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

Origins Available: English, Scottish


The chronicles of the Ayer family show that the name was first used in the Scottish/English Borderlands by the Strathclyde- Britons. It was a name for a person who lived in the city of Ayr in South-Western Scotland.

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The surname Ayer was first found in Ayrshire (Gaelic: Siorrachd Inbhir Àir), formerly a county in the southwestern Strathclyde region of Scotland, that today makes up the Council Areas of South, East, and North Ayrshire, where the family has held a family seat from ancient times. One of the first on record was Reginald Ayr, who was Clerk of Ayr in 1287 and Albinus Ayr had a charter of lands from King Robert the Bruce in 1315.

The origin of rules governing the spelling of names and even words is a very recent innovation. Before that, words and names were spelled according to sound, and, therefore, often appeared under several different spelling variations in a single document. Ayer has been spelled Ayer, Air, Ayre, Ayers and others.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Ayer research. Another 133 words (10 lines of text) covering the years 1296, 1522, 1567, 1638 and 1712 are included under the topic Early Ayer History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Another 37 words (3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Ayer Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Some of the Ayer family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 37 words (3 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.

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The persecution faced in their homeland left many Scots with little to do but sail for the colonies of North America. There they found land, freedom, opportunity, and nations in the making. They fought for their freedom in the American War of Independence, or traveled north to Canada as United Empire Loyalists. In both cases, they made enormous contributions to the formation of those great nations. Among them:

Ayer Settlers in United States in the 17th Century


  • John Ayer, who was on record in Massachusetts in 1635
  • Simon Ayer, his wife Dorothy and their eight children, who all settled in Massachusetts in 1635
  • John Ayer, who arrived in Massachusetts in 1640
  • Henry Ayer, who immigrated to Rhode Island in 1655
  • Peter Ayer, who came to New England in 1666

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  • Richard Small Ayer (1829-1896), American Republican politician, U.S. Representative from Virginia 1st District, 1870-71; Member of Maine State House of Representatives, 1888
  • Nathan H. Ayer (b. 1834), American Republican politician, Member of Connecticut State House of Representatives, 1886; Member of Connecticut State Senate 10th District, 1889-90
  • Mary R. Ayer, American politician, Delegate to New Hampshire State Constitutional Convention from Pittsfield, 1956
  • Lloyd P. Ayer, American Republican politician, Candidate for Connecticut State House of Representatives from Franklin, 1906
  • Lewis Malone Ayer (1821-1895), American politician, Member of South Carolina State Legislature, 1848-56; Delegate to South Carolina secession convention, 1861
  • Jonas Ayer, American politician, Member of Connecticut State House of Representatives from Preston, 1831-32
  • John A. Ayer, American politician, First Selectman of Old Saybrook, Connecticut, 1922
  • John Ayer, American politician, Member of Connecticut State House of Representatives from Saybrook, 1820-21
  • Isaac Ayer, American politician, Member of California State Assembly 13th District, 1865-69
  • Henry M. Ayer, American Republican politician, Delegate to Republican National Convention from California, 1924

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  1. Warner, Philip Warner. Famous Scottish Battles. New York: Barnes and Noble, 1996. Print. (ISBN 0-76070-004-4).
  2. Bloxham, Ben. Key to Parochial Registers of Scotland From Earliest Times Through 1854 2nd edition. Provo, UT: Stevenson's Genealogical Center, 1979. Print.
  3. Barrow, G.W.S Ed. The Charters of David I The Written Acts of David I King of Scots, 1124-53 and of His Son Henry, Earl of Northumerland, 1139-52. Woodbridge: The Boydell Press, 1999. Print.
  4. Paul, Sir James Balfour. An Ordinary of Arms Contained in the Public Register of All Arms and Bearings in Scotland Second Edition. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1903. Print.
  5. Leyburn, James Graham. The Scotch-Irish A Social History. Chapel Hill: UNC Press, 1962. Print. (ISBN 0807842591).
  6. Donaldson, Gordon and Robert S. Morpeth. Who's Who In Scotish History. Wales: Welsh Academic Press, 1996. Print. (ISBN 186057-0054).
  7. Papworth, J.W and A.W Morant. Ordinary of British Armorials. London: T.Richards, 1874. Print.
  8. Samuelsen, W. David. New York City Passenger List Manifests Index 1820 - 1824. North Salt Lake, Utah: Accelerated Indexing Systems International, 1986. Print.
  9. Fulton, Alexander. Scotland and Her Tartans: The Romantic Heritage of the Scottish Clans and Families. Godalming: Bramley, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-86283-880-0).
  10. Dorward, David. Scottish Surnames. Glasgow: Harper Collins, 1995. Print.
  11. ...

The Ayer Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Ayer 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 October 2015 at 10:19.

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