Filer History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The name Filer has two possible origins. It may come from the Middle English word "file," meaning "file," in which case it is likely an occupational name for someone who made or used files (the abrading tool). The other possibility is that this name could also come from the Olde French word "fil" or "thread," in which case the name could still be occupational in origin, but for a spinner or tailor.

Early Origins of the Filer family

The surname Filer was first found in Worcestershire, where they held a family seat, and records first show John le Filur, recorded in the Subsidy Rolls of that region in 1275. After the Battle of Hastings in 1066, William, Duke of Normandy, having prevailed over King Harold, granted most of Britain to his many victorious Barons. Duke William, commissioned a census of all England to determine in 1086, settling once and for all, who held which land. He called the census the Domesday Book, [1] indicating that those holders registered would hold the land until the end of time.

Early History of the Filer family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Filer research. Another 76 words (5 lines of text) covering the year 1309 is included under the topic Early Filer History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Filer 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 Filer, Filur, Fyler, Philer and others.

Early Notables of the Filer family (pre 1700)

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


United States Filer migration to the United States +

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 Filer or a variant listed above:

Filer Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Walter Filer, who arrived in Dorchester, Massachusetts in 1634
  • Walter Filer, who arrived in Dorchester, Massachusetts in 1634 [2]
  • George Filer, who settled in Northampton, Massachusetts in 1662
  • George Filer, who arrived in Northampton, Massachusetts in 1662 [2]
  • John Filer, who landed in New England in 1666 [2]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Australia Filer migration to Australia +

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

Filer Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Thomas Filer, aged 21, who arrived in South Australia in 1856 aboard the ship "Lord Hungerford"

New Zealand Filer 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:

Filer Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Edward Filer, aged 28, a carpenter, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Glenlora" in 1873
  • Frances Filer, aged 28, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Glenlora" in 1873
  • Frederick Filer, aged 6, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Glenlora" in 1873
  • Edwin Filer, aged 5, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Glenlora" in 1873
  • Florence P. Filer, aged 8 months, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Glenlora" in 1873

Contemporary Notables of the name Filer (post 1700) +

  • Rodney Filer, American College football player for Iowa University
  • Nathan Filer (b. 1980), English writer from Bristol, best known for his debut novel, The Shock of the Fall, winner of the Costa Book of the Year and the Betty Trask Prize
  • Dr. Wanda Filer MD, Physician General of Pennsylvania


  1. ^ Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds., Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8)
  2. ^ 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)


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