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

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

The name Hersey was brought to England in the great wave of migration following the Norman Conquest of 1066. The Hersey family lived in the place named Hercé, which is in the Mayenne region of France.


Endless spelling variations are a prevailing characteristic of Norman surnames. Old and Middle English lacked any definite spelling rules, and the introduction of Norman French added an unfamiliar ingredient to the English linguistic stew. French and Latin, the languages of the court, also influenced spellings. Finally, Medieval scribes generally spelled words according to how they sounded, so one person was often referred to by different spellings in different documents. The name has been spelled Hercy, Herci, Hearsey, Hearse, Hersee, Hersey, Hershey, Herse, Hershee, Hershie and many more.

First found in Nottinghamshire, where Ivo Fitz Hercie was Viscount of Nottingham before 1130. Hugue d'Hericy, the first ancestor of this name, was recorded as "Companion in Arms of the Conqueror" at the Battle of Hastings in the Battle Abbey Rolls, establishing one of the oldest and most distinguished North Country families.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Hersey research. Another 327 words(23 lines of text) covering the years 1135, 1216, 1272, and 1273 are included under the topic Early Hersey History in all our PDF Extended History products.


Another 25 words(2 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Hersey Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.


To escape the political and religious persecution within England at the time, many English families left for the various British colonies abroad. The voyage was extremely difficult, though, and the cramped, dank ships caused many to arrive in the New World diseased and starving. But for those who made it, the trip was most often worth it. Many of the families who arrived went on to make valuable contributions to the emerging nations of Canada and the United States. An inquiry into the early roots of North American families reveals a number of immigrants bearing the name Hersey or a variant listed above:

Hersey Settlers in the United States in the 17th Century

  • Richard Hersey, who sailed to Virginia in 1635
  • Richard Hersey, aged 22, arrived in Virginia in 1635
  • William Hersey, who landed in Hingham, Massachusetts in 1635

Hersey Settlers in the United States in the 18th Century

  • Ezekl Hersey landed in Boston, Massachusetts in 1764

Hersey Settlers in the United States in the 19th Century

  • Peter Hersey to Boston in 1849
  • William Hersey came to San Francisco, California in 1852


  • John Hersey (1914-1993), Pulitzer Prize winning American author
  • David Hersey (b. 1939), American lighting designer, recipient of three Tony Awards for Best Lighting Design and a Laurence Olivier Award for Lighting Design in 1996
  • Ira G. Hersey (1858-1943), American politician from the U.S. state of Maine
  • Samuel F. Hersey (1812-1875), politician from the U.S. state of Maine


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  1. Markale, J. Celtic Civilization. London: Gordon & Cremonesi, 1976. Print.
  2. Dunkling, Leslie. Dictionary of Surnames. Toronto: Collins, 1998. Print. (ISBN 0004720598).
  3. Virkus, Frederick A. Ed. Immigrant Ancestors A List of 2,500 Immigrants to America Before 1750. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1964. Print.
  4. Hinde, Thomas Ed. The Domesday Book England's Heritage Then and Now. Surrey: Colour Library Books, 1995. Print. (ISBN 1-85833-440-3).
  5. Marcharn, Frederick George. A Constitutional History of Modern England 1485 to the Present. London: Harper and Brothers, 1960. Print.
  6. Hanks, Hodges, Mills and Room. The Oxford Names Companion. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002. Print. (ISBN 0-19-860561-7).
  7. Sanders, Joanne McRee Edition. English Settlers in Barbados 1637-1800. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  8. Chadwick, Nora Kershaw and J.X.W.P Corcoran. The Celts. London: Penguin, 1790. Print. (ISBN 0140212116).
  9. Magnusson, Magnus. Chambers Biographical Dictionary 5th edition. Edinburgh: W & R Chambers, 1990. Print.
  10. Hanks, Patricia and Flavia Hodges. A Dictionary of Surnames. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988. Print. (ISBN 0-19-211592-8).
  11. ...

The Hersey Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Hersey 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 8 January 2013 at 15:32.

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