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

Origins Available: English, Scottish

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

The Anglo-Saxon name Sheppard comes from when its first bearer worked as a person who worked as a shepherd, the guardian of the sheep. Occupational names that were derived from the common trades of the medieval era transcended European cultural and linguistic boundaries. Occupational names frequently were derived from the principal object associated with the activity of the original bearer, such as tools or products. These types of occupational surnames are called metonymic surnames. In this case the surname was originally derived from the Old English word sceap, meaning sheep and hierde meaning herdsman. While this traditional understand of the surname's meaning is in many ways self explanatory today, in examining the Coat of Arms invariably we find battle axes. This is not surprising as the ancient shepherds were employed to dig sod around the embattlements of a Saxon village as a means of defense, hence the term "the shepherd's ring." Their tools were battle axes.


Until quite recently, the English language has lacked a definite system of spelling rules. Consequently, Anglo-Saxon surnames are characterized by a multitude of spelling variations. Changes in Anglo-Saxon names were influenced by the evolution of the English language, as it incorporated elements of French, Latin, and other languages. Although Medieval scribes and church officials recorded names as they sounded, so it is common to find one person referred to by several different spellings of his surname, even the most literate people varied the spelling of their own names. Variations of the name Sheppard include Shepherd, Shephard, Sheppard, Sheppeard, Shepperd and others.

First found in the Southern counties of England, where they could be found from early times. Early recorded instances of the name include William Sepherd listed in Rotuli Hundredorum, in Oxfordshire in 1279. [1] The same rolls listed Margaret le Sephirde in Huntingdon and Walter le Schepherde in Cambridgeshire. [2] Henry Sephurde was listed in the Subsidy Rolls of Sussex of 1296 while Walter le Shepperde was listed in the Feet of Fines of Staffordshire in 1307. [1]


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Sheppard research. Another 169 words(12 lines of text) covering the years 1307, 1317, 1327, 1399, 1413, 1515, 1559, 1605, 1649, 1635, 1648, 1720, 1634, 1698 and are included under the topic Early Sheppard History in all our PDF Extended History products.


Another 183 words(13 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Sheppard Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.


Some of the Sheppard family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 117 words(8 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.


Searching for a better life, many English families migrated to British colonies. Unfortunately, the majority of them traveled under extremely harsh conditions: overcrowding on the ships caused the majority of the immigrants to arrive diseased, famished, and destitute from the long journey across the ocean. For those families that arrived safely, modest prosperity was attainable, and many went on to make invaluable contributions to the development of the cultures of the new colonies. Research into the origins of individual families in North America revealed records of the immigration of a number of people bearing the name Sheppard or a variant listed above:

Sheppard Settlers in the United States in the 17th Century

  • Ould Sheppard, and his son, who arrived in Virginia in 1623
  • Lieutenant Sheppard, who landed in Virginia in 1623
  • Ould Sheppard, who landed in Virginia in 1623
  • Robert Sheppard, who arrived in Jamestown, Va in 1624
  • Ralph Sheppard, aged 29, arrived in America in 1635

Sheppard Settlers in the United States in the 18th Century

  • Adam Sheppard, who landed in Virginia in 1705
  • Anne Sheppard, who landed in Virginia in 1713
  • Wm Sheppard, who arrived in Virginia in 1713
  • Eliza Sheppard, who arrived in Virginia in 1714
  • Margt Sheppard, who landed in Virginia in 1714

Sheppard Settlers in the United States in the 19th Century

  • Peter Sheppard, who arrived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1815
  • James D Sheppard, who landed in New York in 1830
  • George G Sheppard, who landed in New York, NY in 1836
  • I B Sheppard, who landed in San Francisco, California in 1851
  • J W Sheppard, who arrived in San Francisco, California in 1851

Sheppard Settlers in the United States in the 20th Century

  • Joseph Sheppard, who arrived in Arkansas in 1901


  • Morris Sheppard (1875-1941), American lawyer and politician from Texas, who was a Congressman (1902-1903), and Senator (1913-1941)
  • Melvin Whinfield "Peerless Mel" Sheppard (1883-1942), American athlete, runner, who won four gold medals at the 1908 Summer Olympics and 1912 Summer Olympics
  • Scott S. Sheppard, American astronomer in the Department of Terrestrial Magnetism at the Carnegie Institution for Science
  • Lito Decorian Sheppard (b. 1981), American NFL football cornerback
  • Samuel Holmes "Sam" Sheppard (1923-1970), American osteopathic physician and professional wrestler who was found guilty and later absolved in the murder of his wife
  • T. G. Sheppard (b. 1944), born Billy Neal Browder, an American country music singer
  • David Stuart Sheppard (1929-2005), English cricketer, and later, a bishop of the Church of England, Life Peer Baron Sheppard of Liverpool in 1998
  • The Reverend Revett Sheppard (1778-1830), English malacologist, Fellow of the Linnean Society
  • Jack "John" Sheppard (1702-1724), notorious English robber, burglar and thief, his short criminal career, inspiration for the character of Macheath in John Gay's The Beggar's Opera (1728) and the novel Jack Sheppard (1840)
  • Mark Andreas Sheppard (b. 1964), English actor and musician



  • My North Carolina Ancestors Jennifer M. Sheppard.
  • Sheppard-Marshall and Allied Families by Lillian A. Sheppard.

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 et virtute
Motto Translation: By fidelity and valour.


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  1. ^ Reaney P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  2. ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)

Other References

  1. Foster, Joseph. Dictionary of Heraldry Feudal Coats of Arms and Pedigrees. London: Bracken Books, 1989. Print. (ISBN 1-85170-309-8).
  2. Mills, A.D. Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4).
  3. Bowman, George Ernest. The Mayflower Reader A Selection of Articales from The Mayflower Descendent. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  4. Samuelsen, W. David. New York City Passenger List Manifests Index 1820 - 1824. North Salt Lake, Utah: Accelerated Indexing Systems International, 1986. Print.
  5. 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.
  6. Egle, William Henry. Pennsylvania Genealogies Scotch-Irish and German. Harrisburg: L.S. Hart, 1886. Print.
  7. Virkus, Frederick A. Ed. Immigrant Ancestors A List of 2,500 Immigrants to America Before 1750. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1964. Print.
  8. Colletta, John P. They Came In Ships. Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1993. Print.
  9. Matthews, John. Matthews' American Armoury and Blue Book. London: John Matthews, 1911. Print.
  10. Hinde, Thomas Ed. The Domesday Book England's Heritage Then and Now. Surrey: Colour Library Books, 1995. Print. (ISBN 1-85833-440-3).
  11. ...

The Sheppard Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Sheppard 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 10 December 2013 at 13:47.

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