Herring History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The Herring name was originally an Anglo-Saxon name that was given to a person who made a living by catching or selling herring. Early examples of the surname Herring come from the Old French word hareng, while later examples come from the Old English word hering, which was originally derived from the Old English words hæring and hering; these words all mean herring.

However, one very reputable source claims origin of the name disagrees. "There can be no doubt about the parentage of our Herrings. It will be observed that the prefix 'le' is never found in these early records, suggesting that the surname is not (at least in the majority of cases) a nickname taken from the fish. They are generally found inland also." [1]

And another reputable source agrees. "This name may be the same as Hering, from some locality compounded of ing, a meadow. Hornsey, Middlesex, from the thirteenth to the sixteenth century was called in public records Haringee, Haringhee, or Haringay, signifying the meadow of hares." [2]

Early Origins of the Herring family

The surname Herring was first found in many counties throughout ancient Britain. By example, the Hundredorum Rolls of 1273 listed John Hareng, Bedfordshire; Alan Haring, Cambridgeshire; Nigel Haring, Canterbury; Robert Henn, Cambridgeshire; and Roger Hering, Oxfordshire and all holding lands at that time. [1]

Further to the north in Scotland, "Adam Hereng' witnessed a charter by William the Lion to the Priory of Coldingham. Petronilla, daughter of Adam Harang of Meinichoch (Minnigaff), granted to the church of Melrose part of the lands of Bortwic in the parish of Roberton in the reign of Alexander II. An account of the domestic tragedy which nearly brought the family of Herring to ruin in 1371 is described in the Memorie of the Somervills, I, p. 118-121. The tragedy occurred at Gilmerton Grange near Edinbergh. Gilbert Heryng witnessed a charter of the Haigh of Scuny in Fife, 1395, and John Hering, dominus de Glasclune, was present at perambulation of the marches of Kirknes and Louchor in the same year. " [3]

Early History of the Herring family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Herring research. Another 197 words (14 lines of text) covering the years 1166, 1190, 1450, 1453, 1457, 1479, 1483, 1491, 1508, 1574, 1750, 1628, 1704, 1693, 1757, 1747, 1757, 1628, 1585, 1589, 1599, 1582, 1644, 1693, 1757 and 1693 are included under the topic Early Herring History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Herring Spelling Variations

Only recently has spelling become standardized in the English language. As the English language evolved in the Middle Ages, the spelling of names changed also. The name Herring has undergone many spelling variations, including Herring, Herrin, Hering and others.

Early Notables of the Herring family (pre 1700)

Notables of this surname at this time include: Henry Herringman (1628-1704), a prominent London bookseller and publisher; he was the first publisher of the works of John Dryden; and Thomas Herring (1693-1757), Archbishop of Canterbury from 1747 to 1757. Francis Herring (d. 1628), was an English physician, a native of Nottinghamshire who was educated at Christ's College, Cambridge (B.A. 1585, M.A. 1589). On 3 July 1599, being then a doctor of medicine of Cambridge of two...
Another 75 words (5 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Herring Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Herring Ranking

In the United States, the name Herring is the 690th most popular surname with an estimated 42,279 people with that name. [4]


United States Herring migration to the United States +

To escape the unstable social climate in England of this time, many families boarded ships for the New World with the hope of finding land, opportunity, and greater religious and political freedom. Although the voyages were expensive, crowded, and difficult, those families that arrived often found greater opportunities and freedoms than they could have experienced at home. Many of those families went on to make significant contributions to the rapidly developing colonies in which they settled. Early North American records indicate many people bearing the name Herring were among those contributors:

Herring Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • John Herring, who settled in Virginia in 1642
  • Jon Herring, who arrived in Virginia in 1642 [5]
  • Bartholomew Herring, who landed in Maryland in 1647 [5]
  • Ann Herring, who arrived in Maryland in 1650 [5]
  • Margaret Herring, who arrived in Maryland in 1651 [5]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Herring Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Hen Herring, who arrived in Virginia in 1700 [5]
  • Edward Herring, who landed in Virginia in 1712 [5]
  • John Geo Herring, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1754 [5]
  • Ludwig Herring, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1754 [5]
  • Ludwick Herring, who arrived in Pennsylvania in 1760 [5]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Herring Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • William Herring, who arrived in America in 1810 [5]
  • Catharine Herring, aged 69, who arrived in Massachusetts in 1813 [5]
  • Thomas Herring, who landed in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1835 [5]
  • Francis Herring, who arrived in St Clair County, Illinois in 1840 [5]
  • Honora Victorine Herring, who landed in New York, NY in 1841 [5]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Australia Herring migration to Australia +

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

Herring Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mr. Martin Herring, English convict who was convicted in West Riding, Yorkshire, England for 7 years, transported aboard the "Elizabeth" in May 1816, arriving in New South Wales, Australia [6]
  • John Herring, English convict from Middlesex, who was transported aboard the "Agamemnon" on April 22, 1820, settling in New South Wales, Australia [7]
  • John Herring, English convict from Worcester, who was transported aboard the "Adamant" on March 16, 1821, settling in New South Wales, Australia [8]
  • Mr. George Herring, English convict who was convicted in Worcester, Worcestershire, England for 7 years, transported aboard the "Claudine" on 20th May 1821, arriving in Tasmania ( Van Diemen's Land) [9]
  • Mr. William Herring, British convict who was convicted in Middlesex, England for life, transported aboard the "Asia" on 19th November 1827, settling in New South Wales, Australia [10]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

New Zealand Herring 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:

Herring Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Mr. Herring, British settler travelling from London and Plymouth aboard the ship "Thomas Sparks" arriving in Wellington, New Zealand on 31st January 1843, the ship stuck rocks of the coast of Cape of Good Hope delaying her landing by 2 months [11]
  • Miss Amelia A. Herring, (b. 1840), aged 25, British milliner travelling from London aboard the ship "Eastern Empire" arriving in Lyttelton, Canterbury, New Zealand on 4th January 1865 [12]

West Indies Herring 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. [13]
Herring Settlers in West Indies in the 17th Century
  • Joseph Herring, who settled in Barbados in 1635
  • Jo Herring, aged 28, who arrived in Barbados in 1635 [5]
  • Mr. John Herring, (b. 1607), aged 28, British settler travelling from London, England aboard the ship "Alexander" arriving in Barbados in 1635 [14]

Contemporary Notables of the name Herring (post 1700) +

  • John Frederick Herring (1795-1865), English animal-painter, born in Surrey, son of an American whose parents were Dutch, was a fringe-maker in Newgate Street [15]
  • Katherine "Katie" Herring (1933-2018), née James, an All-American Girls Professional Baseball League player who played for the Grand Rapids Chicks (1953)
  • Harold Moreland "Hal" Herring (1924-2014), American football player and coach
  • Conyers Herring (1914-2009), American physicist and co-winner of the 1984/85 Wolf Prize in Physics
  • Augustus Moore Herring (1867-1926), American aviation pioneer
  • Lieutenant Rufus Geddie Herring (1921-1996), United States Naval Reserve officer awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor in 1945
  • George A. Herring, American politician, Representative from Pennsylvania 18th District, 1920 [16]
  • Erastus C. Herring, American politician, Prohibition Candidate for U.S. Representative from Michigan 9th District, 1894 [16]
  • E. I. Herring, American Republican politician, Member of Colorado State House of Representatives, 1950 [16]
  • Clyde LaVerne Herring (1879-1945), American Democratic Party politician, Member of Democratic National Committee from Iowa, 1924-28; Governor of Iowa, 1933-37; Defeated, 1920; U.S. Senator from Iowa, 1937-43; Defeated, 1922, 1942 [16]
  • ... (Another 26 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

HMS Dorsetshire
  • John Frankland Herring (d. 1945), British Stoker 1st Class aboard the HMS Dorsetshire when she was struck by air bombers and sunk; he died in the sinking [17]
Senghenydd colliery
  • Mr. James Herring (b. 1888), Welsh coal miner from Senghenydd, Caerphilly, Wales who was working at the Senghenydd colliery when there was an explosion on the 14th October 1913; he died
  • Mr. John Herring (b. 1853), Welsh coal miner from Senghenydd, Caerphilly, Wales who was working at the Senghenydd colliery when there was an explosion on the 14th October 1913; he died
USS Arizona
  • Mr. James Jumior Herring, American Signalman Third Class from Iowa, USA working aboard the ship "USS Arizona" when she sunk during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on 7th December 1941, he died in the sinking [18]


Suggested Readings for the name Herring +

  • A Dutch Family in the Middle Colonies, 1660-1800 by Firth Haring Fabend.

  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. ^ Charnock, Richard, Stephen, Ludus Patronymicus of The Etymology of Curious Surnames. London: Trubner & Co., 60 Paternoster Row, 1868. Print.
  3. ^ 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)
  4. ^ https://namecensus.com/most_common_surnames.htm
  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. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 1st March 2022). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/elizabeth
  7. ^ State Library of Queensland. (Retrieved 2016, October 27) Agamemnon voyage to New South Wales, Australia in 1820 with 179 passengers. Retrieved from http://www.convictrecords.com.au/ships/agamemnon/1820
  8. ^ State Library of Queensland. (Retrieved 2016, October 27) Adamant voyage to New South Wales, Australia in 1821 with 144 passengers. Retrieved from http://www.convictrecords.com.au/ships/adamant/1821
  9. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 17th February 2021). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/claudine
  10. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 8th January 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/asia/1827
  11. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 26th March 2019). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  12. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 17th October 2018). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  13. ^ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_West_Indies
  14. ^ Pilgrim Ship Lists Early 1600's retrieved 28th September 2021. (Retrieved from https://www.packrat-pro.com/ships/shiplist.htm)
  15. ^ Wikisource contributors. "Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900." Wikisource . Wikisource , 4 Jun. 2018. Web. 30 June 2020
  16. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, November 6) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html
  17. ^ Force Z Survivors HMS Dorsetshire Crew List, (Retrieved 2018, February 13th), https://www.forcez-survivors.org.uk/biographies/listdorsetshirecrew.html
  18. ^ Pearl Harbour: USS Arizona Casualties List Pearl Harbour December 7, 1941. (Retrieved 2018, July 31st). Retrieved from http://pearl-harbor.com/arizona/casualtylist.html


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