Select Page Surname Genealogy

The surname Page, derived from thre Old French word page, meant a young boy or servant.  In the medieval age of chivalry, Page became an occupational name and was the accepted way for a youth of good family to advance to knighthood.   Another suggested source for the name in Kent was the old word pe-age or passage money, a tax anciently levied on travelers bound for the Crusades at Rochester.

A spelling variant has been Paige.  France has the surnames Page and Paget.

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Select Page Ancestry

EnglandEarly accounts attach the Page surname to the de Pagham baron family.  It was said that Hugo de Pagham earned the title of Sir Hugo Page in 1260 after a mission he undertook for Henry III.  His brother William brought the name to the south of England where most Pages are to be found.

Middlesex and London.  The earliest references appear to have been in the county of Middlesex to the northeast of London.  A Page family from Little Stanmore, beginning with William Page in 1295, held the manor of Kingsbury in the mid-1300's.  However, this male line died out in 1393.  Pages were recorded at Willesden in the 1490's and at Wembley and Harrow in the early 1500's. 

John Page, the emigrant to Virginia in 1650, came from these parts.

"John Page was the son of Thomas Page, born in 1597, of Sudbury who was the seventh son of Richard Page, second son of John Page, born in 1528, the first son of Henry Page of Wembley, born in 1500 - all in the parish of Harrow.  He was born at Sudbury in 1627, immigrated to America about 1650, and became the progenitor of the Page family in Virginia."

The Page estate in Harrow and its environs dated from the time of Henry VIII and the dissolution of the monasteries.  The critical point seems to have been the trial and execution of Anne Boleyn in 1536.  Two Pages were affected:
  • Edmund Page, described as a Kent gentleman, who was a member of the Grand Jury which convicted Anne Boleyn.  He was probably the Edmund Page of Shorne between Gravesend and Rochester where there had been Pages since the late 1400's.
  • and Richard Page, a courtier of uncertain origins, who had been arrested for treason and adultery at the time and sent to the Tower of London.  However, within a month he was mysteriously released, rehabilitated, and in 1537 appointed the High Sheriff of Surrey and chamberlain to the King's son Prince Edward.  
Both Pages had died by the 1550's and the regn of Queen Mary.  But before that time a Page family seems to have been granted church lands, starting with the Kilburn priory where the nuns had to be driven out.  The land also included the manor of Wembley which Richard Page had acquired in 1542.  Page descendants held title to the land until 1829 when Henry Page, the last of this line, died. 
SE England.  Pages also came at an early time from a wider arc in SE England - from East Anglia southwards through Essex, Kent, Surrey and Sussex to Hampshire.

During the 15th and 16th centuries there were Norfolk Pages in Acle between Norwich and Great Yarmouth and later  a line had moved to nearby Ormsby.  Suffolk recorded many Pages across the county in the 16th century.  And Pages from Hellingly and Chiddingly in Sussex date from the 1530's.  John Page of Dunnington in Sussex married Anne Ruggles in 1591.   A later John Page of this family was MP for Chichester in the 1750's.
Gregory Page was said  "to have descended from a good family in Hampshire.”  He made his mark as a merchant and shipwright in London in the 1660's.  His son, also named Gregory, followed in his footsteps and, as a Director of the East India Company, became extremely wealthy from trade with Asia.  Grandson Gregory of the next generation turned his attention to grand houses in Kent and art collections.  But he died without heirs.

Elsewhere.  The Paige spelling was to be found in Devon.  There are some reports of the Paige name being in the Plymouth area as early as the 14th century.  A Paige family was influential in Barnstaple in the 17th century.  Gilbert Paige was mayor in 1629 and again in 1641 and played a leading role in fortifying the town for the Parliamentarians ahead of the Civil War.

Scotland.  The Page surname has generally been absent from Scotland, with the exception of Fife on the east coast.  One Page family line started there with the birth of Thomas Page at Auchtermuchty near Cupar in 1702.

  The Page name was present in Galway and Ulster primarily.  The majority of the Galway Pages were poor tenant farmers and left few records.
The Pages of Oghilly in south Galway, who did have some land holdings in Ballynakill parish, can be traced back to the early 1700’s.  There were also Pages at Clonrush and Inisparron island in nearby Clare.   Many of them emigrated to Australia in the mid-1800’s.

.  There were two early genealogical books about Page written in America:
  • the first, The Genealogy of the Page Family in Virginia by Richard Page, appeared in 1893.  It focused on Colonel John Page and the Pages of the “First Families of Virginia.”
  • the second, The History and Genealogy of the Page Family by Charles Nash Page, appeared in 1911.  Although focusing on the line of John and Phoebe Page, the book also covered earlier Page history in England and other Pages in America.
New England.  John and Phoebe Page, the Puritan settlers from Boxted in Essex, arrived in Boston on the Jewel in 1630.  These Pages were to be found at Watertown and Lunenburg, Massachusetts.  Samuel Page was called the “Old Governor Page” of Lunenburg; his descendant John Page was the real Governor of New Hampshire in 1839. Another descendant was Charles Grafton Page of Salem in Massachusetts, the inventor of the modern circuit breaker in 1836.  And there was also a line that went to Ohio where C.W. Page was the mayor of Norwalk in 1854 at the time of a cholera epidemic. 

Other early New England Pages were:
  • John Page from Norfolk who arrived in 1635 and made his home in Haverhill, Massachusetts.  His line was covered in Case and Sanderson’s 1977 book The Family of John Page of Haverhill.
  • Robert Page, also from Norfolk, who came to Boston with his family in 1637 and moved to Hampton, New Hampshire two years later.  His descendants remained in Hampton for six generations.
  • and George Page, from the Shorne line in Kent, who came to Branford, Connecticut in 1662.  His line was covered in Edith Page’s 1977 book George Page of Branford.
Virginia.  Colonel John Page, a merchant, came to Virginia in 1650 and was the forebear of the illustrious Page family there, one of the “First Families of Virginia.”  A wealthy landowner, he was instrumental in the creation on his lands of the College of William and Mary in 1693 and of the colonial town of Williamsburg in 1699. 

His grandson Mann Page built the family’s magnificent home, the Rosewell estate, in Gloucester county in 1725
Two generations later came John Page, friend and cousin to Thomas Jefferson at the time of the Revolutionary War.  He was subsequently Governor of Virginia.  Page county in Virginia was named after him.

There was much inter-marriage between the Pages and other First Families of Virginia.  Their principal relation was with the Nelson family.  Later Pages of the family included Thomas Nelson Page, a Southern writer and lawyer, and William Nelson Page, a leading developer of West Virginia’s coalfields in the late 19th century.

Some have seen a linkage between this family and the Pages of Goochland county, Virginia, although DNA analysis has indicated otherwise.  But DNA analysis has suggested that an African American Page family of Catonsville, Maryland is somehow related.  The connection here may have started with Mann Page III who had freed his slaves in the late 1700’s.

North Carolina
.  Thomas and Alice Page had come to Isle of Wight county, Virginia near the North Carolina border from Suffolk in England in 1659.  Their son John Page, born in 1685, was the progenitor of many North Carolina families.  Jesse Page’s 1987 book The Page Family in North Carolina covered this lineage up to 1850.

One line via Edward, Lewis and Anderson Page led to Frank Page, the founder of the town of Cary, North Carolina. His offspring were all distinguished, the most distinguished being probably Walter Hines Page, a newspaper publisher and US ambassador to Britain during World War One, and his son Arthur Page, a long-time executive at AT&T who is sometimes called “the father of corporate public relations.” 

Seneca Paige came to Quebec from New England in 1816 and was a wood merchant at Dunham.  He was also suspected of counterfeiting American money there.  He was a descendant of Nathaniel Paige, a Massachusetts immigrant of the 1680’s.

John Page was a Scottish engineer from Fife who had come out to Canada in 1842.  He helped to build many of the canals, lake harbors and lighthouses in the Great Lakes region.  He made his home at Brockville near Ottawa.

.  James Page, a bookseller from Kent, came out to Australia with his family on the Blenheim in 1855.  He settled in Grafton, NSW.  His son Thomas was mayor of Grafton in 1870 and 1881.  Another son Charles was a blacksmith and coachbuilder.  One of Charles’s sons Rodger became a missionary in Tonga.  Another son Earle progressed in politics and was briefly in 1939 Australia’s Prime Minister

Select Page Miscellany

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

Select Page Names

John Page served as Governor of Virginia from 1802 to 1805.  He came from one of the First Families of Virginia in colonial times.
Sir Frederick Handley Page was a pioneer of the English aircraft industry and became known as the father of the heavy bomber.
Anita Page was a famous Hollywood movie actress during the silent era of the 1920's.
Satchel Paige was a star African American baseball pitcher of the 1930's and 1940's.
Jimmy Page from London is an acclaimed guitarist and was the founder of the Led Zeppelin rock group in the 1970's.
Larry Page is the co-founder of the search engine company Google. 

Select Pages Today
  • 44,000 in the UK (most numerous in London)
  • 39,000 in America (most numerous in California) 
  • 20,000 elsewhere (most numerous in Australia)

Select Surnames

PS.  You might want to check out the surnames page on this website.  It covers surname genealogy in this and companion websites for more than 500 surnames.

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