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Blazons & Genealogy Notes

Ar. three saltires vert. Crest—A dexter arm couped and embowed, holding up a bomb fired all ppr.

Origin, Meaning, Family History and Greenland Coat of Arms and Family Crest

Greenland Origin:


Origins of Greenland:

This most interesting and uncommon surname is apparently of English geographical origin from the Old English pre-seventh Century words "grene," which means green and the second component" land," which means land. So, the name used for a person who existed near a piece of land left open as common pasture, which was a reasonably common tradition in old times. It may also be of English geographical origin from places called "Greenland" in Yorkshire, Cornwall and two places in Scotland, in Shetland and near Castletown. The surname itself first appears in the London Parish Records, in the early 17th Century. One Thomas Greenland married Margery Turvett at St. Margaret's, Westminster, London in June 1609, while one Dorythie Greenland married John Troughton at St. James, Clerkenwell, London in August 1612. Anne Greenland named at St. Margarets, Westminster London in October 1615. One John Grienland was a minister of the Gospel at Anworth, Scotland in 1720.


More common variations are: Greeneland, Grenland, Groenland, Greenlund, Grennland, Greinland, Grenlnd, Green-Lewand, Greenlunde, Garnland.


The surname Greenland first appeared in Sussex where they held a family seat as Kings of the Estate. The Saxon rule of English history declined after the Battle of Hastings in 1066. The language of the courts was French for the next three centuries and the Norman influence controlled. But Saxon surnames remained and the family name was first mentioned in the year 1400 when John Greenland held lands in that province.

The very first recorded spelling of the family was shown to be that of Annes Greeneland who married Lawrence Hickes, dated about 1605, in the "St. Margaret, Lothbury", London. It was during the time of King James I of England, dated 1603-1625. The origin of surnames during this period became a necessity with the introduction of personal taxation. It came to be known as Poll Tax in England.


Many of the people with surname Greenland had moved to Ireland during the 17th century.

United States of America:

Individuals with the surname Greenland landed in the United States in two different centuries respectively in the 17th, and 18th. Some of the people with the name Greenland who arrived in the United States in the 17th century included John Greenland, who arrived in Charlestown, Massachusetts in 1644. Frances Greenland, who landed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1677.

The following century saw much more Greenland surnames arrive. Some of the people with the surname Greenland who arrived in the United States in the 18th century included Augustine Greenland, who came to Virginia in 1774


Some of the individuals with the surname Greenland who landed in Australia in the 19th century included Charles Greenland, English convict from Cambridge, who shifted aboard the "Agincourt" in July 1844, settling in Van Diemen‘s Land, Australia.


Some of the population with the surname Greenland who arrived in New Zealand in the 19th century included George Greenland arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Queen of The Age" in 1874. Charlotte Greenland and Arthur Greenland, both arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Queen of The Age" in the same year 1874.

Here is the population distribution of the last name Greenland: United States 1,622; England 1,463; Australia 514; South Africa 511; Canada 375; Jamaica 357; New Zealand 156; Wales 147; Zimbabwe 111; France 86.

Notable People:

Colin Greenland was born in May in the year 1954 in Dover, Kent, England. He is a British science fiction author, whose first story won the second prize in a 1982 Faber & Faber competition.

Sander Greenland was born in January in the year 1951. He is an American statistician and epidemiologist famous for his participation to epidemiologic techniques.

Seth Greenland (born July 22, 1955) is an American novel writer, author, and screenwriter.

Susan Kaiser Greenland, JD was born in October 1956. She is an American writer and teacher of mindfulness and meditation. She is the creator of Mindful Games and The Mindful Child.

Greenland Coat of Arms Meaning

The two main devices (symbols) in the Greenland blazon are the saltire and bomb. The two main tinctures (colors) are vert and azure.

The deep green colour that is so often observed in heraldry is more properly known as vert. According to Wade, the use of this colour signifies “Hope and Joy”, but may also represent, rather delightfully, “Loyalty in Love” 1. It has other names also, the French call it sinople, perhaps after a town in Asia Minor from where the best green die materials could be found 2. More fanciful heralds liked to associate it with the planet venus and the precious stone emerald 3. More strangely, there is some evidence that the term prasin was anciently used, being the Greek for the vegetable we call the Leek!

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” 4. 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 5.

The saltire is one the major ordinaries, large charges that occupy the whole of the field 6. Arguably one of the best uses of this device is that of the St. Andrews Cross, a white saltire on a blue background found on the Scottish flag. The saltire is obviously closely related to the Cross, and Wade in his work on Heraldic Symbology suggests additionally that it alludes to “Resolution”, whilst Guillim, an even more ancient writer, somewhat fancifully argues that it is awarded to those who have succesfully scaled the walls of towns! 7

Given the martial nature of the origins of Heraldry, in the identification of knights and men-at-arms it can come as no surprise that mediaeval weaponry of all types are frequently to be found in a coat of arms 8. Indeed, the sheer variety of different swords 9 can be bewildering and expaining the difference between a scimitar and a falchion is perhaps best left to the expert! Even so, the grenade is an important symbol in heraldry, borne with pride on many a coat of arms.

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  • 1 The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P36
  • 2 A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Vert
  • 3 Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 27
  • 4 Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 26
  • 5 The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P150
  • 6 A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Saltire
  • 7 A Display of Heraldry, J. Guillim, Blome, London, 1679, P63
  • 8 Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 89
  • 9 A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1847, P302