Show ContentsMeares History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The Meares surname is thought to derive from either the Old English word "mere," meaning "pond," or from "maere," which meant "boundary." In either case, the name was probably topographic, taken on by someone who lived near one these features.

Early Origins of the Meares family

The surname Meares was first found in Somerset at Meare, a village and civil parish in the union of Wells, hundred of Glaston-Twelve-Hides, north west of Glastonbury. Nearby is Meare Lake Village, the site of an Iron Age settlement. The Abbot's Fish House was built in the 14th century when Adam of Sodbury was the abbot of Glastonbury Abbey. One of the first records of the place name was as Mere, which was listed in the Domesday Book of 1086. 1 The place name literally means "place at the pool or lake." 2

Ancient rolls include various early spellings: Robert atte Mere was listed in the Assize Rolls for Somerset in 1269 and Adam del Mere was recorded in Yorkshire in 1307. 3

Early History of the Meares family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Meares research. Another 62 words (4 lines of text) covering the years 1634, 1659 and 1715 are included under the topic Early Meares History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Meares Spelling Variations

Spelling variations of this family name include: Meares, Mear, Mears, Meer, Meere and others.

Early Notables of the Meares family

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

Ireland Migration of the Meares family to Ireland

Some of the Meares family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 32 words (2 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

United States Meares migration to the United States +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Meares Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Elizabeth, Robert, Henry, John, and Samuel Meares all, who settled in Boston in 1635
  • Henry Meares, who settled in Virginia in 1635
  • Hen Meares, who arrived in Virginia in 1635 4
  • Tho Meares, who arrived in Virginia in 1650 4
  • Ann Meares, who landed in Virginia in 1651 4
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Australia Meares migration to Australia +

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

Meares Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • John Meares, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Orleana" in 1839 5
  • Anna Maria Meares, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Hooghly" in 1846 6

New Zealand Meares 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:

Meares Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Mr. Meares, Australian settler travelling from Sydney aboard the ship "Easby" arriving in Port Chalmers, Otago, New Zealand on 8th January 1875 7

Contemporary Notables of the name Meares (post 1700) +

  • Jim Meares, American Democratic Party politician, Candidate for Missouri State House of Representatives from Jasper County 1st District, 1964 8
  • Iredell Meares, American politician, Candidate for Governor of North Carolina, 1912 8
  • Richard Goldsmith Meares (1780-1862), Irish immigrant to Australia who became an early landholder and public official at the Swan River Colony in Western Australia
  • Leonard Frank Meares (1921-1993), Australian writer of western fiction who wrote over 700 books
  • John Meares (1756-1809), Irish navigator, explorer, and maritime fur trader, eponym of Cape Meares, Oregon
  • Frank Devenish Meares (1873-1952), Australian sportsman who played both cricket and Australian rules football
  • Cecil Henry Meares (1877-1937), British chief dog handler and Russian interpreter on the Antarctic Terra Nova Expedition (1910-1913)
  • Anna Maree Meares OAM (b. 1983), Australian eighteen-time gold medalist track cyclist
  • Ainslie Dixon Meares (1910-1986), Australian psychiatrist, scholar of hypnotism, psychotherapist and prolific author
  • Monty Meares Wyche (1926-2014), American jurist, Division A Judge of the Louisiana 26th Judicial District Court for Bossier and Webster parishes (1969-1988)

USS Arizona
  • Mr. John Morgan Meares, American Seaman Second Class from South Carolina, 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 9

  1. Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds., Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8)
  2. Mills, A.D., Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4)
  3. Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  4. 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)
  5. State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) ORLEANA 1839. Retrieved from
  6. State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) HOOGHLY 1846. Retrieved from
  7. New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 17th October 2018). Retrieved from
  8. The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, November 4) . Retrieved from
  9. Pearl Harbour: USS Arizona Casualties List Pearl Harbour December 7, 1941. (Retrieved 2018, July 31st). Retrieved from on Facebook