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Washington Coat of Arms / Washington Family Crest

Washington Coat of Arms / Washington Family Crest

The surname of WASHINGTON was a locational name 'of Washington' a parish in County Durham, five miles from Gateshead. There is also a parish so called in County Sussex, ten miles from Shoreham. The name was originally derived from the Old English word WASSINGATUN, literally meaning the dweller in the settlement village. George Washington (1732-99) was the first President of the United States from 1789 until 1797. He was born at Bridges Creek, Virginia. His great-grandfather had settled in the colony after emigrating from Dillicar in Westmorland in 1658, after the family's fortunes had suffered in the English Civil War because of its Royalist sympathies. His earliest recorded ancestor was William de Hertburn, who served the bishop of Durham, and who in 1185 was granted the manor of Washington in return for the service of attending the episcopal hunt with four greyhounds. The family lived on the estate for 400 years, but in 1613 it was sold back to the church. Other records of the name mention Laurence Wasshington, who registered at Oxford University in the year 1567. Laurence Washington (gentleman) of County Northants, registered at the same University in 1594. Thomas Read and Mary Washington were married at St. George's, Hanover Square, London in 1780. Surnames before the Norman Conquest of 1066 were rare in England having been brought by the Normans when William the Conqueror invaded the shores. The practice spread to Scotland and Ireland by the 12th century, and in Wales they appeared as late as the 16th century. Most surnames can be traced to one of four sources, locational, from the occupation of the original bearer, nicknames or simply font names based on the first name of the parent being given as the second name to their child. In the Middle Ages heraldry came into use as a practical matter. It originated in the devices used to distinguish the armoured warriors in tournament and war, and was also placed on seals as marks of identity. As far as records show, true heraldry began in the middle of the 12th century, and appeared almost simultaneously in several countries of Western Europe.

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Last Updated: April 12th, 2023

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