Select Taylor Surname Genealogy

The occupational name for a tailor comes via the French tailleur from the Latin tailare, to cut.   It would seem that tradition has dictated that the spelling of tailor refers to the trade of tailoring, while the Taylor spelling is the surname form.

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England.  The first evidence of its use as a surname in England appears to have been in Somerset in the 1180's.

Walter Taylard, born in the latter part of the 14th century, was the forebear of the Taylards of Huntingdonshire. This family was well established at Diddington by Tudor times.  Their name became Taylor in London in the late 1500s.  Meanwhile the Taylors of Shadochurst in Kent were recorded from about 1400 and were still there two hundred years later.

The Taylor name was also to be found in the south Suffolk wool towns.  Rowland Taylor, the Protestant martyr burnt at the stake in 1555, had been a resident of Hadleigh in Suffolk (although he had been born in Northumberland).  Jane Taylor, who lived at Lavenham nearby, composed the childhood song Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star.

Adam de Tailour, recorded in Nottinghamshire in 1282, appears to have been the forebear of a Taylor family who held lands in Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire.  One Taylor line in Nottinghamshire began with Richard Taylor, born around 1510.

By the 19th century, a larger number of Taylors was further north, in Lancashire and Yorkshire (35% of the Taylors in the 1891 census).  Red House had been built in Gomersal in Yorkshire by William Taylor in 1660.  It was home to a Taylor family who were cloth merchants and manufacturers.  Mary Taylor of this family was friend to the writer Charlotte Bronte.

  Scottish Taylors were to be found in Lanarkshire, Ayrshire, and Aberdeenshire.

Some Taylors can trace their name from the nickname taillear dubh, meaning "black tailor."  Tailiear dubh natuaighe (Black Taylor of the battleaxe) was a legendary follower of Cameron of Lochiel in the 16th century.   These Taylors were to be found in the Cowal peninsula in Argyll in the Scottish Highlands.

Ireland.  Taylor was a name brought by the English and Scots and mainly found in Ulster.  George Taylor, the son of a clergyman from Ulster, emigrated to America in 1736 and, as a successful ironmaster in Pennsylvania, was one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence.

Thomas Taylor came to Ireland from Sussex in the 1650s to oversee the fiscal expenditures of Cromwells campaign in Ireland.  His descendants established themselves at Kells in county Meath.  Another Taylor family from the 1650s was to be found at Castle Taylor in Galway.

  Many early Taylors in the United States were descended from the Protestant martyr Rowland Taylor via his son Thomas.  Colonel James Taylor, whose family also claimed a family descent from the Cumbrian Earls of Pennington, had come to Virginia from Carlisle in Cumberland in 1650:

A ring seal of his family was brought to the colonies by James and is said to be still held by present members of his family.  The seal bears the crest and Taylor arms bestowed by the King when a Taylor knight slew a wild boar while on a hunt with the king.

Zachary Taylor of Orange county, Virginia was grandfather to US President Zachary Taylor and also grand-uncle to another US President, James Madison.  Also in this line was General James Taylor of Kentucky, one of the wealthiest early settlers in Kentucky.

Another Taylor family in Virginia began with Joseph Taylor who moved to North Carolina in 1756 to take up a land grant there.  His son Joseph, a Revolutionary War veteran, migrated to Kentucky.  Among his children was William Taylor, one of the Mormon pioneers.

  Matthew Taylor was an Irishman from Derry who had emigrated to New Hampshire and then to Nova Scotia in the 1750s.  His son James was a successful lumber merchant.  Other early Taylors in Nova Scotia were Loyalists.  William Taylor had arrived there in 1783 from New Jersey.  His son and grandson were merchants in Liverpool, Nova Scotia and active in local politics.

.  Robert Taylor was originally from Wigan, a mill town in Lancashire.  In 1819 he was convicted of larceny and sentenced to transportation to New South Wales for seven years.  He was freed in 1826 and subsequently became a businessman and landowner in Sydney.  Located on Robert Taylor's land and named after him is Sydney's iconic Taylor Square

Select Taylor Miscellany

If you would like to read more, click on the miscellany page for further stories and accounts:

Select Taylor Names

Rowland Taylor was the Protestant martyred by Queen Mary in 1555.
Robert Taylor was an early 19th century English Radical who challenged the Established Church.
Zachary Taylor was in 1849 the 12th President of the United States.
F.W. Taylor was a pioneer in the study of scientific management.
Guy Baker Taylor was the inventor of nylon.
A.J.P. Taylor was a distinguished British historian.
Elizabeth Taylor was the many-married British-born actress and celebrity.

Select Taylors Today

  • 458,000 in the UK (most numerous in West Midlands)
  • 268,000 in America (most numerous in Texas)
  • 165,000 elsewhere (most numerous in Australia)
Taylor is the #3 ranked surname in the UK.

Select Surname List

Adams Ellis Johnson O'Connor
Allen Evans Jones O'Sullivan Shaw
Anderson Fisher
Kelly Parker Simpson
Bailey Foster Kennedy Perry Smith
Baker Fox King Peterson Stevens
Barnes Fraser 
Lee Phillips Stewart
Bell Graham Lewis Powell Taylor
Bennett Gray Marshall Price Thomas
Brown Green Martin Reed
Griffiths Mason      
Reynolds Turner
Campbell Hall McDonald Richards
Carter Hamilton Miller  Richardson Walsh
Chapman Harris Mitchell Roberts Ward
Clark Harrison
Moore Robertson Watson
Collins Henderson Morgan Robinson White
Cook Hill Morris Rogers Williams
Cooper Howard Murphy Ross Wilson
Cox Hughes Murray Russell Wood
Davis Jackson Nelson Ryan Wright
Edwards James O'Brien 

For other surnames check the surnames2 page where there are to be found the history and genealogy for more than 800 surnames.

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