Heard History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Heard is a name that was formed by the Anglo-Saxon society of old Britain. The name was thought to have been used for someone who once worked as a herdsman. The surname Heard is derived from the Old English word herde, which in turn comes from the Old English word heird, which means herd. [1]

Early Origins of the Heard family

The surname Heard was first found in Shropshire where Thomas Hord was listed in the Assize Rolls of 1221. Years later, Reginald le Herd was found in the Assize Rolls for Somerset in 1243 and Richard le Hurde was found in the Subsidy Rolls for Sussex in 1296. [2]

The Hundredorum Rolls of 1273 include: Robert le Hirde, Suffolk; Richard le Herde, Cambridgeshire; and David le Hyrde, Norfolk. [1]

One entry was found in Somerset in early times, that of William le Hurde, 1 Edward III (during the first year of King Edward III's reign.) [3]

The Yorkshire Poll Tax Rolls of 1379 listed Alanus Hyrd; Nicholans Hyrd; and Johannes Hird as all holding lands there at that time. [1]

"An old family of Hird once resided at Woodhouse Grove, Rawdon, in the West Riding [of Yorkshire]." [4]

Moving further north to Scotland, Hird was the Scottish pronunciation of 'herd', a herdsman. [5] Early records show "W. dictus Hyrd was actomatus (attorney) of Bernard, abbot of Aberbrothoc in 1328. John Hird was a tenant of the Douglas in Louchurde in 1376." [5]

Early History of the Heard family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Heard research. Another 192 words (14 lines of text) covering the years 1273, 1610, 1619, 1627, 1511, 1605, 1626, 1512, 1588, 1512, 1529, 1532, 1534, 1546, 1720, 1808, 1720, 1732, 1810 and 1732 are included under the topic Early Heard History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Heard Spelling Variations

Until the dictionary, an invention of only the last few hundred years, the English language lacked any comprehensive system of spelling rules. Consequently, spelling variations in names are frequently found in early Anglo-Saxon and later Anglo-Norman documents. One person's name was often spelled several different ways over a lifetime. The recorded variations of Heard include Herd, Heard, Hird, Hurd and others.

Early Notables of the Heard family (pre 1700)

Notables of this surname at this time include: John Herd (1512?-1588), English historian, born about 1512 'in that part of Surrey which adjoins the city of London.' After being educated at Eton, he was admitted a scholar of King's College, Cambridge, on 16 August 1529, and a fellow on 17 August 1532. He proceeded B.A. in 1534, and commenced M.A. in...
Another 60 words (4 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Heard Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Heard Ranking

In the United States, the name Heard is the 1,140th most popular surname with an estimated 27,357 people with that name. [6]


United States Heard migration to the United States +

Thousands of English families boarded ships sailing to the New World in the hope of escaping the unrest found in England at this time. Although the search for opportunity and freedom from persecution abroad took the lives of many because of the cramped conditions and unsanitary nature of the vessels, the opportunity perceived in the growing colonies of North America beckoned. Many of the settlers who survived the journey went on to make important contributions to the transplanted cultures of their adopted countries. The Heard were among these contributors, for they have been located in early North American records:

Heard Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • John Heard, who settled in Maine in 1620
  • Thornas Heard, who arrived in Plymouth, Massachusetts in 1623 [7]
  • Luke Heard, who settled in Massachusetts in 1630
  • Thomas Heard, who landed in New England in 1631 [7]
  • Luke Heard, who landed in Newbury, Massachusetts in 1639 [7]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Heard Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • George Heard, who landed in Virginia in 1713 [7]
Heard Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Mr. Stephen J. Heard, (b. 1880), aged 19, Cornish miner from Liskeard, Cornwall, UK travelling aboard the ship "St Louis" arriving at Ellis Island, New York on 29th April 1800 en route to Lead City, South Dakota, USA [8]
  • Carl Heard, aged 32, who landed in Boston, Massachusetts in 1848 [7]
  • Daniel Heard, aged 23, who arrived in Boston, Massachusetts in 1848 [7]
  • Mr. William Heard, (b. 1869), aged 23, Cornish farmer from Launceston, Cornwall, UK travelling aboard the ship "Teutonic" arriving at Ellis Island, New York on 1st June 1892 en route to New York, USA [8]
  • Mr. John Heard, (b. 1853), aged 46, Cornish slater travelling aboard the ship "Paris" arriving at Ellis Island, New York on 13th February 1899 en route to Bangor, Pennsylvania, USA [8]

Canada Heard migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Heard Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
  • Jacob Heard, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1730
  • Mr. Edmund Heard U.E. who settled in Canada c. 1784 [9]

Australia Heard migration to Australia +

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

Heard Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mr. George Heard, British Convict who was convicted in London, England for 7 years for larceny, transported aboard the "Caledonia" on 5th July 1820, arriving in Tasmania ( Van Diemen's Land) [10]
  • Henry Heard, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Platina" in 1839 [11]
  • Eliza Heard, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Bolton" in 1848 [12]
  • Mr. Thomas Heard, (b. 1810), aged 44, Cornish labourer departing from Plymouth on 21st May 1854 aboard the ship "Nestor" arriving in Portland, Victoria, Australia on 16th September 1854 [13]
  • Mrs. Mary Heard, (b. 1810), aged 44, Cornish settler departing from Plymouth on 21st May 1854 aboard the ship "Nestor" arriving in Portland, Victoria, Australia on 16th September 1854 [13]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

New Zealand Heard 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:

Heard Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Mr. John Heard, (b. 1841), aged 23, British farm labourer travelling aboard the ship "Amoor" arriving in Lyttleton, South Island, New Zealand on 1st July 1864 [14]
  • Mr. William Heard, (b. 1853), aged 21, British settler travelling from London aboard the ship "Dorette" arriving in Auckland, New Zealand on 14th April 1874 [14]
  • William Heard, aged 21, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Dorette" in 1874

West Indies Heard migration to West Indies +

The British first settled the British West Indies around 1604. They made many attempts but failed in some to establish settlements on the Islands including Saint Lucia and Grenada. By 1627 they had managed to establish settlements on St. Kitts (St. Christopher) and Barbados, but by 1641 the Spanish had moved in and destroyed some of these including those at Providence Island. The British continued to expand the settlements including setting the First Federation in the British West Indies by 1674; some of the islands include Barbados, Bermuda, Cayman Island, Turks and Caicos, Jamaica and Belize then known as British Honduras. By the 1960's many of the islands became independent after the West Indies Federation which existed from 1958 to 1962 failed due to internal political conflicts. After this a number of Eastern Caribbean islands formed a free association. [15]
Heard Settlers in West Indies in the 17th Century
  • Susan Heard, who settled in Barbados in 1682

Contemporary Notables of the name Heard (post 1700) +

  • William Wright Heard (1853-1926), American Democratic Party politician, Louisiana State Auditor, 1899; Governor of Louisiana, 1900-04 [16]
  • William W. Heard, American politician, U.S. Consular Agent in Fredericton, 1914; U.S. Vice Consul in Quebec City, 1917; Kingston, 1920-22; U.S. Consul in Turin, 1929-32; Halifax, 1938 [16]
  • William Henry Harrison Heard (1850-1937), American politician, Member of South Carolina State Senate, 1876-77; U.S. Minister to Liberia, 1895-98; U.S. Consul General in Monrovia, 1895-98 [16]
  • William Henry Heard (1845-1897), American politician, Member of Georgia State House of Representatives, 1890-91 [16]
  • Tracy Heard, American Democratic Party politician, Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Ohio, 2008; Presidential Elector for Ohio, 2012 [16]
  • William E. Heard, American politician, U.S. Consular Agent in Newport, 1884-1905 [16]
  • Thomas Jefferson Heard (1801-1876), American politician, Member of Georgia State House of Representatives, 1832-33; Member of Georgia State Senate, 1835-36 [16]
  • Stephen Autry Heard (1741-1815), American politician, Member of Georgia State House of Representatives, 1794-95 [16]
  • Robert Middleton Heard (1836-1910), American politician, Member of Georgia State House of Representatives, 1884-85 [16]
  • Oscar Edwin Heard (b. 1856), American Republican politician, Circuit Judge in Illinois 15th Circuit, 1903-24; Judge, Illinois Appellate Court, 1919-24; Justice of Illinois State Supreme Court, 1924-33 [16]
  • ... (Another 44 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)


The Heard 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: Recte et sapienter
Motto Translation: Rightly and wisely.


Suggested Readings for the name Heard +

  • Miscellaneous Collections of Heards by Harold Heard.
  • Miscellaneous Heards, Addendum by Harold Heard.
  • Southern Heard Families by Harold Heard.

  1. ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  2. ^ Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  3. ^ Dickinson, F.H., Kirby's Quest for Somerset of 16th of Edward the 3rd London: Harrison and Sons, Printers in Ordinary to Her Majesty, St, Martin's Lane, 1889. Print.
  4. ^ Guppy, Henry Brougham, Homes of Family Names in Great Britain. 1890. Print.
  5. ^ 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)
  6. ^ https://namecensus.com/most_common_surnames.htm
  7. ^ 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)
  8. ^ Cornwall Online Parish Clerks. (Retrieved 3rd May 2018). Retrieved from http://www.opc-cornwall.org/Resc/pdfs/emigration_ellis_island_1892_on.pdf
  9. ^ 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
  10. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 25th November 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/caledonia
  11. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) PLATINA 1839. Retrieved from http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1839Platina.htm
  12. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) BOLTON 1848. Retrieved from http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1848Bolton.htm
  13. ^ Cornwall Online Parish Clerks. (Retrieved 3rd May 2018). Retrieved from http://www.opc-cornwall.org/Resc/pdfs/emigration_australia_victoria.pdf
  14. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 17th October 2018). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  15. ^ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_West_Indies
  16. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, November 2) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html


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