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

Origins Available: English, Scottish

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


Spelling variations of this family name include: Purvis, Purves, Purvice, Purvess and others.

First found in Suffolk, 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.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Purvis research. Another 380 words(27 lines of text) covering the years 1180, 1296, 1453, 1590, and 1603 are included under the topic Early Purvis History in all our PDF Extended History products.


More information is included under the topic Early Purvis Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.


Some of the Purvis family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 84 words(6 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.


Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Purvis Settlers in the United States in the 17th Century

  • David Purvis, who came to Virginia in 1693

Purvis Settlers in the United States in the 18th Century

  • Sarah Purvis, who settled in Virginia in 1705
  • Sarah Purvis, who arrived in Virginia in 1705
  • Tho Purvis, who landed in Virginia in 1705
  • James Purvis, who came to Rappahannock, VA in 1740
  • James Purvis, who settled in Virginia in 1741

Purvis Settlers in the United States in the 19th Century

  • Thomas and William Purvis settled in Philadelphia in 1800
  • Thomas and William Purvis, who settled in Philadelphia in 1800
  • James and Jane Purvis, who arrived in Virginia in 1805
  • James and Jane Purvis arrived in Virginia in 1805
  • Jane Purvis, who arrived in America in 1805


  • Robert Purvis (1810-1898), American lecturer, pamphleteer, and antislavery activist
  • Duane Purvis (1913-1989), All-American football player and track and field athlete
  • Hugh Purvis (1843-1922), United States Marine, recipient of the Medal of Honor, eponym of the USS Hugh Purvis (DD-709)
  • Jack Purvis (1906-1962), American jazz trumpet player and composer of Dismal Dan
  • Jeff Purvis (b. 1959), American former race car driver in NASCAR's Nationwide Series
  • Jim Purvis, American soccer player in the 1920s
  • Katharine E. Nash Purvis (b. 1909), American lyricist, best known for her "When the Saints Go Marching in"
  • Melvin Horace Purvis Jr. (1903-1960), American FBI agent who tracked down Baby Face Nelson, Pretty Boy Floyd, and John Dillinger
  • Neal Purvis (b. 1961), American screenwriter, best known for writing the last five James Bond films
  • Richard "Irven" Purvis (1913-1994), American organist and composer



  • The Purvis Family, By George!: the Descendants of George Purvis of Virginia and Their Kin by Virginia J. Murphy.
  • The Purvis Family in Virginia and their Kin by Alice Lee Simpson Oliver.

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: Clarior e Tenebris
Motto Translation: The brighter from previous obscurity.


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  1. Barrow, G.W.S Ed. Acts of Malcom IV 1153-65 Volume I Regesta Regum Scottorum 1153-1424. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1960. Print.
  2. Egle, William Henry. Pennsylvania Genealogies Scotch-Irish and German. Harrisburg: L.S. Hart, 1886. Print.
  3. Filby, P. William and Mary K Meyer. Passenger and Immigration Lists Index in Four Volumes. Detroit: Gale Research, 1985. Print. (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8).
  4. Adam, Frank. Clans Septs and Regiments of the Scottish Highlands 8th Edition. London: Bacon (G.W.) & Co, 1970. Print. (ISBN 10-0717945006).
  5. Moody David. Scottish Family History. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1994. Print. (ISBN 0806312688).
  6. Bolton, Charles Knowles. Bolton's American Armory. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1964. Print.
  7. Colletta, John P. They Came In Ships. Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1993. Print.
  8. Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at Galveston Texas 1896-1951. National Archives Washington DC. Print.
  9. Le Patourel, John. The Norman Empire. New York: Oxford University Press, 1976. Print. (ISBN 0-19-822525-3).
  10. Black, George F. The Surnames of Scotland Their Origin, Meaning and History. New York: New York Public Library, 1946. Print. (ISBN 0-87104-172-3).
  11. ...

The Purvis Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Purvis 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 23 August 2013 at 16:58.

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