Origin, Meaning and Family History of the Canton Name
England, France, Ireland
Origins of Canton:
It is a very interesting and unusual surname of old, ancient origins. Although, with expanded documentations it has no less than four royal symbols, two from England and two from Ireland. It is polygenetic, meaning that it was found in the different districts, and at much the same time, in the middle of the 12th and the 14th centuries. Wherever the surname was listed, the sources are almost certainly the same. These spellings contain as Cantone, Cantoni, Cantarone (Italy), Cantin, Canton, Cantona, Cantonnet (France), Canton, Canteton, Caunton (England Wales & Scotland), Canton and Condon (Ireland). There is a common thread through all the spellings, and that is the real Latin (Roman) word ‘canto’ which means a resident at the corner of a street or someone who is honest, or probably a farm at the corner of a church boundary. It would seem to prove that the surname is habitational in origin, and in the situation of the British Islands perhaps brought from France at the Norman invasion of 1066. It is just possible that some named ancestors could derive from related to the arms, as the canton was the highest award used as an augmentation of a national symbol. The Swiss word canton has the similar origin, meaning a piece of land, but we have no proof of surnames from this origin, while Canton in China appeared in the 19th century, but was much too late to give surnames. It is considered that as de Canton, the name was first listed in the district of Pembroke, Wales, in the 12th century. A National Symbol given to the family in Kent where it was considered that name ancestor were present in the 16th century, is considered to be the oldest.
More common variations are: Cantone, Cantton, Cantoni, Cantona, Cantono, Cantony, Cannton, Caneton, Cantoon, Cantn.
The surname Canton first appeared in Yorkshire where they held a family seat as Kings of the Castle. The Saxon impact of English history declined after the invasion of Hastings in 1066. French was the language of courts for the next three centuries, and the Norman atmosphere overcame. But Saxon surnames remained, and the family name first introduced in the 13th century when John Galmeton held lands in that shire in the North Riding at Ganton, ancient Saxon name of Gamleton, listed in the Domesday Book in 1086 as the King’s land.
Many of the people with surname Canton had moved to Ireland during the 17th century.
United States of America:
Individuals with the surname Canton settled in the United States in two different centuries respectively in the 17th, and 19th. Some of the people with the name Canton who settled in the United States in the 17th century included Christopher Canton, who landed in Maryland in 1634. John Canton who landed in Maryland in the year 1673. Will Canton, who landed in Maryland in 1676.
The following century saw much more Canton surnames arrive. Some of the people with the surname Canton who settled in the United States in the 19th century included Diego Canton landed in Nombre de Dios, Panama in 1835. James Canton at the age of 22, arrived in New York in 1854. Mary Canton at the age of 16, arrived in New York in 1854. Margaret Canton, who arrived in San Francisco, California in the year 1860.
Here is the population distribution of the last name Canton: Mexico 5,732; Spain 4,369; Brazil 3,561; United States 2,902; Italy 2,676; Argentina 2,404; Philippines 2,320; France 2,253; Guatemala 677; El Salvador 474.
Bruce Dal Canton is an American baseball player.
Frank M. Canton is an American gangster (not his real name)
Joanna Canton was an American actress.
Mark Canton was an American film director and manager.
Neil Canton was an American film producer.
William Canton was a British poet, scholar, and author, now famous for his donations to children’s literature.
Yediel Canton was a Spanish figure skater.
Canton Coat of Arms Meaning
The four main devices (symbols) in the Canton blazon are the lion, dolpin, mullet and chapeau. The four main tinctures (colors) are azure, or, sable and gules.
Azure is the heraldic colour blue, usually quite a deep, dark shade of the colour (there is a lighter blue that sometimes occurs, known as celestial azure). If colour printing is not available then it can be represented by closely spaced horizontal lines in a scheme known as “hatching” . The word is thought to originate from the Arabic lazura and it represents the colour of the eastern sky. It is also said to be the colour associated by the Catholic Church with the Virgin Mary and hence of particular significance .
The bright yellow colour frequently found in coats of arms is known to heralds as Or, or sometimes simply as Gold.. Along with, argent, or silver it forms the two “metals” of heraldry – one of the guidelines of heraldic design is that silver objects should not be placed upon gold fields and vice versa . The yellow colour is often associated with the Sun, and the zodiacal sign of Leo..
Sable, the deep black so often found in Heraldry is believed to named from an animal of the marten family know in the middle ages as a Sabellinœ and noted for its very black fur . In engravings, when colors cannot be shown it is represented as closely spaced horizontal and vertical lines, and appropriately is thus the darkest form of hatching, as this method is known . Although it may seem a sombre tone, and does indeed sometimes denote grief, it is more commonly said to represent Constancy .
Red in heraldry is given the name Gules, sometimes said to be the “martyr’s colour”. The colour is also associated with Mars, the red planet, and the zodiacal sign Aries . Later heralds of a more poetical nature would sometimes refer to the colour as ruby, after the precious stone..
The art of heraldry would be significantly poorer if we were without the lion in all its forms. Most general works on Heraldry devote at least one chapter solely to this magnificent creature and its multifarious depictions . Some of the earliest known examples of heraldry, dating right back to the knighting of Geoffrey of Anjou in 1127, where he is shown with six such beasts upon his shield .The great authority on heraldic symbology, Wade, points out the high place that the lion holds in heraldry, “as the emblem of deathless courage” , a sentiment echoed equally today.
In the days before television and the internet it was a rare heraldic artist that had ever seen a dolphin for real, so we should not be surprised that the heraldic representation is not instantly recognisable. Despite this, we should not forget that these artists considered the dolphin to be the king of fish, playing the same role as the lion in the animal kingdom. For reasons not immediately clear, Wade suggests that the dolphin was regarded as an “affectionate fish, fond of music”.
The heraldic mullet, not to be confused with the fish of that name, is shown as a regular, five pointed star. This was originally, not an astronomical object, but represented the spur on a horseman’s boot, especially when peirced, with a small circular hole in the centre it represents a type of spur known as a “rowel” . A clear example can be found in the arms of Harpendene, argent, a mullet pierced gules. The ancient writer Guillim associated such spurs in gold as belonging to the Knight, and the silver to their esquires . In later years, Wade linked this five pointed star with the true celestial object, the estoile and termed it a “falling star”, symbolising a “divine quality bestowed from above” .