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

Origins Available: English, Scottish

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

The chronicles of the Ayer family show that the name was first used in the Scottish/English Borderlands by the Strathclyde- Britons. It was a name for a person who lived in the city of Ayr in South-Western Scotland.

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The origin of rules governing the spelling of names and even words is a very recent innovation. Before that, words and names were spelled according to sound, and, therefore, often appeared under several different spelling variations in a single document. Ayer has been spelled Ayer, Air, Ayre, Ayers and others.

First found in Ayrshire (Gaelic: Siorrachd Inbhir Àir), formerly a county in the southwestern Strathclyde region of Scotland, that today makes up the Council Areas of South, East, and North Ayrshire, where the family has held a family seat from ancient times. One of the first on record was Reginald Ayr, who was Clerk of Ayr in 1287 and Albinus Ayr had a charter of lands from King Robert the Bruce in 1315.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Ayer research. Another 133 words(10 lines of text) covering the years 1296, 1522, 1567, 1638 and 1712 are included under the topic Early Ayer History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Another 37 words(3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Ayer Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Some of the Ayer family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 37 words(3 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.

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The persecution faced in their homeland left many Scots with little to do but sail for the colonies of North America. There they found land, freedom, opportunity, and nations in the making. They fought for their freedom in the American War of Independence, or traveled north to Canada as United Empire Loyalists. In both cases, they made enormous contributions to the formation of those great nations. Among them:

Ayer Settlers in the United States in the 17th Century


  • John Ayer, who was on record in Massachusetts in 1635
  • Simon Ayer, his wife Dorothy and their eight children, who all settled in Massachusetts in 1635
  • John Ayer, who arrived in Massachusetts in 1640
  • Henry Ayer, who immigrated to Rhode Island in 1655
  • Peter Ayer, who came to New England in 1666

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  • Nathaniel Davis Ayer (1887-1952), American (British born) composer of popular music
  • David Ayer (b. 1968), American screenwriter
  • Sir Alfred Jules Ayer (1910-1989), English philosopher
  • Claire D. Ayer (b. 1948), Vermont politician


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  1. Browning, Charles H. Americans of Royal Descent. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  2. Papworth, J.W and A.W Morant. Ordinary of British Armorials. London: T.Richards, 1874. Print.
  3. Egle, William Henry. Pennsylvania Genealogies Scotch-Irish and German. Harrisburg: L.S. Hart, 1886. Print.
  4. Moncrieffe, Sir Ian of That Ilk and Don Pottinger. Clan Map Scotland of Old. Edinburgh: Bartholomew and Son, 1983. Print.
  5. Best, Hugh. Debrett's Texas Peerage. New York: Coward-McCann, 1983. Print. (ISBN 069811244X).
  6. Prebble, John. The Highland Clearances. London: Secker & Warburg, 1963. Print.
  7. Shaw, William A. Knights of England A Complete Record from the Earliest Time to the Present Day of the Knights of all the Orders of Chivalry in England, Scotland, Ireland and Knights Bachelors 2 Volumes. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print. (ISBN 080630443X).
  8. Hanks, Patricia and Flavia Hodges. A Dictionary of Surnames. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988. Print. (ISBN 0-19-211592-8).
  9. Le Patourel, John. The Norman Empire. New York: Oxford University Press, 1976. Print. (ISBN 0-19-822525-3).
  10. Martine, Roddy, Roderick Martine and Don Pottinger. Scottish Clan and Family Names Their Arms, Origins and Tartans. Edinburgh: Mainstream, 1992. Print.
  11. ...

The Ayer Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Ayer 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 19 September 2013 at 11:48.

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