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

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

The roots of the Sommerlad name go back to the ancient Vikings and their Old Norse language. Sommerlad was a name for a the Old Norse word sumarlithi, which means mariner, Viking, summer wanderer, or sailor.

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Spelling variations are extremely common among Scottish names dating from this era because the arts of spelling and translation were not yet standardized. Spelling was done by sound, and translation from Gaelic to English was generally quite careless. In different records, Sommerlad has been spelled Somerled, M'Illurdy, M'Corle, M'Coull, Somerledy and others.

First found in the island of South Uist, where they held a family seat from very ancient times, some say well before the Norman Conquest and the arrival of Duke William at Hastings in 1066 A.D. Descended from Somerled, King of the Vikings, scion of the MacDonald, Lord of the Isles, who died about 1057. The first record of the name Somerled being used as a name was at Dunkeld, and the link between this person in 1169 and Somerled who had died 100 years before is not clear.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Sommerlad research. Another 318 words(23 lines of text) covering the years 1238 and 1400 are included under the topic Early Sommerlad History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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

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Those who made the voyage were greeted with ample opportunity to acquire land and a political climate far away from the oppressive monarchy of the old country. They settled along the east coast of what would become Canada and the United States. In the American War of Independence, those who remained loyal to England traveled north to Canada as United Empire Loyalists. In this century, many Scots living in North America have begun to recover their rich heritage through festivals, highland games, and Clan societies. An examination of passenger and immigration lists has shown early immigrants bearing the name Sommerlad:

Sommerlad Settlers in the United States in the 18th Century


  • Joh Gottfried Sommerlad, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1748
  • Phil Jacob Sommerlad, who arrived in Pennsylvania in 1748

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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: Per Mare Per Terras
Motto Translation: By sea and by land.

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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. Le Patourel, John. The Norman Empire. New York: Oxford University Press, 1976. Print. (ISBN 0-19-822525-3).
  3. Moncrieffe, Sir Ian of That Ilk and Don Pottinger. Clan Map Scotland of Old. Edinburgh: Bartholomew and Son, 1983. Print.
  4. Fulton, Alexander. Scotland and Her Tartans: The Romantic Heritage of the Scottish Clans and Families. Godalming: Bramley, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-86283-880-0).
  5. Dorward, David. Scottish Surnames. Glasgow: Harper Collins, 1995. Print.
  6. Innes, Thomas and Learney. Socts Heraldry A Practical Handbook on the Historical Principles and Modern Application of the Art of Science. London: Oliver and Boyd, 1934. Print.
  7. Holt, J.C. Ed. Domesday Studies. Woodbridge: Boydell, 1987. Print. (ISBN 0-85115-477-8).
  8. Chadwick, Nora Kershaw and J.X.W.P Corcoran. The Celts. London: Penguin, 1970. Print. (ISBN 0140212116).
  9. 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).
  10. Bradford, William. History of Plymouth Plantation 1620-1647 Edited by Samuel Eliot Morrison 2 Volumes. New York: Russell and Russell, 1968. Print.
  11. ...

The Sommerlad Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Sommerlad 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 October 2010 at 13:59.

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