Grierson History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The ancestors of the Grierson family lived among the Strathclyde people of the Scottish/English Borderlands. Their name is derived from Grier, a pet form of the given name Gregory, which means watchful.

Early Origins of the Grierson family

The surname Grierson 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.

"The Griersons of Lag, Dumfriesshire, claim descent from Gilbert, second son of Malcolm, dominus de MacGregor, who is said to have died in 1374, but, says Col. Fergusson, 'there is no evidence or foundation for the story commonly current that this family was an offshoot of the Highland family of MacGregor.' " [1]

Early History of the Grierson family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Grierson research. Another 321 words (23 lines of text) covering the years 1250, 1411, 1411, 1429, 1451, 1232, 1502, 1526, 1557, 1671, 1704, 1547, 1590, 1564, 1657, 1733, 1408, 1608, 1623, 1654, 1655, 1677, 1760, 1709 and 1711 are included under the topic Early Grierson History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Grierson Spelling Variations

The variation in the spelling of Medieval names is a result of the lack of spelling rules in the English language prior to the last few hundred years. Before that time, scribes spelled according to sound, often varying the spelling of name within a single document. Grierson has appeared as Grierson, Greson, Greyson, Grayson, Greirson and others.

Early Notables of the Grierson family (pre 1700)

Notable amongst the family at this time was John Grierson or Grisson (died 1564?), a Scottish Dominican who is believed to have been from the family of Grierson of Lag in Dumfriesshire. [2] Sir Robert Grierson of Lag (1657-1733), was 1st Baronet of Baronets of Lag & Rockhall, Dumfriesshire. He was "persecutor of the covenanters, was descended from an old Dumfriesshire family which claimed as an ancestor the highland chief Malcolm, lord of Macgregor, the friend and ally of Robert Bruce. The lands of Lag are said to have been bestowed on Gilbert Grierson by Henry, earl of...
Another 96 words (7 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Grierson Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Grierson family to Ireland

Some of the Grierson 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 Grierson migration to the United States +

As the persecution of Clan families continued, they sailed for North America in increasing numbers. In most cases, they found the freedom and opportunity they sought. Land was often available and the American War of Independence allowed Scots an opportunity to solidify their independence from the English crown. These settlers and their ancestors went on to play essential roles in the forging of the nations of the United States and Canada. Among them:

Grierson Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • James Grierson, who settled in New Jersey in 1685
Grierson Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • John and Jane Grierson, who settled in Charles Town [Charleston], South Carolina in 1774
  • William Grierson, aged 23, who arrived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1774 [3]
Grierson Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Robert Grierson, who arrived in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1821 [3]
  • James Grierson, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1838 [3]

Canada Grierson migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Grierson Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
  • Mr. James Grierson U.E. (b. 1741) born in Scotland who settled in New Brunswick c. 1784 listed with the Loyalists and Disbanded Soldiers whose names appear as Passamaquoddy New Brunswick Loyalists, he died in 1846 [4]

New Zealand Grierson 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:

Grierson Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Mary Grierson, aged 34, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Douglas" in 1873

Contemporary Notables of the name Grierson (post 1700) +

  • Margaret Storrs Grierson (1900-1997), American archivist, philosophy professor, and the founder and first director of the Sophia Smith Collection at Smith College
  • Benjamin Henry Grierson (1826-1911), American music teacher and later career officer in the United States Army
  • Don Grierson, English music industry executive, best known for his work with bringing The Beatles to the United States and signing Celine Dion to her first American recording contract
  • Joseph Grierson, American politician, U.S. Consul in Coquimbo, 1884 [5]
  • Derek Dunlop Grierson (1931-2011), Scottish footballer who played from 1948 to 1962
  • Sir Herbert John Clifford Grierson (1866-1960), Scottish literary scholar editor and literary critic
  • Sir Richard Grierson (1804-1846), Scottish peer, 7th Baronet of Lag & Rockhall
  • Sir Alexander Davidson Grierson (1858-1912), Scottish 9th Baronet of Lag & Rockhall, army officer and Justice of the Peace
  • Sharon Joy Grierson (b. 1951), Australian politician, Member of the Australian Parliament for Newcastle (2001-2013)
  • Edmund Edward DeLesert Grierson (1860-1922), Canadian politician, Alderman on the Edmonton Town Council (1901-1904)
  • ... (Another 10 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)


The Grierson 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: Hoc securior
Motto Translation: Safer by this.


  1. ^ Black, George F., The Surnames of Scotland Their Origin, Meaning and History. New York: New York Public Library, 1946. Print. (ISBN 0-87104-172-3)
  2. ^ Smith, George (ed), Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1885-1900. Print
  3. ^ 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)
  4. ^ Rubincam, Milton. The Old United Empire Loyalists List. Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc, 1976. (Originally published as; United Empire Loyalists. The Centennial of the Settlement of Upper Canada. Rose Publishing Company, 1885.) ISBN 0-8063-0331-X
  5. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, October 14) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html


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