Taylor Surname Genealogy

occupational name for a tailor comes via the
French tailleur from the Latin tailare, to
cut.   It
would seem that tradition has dictated that the spelling of tailor
refers to
the trade of tailoring, while the Taylor spelling is the surname form.

Taylor Resources on

The first
evidence of its use as a surname in England appears to have been in
Somerset in
the 1180’s.

Walter Taylard, born in the latter part of the 14th century,
was the forebear of the Taylards of
. This family was well established at Diddington
Tudor times.  Their name became Taylor in London in the late
Meanwhile the Taylors of Shadochurst in Kent were recorded from about
1400 and
were still there two hundred years later

Taylor name was also to be found in the south Suffolk
wool towns.  Rowland Taylor, the Protestant
martyr burnt at the
stake in
1555, had been a resident of Hadleigh in Suffolk (although he had been
born in
Northumberland).  Jane Taylor, who lived
at Lavenham nearby, composed the childhood song Twinkle,
Twinkle, Little Star

Adam de Tailour, recorded in
Nottinghamshire in 1282, appears to have been the forebear of a Taylor
who held lands in Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire.  One Taylor line
Nottinghamshire began with Richard Taylor, born around 1510.

the 19th
century, a larger number of Taylors was further north, in Lancashire
(35% of the Taylors in the 1891 census). 
Red House had been built in Gomersal in Yorkshire by
William Taylor in 1660.  It was home to a
Taylor family who were cloth merchants and manufacturers.  Mary Taylor of this family was
to the writer Charlotte Bronte.

Scotland.  Scottish
Taylors were to be found in Lanarkshire, Ayrshire, and Aberdeenshire.

Taylors can trace their name from the nickname taillear dubh,
“black tailor.”  Tailiear dubh natuaighe (Black Taylor of the
battleaxe) was a legendary follower of Cameron of Lochiel in the 16th
century.   These Taylors were to be found in the Cowal
peninsula in
Argyll in the Scottish Highlands.

was a name brought by the English and Scots and mainly found in Ulster.  George Taylor, the son of a clergyman from
Ulster, emigrated to America in 1736 and, as a successful ironmaster in
Pennsylvania, was one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence.

Taylor came to Ireland from Sussex in the 1650’s to oversee the fiscal
expenditures of Cromwell’s campaign in Ireland.  His
descendants established themselves at
Kells in county Meath.  Another Taylor
family from the 1650’s was to be found at Castle Taylor in Galway.

  Many early Taylors in
the United States were descended from the Protestant martyr Rowland
Taylor via
his son Thomas.  Colonel James Taylor,
whose family also claimed a family descent from the Cumbrian Earls of
Pennington, had come to Virginia from Carlisle in Cumberland in 1650:

seal of his family was brought to the colonies by James and is said to
be still
held by present members of his family.
The seal bears the crest and Taylor arms bestowed by the King
when a
Taylor knight slew a wild boar while on a hunt with the king.”

Zachary Taylor
Orange county, Virginia was grandfather to US President Zachary Taylor
and also
grand-uncle to another US President, James Madison.
Also in this line was General James Taylor
of Kentucky, one of the wealthiest early settlers in Kentucky.

Another Taylor family in Virginia began with Joseph Taylor
moved to North Carolina in 1756 to take up a land grant there.  His son Joseph, a Revolutionary War veteran,
migrated to Kentucky.  Among his children
was William Taylor, one of the Mormon pioneers.

Canada.  Matthew Taylor was an Irishman from Derry who had
to New Hampshire and then to Nova Scotia in the 1750’s.
His son James was a successful lumber
merchant.  Other early Taylors in Nova
Scotia were Loyalists.  William Taylor had
arrived there in 1783 from New Jersey.
His son and grandson were merchants in Liverpool, Nova Scotia
active in local politics.

Australia.  Robert Taylor was
originally from Wigan, a
mill town in Lancashire.  In 1819 he was
convicted of larceny and sentenced to transportation to New South Wales
for seven
years.  He was freed in 1826 and subsequently became a businessman
in Sydney.  Located on Robert Taylor’s land and named after him is
iconic Taylor Square.

Taylor Miscellany

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

Taylor Names

Rowland Taylor was the Protestant
martyred by Queen Mary in 1555.
was an early
century English Radical who challenged the Established Church.
Zachary Taylor was in 1849 the
President of the United States.
F.W. Taylor was a pioneer in
the study of scientific management.
Guy Baker Taylor was the
inventor of nylon.
A.J.P. Taylor was
a distinguished British historian.
Elizabeth Taylor was the
many-married British-born actress and celebrity.

Select Taylors Today

  • 458,000 in the UK (most numerous
    in West Midlands)
  • 268,000 in America (most numerous in Texas)
  • 165,000 elsewhere (most numerous in Australia)

Taylor is the #3 ranked surname in the UK.



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