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

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

The Sawyer name was coined by the Anglo-Saxon tribes of Britain. Sawyer was originally a name given to someone who worked as a person who worked as the sawyer. This individual bought wood and cut it with his saw in order to sell it the towns people. Occupational names frequently were derived from the principal object associated with the activity of the original bearer, such as tools or products. These types of occupational surnames are called metonymic surnames.


It is only in the last few hundred years that the English language has been standardized. For that reason, early Anglo-Saxon surnames like Sawyer are characterized by many spelling variations. As the English language changed and incorporated elements of other European languages, even literate people changed the spelling of their names. The variations of the name Sawyer include: Sawyer, Sawier, Sawer and others.

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


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Sawyer research. Another 161 words(12 lines of text) covering the years 1633, 1692, 1681, 1687, 1783, 1833 and 1812 are included under the topic Early Sawyer History in all our PDF Extended History products.


Another 109 words(8 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Sawyer Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.


Many English families tired of political and religious strife left Britain for the new colonies in North America. Although the trip itself offered no relief - conditions on the ships were extremely cramped, and many travelers arrived diseased, starving, and destitute - these immigrants believed the opportunities that awaited them were worth the risks. Once in the colonies, many of the families did indeed prosper and, in turn, made significant contributions to the culture and economies of the growing colonies. An inquiry into the early roots of North American families has revealed a number of immigrants bearing the name Sawyer or a variant listed above:

Sawyer Settlers in the United States in the 17th Century

  • John Sawyer settled in Virginia in 1622
  • John Sawyer, who arrived in Virginia in 1622
  • William Sawyer settled in Virginia in 1623
  • William Sawyer settled in Virginia in 1624
  • Francis Sawyer settled in Virginia in 1635

Sawyer Settlers in the United States in the 18th Century

  • Eliza Sawyer, who landed in Virginia in 1700

Sawyer Settlers in the United States in the 19th Century

  • Wm Sawyer, who arrived in Savanna(h), Georgia in 1806
  • S Sawyer, aged 33, arrived in New York, NY in 1822
  • Edw Sawyer, aged 24, landed in Key West, Fla in 1837
  • George Sawyer, aged 50, arrived in Key West, Fla in 1837
  • R Sawyer, aged 25, landed in Key West, Fla in 1838


  • Charles W Sawyer (1887-1979), American politician, U.S. Secretary of Commerce from 1948 to 1953
  • Diane Sawyer (b. 1945), American television newscaster
  • Thomas Charles Sawyer (b. 1945), American politician, member of the U.S. House of Representatives for Ohio, from 1987-2002
  • William Edward Sawyer (1850-1883), American inventor
  • Daniel Edward Sawyer, American winner of an Olympic gold medal for golf at the 1904 Summer Games
  • Gary Dean Sawyer (b. 1985), English footballer
  • Herbert Sawyer (1730-1798), English Admiral of the Royal Navy
  • Sir Herbert Sawyer KCB (1783-1833), English Admiral of the Royal Navy, son of Herbert Sawyer
  • Lee Thomas Sawyer (b. 1989), English professional footballer
  • Toby Sawyer, English actor



  • Four Generation of the Descendants of William Sawyer of Newbury, Massachusetts, in 1644 by Noreen C. Pramberg.
  • A Genealogical Dictionary of the Early Sawyer Families of New England, ca 1632-1900 by Fred E. Sawyer.

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: Cherches et tu trouveras
Motto Translation: Search and you will find.


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  1. Colletta, John P. They Came In Ships. Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1993. Print.
  2. Filby, P. William and Mary K Meyer. Passenger and Immigration Lists Index in Four Volumes. Detroit: Gale Research, 1985. Print. (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8).
  3. Burke, Sir Bernard. General Armory Of England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales. Ramsbury: Heraldry Today. Print.
  4. Fairbairn. Fairbain's book of Crests of the Families of Great Britain and Ireland, 4th Edition 2 volumes in one. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1968. Print.
  5. Crozier, William Armstrong Edition. Crozier's General Armory A Registry of American Families Entitled to Coat Armor. New York: Fox, Duffield, 1904. Print.
  6. 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.
  7. Magnusson, Magnus. Chambers Biographical Dictionary 5th edition. Edinburgh: W & R Chambers, 1990. Print.
  8. Dunkling, Leslie. Dictionary of Surnames. Toronto: Collins, 1998. Print. (ISBN 0004720598).
  9. Hanks, Patricia and Flavia Hodges. A Dictionary of Surnames. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988. Print. (ISBN 0-19-211592-8).
  10. 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).
  11. ...

The Sawyer Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Sawyer 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 24 October 2014 at 03:25.

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