In the Dark Ages, after Rome had faded away, the written word was preserved by men of the Church. Documents such as the Anglo-Saxon Chronicles and the Domesday Book were preserved within the sturdy walls of the monasteries. These records have survived to this day in order that we may study the history of this Anglo-Saxon surname, Young.
Professional researchers have surveyed these records and found the first record of the Young surname in Somersetshire where they had been seated from very ancient times, before and after the Norman Conquest in 1066.
During research it was noted that the Young surname was spelled in different ways including Young, Younge, Yonge, Youngson, and these variations would occur even in references to the same person. In the 16th century the famous playwright William Shakespeare signed his own name with different spellings, such as "Shakespere", "Shakespear", "Shakspere" and "Shaxspere", In order to explain this phenomenon we must look back to some of the earliest documents written in English. In the 14th century Geoffrey Chaucer, author of Canterbury tales, would spell "told" as "ytold" and "tolde" because at this time spelling rules did not truly exist.
The history of the Anglo-Saxons provides a valuable background for the history of the Young family. The Saxons were a Teutonic tribe of people originally from Germany. They began to settle in southeastern England in about the year 400 A.D. The Angles, another Teutonic tribe, occupied the east coast, north of the Saxons. The Angle and Saxon cultures blended together as they came to dominate the country.
In 994 the Danes invaded England and the Anglo-Saxon rulers never truly recovered their lost power. In 1066 Duke William of Normandy disputed the royal succession in England and brought an army to enforce his claim. The success of the Normans at the Battle of Hastings brought the final end to Anglo-Saxon rule. However, despite this change of leadership, the culture of the common man in England was an Anglo-Saxon culture.
During this period the Young family was found in Somerset where they were anciently seated at Trent. They later branched to Kerno in Staffordshire, Clare in Suffolk, and Kenton in Staffordshire. They also acquired estates in Worcestershire, in Kingerby in Lincoln, and other midland counties. By 1271 they had moved north to Dumfries in Scotland, and Alexander Young was Chaplain of Holy Trinity in Aberdeen. However, the Youngs of Scotland had safe conducts to trade with their kin to the south in England, and many such letters were issued between 1400 and 1500. In Scotland their seats were at Auldbar, Leny, Rosebank, Eastfield, and Lindbank. Their present family seats are at Formosa Place, Northdene, Lisgar, Kingerby, Stanhill Court, Culdaff House, and in Tasmania. Distinguished members of the family include Sir Charles Young, Garter King of Arms.
Throughout the Middle Ages domestic trouble was common in England, however, conflicts tended to be localized. Later, the succession of the Stuarts witnessed the beginning of political problems which effected almost everyone. Conflicts between the kind and parliament, between the Catholics and the Protestants, along with plague and great fire in London, made the 17th century a turbulent time.
In Ireland Oliver Cromwell's soldiers and Protestant settlers were granted lands belonging to Irish Catholic owners. While some of the confiscated lands were returned during the reign of King Charles II, most remained in the hands of newcomers. English families also came to Ireland in search of work created by industries there. In Ireland the family settled in Ulster, in Bailieborough Castle in Cavan, where Barson Lisgar was the Chief Secretary for Ireland. Gerrot Young was Mayor of Dublin. Baron Lisgar (Sir John Young) later became Governor of New South Wales in 1860, and Governor General of Canada in 1868.
Chaos at home led many families to risk the hazardous journey across the oceans to the New World. Yet the Americas were no paradise for the earliest English settlers. Early attempts to establish a colony at Roanoke Island, North Carolina met with disaster. In 1591 supply ships found the colony deserted with the fate of the settlers remaining forever a mystery.
Migrants bearing the Young surname, or a variant spelling of this name, including John Yonge, his wife and six children settled in Salem, Massachusetts, in 1637; Captain Young settled in Boston in 1765; Joseph Young, a fisherman of Trinity, Newfoundland, settled in 1763, Edward and Jane Young settled in Virginia in 1636; Issac Young settled with his wife and five children, settled in Georgia in 1736; Joseph and Margaret Young settled in New England with their two sons in 1635; Richard Young and his wife settled in Virginia in 1623. Many families bearing this name were registered as United Empire Loyalist, including that of Lt. John Young, Sergt. John Young, Henry Young.
The Canadian wilderness attracted some of the migrants. The first European colonist to come to Canada were of French origin, arriving in the 17th century. However, it was inevitable that the French empire came to be challenged, and at the end of migrants arrived in Canada, known as United Empire Loyalist. It was not until nearly a century after this that Canada began to develop into the great nation it is today. After Confederation, Canada acquired Rupert's Land, and this, along with other contributing factors, marked the beginning of westward expansion.
Individuals bearing this surname, Young, have continued to distinguish themselves, including Alexander Young, Opera Singer; General Alexander Young; Air Marshall Brian Young; Bertram Young, Drama Critic; Ven. David Young, Archdeacon of Huntington; Eric Young, Diplomat; Sir George Young; Justice Sir John Young; Sir Norman Young, Australian Chairman; Sir William Young, Stockbroker.
During the course of our research we also found the many Coat of Arms granted to different branches of the family name. The most ancient grant of a Coat of Arms found was Gold with three red roses. The Crest was a Wolf. The ancient family Motto for this distinguished name was "Toujours Jeune"