Show ContentsGrier History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The west coast of Scotland and the rocky Hebrides islands are the ancient home of the Grier family. The root of their name is the given name Gregor. The personal name Gregor, which is the Scottish form of Gregory, is derived from the Latin name "Gregorius" and from the Late Greek name "Gregorios," which mean alert, watchful, or vigilant.

Early Origins of the Grier family

The surname Grier was first found in Dumfriesshire (Gaelic: Siorrachd Dhùn Phris), a Southern area, bordering on England that today forms part of the Dumfries and Galloway Council Area, where they held a family seat from very ancient times.

Early History of the Grier family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Grier research. Another 110 words (8 lines of text) covering the years 1542 and 1598 are included under the topic Early Grier History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Grier Spelling Variations

Spelling and translation were not standardized practices until the last few centuries. Spelling variations are extremely common among early Scottish names. Grier has been spelled Greer, Grier, Grear, Grerar, Greir, Greerr, Grearr and many more.

Early Notables of the Grier family (pre 1700)

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

Grier Ranking

In the United States, the name Grier is the 2,020th most popular surname with an estimated 14,922 people with that name. [1]

Ireland Migration of the Grier family to Ireland

Some of the Grier family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 65 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 Grier migration to the United States +

Numerous Scottish settlers settled along the east coast of the colonies that would become the United States and Canada. Others traveled to the open country of the west. At the time of the American War of Independence, some remained in the United States, while those who remained loyal to the crown went north to Canada as United Empire Loyalists. The highland games and Clan societies that sprang up across North America in the 20th century have helped many Scots to recover parts of their lost traditions. Research into passenger and immigration lists has revealed some of the very first Griers to arrive in North America:

Grier Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • James Grier purchased land in New Jersey in 1685
  • Fergus Grier, who arrived in Perth Amboy, NJ in 1685 [2]
  • Fergus Grier joined him in nearby East New Jersey in 1686
Grier Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Jane Grier, aged 23, who landed in Philadelphia in 1804 [2]
  • Thomas Grier, aged 30, who arrived in Philadelphia in 1804 [2]
  • Jos Grier, who landed in America in 1805 [2]
  • Joseph Grier, who arrived in New York in 1812 [2]
  • M Grier, aged 35, who arrived in Maine in 1812 [2]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Australia Grier migration to Australia +

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

Grier Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • John Grier, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "John Woodall" in 1849 [3]

New Zealand Grier 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:

Grier Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Richard Grier, aged 30, who arrived in Bluff, New Zealand aboard the ship "Christian McAusland" in 1875
  • Mary Grier, aged 25, who arrived in Bluff, New Zealand aboard the ship "Christian McAusland" in 1875
  • Jane Grier, aged 22, a servant, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Rangitikei" in 1884

Contemporary Notables of the name Grier (post 1700) +

  • Marrio Darnell Grier (1971-2022), American professional football running back in the National Football League who played two seasons for the New England Patriots (1996-1997)
  • Johnny Grier (1947-2022), American football official for 23 years in the National Football League (NFL) from 1981 to 2004, the first African-American referee in the history of the NFL
  • Vincent Grier (b. 1983), American gold medalist former college basketball player for the University of Minnesota Golden Gophers
  • Barbara Grier (1933-2011), American writer and publisher, co-founder of Naiad Press
  • Bobby Grier, American associate director of pro scouting for the NFL's Houston Texans
  • Roosevelt "Rosey" Grier (b. 1932), American actor, Christian minister, and former professional football player
  • Pamela Suzette "Pam" Grier (b. 1949), American Emmy Award and Golden Globe nominated actress, known for her roles in The Big Bird Cage (1972), Coffy (1973), Foxy Brown (1974) and Sheba Baby (1975)
  • Robert Cooper Grier (1794-1870), American jurist who served on the Supreme Court of the United States (1846-1870)
  • Mike Grier (b. 1975), American retired NHL ice hockey player who played from 1996 to 2011
  • David Alan Grier (b. 1955), American comedian
  • ... (Another 22 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

The Grier 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: Memor esto
Motto Translation: Be mindful.

Suggested Readings for the name Grier +

  • The Griers: Pioneers in America and Canada, 1816-1991 by William Milton Grier Jr..
  • The Grier, New Mexico Story by Stanley Francis Louis Crocchiola.

  1. "What are the 5,000 Most Common Last Names in the U.S.?".,
  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)
  3. State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) JOHN WOODALL 1849. Retrieved from on Facebook