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Family spelling variants includes Greensmith, Greenham, Greenfield, Greene, Grene

GREEN Family History

Recorded as Green and Greene, this is one of the most widespread of English, and occasionally Irish, surnames.

With Germanic and Old English origins, the name derives from the word 'grene' meaning green, and may in some cases have been a topographical nickname for a person who lived near to a village green or a place called Green. The word's alternative meaning, a symbol of youth, spring and the re-growth of nature, may have referred to a young man who took part in ancient May Day fertility celebrations, or referred to that young man's inexperience.

In Ireland, it may have derived from a number of Irish surnames: Ó hUaithnín, containing the root word 'uaine'- green; Ó Fathaigh by mistranslation; and Mac Giolla Ghlais which includes the root word 'glas' meaning grey/green; and and Ó hUainidhe (which again includes the root word 'uaine', green).

It is also an anglicisation of the German as well as the Ashkenazic Jewish surname Grün which also means green.

Some of the earliest references to the surname appear in the 1181 Kent Pipe Rolls (Geoffrey de Grene); the 1350 Oxfordshire Feet of Fines (Geoffrey atte Grene); and the 1379 Norfolk Poll Tax (Johannes le Grenex).

Examples of the anglicisation of an Ashkenazic Jewish variation of the surname include the name of Levi Ephraim Green, who was born in Holland and who appears on the 1851 London census; and of Hyman Green, born in Poland, who appears on the 1881 Middlesex census.

In 1881 the surname was widespread across England, but appeared in heavy concentrations on that year's census in London, Lancashire, West Yorkshire, Staffordshire, Warwickshire, the south east of England as well as in Lincolnshire and Norfolk. 

In 1891 the frequency of the Green spelling on that year's census was 88,772 throughout the whole of England and Wales; and there wre 917 incidences of the Greene variation. The highest concentration of the surname was in London, with 12,683 entries, and in Lancashire with 11,984.

In Scotland in 1891 there were 2,136 entries, and the highest numbers were found in Lanarkshire.

In Ireland in 1890, there were 152 relevant birth registrations (105 for Green, 47 for Greene), mainly ocncentrated in Dublin, and counties Galway, Tipperary and Clare.

In Wales the highest numbers of Green family members were historically most evident in the counties that border England, including Flintshire and Monmouthshire.

Notable people

  • In 1836 Charles Green (1793–1841) made avaiation history by flying from Vauxhall Gardens, London, to Weilberg, Germany (480 miles), in just under 18 hours.
  • Solomon Green from Dorset was transported to Van Diemen's Land, Australia aboard the 'Albion' on 17th May, 1823.



1851, 1881, 1891 Census

Homes of Family Names in Great Britain, H.B. Guppy, London 1890

Special Report on Irish Surnames, R.E. Matheson. Dublin 1901/9

Sloinnte Gaedheal is Gall, P. Woulfe, Dublin 1913

Dictionary of American Family Names, P. Hanks, OUP 2003/13

The Oxford Dictionary of Family Names in Britain 7 Ireland, Hanks, Coates, McClure, 2016


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    Good day, my grand fatherv was John James Green, born 4 Dec 1892 and died during WW2 in 1943 in Tunisia. The only records we have of his parents are Elizabeth Green who was listed as his deoendent in 1915 when he joined the South African Overseas Expidition Force (SAOEF). He was 23 at the time. 

    I would like to trace my ancestry and any assistance would be greatly appreciatted.?

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    LaPorsche Green

    Hey my name is LaPorsche Green, I stay in South Carolina my dad took my mothers last name which is Green . She was white and Indian mix. I'm trying to get more info about my family history.
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    Diane Machnik

    My great great grandfather was Gerald “Jerry” Green. I think he was born in Ireland around 1820. He came to the United States and settled in Houghton and Keweenaw counties in Michigan maybe around 1837. He and his wife were killed in mid 1860’s or early 1870. He was married and had three children. One was called Rose, she ended up being a teacher. One was called Abram or Abraham (my great grandfather), and there was another boy. Both boys were adopted after their parents deaths. I am thinking Rose may have been older because she was taken in by a family but not adopted. Does anyone have any information to this Green family. I don’t know anything about his parents, etc. or the wife’s name.
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    My Great Grandfather was Arthur Green. He was a sagar maker I the potteries. He emigrated to the US in the late 1800’s. I think he was from Shropshire
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    Frankstephane Ouellette

    Esther Green mother of Marguerite McCabe (canada) Esther born 26 avril 1829 Esther is a wife of John McCabe born 11 avril 1827 Marguerite born 21 juillet 1872 Chertsey,Montcalm, Quebec
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    Jeremy Green

    Looking for information on the green name from Portland Indiana...Cletus Green was my Grandfather..
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    Sheryl Green

    My name is Sheryl Green. I don't know anything about my Green family. My grandfather's father disappeared early in his life. No one knows anything about him. I think that my grandfather's full name is Billy Junior Green. I believe his father married a Cherokee girl ( I believe in Kentucky, USA) and had my grandfather. We don't know if my great grandfather died or just disappeared.
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    Anthony Barrett

    (Part 1 of 3) The Green name is found in the British Isles, but one of its origins according to DNA is from the north-west coast of the Emerald Island. One Green story [dominated by DNA tribal marker R1b-L513, Subgroup A1] can trace their origins to the Finn Valley in Donegal, Ireland from 50 BCE. Perhaps the journey begins with the Clanna Dedad; Deda, son of Sen or Deda Mac Sin. This Green surname origin is from a Northern Ui Neill [R1b-L513] tribe. The Cenél Eoghan and the tribes of Donegal conquered much of Ulster (Derry and Tyrone).
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    Anthony Barrett

    (Part 2 of 3) Cenél Eoghan will expand across northern Ireland with their cousins Cenél Conaill and the Northern Ui Neill between 500-800 BCE. The clans of Finn Valley have the same DNA as people from Gwened in Brittany. But how could this be? Recent discoveries from DNA testing are unlocking the migration patterns of Celtic tribes as late as 800 CE to 1200 CE. The Green story begins in pre-history Ireland then moves to Scotland as they form part of the Dalriada. Descendants of their tribe will then travel to Brittany, France during the Dark Ages.
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    Anthony Barrett

    (Part 3 of 3) Discover their newly found untold story and how forgotten texts bring their story back to life. From the ebook, “The Tribe Within” learn how DNA unfolds this amazing tale and if you look in the right places, how history narrates this evidence. There is another written account of their story, but it is camouflaged in smoke and myth – it will become the tales of King Arthur. Come follow in the footsteps of Deda Mac Sin and visit https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/401207
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    My grandfather was Robert Rennie Green born on February 25, 1898 in Derry City, Londonderry County, Ireland. His father was Young Rennie Green born January 14, 1869 in Belfast No. 4, Ireland and his mother was Margaret Jane Patterson born December 1, 1874 in Belfast, Ireland. Young Rennie and older children immigrated to Canada in 1908 and his wife Margaret and younger children followed in 1910. Does anyone have connections to these Green family ancestors?
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