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Adams Family History
This interesting surname is a patronymic of Adam, which is of English origin, and is from the Hebrew personal name "Adam", which was borne, according to Genesis, by the first man. The name is of uncertain etymology; however, it is often said to be from the Hebrew "adama", earth. It was very popular as a given name among non-Jews throughout Europe in the Middle Ages. The personal name was first recorded in England with one "Adam Warenarius " in Lincolnshire in 1146 - 1153. The surname development since 1281 (see below) includes the following: John Adamsone (1296, Scotland), William Adames (1327, Worcestershire) and Richard Adamessone (circa 1400, Norfolk)...
The Old Testament Hebrew personal name Adam, usually translated as 'man/human' with a possible further meaning of 'red/fair' became a popular Christian name throughout Europe from the Middle Ages. Elsdon Coles Smith (1956) and Eric Rosenthal (1965) et al give the meaning as Hebrew for 'red earth'.
It also arose independently, with the same etymology, in the Gaelic speaking areas of Scotland, as MacAdam, MacAdaim and from thence to Northern Ireland. Some bearers of this surname, according to Mac Giolla Domhnaigh, were a branch of the clan MacGregor. In Northern Ireland some bearers would also be of English and Southern Scottish Planter stock. In Scotland in 1881 the surname was mainly found in Lanarkshire, Midlothian and Aberdeenshire. The vast majority of Adams registrations in the 1890 Birth Index for Ireland were recorded in Ulster (62).
The Mac Conshnamha sept of North Connacht also assumed the name Adams, as did two branches of the Cambro-Norman Barry family in Rathcormac and Ballynagloch in Co Cork.
In 1881 the surname was numerous and widespread in Britain, especially Staffordshire, Lancashire, Devon and Kent. In 1891 the surname was chiefly found in these same areas, with a group recorded in Powys, Wales (Montgomeryshire). In Devon, as early as 1861 the frequency was recorded at 1,770; and in 1891 the frequency was 1,513. In adjacent Somerset in 1891 it was 1337. In Kent it was 1,443.
Some early bearers recorded are: Juliana Adams in Huntingdonshire, 1273 (Hundred Rolls); William Adames in Worcestershire, 1327 (Subsidy Rolls); Thomas Adams in Bilsington, Kent, 1593 (IGI); Robert Adams, gent in Co Louth, Ireland, 1542 (Fiants); James Adams in Aberdeenshire, 1687.
James Adams from Norfolk, was one of 190 transported to Australia aboard the "Asia" on 1st April 1822.
1861, 1881, 1891 Census
Special Report on Surnames in Ireland, R.E. Matheson, Dublin, 1901, 1909
A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames, C.W.E. Bardsley, London 1872-96
Homes of Family Names in Great Britain, H.B. Guppy, London 1890
Sloinnte Gaedheal is Gall, P. Woulfe, Dublin 1913
Some Anglicised Surnames in Ireland, Pádraig Mac Giolla-Domhnaigh, Dublin 1923
The Oxford Dictionary of Family Names in Britain & Ireland, Hanks, Coates, McClure, 2016
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