Show ContentsGrizzard History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The Grizzard surname is thought to be derived from the Middle English word "grice," which is in turn from the Old French "gris," meaning "grey." It was most likely originally a nickname for a grey-haired man. Although, there was also a Middle English word "grise," which meant "pig." 1

While this etymology is typical, we must take the time to point out the Norman origin which is just as likely as the Magni Rotuli Scaccarii Normanniae lists Richard de Grisy, as holding lands there in 1180. 2

Early Origins of the Grizzard family

The surname Grizzard was first found in Norfolk where conjecturally they were, in 1066, Lords of the Manor of Brockdish, the King's land, whose feudal Lord was William de Noyers, Count of Nevers seated originally at Poitevin and St-Cyr de Nevers in Normandy. Sir William also held Grayhurst Manor through Bishop Odo from King William of Normandy. From this family also descend the Lords Monson and Viscounts Castlemaine. The original estates were sold in 1327. The village now consists of a church, St. Edmunds, which has both Saxon and Norman windows, obviously predating the Norman Conquest by many years.

The parish of St. Mawes in Cornwall has an interesting entry. One source asserts that the lands of St. Mawes including the castle "was first given to Sir Robert Le Grice, a Spaniard, by whose son, in the reign of Elizabeth, it was sold to Hannibal Vyvyan, Esq. of Trelowarren." 3

Early History of the Grizzard family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Grizzard research. Another 149 words (11 lines of text) covering the years 1555 and 1651 are included under the topic Early Grizzard History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Grizzard Spelling Variations

Spelling variations of this family name include: Grice, Gryce, Gryse, Grise, Grisewood, DeGrice, Grycie and many more.

Early Notables of the Grizzard family

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

Grizzard Ranking

In the United States, the name Grizzard is the 14,610th most popular surname with an estimated 2,487 people with that name. 4

Ireland Migration of the Grizzard family to Ireland

Some of the Grizzard family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 33 words (2 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Migration of the Grizzard family

Some of the first settlers of this family name or some of its variants were: Charles Grice, who was on record in Braintree, Massachussetts in 1651; Thomas Grice, who came to Virginia in 1665; Arthur Grice, who arrived in Virginia in 1683.

Contemporary Notables of the name Grizzard (post 1700) +

  • Herman Grizzard (b. 1971), American radio disc jockey
  • Frank E. Grizzard Jr. (b. 1954), American historian, writer, and documentary editor
  • Roderick DeWyane "Rod" Grizzard (b. 1980), American professional basketball player
  • George Cooper Grizzard Jr. (1928-2007), American Emmy Award and Tony award-winning actor of film and stage
  • Lewis McDonald Grizzard Jr. (1946-1994), American writer and humorist, known for his commentary on the American South

  1. Harrison, Henry, Surnames of the United Kingdom: A Concise Etymological Dictionary Baltimore: Geneological Publishing Company, 2013. Print
  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. Hutchins, Fortescue, The History of Cornwall, from the Earliest Records and Traditions to the Present Time. London: William Penaluna, 1824. Print
  4. "What are the 5,000 Most Common Last Names in the U.S.?"., on Facebook