Show ContentsMare History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Mare is a name whose ancestors lived among the Picts, a tribe in ancient Scotland. The Mare family lived in a place called Mar, which was in the county of Aberdeen. It may come from the Old Norse word marr, which was an extremely rare word, that was usually associated with the sea, but sometimes referred to a marsh or a fen. In this sense, Mare would be a habitational name. [1] [2]

Early Origins of the Mare family

The surname Mare was first found in the West Riding of Yorkshire at Marr, a parish, in the union of Doncaster, N. division of the wapentake of Strafforth and Tickhill. [3]

It was here in England that James de Mar was recorded in the Pipe Rolls of 1182. Ralph atte Mar was also listed in Yorkshire in the Subsidy Rolls of 1297 as was William del Marre in the Subsidy Rolls for 1302. [2] The Yorkshire Poll Tax Rolls of 1379 included Johannes de Merre; and Henricus de Marre. [4]

However the lion's share of the family claim Scotland as their ancient homeland. Here Mar is a parish in Aberdeenshire where "the name is of local or territorial origin from the district in Aberdeenshire so named." [5]

This same source postulates that the name was "probably also from Marr in Yorkshire. In the Yorkshire dialect mar is used of 'marshy land, sodden or reedy ground.' " [5]

"In 1235 William de Mer, perhaps the earliest of the name in record [in Scotland], witnessed a grant by Radulf Manus to the Abbey of Kelso. Gilberd or Gilbert de Mar of Fifeshire, John of Mar, bailiff of Linlithgow, and James de Mer of Aberdeenshire, all rendered homage in 1296 [to King Edward I of England]. Richard Mar was present at inquest made at St. Andrews, 1302-1303. John de Marr, c. 1316, witnessed a charter of the lands of Linton-Rothirrik, and David de Marre was king's messenger in 1327. A canonry of Glasgow was granted to John de Mair, chaplain to Joan, queen of Scotland, 1346. Roger dictus Mer held land of the Abbey of Arbroath in 1329, Donald de Marre is mentioned in 1353 as late archdeacon of Brechin, Master David of Mer was treasurer of Moray, 1358, and Alexander de Marr was custumar of Dundee in 1359. " [5]

To better understand the York, England and Scotland relationship in the family, we found "William Mar, ninth Earl of Mar (d. 1281?), the son of Duncan, eighth earl of Mar, and grandson of Morgrund, fifth earl. He succeeded his father in or before 1237, when he attested at York the agreement between Henry III of England and Alexander II of Scotland. His right of succession was contested by Alan Durward, who asserted that William's father and grandfather were both of illegitimate birth, and that he ought to succeed as lawful heir. But apparently the case was arranged on the footing of an agreement which had been made about 1228 with Thomas Durward, father of Alan, who received a large accession of territory in Mar ; and the earldom remained with William de Mar. In 1249, during the minority of Alexander III, he was appointed one of the regents of Scotland." [6]

William's son, Donald Mar, tenth Earl of Mar (d. 1297), was knighted by Alexander III at Scone in 1270, and succeeded as earl before 25 July 1281, when he took oath at Roxburgh to observe the treaty for the marriage of Princess Margaret of Scotland and Eric, king of Norway. [6]

Early History of the Mare family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Mare research. Another 230 words (16 lines of text) covering the years 1120, 1366, 1403, 1391, 1439, 1130, 1408, 1439, 1475, 1734, 1501 and 1748 are included under the topic Early Mare History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Mare Spelling Variations

The appearance of the printing press and the first dictionaries in the last few hundred years did much to standardize spelling. Prior to that time scribes spelled according to sound, a practice that resulted in many spelling variations. Mare has been spelled Marr, Mar, Marre, Mare and others.

Early Notables of the Mare family (pre 1700)

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

Mare Ranking

In France, the name Mare is the 6,623rd most popular surname with an estimated 1,000 - 1,500 people with that name. [7]

United States Mare migration to the United States +

The expense of the crossing to the North American colonies seemed small beside the difficulties of remaining in Scotland. It was a long and hard trip, but at its end lay the reward of freedom. Some Scots remained faithful to England and called themselves United Empire Loyalists, while others fought in the American War of Independence. Much of this lost Scottish heritage has been recovered in the last century through Clan societies and other patriotic Scottish organizations. A search of immigration and passenger lists revealed many important, early immigrants to North America bearing the name of Mare:

Mare Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Rowland Mare, who arrived in Maryland in 1641 [8]
  • John Mare, who settled in Virginia in 1651
  • Piere Mare, who landed in New Netherland(s) in 1662 [8]
  • Mary Mare, who settled in Virginia in 1663
  • Andrew and Mary Mare, who settled in Virginia in 1663
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Mare Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Nicholas Mare, who arrived in Virginia in 1700 [8]
  • Nicholas Mare with his wife and two children settled in Virginia in 1700
  • Nicholas Mare, who settled in Virginia with his wife and two children in 1700
  • Ralph Mare, who landed in Virginia in 1714 [8]
  • William Mare, who arrived in Maryland in 1716 [8]
Mare Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Samuel Mare, who landed in America in 1807 [8]
  • W B Mare, who landed in San Francisco, California in 1851 [8]
  • Federico Mare, who arrived in Puerto Rico in 1860 [8]

Australia Mare migration to Australia +

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

Mare Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mr. John Mare, British Convict who was convicted in Devon, England for life, transported aboard the "Earl Spencer" in May 1813, arriving in New South Wales, Australia [9]
  • Mr. John Mare, (b. 1831), aged 26, Cornish farm labourer travelling aboard the ship "Herefordshire" arriving in New South Wales, Australia on 27th May 1857 [10]
  • Mrs. Eliza Mare, (b. 1836), aged 21, Cornish house servant travelling aboard the ship "Herefordshire" arriving in New South Wales, Australia on 27th May 1857 [10]
  • Miss Louisa Mare, (b. 1855), aged 2, Cornish settler travelling aboard the ship "Herefordshire" arriving in New South Wales, Australia on 27th May 1857, she died on board [10]
  • Mr. John Mare, (b. 1856), aged Infant, English settler, from Devonshire, England, UK travelling aboard the ship "Herefordshire" arriving in New South Wales, Australia on 27th May 1857 [10]

New Zealand Mare 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:

Mare Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • James Mare, aged 30, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "City of Auckland" in 1872
  • Catherine Mare, aged 27, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "City of Auckland" in 1872

West Indies Mare 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. [11]
Mare Settlers in West Indies in the 17th Century
  • Alice Mare, aged 22, who settled in Barbados in 1635
  • Alce Mare, aged 22, who arrived in Barbados in 1635 [8]

Contemporary Notables of the name Mare (post 1700) +

  • Carlos H. Le Mare, American politician, U.S. Consular Agent in Iquique, 1916-17; U.S. Vice Consul in Iquique, 1921
  • Carlos H. Le Mare (b. 1868), American politician, U.S. Vice Consul in Iquique, 1912; U.S. Vice & Deputy Consul in Iquique, 1914; U.S. Consular Agent in Iquique, 1915-18

  1. Smith, Eldson Coles, New Dictionary of American Family Names New York: Harper & Row, 1956. Print
  2. Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  3. Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
  4. Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  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. Smith, George (ed), Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1885-1900. Print
  8. 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)
  9. Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 8th September 2021). Retrieved from
  10. Cornwall Online Parish Clerks. (Retrieved 3rd May 2018). Retrieved from
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