Filmer History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Filmer is a name whose history is connected to the ancient Anglo-Saxon tribes of Britain. The name is derived from when the Filmer family once lived in Kent, where they took their name from some spot no longer known. However, the etymology of the name can be determined. Further research revealed that the name is derived from the Old English roots fille, which means full or fertile, and mere, a word which meant lake. [1]

"This family formerly wrote their name Finmere, Fylmere, Filmour, and Filmor, temp. Edw. III., but of late, Filmer, and were seated at Otterinden in Kent, at a place called Finmore." [2]

Early Origins of the Filmer family

The surname Filmer was first found in Kent where they held a family seat from very ancient times at the manor of Herst, in the parish of Otterden, since the rteign of Edward II." [3]

"Filmers belong to a distinguished Kentish family that had its home at East Sutton during the 17th century; some of its members were baronets, and others were sheriffs of the county." [4]

Early History of the Filmer family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Filmer research. Another 114 words (8 lines of text) covering the years 1632, 1688, 1588, 1653, 1622, 1676, 1657, 1707, 1648, 1720, 1689, 1683 and 1755 are included under the topic Early Filmer History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Filmer Spelling Variations

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 Filmer family name include Fillmore, Filmore, Filmer, Filmere, Filmour and others.

Early Notables of the Filmer family (pre 1700)

Distinguished members of the family include Henry Filmer, a 16th-century English Protestant martyr, one of the Windsor Martyrs, during the reign of Henry VIII; William Fulman (1632-1688), an English antiquary 'the son of a sufficient carpenter'; Sir Robert Filmer (c. 1588-1653), an English political theorist who defended the divine right of...
Another 50 words (4 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Filmer Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Filmer migration to the United States +

For political, religious, and economic reasons, thousands of English families boarded ships for Ireland, Canada, 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 Filmer surname or a spelling variation of the name include:

Filmer Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • John Filmer, who settled in Virginia in 1623
  • John Filmer, who arrived in Virginia in 1623 [5]
  • Henry Filmer, who arrived in Virginia in 1642 [5]
Filmer Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Louise Filmer, who settled in Texas in 1859

Australia Filmer migration to Australia +

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

Filmer Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Stephen Filmer, aged 45, a farmer, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Lloyds" in 1838 [6]
  • Eliza Filmer, aged 18, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Lloyds" in 1838 [6]
  • Emma Filmer, aged 16, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Lloyds" in 1838 [6]
  • Thomas Stephen Filmer, aged 14, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Lloyds" in 1838 [6]
  • Frances Filmer, aged 12, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Lloyds" in 1838 [6]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

New Zealand Filmer 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:

Filmer Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Mr. William Filmer, (b. 1800), aged 47, English , settler born in Ashford, Kent arriving as 1st detachment of Royal New Zealand Fencible Corps travelling from Tilbury, Essex aboard the ship "Ramillies" arriving in Auckland, New Zealand on 6th August 1847 [7]
  • Mrs. Louisa Filmer née Parr, (b. 1802), aged 45, English , settler born in Hampshire travelling from Tilbury, Essex aboard the ship "Ramillies" arriving in Auckland, New Zealand on 6th August 1847 [7]
  • Mr. William Comfort Filmer, (b. 1830), aged 17, English , settler born in Hampshire travelling from Tilbury, Essex aboard the ship "Ramillies" arriving in Auckland, New Zealand on 6th August 1847 [7]
  • Miss Jane Filmer, (b. 1832), aged 15, English , settler born in Hampshire travelling from Tilbury, Essex aboard the ship "Ramillies" arriving in Auckland, New Zealand on 6th August 1847 [7]
  • Miss Louisa Filmer, (b. 1838), aged 9, English , settler born in Hampshire travelling from Tilbury, Essex aboard the ship "Ramillies" arriving in Auckland, New Zealand on 6th August 1847 [7]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Contemporary Notables of the name Filmer (post 1700) +

  • Lady Mary Georgina Filmer (1838-1903), English socialite and wife of Sir Edmund Filmer, 9th Baronet, an early proponent of the art of photographic collage
  • Sir Robert Marcus Filmer (1878-1916), 10th Baronet of East Sutton, Kent
  • Sir Edmund Filmer (1835-1886), 9th Baronet, English politician, Member of Parliament for West Kent (1859-1865) and for Mid Kent (1880-1884)
  • Sir Edmund Filmer (1809-1857), 8th Baronet, English politician, Member of Parliament for West Kent (1838-1857)
  • Sir John Filmer (1760-1834), 7th Baronet of East Sutton, Kent
  • Sir Edmund Filmer (1727-1834), 6th Baronet of East Sutton, Kent
  • Sir Beversham Filmer (1719-1805), 5th Baronet of East Sutton, Kent
  • John Francis Filmer (1895-1979), Australian-born New Zealand scientist who helped develop a cure for "bush sickness" and precursor to the vitamin B12, Fellow of the Royal Society of New Zealand in 1961
  • Filmer Northrop, American professor of philosophy and law, Yale University


  1. ^ Charnock, Richard, Stephen, Ludus Patronymicus of The Etymology of Curious Surnames. London: Trubner & Co., 60 Paternoster Row, 1868. Print.
  2. ^ Lower, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  3. ^ Shirley, Evelyn Philip, The Noble and Gentle Men of England; The Arms and Descents. Westminster: John Bower Nichols and Sons, 1866, Print.
  4. ^ Guppy, Henry Brougham, Homes of Family Names in Great Britain. 1890. 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. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) LLOYDS from London 1838. Retrieved from http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1838Lloyds.htm
  7. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 26th March 2019). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html


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