Show ContentsEager History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The ancient Anglo-Saxon surname Eager 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 Eager family

The surname Eager 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 Eager family

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

Eager 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. Eager 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 Eager family

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...
  • On the appearance of Logier's system of instruction Eager became one of its warmest advocates...

Eager Ranking

In the United States, the name Eager is the 11,392nd most popular surname with an estimated 2,487 people with that name. 5

Ireland Migration of the Eager family to Ireland

Some of the Eager 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 Eager 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 Eager or a variant listed above:

Eager Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Tho Eager, who arrived in Virginia in 1642 6
  • Alex Eager, who settled in Virginia in 1650
  • Alex Eager, who arrived in Virginia in 1650 6
Eager Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Thomas Eager, who landed in New England in 1712 6
Eager Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • John and Joseph Eager, who settled in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1802
  • Robert Eager, who landed in New York, NY in 1816 6
  • Bernard Eager, aged 30, who landed in America in 1822 6

Canada Eager migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Eager Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • Jochim Eager, aged 29, who arrived in Quebec in 1868

Australia Eager migration to Australia +

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

Eager Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Ellen Eager, aged 23, who arrived in South Australia in 1849 aboard the ship "Marion" 7

New Zealand Eager 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:

Eager Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • William Eager, aged 23, a farm labourer, who arrived in Hawkes Bay aboard the ship "Bebington" in 1874
  • Mary Jane Eager, aged 23, who arrived in Hawkes Bay aboard the ship "Bebington" in 1874
  • Clara Eager, aged 3, who arrived in Hawkes Bay aboard the ship "Bebington" in 1874

Contemporary Notables of the name Eager (post 1700) +

  • Brigadier-General John Macaulay Eager (1889-1956), American Commanding Officer Italian Service Units at Fort Wadsworth (1944-1945) 8
  • Samuel Watkins Eager (1789-1860), American Republican politician, U.S. Representative from New York 6th District, 1830-31 9
  • Samuel W. Eager, American politician, Justice of New York Supreme Court 9th District, 1958-60 9
  • Henry Eager, American Democratic Party politician, Member of New Mexico State Senate 22nd District, 1937; Alternate Delegate to Democratic National Convention from New Mexico, 1952 9
  • George Eugene Eager, American politician, U.S. Consul in Barmen, 1914-17 9
  • George D. Eager, American Republican politician, Alternate Delegate to Republican National Convention from Ohio, 1912 9
  • John Eager (1782-1853), English organist, born in Norwich where his father was a manufacturer of musical instruments 10

The Eager 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. State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) The MARION 1849. Retrieved from
  8. Generals of World War II. (Retrieved 2012, January 24) John Eager. Retrieved from
  9. The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, October 29) . Retrieved from
  10. Wikisource contributors. "Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900." Wikisource . Wikisource , 4 Jun. 2018. Web. 30 June 2020 on Facebook