Show ContentsFear History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The Fear family's name is derived from the ancient Norman culture that was established in Britain following the Norman Conquest of island in 1066. Their name originated with an early member who was a companion, friend. It derives from the Middle English word "feare," which means "the proud," "the fierce" or "the bold." [1]

Early Origins of the Fear family

The surname Fear was first found in Middlesex where they held a family seat from very early times and were granted lands by Duke William of Normandy, their liege Lord, for their distinguished assistance at the Battle of Hastings in 1066 A.D. They were originally descended from Vere from Manche in the arrondisement of Coutances in Normandy, and Aubrey de Vere was an undertenant in Kensington, Middlesex, and two places in Northampton. [2]

By the 13th century the family was scattered throughout ancient Britain. The Hundredorum Rolls of 1279 listed Walter Fere in Oxfordshire and a few years later, Roger le Feer was listed in the Subsidy Rolls of 1327 in Essex. [3]

In Somerset, some of the first records were found in Kirby's Quest, 1 Edward III (during the first year of the reign of King Edward III.) William le Fer and Robert le Fere were both listed at that time holding lands there. [4]

Early History of the Fear family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Fear research. Another 72 words (5 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Fear History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Fear Spelling Variations

Before English spelling was standardized a few hundred years ago, spelling variations of names were a common occurrence. Elements of Latin, Norman French and other languages became incorporated into English throughout the Middle Ages, and name spellings changed even among the literate. The variations of the surname Fear include Fear, Fere and others.

Early Notables of the Fear family (pre 1700)

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

Ireland Migration of the Fear family to Ireland

Some of the Fear family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. More information about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

United States Fear migration to the United States +

In England at this time, the uncertainty of the political and religious environment of the time caused many families to board ships for distant British colonies in the hopes of finding land and opportunity, and escaping persecution. The voyages were expensive, crowded, and difficult, though, and many arrived in North America sick, starved, and destitute. Those who did make it, however, were greeted with greater opportunities and freedoms that they could have experienced at home. Many of those families went on to make important contributions to the young nations in which they settled. Early immigration records have shown some of the first Fears to arrive on North American shores:

Fear Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Thomas Fear, who arrived in Virginia in 1657 [5]
  • Richard Fear, who landed in Maryland in 1668 [5]
  • Francis Fear, who settled in Virginia in 1679
Fear Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • George Fear, who settled in New England in 1750
  • Samuel Fear, who settled in Charles Town, North Carolina in 1772
  • Samuel Fear, who arrived in Charleston South Carolina in 1772 [5]
Fear Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • E Fear, who arrived in San Francisco, California in 1851 [5]
  • David Fear, who landed in St Clair County, Illinois in 1860 [5]
  • Charles Fear, who arrived in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1877 [5]

Australia Fear migration to Australia +

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

Fear Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mr. Emanuel Fear, (b. 1797), aged 26, British convict who was convicted in Somerset, England for 7 years for larceny, transported aboard the "Competitor"18th March 1823, arriving in Tasmania (Van Diemen's Land) [6]
  • William Fear, English convict from Bristol, who was transported aboard the "Anson" on September 23, 1843, settling in Van Diemen's Land, Australia [7]
  • Mr. Charles Fear, (b. 1814), aged 31, English butcher who was convicted in Wells, Somerset, England for 10 years for stealing, transported aboard the "Equestrian" on 30th June 1845, arriving in Tasmania (Van Diemen's Island) [8]
  • Mary Fear, aged 24, a servant, who arrived in South Australia in 1850 aboard the ship "Sultana" [9]
  • Mary Fear, aged 24, a servant, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Sultana" in 1850 [9]

New Zealand Fear 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:

Fear Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • John Fear, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Merrington" in 1867
  • John Fear, aged 26, a cooper, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Halcione" in 1870 [10]
  • Mary Ann Fear, aged 24, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Halcione" in 1870 [10]
  • Margaret L. Fear, aged 9 months, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Halcione" in 1870 [10]

Contemporary Notables of the name Fear (post 1700) +

  • Peggy Fear (1903-1994), American actress
  • Ivan Fear (b. 1954), American football running back coach
  • Thomas Jesse Fear (1922-2000), Mexican-American football wide receiver
  • Peter "Fearo" Fear (b. 1973), English footballer from Sutton, London
  • Albert Fear (1907-2000), Welsh rugby union flanker

  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. 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. Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  4. Dickinson, F.H., Kirby's Quest for Somerset of 16th of Edward the 3rd London: Harrison and Sons, Printers in Ordinary to Her Majesty, St, Martin's Lane, 1889. Print.
  5. 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)
  6. Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 5th March 2021). Retrieved from
  7. State Library of Queensland. (Retrieved 2015, January 8) Anson voyage to Van Diemen's Land, Australia in 1843 with 499 passengers. Retrieved from
  8. Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 9th May 2022).
  9. State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) SULTANA 1850. Retrieved
  10. New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 12th December 2018). Retrieved from on Facebook