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

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

Merriman is an ancient Norman name, that would have been used in Britain soon after the Conquest of the island in 1066. This name was given to a person who was a person who was a mischievous child, or who liked to play tricks and make jokes. As for the name Merriman, nicknames often described strong traits or features of animals. In the pre-Christian era, many pagan gods and demigods were believed to be a mixture of animals and humans, such as the Greek god Pan who was the god of flocks and herds and was represented as a man with the legs, horns and ears of a goat. In the Middle Ages, anthropomorphic ideas, which attributed human qualities and form to gods or animals, were held about the characters of other living creatures. They were based on the creature's habits. Moreover, these associations were reflected in folk tales, mythology, and legends which portrayed animals behaving as humans.

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Anglo-Norman names tend to be marked by an enormous number of spelling variations. This is largely due to the fact that Old and Middle English lacked any spelling rules when Norman French was introduced in the 11th century. The languages of the English courts at that time were French and Latin. These various languages mixed quite freely in the evolving social milieu. The final element of this mix is that medieval scribes spelled words according to their sounds rather than any definite rules, so a name was often spelled in as many different ways as the number of documents it appeared in. The name was spelled Marmion, Marmyon, Merryman, Merriman and others.

First found in Warwickshire where they held a family seat from very early times and were granted lands by Duke William of Normandy, their liege Lord, for their distinguished assistance at the Battle of Hastings in 1066 A.D.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Merriman research. Another 207 words(15 lines of text) covering the years 1066 and 1449 are included under the topic Early Merriman History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Another 29 words(2 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Merriman Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Some of the Merriman family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 101 words(7 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Because of the political and religious discontent in England, families began to migrate abroad in enormous numbers. Faced with persecution and starvation at home, the open frontiers and generally less oppressive social environment of the New World seemed tantalizing indeed to many English people. The trip was difficult, and not all made it unscathed, but many of those who did get to Canada and the United States made important contributions to the young nations in which they settled. Some of the first North American settlers with Merriman name or one of its variants:

Merriman Settlers in the United States in the 17th Century


  • Nathaniel Merriman settled in Massachusetts in 1632
  • James Merriman, who arrived in Virginia in 1635
  • Sarah Merriman settled in Virginia in 1635 with George, her husband
  • Sara Merriman, aged 20, arrived in Virginia in 1635
  • Edward Merriman, who arrived in Virginia in 1654


Merriman Settlers in the United States in the 19th Century


  • Robert Merriman, who landed in New York in 1832
  • Isaac Merriman, who landed in New York in 1832

Merriman Settlers in the United States in the 20th Century


  • John William Bowman Merriman, who landed in California in 1903

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  • Joe Merriman, American Insurance Executive
  • Brian Merriman (1747-1805), Irish Gaelic poet
  • John Xavier Merriman (1841-1926), South African statesman
  • Arthur Douglas Merriman GC, DFC, OBE, FRSE (1892-1972), British government scientist with the Ministry of Supply, an officer of the Royal Engineers and a recipient of the George Cross


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  • A History of the Adams and Evarts Families by John Merriman Adams.
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  1. Bardsley, C.W. A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6).
  2. Holt, J.C. Ed. Domesday Studies. Woodbridge: Boydell, 1987. Print. (ISBN 0-85115-477-8).
  3. Papworth, J.W and A.W Morant. Ordinary of British Armorials. London: T.Richards, 1874. Print.
  4. Burke, John Bernard Ed. The Roll of Battle Abbey. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  5. 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.
  6. Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds. Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8).
  7. Thirsk, Joan. The Agrarian History of England and Wales. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press: 7 Volumes. Print.
  8. 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).
  9. 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.
  10. Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin . Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8).
  11. ...

The Merriman Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Merriman 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 13 June 2014 at 12:49.

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