remained
the main two areas where Palmers were to be found in subsequent
Palmers were recorded as early as the 13th century in Gloucestershire,
in villages such as Tetbury, Tytherington and Upton St. Leonards.
Their presence in Bitton St. Mary was evident from the 1500’s and was
were also Palmers in Somerset. A
Palmer family built Fairfield Hall near Stogursey. They had
been Elizabethan adventurers, sailing with Drake and Hawkins in their
ecapades against the Spanish. In 1693, Nathaniel Palmer acquired the Alfred Jewel,
which had been discovered near his land, and bequeathed it to Oxford
A later Palmer family came from Wood Court, Ashill in Somerset. A
Palmer family of farm workers, dating from the 1720’s,
has traced their history from Wiltshire to Gloucestershire and then
Palmers could also be found in East Anglia, notably in
Cambridgeshire and Norfolk:
- Palmers in Soham in
Cambridgeshire date from the 14th century. One family accounts
tells of a Palmer who was a soldier in the Peninsular War and brought
back a Portuguese bride to his home in Burwell, Cambridgeshire.
- while William
and Mary Palmer’s marriage was recorded in Ranworth, Norfolk in
1606. They were among the early settlers in New England.
Another Palmer family in Norfolk traces itself to Old Buckenham.
Palmer’s department store was started by Garwood Burton Palmer in Great
Yarmouth in 1837 and has remained a Norfolk family-run institution
until this day.
Palmers in the 15th and 16th centuries
One Palmer family,
originally from Angmering, were landed gentry at Wingham and sheriffs
in Elizabethan times. In 1607 they inherited through marriage the
near Windsor in Buckinghamshire. At that time these Palmers were
royalist supporters and Roger Palmer, who had married one of Charles
II’s mistresses, was a Catholic recusant. The family is still in
residence at Dorney Court, the property having passed from father to
son through thirteen generations.
were also Palmers recorded from an early time in Northamptonshire
and across the border in Leicestershire. The Palmers of Carlton
date from the 1400’s. They extended their landholdings under
Palmer, Charles II’s Attorney General.
Another Palmer family, originally from Staffordshire, made their money
in London and acquired the Wanlip estate in Leicestershire in
1626. These Palmers owned sugar plantations in the Caribbean but
later befriended William Wilberforce and supported his abolitionist
cause. They ran Wanlip Hall and the surrounding village on
semi-feudal lines until the death of the last Palmer, Lady Augusta
Palmer, in 1933. The Hall was demolished and the estate was then
taken over by the Palmer-Tomkinson family.
Wales. The Palmer
family of Llangwm in south Pembrokeshire may trace itself back to the
marriage of John Palmer and Anne Jones in 1765. Its best
known member was Dolly Palmer the fisherwoman.
came to Ireland as part of the English occupation. Two Palmer
brothers were said to have arrived in county Down from England in
A Palmer family
took extensive estates in Mayo through the royal land grants they
received in 1684. Later, Roger Palmer of this family married
one of the leading beauties of Dublin in her day, and was created a
baronet in 1777. Their Mayo family home was Castle Lacken and, in
more recent times, Keenagh Lodge.
Many Palmers were also to be
found in county Antrim and elsewhere in Ulster.
America. Walter Palmer
arrived in Salem, Massachusetts from Dorset in England in 1629.
found the settlements of Charlestown and Rehoboth in Masachusetts and
New London in Connecticut. The Stonington chronicle described
settlers, a vigorous giant – 6 feet 5 inches tall. When he
settled at Stonington he was 68 years old, older than most of the other
Descendants have included:
- William Palmer, Governor of Vermont
the whaler and seal hunter
- Thomas Palmer, a Senator
- and Ulysses S. Grant, the Civil War General and later
William Palmer, arrived in New England in the 1630’s
and settled in Weatherfield, Connecticut. His descendants moved
first to upstate New York and then headed West, to Illinois. Two
grandchildren went onto Kansas, eventually arriving in Oklahoma
territory during the great Indian land rush of the 1890’s.
Also from original Connecticut stock via Canada came Daniel Palmer,
pioneer. He started his practice in Davenport, Iowa in the 1880’s.
Palmers in the
South. Captain Thomas Palmer,
from west country roots, came with his familyon the Tyger
to the Jamestown settlement in 1621. His
descendants later settled in Richmond and
Halifax counties, Virginia.
Among other Palmers to be found in the South were:
Palmer, born in Virginia in 1725, who was the patriarch of a Palmer
migrated southward to South Carolina and then, in 1818, to Georgia.
- Paul Palmer,
first recorded as being married in Virginia in 1717, who is considered
founding father of Baptists in Virginia and North Carolina.
- Joshua Palmer who
came to South Carolina from England sometime in the 1760’s. He became a farmer there and later an
itinerant Baptist minister. He moved to
Indiana in 1807 where he continued his ministry. After
his death in 1845, his widow and
children resettled in Missouri.
- and William Palmer who came to Charleston in
1845 and was prominent there as a merchant and ship-owner in the years
the Civil War. A slave owner, he fought
on the Confederate side in the Civil War but died in the fighting in
1862. Curiously, his father John was an
abolitionist whose farm in Ohio served as a station on the underground
Canada. Early Palmer
arrivals were Loyalists from America, leaving Boston in one case for
New Brunswick and New Jersey in another for Grimsby, Ontario. The
former family headed West to Calgary later in the 19th century, the
latter returned to America and Kansas and Florida.
family which straddled both Canada and America were the descendants of
William and Barbara Palmer from Prince Edward Island. This family
ended up in the early 20th century on the West Coast in Winoma,
Charles Palmer arrived from England to homestead in the Marriott area
of Saskatchewan in 1906. His youngest daughter, Agnes M. Weicker,
has recorded her recollections of prairie life in the early 20th
century in her recently published book, A Walk Down Memory Lane.
Caribbean. The Palmers
were well-to-do sugar planters in Jamaica who had, however, become
overextended by debt by the end of the 18th century. Their
plantation house, the Rose Hill Great House, was destroyed during the
slave rebellion of 1831, but not before it had become the stuff of
legend (as the home of Annie Palmer, the white witch of Jamaica).
Australia and New Zealand.
The Palmer name appeared early in Australia’s history. John
Palmer arrived with the First Fleet in 1788 and soon became the
commissary of the new colony. He built Woolloomooloo Farm, one of
the colony’s first permanent residences where the Palmers entertained
lavishly. Another early settler was Charles Palmer who arrived in
Sydney in 1802 and received a generous land grant.
Charles Palmer ran away from his home in Suffolk
in the 1830’s and went to sea. He was one of the earliest
settlers in New Zealand, arriving at New Plymouth in 1841. The
1975 book Palmer Family History
by Ivan Skipworth records this family history.
If you would like to read more, click on the miscellany page for
further stories and accounts:
Barbara Palmer was a
royal courtesan and a mistress of Charles II.
Nathaniel Palmer was a 19th
century whaler, said to be the first American to see Antarctica.
Charles Palmer started Palmer’s
shipbuilding company in Newcastle in the 1860’s.
Daniel Palmer in Iowa was a
pioneer of chiropractics in the 1880’s.
Vera Jane Palmer was the
original name of the actress Jayne Mansfield.
Palmer from Pennsylvania was the great American golfer of the
1950’s and early 1960’s.
Select Palmers Today
- 76,000 in the UK (most numerous
- 58,000 in America (most numerous in Florida)
- 32,000 elsewhere (most numerous in Australia)
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