Last name: Thornton

This interesting surname is of Olde English and occasionally Scottish, pre 7th century origins. It is locational and northern, being from any of the several places called Thornton in counties of Lancashire, Lincolnshire and Yorkshire, or from the lands of Thornton in the Mearns, Scotland. Wherever found the name derives from the words "thorn" meaning a thorn bush or hedge, and "tun", an enclosure or settlement. In this case the word "thorn" is believed to have defensive implications, thorn hedges being deliberately grown around fortified positions both to keep would be raiders out, and the owners cattle in. Locational names were frequently given to the local lord of the manor, as in the first recording below, but more usually were "from" names. That is to say names given to people after they left their original homes, to move elsewhere. Early interesting recordings suggest that the name was spelt Thorntowne in Scotland as late as the year 1609, and that a number of Scottish merchants of the name settled in the state of Prussia, the spelling being recorded there as Dornthon in 1644. Other recordings include Henry Thornton in the Freemans rolls of the city of Canterbury. Kent, in 1362, whilst three centuries later in April 1635, Walter Thornton and his wife, Joanna, left the port of London, England, on the ship "Suzan and Ellin" bound the colony of Virginia. They were amonst the first to settle in the new colony. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Beatrice de Thornton. This was dated 1202, in the "Fine Court Rolls" of the county of Yorkshire, during the reign of King John, known as "Lackland", 1199 - 1216.

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Wayne Sayers
My grandmother's name was Margaret Thornton from Omeemee, Ontario, Canada. It is said that that line came from Ireland but the tartan looks Scottish. Does anyone out there have information on the Thorntons of Ontario, Canada?

LaQueita Stevenson
My mother's maiden name is Thornton, her father was Benny Thornton. Mom was born and raised in Philly, PA.

Celeste Thornton
My name is Thornton and I live in Little Rock, Arkansas but the Thorntons in my family are from Nebraska.

Tammy Thornton
Another Thornton here. I am in Oz also, I have traced my Thornton side back to Alexander Thornton who was from Armagh, Ireland born approx. 1800, I do not know much about Alexanders parents but it appears he married Fanny Best and they had possibly 9 children, David, deceased, Fanny, George, John, Lizzie, Rachel, Ruth and Thomas (who I am a descendant from). I have a lot of information from Alexander down but if anyone could help with info on parents of Alexander or any inconsistencies in my findings. Also, if anyone else is from this line, I have also traced the Best family back to as far as the 5th century and would love to share.

Shirley Thornton
I am a Thornton.... and I was born and reared in Virginia Beach... My fathers family is from Savanah, GA. My father never spoke of his family often so I am looking for any historical ties.... I do believe Georgia is where his family is connected with Jones surname...But not sure... He married a Payne.. From Norfolk, VA.

Michael Thornton
I am Michael Thornton of Owosso Mi. I have traced my Thornton ancestry back the Robert De Thornton of Yorkshire England born in 1189 He was married to Annabella Thornton (who was born in 1195 and died in 1227). Robert De Thornton and Annabella were married in 1223 and had a son William De Thornton Lord Newton Born in 1224.

My maiden name is Thornton and we are from Johnston County NC!

Rosie Blackbourn
I have Thornton ancestors and have traced them back to Lazarus Thornton 1704 - 1774 in Dover England and his son Henry Thornton 1735 - 1803. Henry's Grandaughter Mary Frances Thornton (1810 - 1864) married my Great Great Grandfather Benjamin Wooley Dudley and came to New Zealand in the "Cressey" in 1850. Thornton is still used as a family middle name right to the present day.

Michelle Thornton
I am a Thornton living in Birmingham England my dad is Leonard Thornton there is a lot of us Thorntons in Birmingham England. Reading the past information of my name is so fascinating and seeing all other Thornton s from all over the world on this site is welcoming x

Margaret Thornton
I'm from Mississippi, and there is a county with a ton of Thorntons. Related to most of the county. lol Plus, there are a lot of Thorntons on the coast. I do agree that it is nice to learn more about my name & my ancestors. Those Thorntons in Mississippi are descended from a set of brothers that immigrated to this state.

Roger Thornton
I've read all the comments and i've got to say it. My very, very large family is lost, dazed,and seriously confused.... Approximately 95% of Thorntons originated from Peter le Clerc de Malpas. To really extend our family throw in the Egertons, the Molyneuxs, the Clercs, and the Rotors. That is just the male line. Happy searching and hello to all my long lost family around the globe!!!

Aquante Thornton

iM interested in finding the origins of the "Thornton's" of different ethnicities? Korean? African American? Japanese? Austrialian?

Tayrah Thornton

I'am tanyrah thornton

Benjamin Thornton

The last 5(ish) generations of my family have lived in Lancashire, so it's very interesting to find out that's where it may have originated from.

Alan Thornton

Alan Thornton from Mobile AL , checking in

kim Thornton


Andrew Thornton

have traced my Thornton ancestry back the Robert De Thornton of Yorkshire England born in 1189 He was married to Annabella Thornton (who was born in 1195 and died in 1227). Robert De Thornton and Annabella were married in 1223 and had a son William De Thornton Lord Newton Born in 1224.

Juanita Thornton

My father Harold Thornton was from Limestone County, Alabama. His father was Claude, but I don't have info beyond that. He said he was descended from a pair of Irish Thornton brothers who landed in the Carolinas or Georgia (I can't remember which). They both married Cherokee women and somehow the family ended up in Alabama. Does any of this sound familiar to the southern Usa Thorntons? Any info can be sent to

Josh Thornton
Talladega county Alabama

Cindy Thornton Nicholson
My great-great grandfather, John Thornton, was an original settler in Ontario, Canada. He cleared the land on our family farm in Huron County. He was born in England in Dec., 1823 or Jan., 1824; I think his mother's first name was Hannah. His children were Nelson, Seymour, William, Joseph, Christopher, Wesley, and Lydia. Any connections?

Richard E Thornton
Missouri Thornton, Father was Byron E Thornton. Born and Raised in Missouri. Fathers name (His) Joseph. all red heads Scottish Irish freckled pale skinned. Not sure of Blood lines...