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

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

Merton is one of the names that was brought to England in the wave of migration following the Norman Conquest of 1066. The Merton family lived in one of the places called Merton in South London, Devon, Norfolk. The family also lived in the places named Marton in Cheshire, Cleveland, Humberside, Lincolnshire, Shropshire, the North Riding in Yorkshire and Warwickshire. There were also places named Martin in Hampshire and Lincolnshire. All of these place-names were derived from the Old English words mere, which means lake or pool, and tun, which means enclosure or settlement.

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Before English spelling was standardized a few hundred years ago, spelling variations of names were a common occurrence. Elements of Latin, Norman French and other languages became incorporated into English throughout the Middle Ages, and name spellings changed even among the literate. The variations of the surname Merton include Mertone, Merton, Merten, Mertens, Mertin, Mertins, Murton, Myrton, Myrtone, Mertoun and many more.

First found in Devon where they held a family seat as Lords of the manor of Mertone from early times. Conjecturally they were descended from the Bishop of Coutance, who was holder of the lands of Mertone in the time of the taking of the Domesday Book in 1086. The survey shows Mertone had one cob and twelve cattle.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Merton research. Another 263 words(19 lines of text) covering the years 1277, 1400, 1394, 1277, 1274, 1585 and 1626 are included under the topic Early Merton History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Another 85 words(6 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Merton Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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In England at this time, the uncertainty of the political and religious environment of the time caused many families to board ships for distant British colonies in the hopes of finding land and opportunity, and escaping persecution. The voyages were expensive, crowded, and difficult, though, and many arrived in North America sick, starved, and destitute. Those who did make it, however, were greeted with greater opportunities and freedoms that they could have experienced at home. Many of those families went on to make important contributions to the young nations in which they settled. Early immigration records have shown some of the first Mertons to arrive on North American shores:

Merton Settlers in the United States in the 17th Century


  • George Merton, aged 23, arrived in St Christopher in 1635
  • Margt Merton, who arrived in Virginia in 1698
  • Richard Merton who settled in Barbados in 1698

Merton Settlers in the United States in the 19th Century


  • William G. Merton landed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1876

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  • Robert King Merton (1910-2003), American sociologist awarded the National Medal of Science in 1994
  • Robert C Merton (b. 1944), American economist, university professor and Nobel laureate in economics
  • Sir Thomas Ralph Merton KBE, FRS (1888-1969), English physicist, inventor and art collector
  • John Ralph Merton (b. 1913), English Painter
  • Sir Walter Hugh Merton (1905-1986), English RAF Air Chief Marshall
  • Don Merton (b. 1939), New Zealand conservationist, best known for saving the black robin from extinction
  • Charles Merton (1821-1868), French etcher


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  1. Magnusson, Magnus. Chambers Biographical Dictionary 5th edition. Edinburgh: W & R Chambers, 1990. Print.
  2. Humble, Richard. The Fall of Saxon England. New York: Barnes and Noble, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-88029-987-8).
  3. Bowman, George Ernest. The Mayflower Reader A Selection of Articales from The Mayflower Descendent. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  4. Bradford, William. History of Plymouth Plantation 1620-1647 Edited by Samuel Eliot Morrison 2 Volumes. New York: Russell and Russell, 1968. Print.
  5. MacAulay, Thomas Babington. History of England from the Accession of James the Second 4 volumes. New York: Harper and Brothers, 1879. Print.
  6. Cook, Chris. English Historical Facts 1603-1688. London: MacMillan, 1980. Print.
  7. Browning, Charles H. Americans of Royal Descent. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  8. Papworth, J.W and A.W Morant. Ordinary of British Armorials. London: T.Richards, 1874. Print.
  9. Thirsk, Joan. The Agrarian History of England and Wales. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press: 7 Volumes. Print.
  10. Burke, John Bernard Ed. The Roll of Battle Abbey. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  11. ...

The Merton Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Merton 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 14 February 2013 at 12:37.

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