Masters History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The Masters family name dates back to 1066 when the Norman Conquest of England introduced a plethora of new names and words into Britain. It comes from an early member of the family who was a person who behaved in a masterful manner. This was also an occupational name for a person who was the master of his craft deriving from the Old French word maistre, and the Old English word maister.

"There are three places called 'Les Moutiers,' 'Monasteria,' in the department of Calvados in Normandy; but if he were a Breton, as seems probable, Moutiers near La Guerche may be the more likely place for him to have come from. Robert, however, was no doubt a near relation of 'Lisois de Monasteriis,' a brave knight in the Conqueror's army in the Northern campaign of 1069, who, when the river Aire had stopped their progress for three weeks, sought for a ford both above and below, and at last with great difficulty discovered one, by which he crossed over at the head of sixty bold men-at-arms, and though assailed by the enemy with great force stoutly held his ground." [1]

Early Origins of the Masters family

The surname Masters was first found in Yorkshire where "Robert 'de Mosters' was a tenant of Earl Alan's in Yorkshire 1086, and also held Truswell in Nottinghamshire, part of the great Richmond Fee." [1]

According to Thoroton, Truswell or Tireswell was held by seven generations of Robert's descendants. Lisiardus de Monasterio, and Gundra his sister, occur in the county 1194-99 (Rotuli Curiae Regis): and Robert, in 1279, held two fees " pro Warda Castri de Richmond." - Gale's Richmondshire.

Early History of the Masters family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Masters research. Another 92 words (7 lines of text) covering the years 1086, 1600, 1662, 1627, 1624, 1680, 1660, 1637, 1680, 1627, 1684, 1610, 1691, 1639, 1640, 1653, 1661, 1679, 1687, 1663, 1710, 1685, 1690, 1675, 1720 and 1715 are included under the topic Early Masters History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Masters Spelling Variations

A multitude of spelling variations characterize Norman surnames. Many variations occurred because Old and Middle English lacked any definite spelling rules. The introduction of Norman French to England also had a pronounced effect, as did the court languages of Latin and French. Therefore, one person was often referred to by several different spellings in a single lifetime. The various spellings include Master, Masters, Mosters, Measter, DeMaster and many more.

Early Notables of the Masters family (pre 1700)

Outstanding amongst the family at this time was Sir Streynsham Master; Sir William Master (1600-1662) was an English politician, High Sheriff of Gloucestershire in 1627; his son Thomas Master (1624-1680), an English politician who sat in the House of Commons in 1660; John Master (1637-c.1680), an English physician; William Master (1627-1684), an English divine and writer; Sir Edward Master(s) (1610-1691), an English politician...
Another 63 words (4 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Masters Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Masters World Ranking

In the United States, the name Masters is the 1,688th most popular surname with an estimated 17,409 people with that name. [2] However, in Australia, the name Masters is ranked the 610th most popular surname with an estimated 6,408 people with that name. [3] And in New Zealand, the name Masters is the 606th popular surname with an estimated 1,192 people with that name. [4]


United States Masters migration to the United States +

Many English families left England, to avoid the chaos of their homeland and migrated to the many British colonies abroad. Although the conditions on the ships were extremely cramped, and some travelers arrived diseased, starving, and destitute, once in the colonies, many of the families prospered and made valuable contributions to the cultures of what would become the United States and Canada. Research into the origins of individual families in North America has revealed records of the immigration of a number of people bearing the name Masters or a variant listed above:

Masters Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Michaell Masters, aged 21, who landed in Virginia in 1635 [5]
  • Jo Masters, aged 23, who landed in Virginia in 1635 [5]
  • Nathaniel Masters, who arrived in New England in 1659 [5]
  • Rich Masters, who landed in Virginia in 1664 [5]
  • Charles Masters, who arrived in Maryland in 1664 [5]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Masters Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Stephen Bunnet Masters, who landed in New York in 1828 [5]
  • Mr. Edward Masters, (b. 1864), aged 29, Cornish labourer, from Bodmin, Cornwall, UK travelling aboard the ship "Teutonic" arriving at Ellis Island, New York on 29th March 1893 en route to Chicago, USA [6]
  • Mr. Ernest Masters, (b. 1872), aged 25, Cornish farmer, from Bodmin, Cornwall, UK travelling aboard the ship "Umbria" arriving at Ellis Island, New York on 22nd June 1897 en route to Holcomb, Illinois, USA [6]
Masters Settlers in United States in the 20th Century
  • Miss Mary Agnes Masters, (b. 1895), aged 8, Cornish settler, from Penryn, Cornwall, UK travelling aboard the ship "St Louis" arriving at Ellis Island, New York on 26th September 1903 en route to Carbondale, Pennsylvania, USA [6]
  • Miss Ruth Masters, (b. 1900), aged 3, Cornish settler, from Penryn, Cornwall, UK travelling aboard the ship "St Louis" arriving at Ellis Island, New York on 26th September 1903 en route to Carbondale, Pennsylvania, USA [6]
  • Mr. Thomas Henry Masters, (b. 1893), aged 10, Cornish settler, from Penryn, Cornwall, UK travelling aboard the ship "St Louis" arriving at Ellis Island, New York on 26th September 1903 en route to Carbondale, Pennsylvania, USA [6]
  • Mrs. Eliza Masters, (b. 1860), aged 43, American returning from Cornwall, UK travelling aboard the ship "New York" arriving at Ellis Island, New York on 3rd October 1903 en route to Carbondale, Pennsylvania, USA [6]
  • Mrs. Elvira Masters, (b. 1860), aged 43, Cornish settler travelling aboard the ship "New York" arriving at Ellis Island, New York on 3rd October 1903 en route to Carbondale, Pennsylvania, USA [6]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Canada Masters migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Masters Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • Miss. Margaret Masters, aged 10 who immigrated to Canada, arriving at the Grosse Isle Quarantine Station in Quebec aboard the ship "Tamarac" departing from the port of Liverpool, England but died on Grosse Isle in July 1847 [7]

Australia Masters migration to Australia +

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

Masters Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mr. James Masters, English convict who was convicted in Somerset, England for 14 years for larceny, transported aboard the "Caledonia" in 19th June 1822, arriving in Tasmania ( Van Diemen's Land), he died in 1834 [8]
  • Joseph Masters, a cooper, who arrived in Van Diemen’s Land (now Tasmania) sometime between 1825 and 1832
  • Mr. Richard Masters, (b. 1802), aged 28, English ploughman who was convicted in Ely (Isle of Ely), Cambridgeshire, England for 7 years for larceny, transported aboard the "Clyde" on 20th August 1830, arriving in Tasmania ( Van Diemen's Land), he died in 1842 [9]
  • Mr. John Masters, (Hall, James), British Convict who was convicted in London, England for 14 years, transported aboard the " Dunvegan Castle" on 13th March 1830, arriving in New South Wales, Australia [10]
  • Mr. Ben Masters, British convict who was convicted in Bermuda for life, transported aboard the "Augusta Jessie" on 27 September 1834, arriving in Tasmania ( Van Diemen's Land) [11]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

New Zealand Masters 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:

Masters Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Arthur Masters, who landed in Wellington, New Zealand in 1840
  • Joseph Masters, who landed in Wellington, New Zealand in 1841
  • Arthur Masters, aged 32, a farm labourer, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Clifton" in 1842
  • Charlotte Masters, aged 31, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Clifton" in 1842
  • Ann Masters, aged 10, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Clifton" in 1842
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

West Indies Masters 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. [12]
  • Mr. Warren Masters, (b. 1536), aged 98, British settler travelling from Gravesend, UK aboard the ship "Hopewell" arriving in Barbados on 17th February 1634 [5]
Masters Settlers in West Indies in the 17th Century
  • William Masters, aged 21, who arrived in Barbados in 1634 [5]

Contemporary Notables of the name Masters (post 1700) +

  • Lisa Lynn Masters (1963-2016), American actress, known for her roles on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Ugly Betty and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
  • Gerald Masters (1955-2007), American musician, solo artist and songwriter
  • William Howell Masters (1915-2001), American gynecologist, best known as the senior member of the Masters and Johnson research team
  • Edgar Lee Masters (1868-1950), American poet and novelist, probably best known for "Spoon River Anthology"
  • George L. Masters, American Republican politician, Postmaster at Boonville, Indiana, 1878-85 [13]
  • Frank Masters, American Democratic Party politician, Chair of McDonald County Democratic Party, 1949 [13]
  • Elmond B. Masters, American Democratic Party politician, Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Texas, 1996 [13]
  • Edward Eugene Masters (b. 1924), American politician, U.S. Ambassador to Bangladesh, 1976-77; Indonesia, 1977 [13]
  • Earle W. Masters, American Republican politician, Mayor of Maumee, Ohio; Elected 1927; Defeated in primary, 1931, 1933 [13]
  • E. H. Masters, American politician, Mayor of Beaverton, Oregon, 1943-45 [13]
  • ... (Another 28 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

HMS Hood
  • Mr. Gordon H T Masters (b. 1924), English Boy 1st Class serving for the Royal Navy from Shoreham, Sussex, England, who sailed into battle and died in the sinking [14]
HMS Prince of Wales
  • Mr. William Frederick Charles Masters, British Ordinary Seaman, who sailed into battle on the HMS Prince of Wales and died in the sinking [15]
HMS Royal Oak
  • Dennis W. Masters, British Seaman with the Royal Navy aboard the HMS Royal Oak when she was torpedoed by U-47 and sunk; he survived the sinking [16]
USS Arizona
  • Mr. Dayton Monroe Masters, American Gunner's Mate Third Class from Texas, 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 [17]


The Masters 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: Non minor est virtus quam quaerere parta tueri
Motto Translation: It is no less an achievement to keep possession than to acquire it.


  1. ^ Cleveland, Dutchess of The Battle Abbey Roll with some Account of the Norman Lineages. London: John Murray, Abermarle Street, 1889. Print. Volume 3 of 3
  2. ^ https://namecensus.com/most_common_surnames.htm
  3. ^ https://forebears.io/australia/surnames
  4. ^ https://forebears.io/new-zealand/surnames
  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. ^ Cornwall Online Parish Clerks. (Retrieved 3rd May 2018). Retrieved from http://www.opc-cornwall.org/Resc/pdfs/emigration_ellis_island_1892_on.pdf
  7. ^ Charbonneau, André, and Doris Drolet-Dubé. A Register of Deceased Persons at Sea and on Grosse Île in 1847. The Minister of Canadian Heritage, 1997. ISBN: 0-660-198/1-1997E (p. 41)
  8. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 30th November 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/caledonia
  9. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 19th February 2021). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/clyde
  10. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 12th August 2021). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/dunvegan-castle
  11. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 14th August 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/augusta-jessie
  12. ^ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_West_Indies
  13. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, November 13) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html
  14. ^ H.M.S. Hood Association-Battle Cruiser Hood: Crew Information - H.M.S. Hood Rolls of Honour, Men Lost in the Sinking of H.M.S. Hood, 24th May 1941. (Retrieved 2016, July 15) . Retrieved from http://www.hmshood.com/crew/memorial/roh_24may41.htm
  15. ^ HMS Prince of Wales Crew members. (Retrieved 2014, April 9) . Retrieved from http://www.forcez-survivors.org.uk/biographies/listprincecrew.html
  16. ^ Ships hit by U-boats crew list HMS Royal Oak (08) - (Retrieved 2018 February, 9th) - retrieved from https://uboat.net/allies/merchants/crews/ship68.html
  17. ^ 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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