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

Origins Available: Dutch, English, Scottish

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

The Reed surname is derived from the Old English word "read," meaning "red." It is most likely that the name was used as nickname for someone with red hair, before becoming their surname. In other instances, the Reed surname no doubt came from some of the places so named in Britain, such as Read, Lancashire, Rede, Suffolk, and Reed in Hertfordshire.

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The name, Reed, occurred in many references, and from time to time, it was spelt Read, Reid, Reed, Reede, Redd, Reade and others.

First found in Northumberland where they held a family seat from early times and their first records appeared on the census rolls taken by the ancient Kings of Britain to determine the rate of taxation of their subjects.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Reed research. Another 231 words(16 lines of text) covering the years 1758, 1600, 1415, 1541, 1551, 1502, 1609, 1692, 1692 and 1721 are included under the topic Early Reed History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Another 251 words(18 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Reed Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Some of the Reed family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 139 words(10 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.

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The New World beckoned settlers from the Scottish-English borders. They sailed aboard the armada of sailing ships known as the "White Sails" which plied the stormy Atlantic. Some called them, less romantically, the "coffin ships." Among the early settlers bearing the Reed surname who came to North America were:

Reed Settlers in the United States in the 17th Century


  • Elizabeth Reed, aged 19, landed in St Christopher in 1634
  • Esdras Reed, who landed in Salem, Massachusetts in 1640
  • Amey Reed, who landed in Maryland in 1663
  • Barbary Reed, who landed in Maryland in 1665
  • Ebenezar Reed, who arrived in Maryland in 1678

Reed Settlers in the United States in the 18th Century


  • Charles Reed, who landed in North Carolina in 1701
  • Anne Reed, who arrived in Virginia in 1711
  • Alexander Reed, who arrived in Virginia in 1716
  • Anna Lydia Reed, aged 11, landed in Pennsylvania in 1733
  • Hans Jacob Reed, aged 45, landed in Pennsylvania in 1733


Reed Settlers in the United States in the 19th Century


  • Catherine Reed, who arrived in New York, NY in 1817
  • Isaac H Reed, who landed in Texas in 1835
  • Christopher Reed, who arrived in New York in 1836
  • Henry Reed, who arrived in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1844
  • Frances Reed, aged 22, arrived in Key West, Fla in 1848


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  • Walter S Reed (1851-1902), American scientist
  • James Reed (1724-1807), American brigadier general in the American Revolution
  • Thomas Buck Reed (1787-1829), United States Senator from Mississippi
  • Henry Armstrong Reed (1858-1876), American soldier, killed at Battle of the Little Bighorn at the age of 18, nephew of George Armstrong Custer
  • Donna Reed (1921-1986), Academy Award-winning American film and television actress
  • Henry Hope Reed Jr. (1915-2013), American architecture critic from Manhattan
  • Lewis Allan "Lou" Reed (1942-2013), American rock musician and songwriter, founding member of The Velvet Underground and best remembered for his song Walk on the Wild Side
  • Frank Kevin "Tchallah" Reed (1954-2014), American lead singer of the vocal group The Chi-Lites
  • Brigadier-General Walter Jay Reed (1892-1963), American Commanding General 7th Air Service Command (1943-1945)
  • Major-General Walter Lawrence Reed (1877-1956), American Inspector-General of the Army (1935-1939)

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  • Dunkin-Reid and Garner-McGraw-Mobley Families of South Carolina, Georgia, and Alabama by Dean Smith Cress.
  • The Read Family History, 1740 to 1978 by Mildred Edgington.
  • The Reads, an American Saga by Dorothy Lutomski.
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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: Pax copia
Motto Translation: Peace, plenty.

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  1. Burke, Sir Bernard. Burke's Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Landed Gentry: Including American Families with British Ancestry. (2 Volumes). London: Burke Publishing, 1939. 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. Bardsley, C.W. A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6).
  4. Best, Hugh. Debrett's Texas Peerage. New York: Coward-McCann, 1983. Print. (ISBN 069811244X).
  5. Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at Galveston Texas 1896-1951. National Archives Washington DC. Print.
  6. Bradford, William. History of Plymouth Plantation 1620-1647 Edited by Samuel Eliot Morrison 2 Volumes. New York: Russell and Russell, 1968. Print.
  7. The Norman People and Their Existing Descendants in the British Dominions and the United States Of America. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0636-X).
  8. Browning, Charles H. Americans of Royal Descent. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  9. Hitching, F.K and S. Hitching. References to English Surnames in 1601-1602. Walton On Thames: 1910. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0181-3).
  10. Humble, Richard. The Fall of Saxon England. New York: Barnes and Noble, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-88029-987-8).
  11. ...

The Reed Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Reed 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 1 July 2014 at 18:36.

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