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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright 2000 - 2014

Where did the English Norris family come from? What is the English Norris family crest and coat of arms? When did the Norris family first arrive in the United States? Where did the various branches of the family go? What is the Norris family history?

The history of the name Norris goes back those Anglo-Saxon tribes that once ruled over Britain. Such a name was given to a person from the north. The surname is usually derived from the Anglo-French words noreis and norreis, which both mean northerner. Occasionally, Norris is an occupational name for a nurse; in this case, the derivation is from the Old French word norrice, which means nurse. Lastly, the surname Norris is sometimes a local surname for a "dweller at the north house."

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Sound was what guided spelling in the essentially pre-literate Middle Ages, so one person's name was often recorded under several variations during a single lifetime. Also, before the advent of the printing press and the first dictionaries, the English language was not standardized. Therefore, spelling variations were common, even among the names of the most literate people. Known variations of the Norris family name include Norreys, Norris, Norres, Norrice, Norrish and others.

First found in Hampstead Norreys (Hampstead Norris), a village and civil parish in Berkshire. Dating back to the Domesday Book, where it was listed as Hanstede [1], the village is today still noted for its Norman parish church and the remains of a Norman motte-and-bailey castle nearby. The village name's changed to Hampstede Norreys, when the Norreys family bought the manor in 1448.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Norris research. Another 237 words(17 lines of text) covering the years 1481, 1564, 1405, 1450, 1433, 1507, 1525, 1601, 1572, 1579, 1622, 1622, 1603, 1658, 1702, 1670, 1749, 1675, 1711, 1671, 1735, 1724 and are included under the topic Early Norris History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Another 265 words(19 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Norris Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Some of the Norris family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 113 words(8 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.

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For political, religious, and economic reasons, thousands of English families boarded ships for Ireland, the Canadas, the America colonies, and many of smaller tropical colonies in the hope of finding better lives abroad. Although the passage on the cramped, dank ships caused many to arrive in the New World diseased and starving, those families that survived the trip often went on to make valuable contributions to those new societies to which they arrived. Investigation of the origins of family names on the North American continent has revealed that early immigrants bearing the name Norris or a variant listed above:

Norris Settlers in the United States in the 17th Century


  • Mary Norris, who arrived in America in 1620
  • Edward Norris, who came to Salem in 1630
  • Jo Norris, aged 18, arrived in Bermuda in 1635
  • Ann Norris, who landed in Maryland in 1637
  • Eliz Norris, who arrived in Virginia in 1638


Norris Settlers in the United States in the 18th Century


  • Martin Norris, who landed in Virginia in 1712
  • Humphrey Norris, who landed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1717-1718
  • Charles Norris, who arrived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1730-1731
  • Richard Norris, who arrived in America in 1765
  • Philip Norris, who arrived in Maryland in 1776

Norris Settlers in the United States in the 19th Century


  • Thos Norris, who landed in America in 1804
  • Tho Norris, aged 56, landed in New York, NY in 1804
  • Martha Norris, who arrived in America in 1805
  • Jas Norris, who arrived in America in 1805
  • Patrick Norris, aged 25, landed in Louisiana in 1813


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  • Carlos Ray "Chuck" Norris (b. 1940), American actor and Martial Artist
  • George William Norris (1861-1944), American politician, U.S. congressman and senator, who authored the 20th Amendment to the Constitution
  • Benjamin Franklin Norris Jr. (1870-1902), American novelist
  • Bruce Norris, American winner of the 2011 Pulitzer Prize for Drama
  • David Stefan "Bud" Norris (b. 1985), American Major League Baseball starting pitcher for the Houston Astros
  • Terry Wayne Norris (b. 1967), American retired boxer, three-time World Champion in the light middleweight division
  • Clarence Norris (1912-1989), African American teenage hobo, one of the Scottsboro Boys, accused of rape aboard a train, convicted and finally receiving a full posthumous pardon on November 21, 2013
  • Mr. James Norris (d. 1912), aged 23, English Fireman/Stoker from Southampton, Hampshire who worked aboard the RMS Titanic and died in the sinking
  • Arthur B.J. Norris, English Olympian who two bronze medals for tennis at the 1900 games
  • Tobias Crawford Norris (1861-1936), Canadian politician, premier of Manitoba (1915-1922)

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  • Descendants of Isaac Patten, Sr., and his Wife, Jane Norris: An Early Pioneer Family in Sullivan County, Indiana by Ernest C. Swanson.
  • Norris, Hackett, Prescott and Allied Families Hugh Albert Johnson.
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The motto was originally a war cry or slogan. Mottoes first began to be shown with arms in the 14th and 15th centuries, but were not in general use until the 17th century. Thus the oldest coats of arms generally do not include a motto. Mottoes seldom form part of the grant of arms: Under most heraldic authorities, a motto is an optional component of the coat of arms, and can be added to or changed at will; many families have chosen not to display a motto.

Motto: Feythfully serve
Motto Translation: Faithfully serve

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  1. ^ Mills, A.D., Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4)

Other References

  1. Library of Congress. American and English Genealogies in the Library of Congress. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1967. Print.
  2. Weis, Frederick Lewis, Walter Lee Sheppard and David Faris. Ancestral Roots of Sixty Colonists Who Came to New England Between 1623 and 1650 7th Edition. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0806313676).
  3. Magnusson, Magnus. Chambers Biographical Dictionary 5th edition. Edinburgh: W & R Chambers, 1990. Print.
  4. Hitching, F.K and S. Hitching. References to English Surnames in 1601-1602. Walton On Thames: 1910. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0181-3).
  5. Skordas, Guest. Ed. The Early Settlers of Maryland an Index to Names or Immigrants Complied from Records of Land Patents 1633-1680 in the Hall of Records Annapolis, Maryland. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1968. Print.
  6. Browning, Charles H. Americans of Royal Descent. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  7. Bede, The Venerable. Historia Ecclesiatica Gentis Anglorum (The Ecclesiastical History Of the English People). Available through Internet Medieval Sourcebook the Fordham University Centre for Medieval Studies. Print.
  8. Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds. Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8).
  9. Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin . Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8).
  10. Burke, John Bernard Ed. The Roll of Battle Abbey. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  11. ...

The Norris Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Norris Family Crest was drawn according to heraldic standards based on published blazons. We generally include the oldest published family crest once associated with each surname.

This page was last modified on 21 February 2014 at 12:52.

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