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

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

The name Sheffield is of Anglo-Saxon origin and came from when a family lived in the town of Sheffield in the West Riding of Yorkshire. The surname Sheffield is a habitation name which was originally derived from pre-existing names for towns, villages, parishes, or farmsteads. In this case the place-name Sheffield means open land by the river Sheaf, a boundary river dividing Yorkshire from Derbyshire.


Sound was what guided spelling in the essentially pre-literate Middle Ages, so one person's name was often recorded under several variations during a single lifetime. Also, before the advent of the printing press and the first dictionaries, the English language was not standardized. Therefore, spelling variations were common, even among the names of the most literate people. Known variations of the Sheffield family name include Sheffield, Shefield, Sheffeild, Shiffield and many more.

First found in Rutland 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 Britain to determine the rate of taxation of their subjects.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Sheffield research. Another 189 words(14 lines of text) covering the years 1150, 1588, 1407, 1421, 1646, 1614, 1624, 1521, 1549, 1538, 1568, 1564, 1646, 1626, 1611, 1658, 1648, 1721, 1685, 1689, 1702 and 1705 are included under the topic Early Sheffield History in all our PDF Extended History products.


Another 191 words(14 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Sheffield Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.


For political, religious, and economic reasons, thousands of English families boarded ships for Ireland, the Canadas, the America colonies, and many of smaller tropical colonies in the hope of finding better lives abroad. Although the passage on the cramped, dank ships caused many to arrive in the New World diseased and starving, those families that survived the trip often went on to make valuable contributions to those new societies to which they arrived. Early immigrants bearing the Sheffield surname or a spelling variation of the name include :

Sheffield Settlers in the United States in the 17th Century

  • Thomas Sheffield and his wife, Rachel, settled in Virginia in 1622
  • Th. Sheffield, who landed in Virginia in 1622
  • Edmund, William, and Ichabod Sheffield settled in Portsmouth, New Hampshire in 1630
  • Edmund Sheffield, who arrived in Braintree, Massachusetts in 1644
  • Francis Sheffield, who landed in Maryland in 1673

Sheffield Settlers in the United States in the 18th Century

  • Nathaniel Sheffield, who landed in New England in 1724
  • Joseph, Isaac, Thomas and Samuel Sheffield settled in New England in 1752
  • Joseph Sheffield, who arrived in America in 1760-1763
  • Robert Sheffield, who arrived in Mississippi in 1798


  • Joseph Earl Sheffield (1793-1882), American railroad magnate and philanthropist
  • William Paine Sheffield Sr. (1820-1907), U.S. Representative and Senator from Rhode Island
  • William Jennings "Bill" Sheffield Jr. (1928-1982), American Democratic politician, 5th Governor of Alaska from 1982 to 1986
  • Rob Sheffield (b. 1966), American music journalist and author, contributing editor at Rolling Stone
  • Johnny Sheffield (1931-2010), born John Matthew Sheffield Cassan, an American child actor, noted for his many roles in Tarzan movies
  • Charles Sheffield (1935-2002), English-born mathematician, physicist and science fiction author
  • Jeremy Sheffield (b. 1966), English actor, best klnown for his television roles on Holby City and Murder in Suburbia
  • Edmund Sheffield (1716-1735), 2nd Duke of Buckingham and Normanby, an English nobleman
  • Gary Antonian Sheffield (b. 1968), American retired Major League Baseball outfielder who played from 1988 through 2009
  • Laurence Joseph "Laurie" Sheffield (b. 1939), Welsh footballer from Swansea


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: Comiter sed fortiter
Motto Translation: Courteously but firmly.


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  1. Le Patourel, John. The Norman Empire. New York: Oxford University Press, 1976. Print. (ISBN 0-19-822525-3).
  2. 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).
  3. Magnusson, Magnus. Chambers Biographical Dictionary 5th edition. Edinburgh: W & R Chambers, 1990. Print.
  4. Bardsley, C.W. A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6).
  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. Innes, Thomas and Learney. The Tartans of the Clans and Families of Scotland 1st Edition. Edinburgh: W & A. K. Johnston Limited, 1938. Print.
  7. 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.
  8. Bradford, William. History of Plymouth Plantation 1620-1647 Edited by Samuel Eliot Morrison 2 Volumes. New York: Russell and Russell, 1968. Print.
  9. Burke, Sir Bernard. General Armory Of England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales. Ramsbury: Heraldry Today. Print.
  10. Humble, Richard. The Fall of Saxon England. New York: Barnes and Noble, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-88029-987-8).
  11. ...

The Sheffield Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Sheffield 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 27 April 2014 at 23:07.

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