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

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

The distinguished surname Petrie emerged among the industrious people of Flanders, which was an important trading partner and political ally of Britain during the Middle Ages. As a result of the frequent commercial intercourse between the Flemish and English nations, many Flemish migrants settled in Britain. In early times, people were known by only a single name. However, as the population grew and people traveled further afield, it became increasingly necessary to assume an additional name to differentiate between bearers of the same personal name. One of the most common classes of surname is the patronymic surname, which was usually derived from the first name of the person's father. Flemish surnames of this type are often characterized by the diminutive suffix -kin, which became very frequent in England during the 14th century. The surname Petrie is derived from the personal names Peter and Patrick. These two names were frequently confused in Scotland since the Gaelic forms of Patrick were Pádair and Pátair. The Flemish Petrie family is believed to be descended from a family named Peters who migrated from Antwerp in Belgium to Cornwall during the 12th century. From there, the family moved to Kincardine, Aberdeen, and Caithness in Scotland.

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Flemish surnames are characterized by a large number of spelling variations. One reason for this is that medieval English lacked definite spelling rules. The spellings of surnames were also influenced by the official court languages, which were French and Latin. Names were rarely spelled consistently in medieval times. Scribes and church officials recorded names as they sounded, rather than adhering to specific spelling rules, and people often had their names registered in several different forms throughout their lives. One of the greatest reasons for change is the linguistic uniqueness of the Flemish settlers in England, who spoke a language closely related to Dutch. The pronunciation and spelling of Flemish names were often altered to suit the tastes of English-speaking people. In many cases, the first, final, or middle syllables of surnames were eliminated. The name has been spelled Petrie, Petree, Petre and others.

First found in Kincardineshire 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 Scotland to determine the rate of taxation of their subjects.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Petrie research. Another 227 words(16 lines of text) covering the years 1530, 1612, 1688, 1643, 1714, 1703 and 1707 are included under the topic Early Petrie History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Another 69 words(5 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Petrie Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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An examination into the immigration and passenger lists has discovered a number of people bearing the name Petrie:

Petrie Settlers in the United States in the 18th Century


  • Johan Coenraet Petrie, who arrived in New York in 1715
  • Peter Petrie, aged 10, arrived in Savanna(h), Georgia in 1774
  • John Petrie, who settled in Tobago in 1775
  • Peter Petrie settled in Georgia in 1775

Petrie Settlers in the United States in the 19th Century


  • John Petrie, who arrived in America in 1820
  • William W Petrie, who landed in New York, NY in 1836
  • George Petrie, who arrived in New York in 1837
  • James Petrie, who landed in New York, NY in 1845

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  • Henry W Petrie (1857-1925), American composer and performer of popular music
  • George O Petrie (1912-1997), American actor
  • Donald Mark Petrie (b. 1954), American Primetime Emmy nominated actor and film director
  • George Petrie (1793-1879), American politician, Member of the U.S. House of Representatives from New York
  • Sir William Matthew Flinders Petrie FRS (1853-1942), English archaeologist and noted Egyptologist
  • Sir Charles Petrie (1895-1977), Irish (English born) popular historian
  • Stewart Petrie (b. 1970), Scottish footballer
  • Robert Methven Petrie (1906-1966), Canadian astronomer, eponym of the Petrie lunar crater
  • Andrew Petrie (1798-1872), Scottish-born, Australian builder, architect and pioneer, eponym of the Division of Petrie, an Australian Electoral Division in Queensland
  • George Petrie (1790-1866), Irish painter, musician, antiquary and archaeologist

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  • The Mohawk Valley Petries and Allied Families by Hazel Patrick.
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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: Fide sed vide
Motto Translation: Trust but take care.

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  1. 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.
  2. Marcharn, Frederick George. A Constitutional History of Modern England 1485 to the Present. London: Harper and Brothers, 1960. Print.
  3. 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).
  4. Chadwick, Nora Kershaw and J.X.W.P Corcoran. The Celts. London: Penguin, 1790. Print. (ISBN 0140212116).
  5. 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.
  6. Library of Congress. American and English Genealogies in the Library of Congress. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1967. Print.
  7. Browning, Charles H. Americans of Royal Descent. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  8. Burke, Sir Bernard. General Armory Of England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales. Ramsbury: Heraldry Today. Print.
  9. Virkus, Frederick A. Ed. Immigrant Ancestors A List of 2,500 Immigrants to America Before 1750. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1964. Print.
  10. 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.
  11. ...

The Petrie Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Petrie 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 30 September 2013 at 12:17.

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