Show ContentsMeir History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The history of the name Meir dates back to the ancient Anglo-Saxon culture of Britain. It is derived from a member of the family who worked as a person who held the office of mayor. The surname was originally derived from the Old English word maire, which referred to the officer who was in charge of executing summonses and other legal matters. Therefore, the original bearer of the surname Meir held the office of Mayor. 1

Early Origins of the Meir family

The surname Meir was first found in Cheshire at Mere, a township, in the parish of Rosthern, union of Altrincham, hundred of Bucklow. The place name dates back to the Domesday Book of 1086 where it was first listed as Mera. 2

Literally, the place name means "(place at) the pool or lake," from the Old English word "mere." 3 Alternatively, the surname could have originated at Mere in Wiltshire, a market-town and parish, and the head of a union, in the hundred of Mere. This parish was listed in the Domesday Book, but with the current spelling of Mere. 2

In this case, "the name of this place is derived from the Saxon word Mæra, signifying bounds or limits, and indicates its situation on the borders of the counties of Wilts, Somerset, and Dorset. In 1253, permission was given by Henry III. to Richard, Earl of Cornwall, to build and fortify a castle on his manor of Mere, and the manor has ever since been attached to the duchy of Cornwall. " 4

The family was listed in the Roll of Battle Abbey as companions to William the Conqueror. "The descendants of this Norman knight occupied a prominent position in Staffordshire, in the time of the early Plantagenets. William de Mere occurs as High Sheriff of that county, temp. Edward II., and in the next reign, Peter de la Mere filled the Speaker's chair in the House of Commons. At an early period, the family possessed the manor of Maer, co. Stafford, and are also found resident at Norton, in the Moors. The name is spelt, in ancient deeds, de Mere, de Mare, but the more recent orthography is Mayer. " 5

For centuries the township of Lartington in the North Riding of Yorkshire belonged to the Maire family until the 16th century when it was passed by marriage to the Lawsons, of Brough. 4

Early History of the Meir family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Meir research. Another 158 words (11 lines of text) covering the years 1296, 1379, 1453, 1467, 1477, 1544, 1550 and 1890 are included under the topic Early Meir History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Meir 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 Meir has undergone many spelling variations, including Maire, Myer, Myers, Mair, Maires, Mayers, Meyers, Meire, Meir, Mere and many more.

Early Notables of the Meir family

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

Ireland Migration of the Meir family to Ireland

Some of the Meir family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 85 words (6 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

United States Meir 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 Meir were among those contributors:

Meir Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Bastian Meir, who arrived in Pennsylvania in 1749 6
  • Christoph Meir, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1749 6
  • Conrad Meir, who arrived in Pennsylvania in 1749 6
  • Hans Jacob Meir, who arrived in Pennsylvania in 1749 6
  • Johannes Meir, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1749 6
Meir Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Frederick Meir, who landed in Texas in 1850-1906 6
  • Alexander Meir, who arrived in San Francisco in 1850
  • Alexander Meir, who landed in San Francisco, California in 1850 6
  • Abraham Meir, aged 30, who arrived in New York, NY in 1872 6
  • Abraham Meir, who settled in New York, NY in 1872
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

New Zealand Meir 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:

Meir Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Mr. F. Meir, British settler travelling from London aboard the ship "Simlah" arriving in Otago, South Island, New Zealand in 1851 7
  • Mrs. Mary Ann Meir, British settler travelling from London aboard the ship "Simlah" arriving in Otago, South Island, New Zealand in 1851 7

Contemporary Notables of the name Meir (post 1700) +

  • Theodore Meir Bikel (1924-2015), Austrian-born, American Jewish actor, folk singer, musician, composer, and activist
  • Sir John Meir Astbury (1860-1939), British judge and politician
  • Cyril Meir Scott (1879-1970), English composer, writer, and poet

  1. Lower, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  2. Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds., Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8)
  3. Mills, A.D., Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4)
  4. Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
  5. Burke, John Bernard, The Roll of Battle Abbey. London: Edward Churton, 26, Holles Street, 1848, Print.
  6. 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)
  7. New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 26th March 2019). Retrieved from on Facebook