Linscott Name Study

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Surnames/tags: Linscott Lynscott Limscott
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Please contact the Study's coordinator Scott Carles or post a comment at the foot of the page. If you have any questions, just ask. Thanks!


This is a One Name Study to collect together in one place everything about one surname, Linscott, and the variants of that name. The hope is that other researchers like you will join our study to help make it a valuable reference point for people studying lines that cross or intersect.

Task List

  • Explore the etymology of the name Linscott.
  • Explore the possible ancestry of John Linscott ("The Immigrant").
  • Flesh out the descendants of John Linscott ("The Immigrant").
  • Explore other Linscott lines besides John Linscott ("The Immigrant").
  • Find mtDNA or Y-DNA lines that stretch across the Atlantic Ocean to connected the American Linscotts to the English Linscotts.

Linscott Etymology

There are two basic theories for the etymology of the name Linscott, both of which rely on splitting the name into two parts, and both rely on Anglo-Saxon etymology. The two parts are:

  1. lind/lin, or Leofwine
  2. cote

It is fairly agreed upon that the second part of the name, cote, is Anglo-Saxon/Old English for cottage, or house (see entry in Bosworth-Toller Anglo-Saxon Dictionary).

The first part of the name seems to have several possibilities:

  1. lin or lind; as relating to the linden tree, also called the lime tree. This is the definition as it appears on the websites Forebears and House of Names. The explanation as given on House of Names claims that the name Linscott derives from the 1086 Domesday Book name of "Lindesela" which is made of the two words "lind" and "sele". This is interesting in that of the 18 variations of the name "Linscott", none of them include the letter "d". (It should be noted that only lind is Anglo-Saxon for the linden/lime tree; see lin below.) That website also claims that the name as found in Domesday Book is from the area of Essex, which is about 200 miles from the bulk of the Linscott names appearing from the 13th century onward. Not that the family couldn't have traveled that far in the intervening 200 years, but other name origin theories seem more likely.
  2. lín = Anglo-Saxon/Old Enlgish for flax and linen (see the entry in Bosworth-Toller Anglo-Saxon Dictionary). From the 13th-17th centuries, I estimate that 95% of the occurrences of the Linscott name (and variations) are in the county of Devon. Devon was known for its wool industry; it might be worthwhile to see if the area had flax growing and/or linen production. On a side note, in the summer of 2019 I spent time in Moretonhampstead and met a woman who worked with textiles. When I mentioned the surname Linscott, she said she had always thought the nearby Linscott Farm was named after linen production.
  3. Leofwine is a personal name, such as the famous Anglo-Saxon Leofwine, Ealdorman of the Hwicce. It is this theory as put forth in Dictionary of American Family Names, Vol. 1, edited by Patrick Hanks: "Linscott (811) English: habitational name from Linscott in Moretonhampstead or Limscott in Bradworthy, both in Devon and so named from the Old English personal name Leof‌wine + Old English cot 'cottage'." The Moretonhampstead History Society seems to ascribe to this idea as well, as seen on the entry for Linscott: "Farmstead which, on etymological evidence, probably means ‘Leofwine’s Cott’ (Leofwine being a Saxon name) and so should be associated with occupation at least as early as the twelfth century. In addition its position on this old road from Howton to Yalworthy suggests a very early date. It is mentioned on the 1332 Subsidy Roll. Included in the Courtenay Survey (circa 1790) in three parts, all previously in separate tenancy but then united by Mr William Frost, who occupies two houses and nearly 100 acres. [IJFM].

This last idea, that it is derived from the name Leofwine, also seems to be borne out when the name variations (see entry below) are examined and entries from the 13th through 15th centuries contain these spellings (years in parentheses):

  • Luuenescote (1200s)
  • Lewenescote (1281)
  • Luvenescote (1284)
  • Lunescote (1300)
  • Luuescote (1332)
  • Luvenescote (1346, 1352)
  • Lunescote (1428)

Name Variations in England

To research the Linscotts in England it is important to note that records for the name have been found as early as the 13th century and that there have been quite a few variations for the spelling. Included below are as many variations as I have been able to find and verify that they are indeed part of the family (link to an Excel spreadsheet stored in Google Drive: Linscott Name Variation Table; I can make it a Google Sheet if you need the ability to sort the table) :

  • Lemescote
  • Lewenescot
  • Limscott
  • Limyscote
  • Linscote
  • Linscott
  • Lunescote
  • Luuenescote
  • Luuescote
  • Luvenescote
  • Lymescote
  • Lymmescote
  • Lympscott
  • Lymscote
  • Lymscott
  • Lynscote
  • Lynscott

Research needs to be conducted to see if the following are also surname variations (cursory research so far leads me to believe they are not of the same family):

  • Luscott
  • Luscote
  • Luuscote
  • Loscot
  • Liscote
  • Lyscote

John Linscott "The Immigrant"

It is generally believed that John Linscott, the progenitor of most of the Linscotts now in America, was the first Linscott to America (the first record of him being in 1690). However, a Giles/Gyles Linscott/Limscot/Limpscott was in the Isle of Wight area of Virginia as early as 1665 (see the section below about Giles), yet he does not seem to have left any descendants nor to have been related to John Linscott the Immigrant.

The Ancestry of John Linscott "The Immigrant"

It is generally believed that John Linscott was from England, and from all the research conducted so far, this seems to be a good possibility considering the overwhelming majority of Linscotts during the 1600s were from England. In fact, the overwhelming majority were from Devonshire, England. Unfortunately, no verified connection to any of those Linscotts in England has yet been established.

One thing we know for sure: John Linscott was not the son of Henry Linscott and Elizabeth Lauers; that John Linscott was born in Exeter, Devon, England in 1655 and died there, unmarried, in 1685 (documentation proving this will be added to this page).

Giles Linscott - Isle of Wight

Information about Giles Linscott will be included here later.

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Just a quick "Hello". My Great-Grandfather on my father's branch is named John Linscott (abt. 1860-1905). I'm quite new to genealogy research, so it didn't take long to come to a hard stop with him. I believe he was married to a Nancy Plumber (abt. 1851-1937). The majority of descendants leading up to him settled in northern and central Maine. Any help is appreciated. And, anything I can help with would be my pleasure. Thanks - Terry Willett (Willett-1795).
posted by Terrence Willett
Hi Terry! Thanks for stopping by. I checked your line here on WikiTree and checked it against what I have on my records and FamilySearch (I try to keep the tree on FamilySearch trimmed and updated) and my records match your records as far as John Linscott and Nancy Plummer go—not only John W's ancestors back to John Linscott the Immigrant, but descendants down to you as well). That makes us 6th cousins. I checked to see if we had a DNA match on 23&Me, but no such luck (at 6th cousins that's not too surprising, though). Thank you for the offer to help, and the same extends to you. I'm trying to get my 1st cousin Linscott to take the yDNA test at FamilyTreeDNA—I'd love to get some yDNA links into England so we can solve the leap across the Atlantic. Best, ~Scott C
posted by Scott Carles