Pegram Family

pegram origins - family In Europe


We will indicate in the following chapters that the first recorded generation of PEGRAMs in America (George) arrived from England some time in the 1660s. It is therefore interesting to look briefly at the political environment that was left behind. England (and Europe in general) had a long history of political turmoil, poverty, disease, and war. English history can be divided into several periods:

  • Prehistory (Before 43 A.D.) During this period there were no written records and England was inhabited by Celts that typically lived in small groups.

  • Roman (43 - 410) The Roman emperor Claudius invaded England and the Romans pretty much ruled the country for nearly 400 years.

  • Anglo-Saxon (410 - 1066) The "Dark Ages" saw groups of German-speaking people migrate from northwestern Europe to England, forcing the Celts into Ireland and Scotland.

  • Norman (1066 - 1485) The Normans conquered the Saxon kingdom at the Battle of Hastings. The Normans were an ethnic group formed through contact between Norse Viking settlers and French residents in the area known today as Normandy. This time frame is also known as "Medieval England".

  • Tudors (1485 - 1603) Henry VII defeated Richard III at the Battle of Bosworth and began the Tudor dynasty.

  • Stuarts (1603 - 1714) James VI of Scotland followed Elizabeth I and brought the two long-warring nations together.

  • Georgians (1714 - 1837) Queen Anne died in 1714 and the German Hanoverians were brought in to succeed her.

  • Victorians (1837 - 1901) Queen Victoria came into power and ruled for over 60 years.

  • 20th Century (1901 - 2000)


Until about 1100 A.D. most people in Europe had only one name, such as George, Anna, or Daniel. As the population grew, there came a time when there were just too many individuals with the same name in the same village and that became confusing. To deal with this problem, a family surname came into use. The surname could be derived from a profession (Carpenter), a feature of the local physical area (Waters), relationship (William's son John could be named John Williams), or what ever. The PEGRAM surname came into use during the Norman period, with the implication that there could have been a French background for those families. The first known record of an individual with the PEGRAM surname was for Hugo PILEGRIM, dated 1185 in the register of the Knight Templars (Crusaders) of England during the reign of King Henry II. The various surname spellings in Medieval records included PEGRAM, PEAGRIN, PEGRUM, PIGRAM, PILGRIM, PEREGRIM, etc. but they were all derivatives of the latin word peregrinus, meaning someone who comes from a foreign area. There was also potentially a religious connotation to the name, identifying someone who had made a journey to a place of sanctity such as Rome or other shrine. The PEGRAMs seemed to be dispersed across England and Scotland, but were mainly concentrated in the area around Essex County in England.


Today [Footnote P1-1] there are roughly 7000 individuals in the world with the surname PEGRAM. The large majority of those individuals are in the United States (5514). England has 928; Wales has 29; and Ireland has 14. The remainder of the PEGRAM surnames are in South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada.


  • Although the PEGRAM family has been extensively researched and documented for many years, no one has successfully linked the PEGRAM families in early American colonies with their ancestors in Europe. For that reason the objective of the following chapters will be to focus on the life of George PEGRAM and his descendants, culminating in the family of Nathaniel Harper PEGRAM, Jr of Carrollton, IL. It has been recorded that there were also PEGRAMs located in different colonies in early America. Those individuals may or may not have been related, but they will not be investigated since they are not relevant to the stated objective.

  • There are a number of internet sites and publications that provide a detailed index of generations of PEGRAM families. One such site is, where more than 20,000 descendants of George PEGRAM are identified. Again, no attempt will be made to validate the relationships described in those sites since most of the relevant blood lineal descent structure has been independently validated by the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) and the National Society of the Sons of the American Revolution (SAR) genealogy staffs.

P1-1 Current data was obtained from the internet at