Meads History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The name Meads is derived from a variety of sources. Most sources agree the name is derived from "meadow" as in the Anglo-Saxon "meed, what is mowed or cut down. " [1] [2] [3] [4]

One source claims the mead is a "location name in Somerset" [5] and of course, mead is an alcoholic beverage created by fermenting honey with water. This ancient beverage dates back to vessels dated to at least 7000 BCE as discovered in northern China.

Early Origins of the Meads family

The surname Meads was first found in Warwickshire where Richard Mede was listed in the Pipe Rolls for 1199. Later in Essex, John Atemede was listed in the Feet of Fines in 1248; Richard inthemede was listed in Surrey in 1332 and in Yorkshire John del Mede was found in the Yorkshire Poll Tax Rolls of 1379. John a Mede was found in Kent in 1454. In these cases, the name literally meant "dweller by the mead." [6]

Early History of the Meads family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Meads research. Another 87 words (6 lines of text) covering the years 1172, 1630, 1699, 1673, 1754, 1720, 1415, 1475, 1459, 1460, 1458, 1459, 1461, 1462, 1468, 1469, 1586, 1639, 1613, 1627, 1596, 1616, 1653, 1616, 1628 and 1713 are included under the topic Early Meads History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Meads Spelling Variations

The English language only became standardized in the last few centuries; therefore, spelling variations are common among early Anglo-Saxon names. As the form of the English language changed, even the spelling of literate people's names evolved. Meads has been recorded under many different variations, including Mead, Meade, Meades and others.

Early Notables of the Meads family (pre 1700)

Notables of this surname at this time include: Matthew Mead or Meade (1630?-1699), an English Independent minister, the second son of Richard Mead of Mursley, Buckinghamshire. Richard Mead (1673-1754), eleventh child of Matthew Mead, was an English physician whose work, "A Short Discourse concerning Pestilential Contagion, and the Method to be used to prevent it" written in 1720 gave an important understanding of transmissible diseases. [7] Philip Mede or Meade, Meede, (c. 1415-1475) from Mede's Place in Somerset was a wealthy merchant in Bristol and was twice elected a Member of Parliament for Bristol in 1459 and 1460. He was also three-time...
Another 145 words (10 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Meads Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Meads Ranking

In the United States, the name Meads is the 10,865th most popular surname with an estimated 2,487 people with that name. [8]

Ireland Migration of the Meads family to Ireland

Some of the Meads family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. More information about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Meads migration to the United States +

For many English families, the political and religious disarray that shrouded England made the far away New World an attractive prospect. On cramped disease-ridden ships, thousands migrated to those British colonies that would eventually become Canada and the United States. Those hardy settlers that survived the journey often went on to make important contributions to the emerging nations in which they landed. Analysis of immigration records indicates that some of the first North American immigrants bore the name Meads or a variant listed above:

Meads Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Charles Meads, who landed in San Francisco, California in 1851 [9]

Canada Meads migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Meads Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
  • Stephen Meads, aged 25, who arrived in Fort Cumberland, Nova Scotia in 1775

Australia Meads migration to Australia +

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

Meads Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mr. William Meads, British Convict who was convicted in Buckinghamshire, England for life, transported aboard the "Coromandel" on 25th June 1838, arriving in Tasmania ( Van Diemen's Land) [10]

New Zealand Meads 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:

Meads Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Mr. John Meads, (b. 1825), aged 17, British settler born in Yorkshire 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]
  • Mrs. Hannah Meads née Cawthorne, (b. 1819), aged 23, 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]
  • Mr. Joseph Meads, (b. 1803), aged 40, British settler born in Yorkshire 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]
  • Mrs. Ann Meads née Coates, (b. 1818), aged 25, 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]
  • Mr. Joseph Meads, Jr., (b. 1829), aged 13, British settler born in Yorkshire 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]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Contemporary Notables of the name Meads (post 1700) +

  • Johnny Sand Meads (b. 1961), American former NFL football linebacker who played from 1984 to 1992 for the Houston Oilers and Washington Redskins
  • Thomas "Tommy" Meads (1900-1983), English professional footballer who played from 1923 to 1935
  • Stanley Thomas Meads (b. 1938), New Zealand former rugby union footballer who played for the New Zealand National Team from 1961 to 1966, brother of Colin Meads
  • Sir Colin Earl Meads KNZM MBE (1936-2017), New Zealand former rugby union footballer who played 55 test matches, member of the New Zealand National Team from 1957 to 1971


The Meads 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: Toujours pret
Motto Translation: Always ready.


  1. ^ Lower, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  2. ^ Smith, Eldson Coles, New Dictionary of American Family Names New York: Harper & Row, 1956. Print
  3. ^ Harrison, Henry, Surnames of the United Kingdom: A Concise Etymological Dictionary Baltimore: Geneological Publishing Company, 2013. Print
  4. ^ Arthur, William , An Etymological Dictionary of Family and Christian Names. London: 1857. Print
  5. ^ Barber, Henry, British Family Names London: Elliot Stock, 62 Paternoster Row, 1894. Print.
  6. ^ Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  7. ^ Smith, George (ed), Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1885-1900. Print
  8. ^ https://namecensus.com/most_common_surnames.htm
  9. ^ 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)
  10. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 19th March 2021). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/coromandel
  11. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 26th March 2019). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html


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