Center History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The distinguished surname Center came to England in the wake of the Norman Conquest of 1066, and stems from two possible sources. Firstly, it is a metonymic for the surname "Century," which is derived from the Old French "centurier," meaning "belt maker or girdler"; in this instance, the name would have been originally borne by someone who made or sold belts. Alternatively, the name is derived from the Old French "seintier," meaning "bell founder"; thus, the name referred to someone who made bells.

Early Origins of the Center family

The surname Center was first found in the records of the Early London Personal Names, where Edmund Sein(e)tier was recorded between 1160 and 1168. Another early London bearer of the name was Benedict le Seintier, who was listed in the Pipe Rolls of London in 1197.

Early History of the Center family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Center research. Another 177 words (13 lines of text) covering the years 1160, 1168, 1197, 1206, 1219, 1333, 1275, 1298, 1808 and 1879 are included under the topic Early Center History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Center Spelling Variations

Norman surnames are characterized by a multitude of spelling variations. The frequent changes in surnames are largely due to the fact that the Old and Middle English languages lacked definite spelling rules. The introduction of Norman French to England, as well as the official court languages of Latin and French, also had pronounced influences on the spelling of surnames. Since medieval scribes and church officials recorded names as they sounded, rather than adhering to any specific spelling rules, it was common to find the same individual referred to with different spellings. The name has been spelled Center, Centers, Senter, Senters, Sainter, Santer and others.

Early Notables of the Center family (pre 1700)

More information is included under the topic Early Center Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Migration of the Center family

Many English families emigrated to North American colonies in order to escape the political chaos in Britain at this time. Unfortunately, many English families made the trip to the New World under extremely harsh conditions. Overcrowding on the ships caused the majority of the immigrants to arrive diseased, famished, and destitute from the long journey across the stormy Atlantic. Despite these hardships, many of the families prospered and went on to make invaluable contributions to the development of the cultures of the United States and Canada. Early North American immigration records have revealed a number of people bearing the name Center or a variant listed above: William Senter, who immigrated to Virginia in 1652; John Center, who settled in Massachusetts in 1656; John Senter, who came to New Hampshire in 1722.

Contemporary Notables of the name Center (post 1700) +

  • Katherine Sherar Pannill Center (b. 1972), contemporary American fiction author
  • Stella Stewart Center (b. 1878), American writer and educational executive
  • Edward K Center (b. 1903), well-known British painter on Facebook
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