History of your Surname
Get access to Palmer family records.Start a free trial

Palmer Family History

Palmer Name Meaning

English: from Middle English, Old French palmer, paumer (from palme, paume ‘palm tree’, Latin palma), a nickname for someone who had been on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. Such pilgrims generally brought back a palm branch as proof that they had actually made the journey, but there was a vigorous trade in false souvenirs, and the term also came to be applied to a cleric who sold indulgences. Swedish (Palmér): ornamental name formed with palm ‘palm tree’ + the suffix -ér, from Latin -erius ‘descendant of’. Irish: when not truly of English origin (see 1 above), a surname adopted by bearers of Gaelic Ó Maolfhoghmhair (see Milford) perhaps because they were from an ecclesiastical family. German: topographic name for someone living among pussy willows (see Palm 2). German: from the personal name Palm (see Palm 3).

Source: Dictionary of American Family Names ©2013, Oxford University Press


Similar surnames: Palm, Balmer, Almer, Paley, Hammer, Galler, Kalmer, Hamer, Palmero

Search for a relative to learn more about your family history.

Hint: Try searching for a relative alive in 1940.

Black & white image of a young woman scientist

Where is the Palmer family from?

You can see how Palmer families moved over time by selecting different census years. The Palmer family name was found in the USA, the UK, Canada, and Scotland between 1840 and 1920. The most Palmer families were found in the USA in 1880. In 1840 there were 1,031 Palmer families living in New York. This was about 34% of all the recorded Palmer's in the USA. New York had the highest population of Palmer families in 1840.
Use census records and voter lists to see where families with the Palmer surname lived. Within census records, you can often find information like name of household members, ages, birthplaces, residences, and occupations.

What did your Palmer ancestors do for a living?

In 1940, Laborer and Teacher were the top reported jobs for men and women in the US named Palmer. 15% of Palmer men worked as a Laborer and 7% of Palmer women worked as a Teacher. Some less common occupations for Americans named Palmer were Truck Driver and Maid.

View Census data for Palmer | Data not to scale

*We display top occupations by gender to maintain their historical accuracy during times when men and women often performed different jobs.

Top Male Occupations in 1940

  • Laborer
    15%
  • Farmer
    14%
  • Salesman
    5%
  • Truck Driver
    3%

Top Female Occupations in 1940

  • Teacher
    7%
  • Housewife
    6%
  • Housekeeper
    6%
  • Maid
    6%
Black & white image of two construction labourers

What Palmer family records will you find?

Census Records

There are 1 million census records available for the last name Palmer. Like a window into their day-to-day life, Palmer census records can tell you where and how your ancestors worked, their level of education, veteran status, and more.

Search US census records for Palmer

Passenger Lists

There are 145,000 immigration records available for the last name Palmer. Passenger lists are your ticket to knowing when your ancestors arrived in the USA, and how they made the journey - from the ship name to ports of arrival and departure.

View all Palmer immigration records

Draft Cards

There are 208,000 military records available for the last name Palmer. For the veterans among your Palmer ancestors, military collections provide insights into where and when they served, and even physical descriptions.

View all Palmer military records

You've only scratched the surface of Palmer family history.

Discover More

What is the average Palmer lifespan?

Between 1940 and 2004, in the United States, Palmer life expectancy was at its lowest point in 1944, and highest in 2001. The average life expectancy for Palmer in 1940 was 39, and 74 in 2004.

View Social Security Death Index (SSDI) for Palmer

Discover the unique achievements of ancestors in the Palmer family tree

Explore Your Tree
Search for another surname
Start a 14-Day Free Trial