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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright © 2000 - 2015

Origins Available: Italian, Scottish

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


Spelling variations of this family name include: Silvestri, Silvestry, Silvester, Sylvester, Sylvestar, Sylvestri, Silvestre, Silvestrelli, Silvestrini, Silvestrino, Silvestro and many more.

First found in Ferrara, a city and comune in Emilia-Romagna, northern Italy, capital city of the Province of Ferrara, in the district of Marche but there were also early instances of this surname in other areas of Italy. Ferrara was at war with Venice in 1471. It is a walled city and notable is the Church of S.Cristoforo. In those ancient times only persons of rank, the podesta, clergy, city officials, army officers, artists, landowners were entered into the records. To be recorded at this time, at the beginning of recorded history, was of itself a great distinction and indicative of noble ancestry. The name is a modification of the Latin name Silvester, which was derived from the word "silva," meaning "wood."


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Sylvester research. Another 195 words(14 lines of text) covering the years 1420, 1485, 1525, and 1606 are included under the topic Early Sylvester History in all our PDF Extended History products.


Another 33 words(2 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Sylvester Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.


Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Sylvester Settlers in United States in the 17th Century

  • Richard Sylvester, who arrived in Weymouth, Massachusetts in 1630
  • John Sylvester, who landed in Maryland in 1651-1658

Sylvester Settlers in United States in the 19th Century

  • S Sylvester, who arrived in San Francisco, California in 1850
  • Christian Sylvester, aged 67, arrived in New York, NY in 1850
  • Mr. Sylvester, who arrived in San Francisco, California in 1851
  • Charles A Sylvester, who landed in Arkansas in 1891

Sylvester Settlers in United States in the 20th Century

  • Ralph Howard Sylvester, who landed in Wisconsin in 1918


  • Dean Sylvester (b. 1972), American NHL hockey player
  • Harold Sylvester (b. 1949), American film and television actor
  • Michael Sylvester (1951-1997), American opera-singer
  • Rick Sylvester, American stuntman
  • Sherry Sylvester, American political worker and journalist
  • William Sylvester (1922-1995), American television and film actor, perhaps best known for his role as Dr. Heywood Floyd in Stanley Kubrick's 2001 A Space Odyssey (1968)
  • Albert Hale Sylvester (1871-1944), American pioneer surveyor, explorer, and forest supervisor, best known as the discoverer, explorer of The Enchantments
  • James Joseph Sylvester (1814-1897), born James Joseph, English mathematician, professor at the Johns Hopkins University and founder of the American Journal of Mathematics
  • Robin Sylvester, English musician
  • Tamzin Sylvester, English journalist and presenter



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  1. Guelfi Camajani, Piero. Dizionario Araldico 1940 Reprint Arnoaldo Forni. Milan: 1978. Print.
  2. Bongioanni, Angelo. Nomi e Cognomi. Saggio di Ricerche Etimologiche e Storiche. Torino: A. Forni, 1979. Print.
  3. Annuaire Général Héraldique Universel. Paris: Institut Héraldique, 1901. Print.
  4. Colletta, John P. Finding Italian Roots The Complete Guide for Americans. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 2003. Print.
  5. Zieber, Eugene. Heraldry in America. Philadelphia: Genealogical Publishing Co. Print.
  6. Samuelsen, W. David. New York City Passenger List Manifests Index 1820 - 1824. North Salt Lake, Utah: Accelerated Indexing Systems International, 1986. Print.
  7. Rietstap, Johannes Baptist. Armorial Général. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co. Print.
  8. Rasmussen, Louis J. . San Francisco Ship Passenger Lists 4 Volumes Colma, California 1965 Reprint. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1978. Print.
  9. Gheno, Antonio. Contributo alla Bibliografia Genealogica Italiana. Bologna: Forni, 1924. Print.
  10. Crozier, William Armstrong Edition. Crozier's General Armory A Registry of American Families Entitled to Coat Armor. New York: Fox, Duffield, 1904. Print.
  11. ...

The Sylvester Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Sylvester 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 15 September 2014 at 18:59.

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