Origins of the Page Surname

From The Dictionary of the Ancestral Heads of the New England Families 1620-1700, by Frank R. Holmes, we learn that Page was an occupational name given to youths of the gentry class between seven and fourteen years of age while receiving their education in the social graces to become a squire and then a knight.

The origin of the word Page is supposed to be Italian for Paggie or from the Latin Pagius, meaning a boy or youth attending the king. Boys of noble parentage who were at the royal court were called Pages. It was quite an honor much sought after by the nobility, as the surroundings and the acquaintances made at court were valuable to personal advancement. A course of training in courtesy, etiquette, and diplomacy was given these boys, and the place where they lived and trained was called a Page Home, shortened to Pageham, also sometimes written Pagham or Pagenham. Different spellings are attributed to the fact that few people could read or write. Members of the nobility hired a scribe to perform these services for them and signed their papers with a signet ring or stamp which bore their crest or insignia (coat-of-arms). This was another important reason for heraldry and coats-of-arms.1 Another interesting possible source of the Kentish Page family name may come from the old word Pa-age or passage money; a tax anciently levied on travelers bound for the crusades at the bridge over the Medway at Rochester, in county Kent.2


Coats-of-Arms and Family Crests

Coats-of-arms, were and still are, bestowed by proper authority (In England, by the Garter King of Arms in the College of Arms in London) only to individuals and their legitimate heirs. The use and abuse of coats-of-arms in England were becoming widespread by the thirteenth century. One of the duties of the King of Arms conferred after the Battle of Agincourt upon Sir William Bruges, the first Garter King of Arms (1415-50) was to survey and record the coats-of-arms and pedigrees of those using them, and correct irregularities. The beginning of a systematic heraldic Visitations goes back to a warrant of King Henry VIII, dated 6 April 1530 to Thoms Benolte of Clarenceau. His duties while traveling throughout the kingdom were to put down or otherwise deface at his discretion those unauthorized or granted coats-of-arms on plate, jewels, paper, parchment, windows, gravestones, and monuments or elsewhere where-so-ever they may be set or placed. He was also to inquire into all those using titles such as Knight, Esquire, or Gentleman, and if such style or arms had been usurped was to denounce the offender by proclamation. He levied taxes upon all those authorized to display arms and use titles.

1 . Theda Page Brigham, Descendants of John Page (1614-1 687) (Haverhill, Mass.: Haverhill Historical Society, 1972), p. 168.

2. Archaelogical Cantiana, Vol. VI, by the Kent Archaelogical Society, 1868, p. 109.

The records made by the heralds of the Crown of England during their periodic visits (Visitations) during the 16 and 17 centuries had an immediate and practical purpose - that of checking the lawful assumption and display of arms, and of the titleEsquire, and Gentleman. The Visitations, were published by county by the Harlean Society, and are available for public research in some libraries. Individual Coats-of­Arms were published by Sir Bernard Burke in The General Armory of England, Scotland, Ireland, and Wales. As far as I have been able to determine, only two of the Page Family Lines (F & G) were granted and used individual coats of arms:




The colors of Col. John Page’s arms are unknown. The arms of Edmund Page of London from the Visitation of Middlesex, 1663, as illustrated by Rick Bentley Page. He shows the cadency mark of a martin which was used for the fourth son --- Edmund's younger brother, George Page, Gent. of Rochester, county Kent, England, the grandfather of the immigrant George Page of Branford, CT.



Family Crests

The Family Crest originated in the Age of Chivalry as a means of identification of the warrior classes. The crest is the device displayed on top of the helmet used in a coat­of-arms. Family crests were also granted by proper authority to families, and were widely used by all family members and relatives with the same surname. The best published source of of Family Crests is James Fairbairn’s Crests of the Families of Great Britain and Ireland. The Crest shown in Col. John Page’s line is a demi-horse, per pale, dancette', or (gold) and azure (blue). The Kentish Pages were granted a demi-griffin, ermine, beaked and legged, gules (red).




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Contacts and References

DNA & Genealogy: Collen Fitzpatrick and Andrew Yeiser, DNA and Genealogy (Fountain Valley, Calif.: Rice Brook Press, 2005)

PAGE Families:

ANY AND All Page Lines: George W. Page

Virginia Page Tax & Census Records: Dolores C. Rutherford

Dolores C. Rutherford, The PAGE Family in Virginia Census (1790 to 1850)

Carolina Pages: Robert E. Page, III

Family Line A: Frederick Lee Page

Family Line C: John Buford Page

                            Robert E. Page, III

                            Christopher Page

Family Line D: Sandra Ault

Lynn M. Case & Page Sanderson, The Family of John Page of Haverhill, Mass. A Comprehensive Genealogy From 1614 to 1977

Family Line E: Brenda Page Hare [Descended from Dr. John Page]

                            Ruthanne Page  [Canadian Page Research] 

George Andrews Moriarty, Genealogical Research in England - PAGE, NEHGR Vol. 101, July 1947, pp. 242-245, and, G. Andrews Moriarty, The Page Family of Danvers, Mass. NEHGR Vol. 105, Jan. 1951, pp. 25-32;

Charles Nash Page, History and Genealogy of the Page Family, 1257-1911 (Des Moines, Iowa by the author) Available in reprint form from Higginson Books Co.;

Ethel McLaughlin Turner, Paul Boynton, Lucia Kate Page Sayre, Wisconsin Page Pioneers and Kinsfolk (Waterloo, WI: Artcraft Press, 1953);

Lemuel J. Page, Genealogical Registers of the Ancestors and Descendants of the Following Persons: Lemuel Page and Polly Paige ...with brief accounts of them and their Ancestors (Boston: 1887, Reprinted by Higginson Books).

Family Line F: William Eugene “Gene” Page, IV

                           Cecil Wray Page

R.C.M. Page, Genealogy of the Page Family in Virginia;

The Page-Nelson Society, P.O. Box358, Warrenton,Virginia, 20188

Family Line G: George W. Page

George W. Page, Robart Page of the King’s House - The Probable English Origins, Ancestors, and Relatives of George Page of Branford Connecticut and Thomas Page of Saco in the Province of Maine (Portsmouth, NH: Center For Graphic Communications, 1992)

John Leroy Page, PAGE-EKSTROM GENEALOGY, Nathaniel & Joanna Paige, A Colonial Massachusetts Family (Bettendorf, Iowa: John Leroy Page, 1985 LLCC # 85-73073)  Rev. Shawn Page

Family Line H: Ron Page

                            Thomas Page Mericle

                            Ruthanne Page 

Family Line I: Kennet James Page c/o Barbara Stewart

Family Line J:

Family Line K:

Family Line L: Dick Hamly

Family Line M: Nycole Page

Family Line N:

Family Line O: Art Klinger

                            Waverly Williams

Donald W. Page, The History and Genealogy of the Robert and Rachel Page Family (1750-1827) (Franklin, NC: Genealogical Publishing Service, 1992)

Daniel E. Page, Some Descendants of Exolheath Page of Goochland Co., VA and some possible relatives (Akroma, OK: By the author, 2004).

Lemuel J. Page, Genealogical Registers of the Ancestors and Descendants of the Following Persons: Lemuel Page and Polly Paige ...with brief accounts of them and their Ancestors (Boston: 1887, Reprinted by Higginson Books).

John Leroy Page, PAGE-EKSTROM GENEALOGY, Nathaniel & Joanna Paige, A Colonial Massachusetts Family (Bettendorf, Iowa: John Leroy Page, 1985 LLCC # 85-73073)