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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. Papworth, J.W and A.W Morant. Ordinary of British Armorials. London: T.Richards, 1874. Print.
  2. Skordas, Guest. Ed. The Early Settlers of Maryland an Index to Names or Immigrants Complied from Records of Land Patents 1633-1680 in the Hall of Records Annapolis, Maryland. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1968. 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. Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at Galveston Texas 1896-1951. National Archives Washington DC. Print.
  5. Chadwick, Nora Kershaw and J.X.W.P Corcoran. The Celts. London: Penguin, 1790. Print. (ISBN 0140212116).
  6. Shaw, William A. Knights of England A Complete Record from the Earliest Time to the Present Day of the Knights of all the Orders of Chivalry in England, Scotland, Ireland and Knights Bachelors 2 Volumes. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print. (ISBN 080630443X).
  7. Bradford, William. History of Plymouth Plantation 1620-1647 Edited by Samuel Eliot Morrison 2 Volumes. New York: Russell and Russell, 1968. Print.
  8. Zieber, Eugene. Heraldry in America. Philadelphia: Genealogical Publishing Co. Print.
  9. Bolton, Charles Knowles. Bolton's American Armory. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1964. Print.
  10. Reaney P.H and R.M. Wilson. A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X).
  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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