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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright © 2000 - 2016

Origins Available: Dutch, English, Scottish


The Reed surname is derived from the Old English word "read," meaning "red." It is most likely that the name was used as nickname for someone with red hair, before becoming their surname. In other instances, the Reed surname no doubt came from some of the places so named in Britain, such as Read, Lancashire, Rede, Suffolk, and Reed in Hertfordshire.

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The surname Reed was first found in Northumberland where they held a family seat from early times. One branch was found at Troughend-Ward. "The present house was built in the last century (c. 1700) by EIrington Reed, Esq., who also greatly improved the place by planting, and whose ancestors were settled in the township at a remote date. " [1] Another branch of the family was found at Weston in Suffolk. " Weston Hall, the ancient seat of the family of Rede, a handsome mansion in the Elizabethan style, was partly taken down within a few years, and the remainder converted into a farmhouse." [1]

The name, Reed, occurred in many references, and from time to time, it was spelt Read, Reid, Reed, Reede, Redd, Reade and others.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Reed research. Another 231 words (16 lines of text) covering the years 1758, 1600, 1415, 1541, 1551, 1502, 1609, 1692, 1692, 1721 and are included under the topic Early Reed History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Another 251 words (18 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Reed Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Some of the Reed family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 139 words (10 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.

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The New World beckoned settlers from the Scottish-English borders. They sailed aboard the armada of sailing ships known as the "White Sails" which plied the stormy Atlantic. Some called them, less romantically, the "coffin ships." Among the early settlers bearing the Reed surname who came to North America were:

Reed Settlers in United States in the 17th Century


  • Elizabeth Reed, aged 19, landed in St Christopher in 1634
  • Esdras Reed, who landed in Salem, Massachusetts in 1640
  • Amey Reed, who landed in Maryland in 1663
  • Barbary Reed, who landed in Maryland in 1665
  • Ebenezar Reed, who arrived in Maryland in 1678

Reed Settlers in United States in the 18th Century


  • Charles Reed, who landed in North Carolina in 1701
  • Anne Reed, who arrived in Virginia in 1711
  • Alexander Reed, who arrived in Virginia in 1716
  • Anna Lydia Reed, aged 11, landed in Pennsylvania in 1733
  • Hans Jacob Reed, aged 45, landed in Pennsylvania in 1733


Reed Settlers in United States in the 19th Century


  • Catherine Reed, who arrived in New York, NY in 1817
  • Isaac H Reed, who landed in Texas in 1835
  • Christopher Reed, who arrived in New York in 1836
  • Henry Reed, who arrived in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1844
  • Frances Reed, aged 22, arrived in Key West, Fla in 1848


Reed Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century


  • David Reed, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1750
  • Abigal Reed, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1750
  • Elisha Reed, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1750
  • George Reed, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1774
  • Mr. Carlow Ludwell Reed U.E. who arrived at Port Roseway, [Shelbourne], Nova Scotia on December 13, 1783 was passenger number 412 aboard the ship "HMS Clinton", picked up on November 14, 1783 at East River, New York, USA


Reed Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century


  • Margaret Reed, aged 21, arrived in Saint John, NB in 1834 aboard the ship "Edwin" from Dublin
  • Isabella Reed, aged 22, arrived in Saint John aboard the ship "Eleanor Gordon" in 1834

Reed Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century


  • William Reed, English convict from London, who was transported aboard the "Ann" on August 1809, settling in New South Wales, Australia
  • Thomas Reed, Welsh convict from Brecon, Wales, who was transported aboard the "Asia" on September 3rd, 1820, settling in New South Wales, Austraila
  • Thomas Reed, English convict from Southampton, who was transported aboard the "Asia" on April 1st, 1822, settling in New South Wales, Austraila
  • William Reed, English convict from Gloucester, who was transported aboard the "Asia" on July 29th, 1823, settling in Van Diemen's Land, Australia
  • John Reed, a stonemason, arrived in Van Diemenís Land (now Tasmania) sometime between 1825 and 1832


Reed Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century


  • James Reed, aged 34, a shepherd, arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Martha Ridgeway" in 1840
  • Mary Reed, aged 26, arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Martha Ridgeway" in 1840
  • James Reed, aged 35, a carpenter, arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Clifton" in 1842
  • Jane Reed, aged 34, arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Clifton" in 1842
  • Louisa Reed, aged 14, arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Clifton" in 1842


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  • Donna Reed (1921-1986), born Donna Belle Mullenger, Academy Award-winning American film and television actress, perhaps best known for her supporting role as Mary Hatch Bailey in Frank Capra's 1946 film It's a Wonderful Life
  • Jack Raymond Reed Sr. (1924-2016), American businessman and politician
  • Paul "Allen" Reed (1919-2015), American artist most associated with the Washington Color School and Color Field Painting
  • Major-General Walter Lawrence Reed (1877-1956), American Inspector-General of the Army (1935-1939)
  • Brigadier-General Walter Jay Reed (1892-1963), American Commanding General 7th Air Service Command (1943-1945)
  • Frank Kevin "Tchallah" Reed (1954-2014), American lead singer of the vocal group The Chi-Lites
  • Lewis Allan "Lou" Reed (1942-2013), American rock musician and songwriter, founding member of The Velvet Underground and best remembered for his song Walk on the Wild Side
  • Henry Hope Reed Jr. (1915-2013), American architecture critic from Manhattan
  • Henry Armstrong Reed (1858-1876), American soldier, killed at Battle of the Little Bighorn at the age of 18, nephew of George Armstrong Custer
  • Thomas Buck Reed (1787-1829), United States Senator from Mississippi

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  • Dunkin-Reid and Garner-McGraw-Mobley Families of South Carolina, Georgia, and Alabama by Dean Smith Cress.
  • The Read Family History, 1740 to 1978 by Mildred Edgington.
  • The Reads, an American Saga by Dorothy Lutomski.
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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: Pax copia
Motto Translation: Peace, plenty.

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  1. ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.

Other References

  1. Le Patourel, John. The Norman Empire. New York: Oxford University Press, 1976. Print. (ISBN 0-19-822525-3).
  2. Dunkling, Leslie. Dictionary of Surnames. Toronto: Collins, 1998. Print. (ISBN 0004720598).
  3. Papworth, J.W and A.W Morant. Ordinary of British Armorials. London: T.Richards, 1874. Print.
  4. Hinde, Thomas Ed. The Domesday Book England's Heritage Then and Now. Surrey: Colour Library Books, 1995. Print. (ISBN 1-85833-440-3).
  5. Thirsk, Joan. The Agrarian History of England and Wales. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press: 7 Volumes. Print.
  6. 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).
  7. Crispin, M. Jackson and Leonce Mary. Falaise Roll Recording Prominent Companions of William Duke of Normandy at the Conquest of England. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  8. Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin . Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8).
  9. Markale, J. Celtic Civilization. London: Gordon & Cremonesi, 1976. Print.
  10. Robb H. Amanda and Andrew Chesler. Encyclopedia of American Family Names. New York: Haper Collins, 1995. Print. (ISBN 0-06-270075-8).
  11. ...

The Reed Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Reed 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 6 April 2016 at 16:06.

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