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


Short is a name of Anglo-Saxon origin. It was a name given to a person who because of their physical characteristics was named short. In this case the surname Short can be traced back to the Old English word sceort which means short. The original bearer would have been known as the short one, because of his low stature. As height is one of the most easily distinguished features of a person, names derived from this aspect of a person's physique are by no means rare.

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The surname Short was first found in Dorset where one of the first records of the name was Ordic Scort who was listed there in the Pipe Rolls of 1176. Other early records include Richard le Sorte who was listed in the Assize Rolls of 1269 in Somerset and William Short who was listed in the Subsidy Rolls of Sussex of 1327. [1] The Hundredorum Rolls of 1273 list William Short in Suffolk. [2]

Before the last few hundred years, the English language had no fast system of spelling rules. For that reason, spelling variations are commonly found in early Anglo-Saxon surnames. Over the years, many variations of the name Short were recorded, including Short, Shorte, Shortt, Schorte and others.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Short research. Another 177 words (13 lines of text) covering the year 1600 is included under the topic Early Short History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Another 35 words (2 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Short Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Some of the Short family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 87 words (6 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.

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To escape oppression and starvation at that time, many English families left for the "open frontiers" of the New World with all its perceived opportunities. In droves people migrated to the many British colonies, those in North America in particular, paying high rates for passages in cramped, unsafe ships. Although many of the settlers did not make the long passage alive, those who did see the shores of North America perceived great opportunities before them. Many of the families that came from England went on to make essential contributions to the emerging nations of Canada and the United States. Research into various historical records revealed some of first members of the Short family emigrate to North America:

Short Settlers in United States in the 17th Century


  • John Short, who came to the Jamestown settlement in Virginia in 1606
  • Henry Short who settled in Massachusetts in 1634
  • Anthony Short, who landed in Newbury, Massachusetts in 1634
  • Samvell Short, aged 24, landed in Bermuda in 1635
  • Wm Short, who landed in Virginia in 1635


Short Settlers in United States in the 18th Century


  • Saml Short, who landed in Virginia in 1706
  • Richard Short, who landed in Boston, Massachusetts in 1712
  • Thos Short, who arrived in Virginia in 1715

Short Settlers in United States in the 19th Century


  • Barney Short, who arrived in Maryland in 1809
  • Thomas Short, who arrived in New York in 1810
  • Josiah Short, who arrived in New York in 1834
  • Owen Short, who landed in Tippecanoe County, Ind in 1842
  • James Short, who landed in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1846


Short Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century


  • William Short, who settled in St. John's Harbour, Newfoundland, in 1703

Short Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century


  • Hugh Short, aged 30, a carpenter, arrived in Saint John, NB in 1833 aboard the ship "John & Mary" from Belfast
  • John Short, aged 6, arrived in Saint John, NB in 1833 aboard the ship "John & Mary" from Belfast
  • Hugh Short, aged 4, arrived in Saint John, NB in 1833 aboard the ship "John & Mary" from Belfast
  • Henry Short, who landed in Esquimalt, British Columbia in 1862

Short Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century


  • William Short, a joiner, arrived in Van Diemenís Land (now Tasmania) sometime between 1825 and 1832
  • James Short, a slater, arrived in Van Diemenís Land (now Tasmania) sometime between 1825 and 1832
  • Albert Short arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Prince George" in 1838
  • Ellen Short arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Prince George" in 1838


Short Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century


  • James Short landed in Wellington, New Zealand in 1840
  • Elijah Short, aged 19, a labourer, arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Ariel" in 1856
  • John Short arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Lord Burleigh" in 1856
  • Clarissa Short arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Lord Burleigh" in 1856
  • Jessima Short arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Lord Burleigh" in 1856


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  • Eugene "Gene" Short (1953-2016), American professional basketball player; he was a 6'6" and two-time SWAC Player of the Year (1974, 1975)
  • William P. Short, American Republican politician, Alternate Delegate to Republican National Convention from Delaware, 1920
  • William R. Short, American politician, Mayor of Buckhannon, West Virginia, 1977-83
  • William L. Short, American politician, U.S. Collector of Customs, 1909
  • William Short, American politician, Candidate for U.S. Representative from California 4th District, 1918
  • William Short (1759-1849), American politician, U.S. Minister to Netherlands, 1792; Spain, 1794-95
  • Mrs. W. G. Short, American Republican politician, Alternate Delegate to Republican National Convention from Tennessee, 1928
  • Thomas Short, American politician, Candidate for Mayor of Jersey City, New Jersey, 2004
  • Shelton H. Short Jr., American Democrat politician, Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Virginia, 1940
  • Sidney A. Short, American politician, Prohibition Candidate for Michigan State House of Representatives, 1946, 1948, 1950, 1952, 1954; Prohibition Candidate for Presidential Elector for Michigan, 1952

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  • Baxter-Short, Miller-Gill, and Related Families by Mary Cynthia Baxter Harrell.
  • Descendants of Wingate Short by Lucille Day English.
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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. Matthews, John. Matthews' American Armoury and Blue Book. London: John Matthews, 1911. Print.
  2. 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).
  3. Bullock, L.G. Historical Map of England and Wales. Edinburgh: Bartholomew and Son, 1971. Print.
  4. Cook, Chris. English Historical Facts 1603-1688. London: MacMillan, 1980. Print.
  5. Le Patourel, John. The Norman Empire. New York: Oxford University Press, 1976. Print. (ISBN 0-19-822525-3).
  6. 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.
  7. Hinde, Thomas Ed. The Domesday Book England's Heritage Then and Now. Surrey: Colour Library Books, 1995. Print. (ISBN 1-85833-440-3).
  8. Crozier, William Armstrong Edition. Crozier's General Armory A Registry of American Families Entitled to Coat Armor. New York: Fox, Duffield, 1904. Print.
  9. Papworth, J.W and A.W Morant. Ordinary of British Armorials. London: T.Richards, 1874. Print.
  10. MacAulay, Thomas Babington. History of England from the Accession of James the Second 4 volumes. New York: Harper and Brothers, 1879. Print.
  11. ...

The Short Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Short 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 29 March 2016 at 13:48.

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