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


The ancient name of Priest finds its origins with the ancient Anglo-Saxon culture of Britain. It comes from a name for a priest having derived from the Old English word preost, which means priest. It was also a nickname given to a person with a priestly character, and probably also given to a person with the exact opposite character. A broad and miscellaneous class of surnames, nickname surnames referred to a characteristic of the first person who used the name. They can describe the bearer's favored style of clothing, appearance, habits, or character.

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The surname Priest was first found in Hertfordshire, where they held a family seat before the Middle Ages.

Sound was what guided spelling in the essentially pre-literate Middle Ages, so one person's name was often recorded under several variations during a single lifetime. Also, before the advent of the printing press and the first dictionaries, the English language was not standardized. Therefore, spelling variations were common, even among the names of the most literate people. Known variations of the Priest family name include Preost, Priest, Prest, Preist, Prestt, Press and many more.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Priest research. Another 187 words (13 lines of text) covering the years 1273, 1379, 1615, 1557, 1579, 1621, 1645 and 1735 are included under the topic Early Priest History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Another 103 words (7 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Priest Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Some of the Priest family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 81 words (6 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.

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For political, religious, and economic reasons, thousands of English families boarded ships for Ireland, the Canadas, the America colonies, and many of smaller tropical colonies in the hope of finding better lives abroad. Although the passage on the cramped, dank ships caused many to arrive in the New World diseased and starving, those families that survived the trip often went on to make valuable contributions to those new societies to which they arrived. Early immigrants bearing the Priest surname or a spelling variation of the name include :

Priest Settlers in United States in the 17th Century


  • John Priest, his wife Sara, and their daughters Mary and Sarah, who arrived in Massachusetts in 1620 aboard the "Mayflower"
  • Degory Priest who arrived in Massachusetts in 1620 aboard the "Mayflower"
  • Degory Priest, who landed in Massachusetts in 1620
  • Sarah Priest, who landed in America in 1620
  • Walter Priest, who arrived in Virginia in 1623


Priest Settlers in United States in the 18th Century


  • Eliza Priest, who arrived in Virginia in 1717
  • Catherine Priest, a bonded passenger who arrived in Annapolis, Maryland in 1723
  • Abraham Priest, who arrived in Maryland in 1725
  • Richard Priest, who arrived in New England in 1731
  • Ann Priest, who settled in Maryland in 1750

Priest Settlers in United States in the 19th Century


  • Angus Priest, aged 46, landed in North Carolina in 1812
  • Andreas Priest, aged 26, arrived in New York, NY in 1847
  • Albert Priest, who landed in San Francisco, California in 1850

Priest Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century


  • Mr. John Priest U.E. who settled in St. Andrews, Charlotte County, New Brunswick c. 1784 he was part of the Cape Ann Association

Priest Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century


  • Phesenton Priest, who landed in Canada in 1828
  • Ezra D Priest, who arrived in Canada in 1841

Priest Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century


  • George Priest, English convict from Oxford, who was transported aboard the "Albion" on May 17, 1823, settling in Van Diemen's Land, Australia
  • Catherine Priest arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Phoebe" in 1846
  • Harriet Priest arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Stebonheath" in 1849
  • George Priest, aged 21, a brickmaker, arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Sea Queen" in 1850


Priest Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century


  • Charles Priest, aged 30, a sawyer, arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Steinwarder" in 1864
  • Mary Priest, aged 22, arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Steinwarder" in 1864
  • William Priest, aged 2, arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Steinwarder" in 1864
  • Susan Priest, aged 1, arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Steinwarder" in 1864

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  • Oscar Stanton De Priest (1871-1951), American Republican politician,Delegate to Republican National Convention from Illinois, 1908 (alternate), 1920, 1924 (alternate), 1928, 1932, 1936
  • Christopher James Priest (b. 1961), born James Christopher Owsley, American writer of comic books, often credited simply as Priest
  • Dana Priest (b. 1959), American author and Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist (2006)
  • Dorman E Priest, American optical engineer
  • Lee Priest, American male bodybuilder
  • Mr. Arthur John Priest (d. 1912), aged 24, English Trimmer from Southampton, Hampshire who worked aboard the RMS Titanic and died in the sinking
  • Alfred Ernest "Fred" Priest (1874-1922), English professional footballer
  • Christopher Priest (b. 1943), English writer
  • Cathy Priest, Canadian female bodybuilder


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  • Descendants of Dwight Solomon Priest of Massachusetts and John Henry Linville of North Carolina by Thomas Merriam Linville.
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  1. Holt, J.C. Ed. Domesday Studies. Woodbridge: Boydell, 1987. Print. (ISBN 0-85115-477-8).
  2. The Norman People and Their Existing Descendants in the British Dominions and the United States Of America. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0636-X).
  3. Marcharn, Frederick George. A Constitutional History of Modern England 1485 to the Present. London: Harper and Brothers, 1960. Print.
  4. Markale, J. Celtic Civilization. London: Gordon & Cremonesi, 1976. Print.
  5. Burke, John Bernard Ed. The Roll of Battle Abbey. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  6. Zieber, Eugene. Heraldry in America. Philadelphia: Genealogical Publishing Co. Print.
  7. Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds. Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8).
  8. Fairbairn. Fairbain's book of Crests of the Families of Great Britain and Ireland, 4th Edition 2 volumes in one. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1968. Print.
  9. Innes, Thomas and Learney. The Tartans of the Clans and Families of Scotland 1st Edition. Edinburgh: W & A. K. Johnston Limited, 1938. Print.
  10. Bardsley, C.W. A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6).
  11. ...

The Priest Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Priest 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 9 March 2016 at 15:17.

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