Show ContentsAgar History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The ancient Anglo-Saxon surname Agar came from a group of baptismal surnames which all mean the son of Eggar or the son of Agar. "Probably a form of Algar, a Domesday personal name, and very popular for several centuries." [1]

"Aighear signifies gladness, joy, gayety. If from the Latin ager, it denotes a field or land." [2]

In Scotland, "Aeggar was king of the Scots a. 1189." [3]

Early Origins of the Agar family

The surname Agar was first found in the counties of Yorkshire and Northumberland, where they held a family seat from ancient times.

"The Agars, an old York family of the 17th and 18th centuries, gained considerable estate by trade and founded a hospital in that city. Thomas Agar, tanner, was lord mayor of York in 1618, and the same office was filled by Thomas Agar, woollen draper, in 1724. Agar is still a York name." [4]

Early History of the Agar family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Agar research. Another 35 words (2 lines of text) covering the years 1782, 1672, 1733, 1703, 1713, 1713, 1714, 1715, 1727, 1727 and 1733 are included under the topic Early Agar History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Agar Spelling Variations

The English language only became standardized in the last few centuries; therefore,spelling variations are common among early Anglo-Saxon names. As the form of the English language changed, even the spelling of literate people's names evolved. Agar has been recorded under many different variations, including Agar, Algar, Alger, Algore, Augar, Auger, Elger, Elgar, Eager, Eagar, Etches, Eaches and many more.

Early Notables of the Agar family (pre 1700)

Notables of this surname at this time include: John Eager, born 1782 at Norwich, where his father was a musical instrument maker and organ builder. Having learned from his father the rudiments of music, he was at twelve years old taken under the care of the Duke of Dorset, an amateur violinist, who carried him to his seat at Knole, where free access to the library enabled him to repair the defects of his early education. His patron...
Another 78 words (6 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Agar Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Agar Ranking

In the United States, the name Agar is the 18,367th most popular surname with an estimated 2,487 people with that name. [5]

Ireland Migration of the Agar family to Ireland

Some of the Agar family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 76 words (5 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

United States Agar migration to the United States +

For many English families, the political and religious disarray that shrouded England made the far away New World an attractive prospect. On cramped disease-ridden ships, thousands migrated to those British colonies that would eventually become Canada and the United States. Those hardy settlers that survived the journey often went on to make important contributions to the emerging nations in which they landed. Analysis of immigration records indicates that some of the first North American immigrants bore the name Agar or a variant listed above:

Agar Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • William Agar, English settler from Essex, who sailed aboard the ship "Ambrose" in 1630 as part of the Winthrop Fleet and settled in Salem Massachusetts.
  • William Agar, who arrived in New England in 1631 [6]
  • Edward Agar, who arrived in Virginia in 1635 [6]
  • William Agar, who landed in Salem, Massachusetts in 1636 [6]
  • William Agar, who landed in Massachusetts in 1659 [6]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Agar Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Eliza Agar, who landed in Virginia in 1717 [6]
  • Benjamin Agar, who settled in Virginia in 1774
Agar Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Thomas Agar, aged 35, who arrived in Missouri in 1843 [6]
  • Henry Agar, who arrived in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1849 [6]
  • Richard, Thomas and William Agar, who settled in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania between 1856 and 1880

Australia Agar migration to Australia +

Emigration to Australia followed the First Fleets of convicts, tradespeople and early settlers. Early immigrants include:

Agar Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mr. Robert Agar, British Convict who was convicted in London, England for 14 years, transported aboard the "Asia" on 25th April 1840, arriving in Tasmania (Van Diemen's Land) [7]

New Zealand Agar migration to New Zealand +

Emigration to New Zealand followed in the footsteps of the European explorers, such as Captain Cook (1769-70): first came sealers, whalers, missionaries, and traders. By 1838, the British New Zealand Company had begun buying land from the Maori tribes, and selling it to settlers, and, after the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, many British families set out on the arduous six month journey from Britain to Aotearoa to start a new life. Early immigrants include:

Agar Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • A. W. Agar, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Romulus" in 1862

West Indies Agar migration to West Indies +

The British first settled the British West Indies around 1604. They made many attempts but failed in some to establish settlements on the Islands including Saint Lucia and Grenada. By 1627 they had managed to establish settlements on St. Kitts (St. Christopher) and Barbados, but by 1641 the Spanish had moved in and destroyed some of these including those at Providence Island. The British continued to expand the settlements including setting the First Federation in the British West Indies by 1674; some of the islands include Barbados, Bermuda, Cayman Island, Turks and Caicos, Jamaica and Belize then known as British Honduras. By the 1960's many of the islands became independent after the West Indies Federation which existed from 1958 to 1962 failed due to internal political conflicts. After this a number of Eastern Caribbean islands formed a free association. [8]
Agar Settlers in West Indies in the 17th Century
  • Henry Agar, aged 21, who landed in Barbados in 1683 [6]

Contemporary Notables of the name Agar (post 1700) +

  • Nathan “Nat” Agar (1888-1978), English-born, American soccer player, coach, referee, team owner and league executive
  • Herbert Agar (1897-1980), American author and journalist, he won the Pulitzer Prize for History in 1934 for his book The People's Choice
  • John Agar (1921-2002), American actor, co-star with John Wayne in the films Sands of Iwo Jima, Fort Apache and She Wore a Yellow Ribbon, one-time husband of Shirley Temple
  • Wilfred Eade Agar FRS (1882-1951), English-born, Australian zoologist awarded the Clarke Medal by the Royal Society of New South Wales in 1944 and elected a Foreign Member of the Royal Society
  • James Charles Herbert Welbore Ellis Agar (1818-1896), 3rd Earl of Normanton, an English politician, Member of Parliament for Wilton (1841-1852)
  • Richard Agar, English rugby league football coach and former player
  • Allan Agar (b. 1949), English rugby league footballer
  • George Agar PC (1751-1815), 1st Baron Callan, an Irish politician, Member of Parliament for Callan (1777-1790), member of the Irish Privy Council in 1789
  • Nicholas Agar (b. 1965), New Zealand professor of ethics and an associate professor at the Victoria University of Wellington
  • Eileen Forrester Agar (1899-1991), British painter and photographer
  • ... (Another 3 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

HMAS Sydney II
  • Mr. Lavington Henry Agar (1901-1941), Australian Chief Mechanician from Crib Point, Victoria, Australia, who sailed into battle aboard HMAS Sydney II and died in the sinking [9]
HMS Dorsetshire
  • Augustus Willington Shelton Agar, British Captain Chief Officer aboard the HMS Dorsetshire (1945) when she was struck by air bombers and sunk; he was wounded in the sinking [10]

The Agar Motto +

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: Spectemur agendo
Motto Translation: Let us be judged by our actions.

  1. Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  2. Arthur, William , An Etymological Dictionary of Family and Christian Names. London: 1857. Print
  3. Black, George F., The Surnames of Scotland Their Origin, Meaning and History. New York: New York Public Library, 1946. Print. (ISBN 0-87104-172-3)
  4. Guppy, Henry Brougham, Homes of Family Names in Great Britain. 1890. Print.
  5. "What are the 5,000 Most Common Last Names in the U.S.?".,
  6. Filby, P. William, Meyer, Mary K., Passenger and immigration lists index : a guide to published arrival records of about 500,000 passengers who came to the United States and Canada in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. 1982-1985 Cumulated Supplements in Four Volumes Detroit, Mich. : Gale Research Co., 1985, Print (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8)
  7. Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 17th January 2020). Retrieved from
  9. HMAS Sydney II, Finding Sydney Foundation - Roll of Honour. (Retrieved 2014, April 24) . Retrieved from
  10. Force Z Survivors HMS Dorsetshire Crew List, (Retrieved 2018, February 13th), on Facebook