Mercer History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The Mercer surname derives from the Old French "mercier," in turn from the Late Latin "mercarius," both meaning merchandise. In Middle English, Mercer was an occupational name for a trader who dealt in textiles.

Interestingly, not all of the family emigrated to England during the Conquest or shortly thereafter as the Magni Rotuli Scaccarii Normanniae lists "Hubert, Hugh, Richard, Odo Mercer or Mercier [in] Normandy 1180-95. Bertin and Buno le Mercier [were also found in] Normandy [at that time.]" [1]

Early Origins of the Mercer family

The surname Mercer was first found in Northumberland but as a frequent occupational name, many records were found in various parts of ancient England. In fact, Serio le Mercer as Lord Mayor of London in 1215 and again from 1218 to 1221. The Hundredorum Rolls of 1273 list: Jordan de Mercer, Lincolnshire; Adelard le Mercer, Oxfordshire; and Ketel le Mercer, Cambridgeshire. The Yorkshire Poll Tax Rolls of 1379 have only one listing of the name: Thomas Mercer. [2]

Without a doubt, Scotland holds the most history for this family. One of the first records there was William Mercer or le Mercer who witnessed two charters in favor of the Abbey of Kelso, c. 1200. A few years later, "Aleumnus Mercer was party with twenty-three others to a bond given by Alexander 11 to Henry III in 1244 to keep the peace. He had a grant of Tillicoultry from Walter, son of Alan. His son and successor of the same name resigned his lands into the king's hands in 1261. A curious story of two Mercers appears in English records, which throws an interesting sidelight on the law of the period. In 1279 'a man unknown was housed at Morpathe (Morpeth) with Geoffrey and William, the mercers of Scotland. The stranger rose through the night and stole their goods to the value of 30s., and instantly fled to Cotinwode, followed by William, who slew him in his flight. Both withdrew themselves and are not discredited. They may return if they will, but their chattels are confiscated for flight' (Apparently it was lawful to pursue a thief with hue and cry and do summary justice on him if found with the goods in his possession. The Mercers erred in not pursuing the thief in the recognized way.) " [3]

Early History of the Mercer family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Mercer research. Another 251 words (18 lines of text) covering the years 1250, 1541, 1272, 1281, 1296, 1332, 1730, 1790, 1605, 1675, 1791, 1866, 1557 and are included under the topic Early Mercer History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Mercer Spelling Variations

Spelling variations of this family name include: Mercer, Mercier, Merser, Marcer and others.

Early Notables of the Mercer family (pre 1700)

Notable amongst the family name during their early history was William Mercer (c.1605-1675), a Scottish poet and army officer in the Engagers army; and John Mercer (1791-1866) English dye chemist who is best remembered...
Another 33 words (2 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Mercer Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Mercer World Ranking

In the United States, the name Mercer is the 835th most popular surname with an estimated 34,818 people with that name. [4] However, in Canada, the name Mercer is ranked the 537th most popular surname with an estimated 9,203 people with that name. [5] And in Australia, the name Mercer is the 841st popular surname with an estimated 4,685 people with that name. [6] New Zealand ranks Mercer as 589th with 1,217 people. [7] The United Kingdom ranks Mercer as 602nd with 10,849 people. [8]

Ireland Migration of the Mercer family to Ireland

Some of the Mercer family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 67 words (5 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Mercer migration to the United States +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Mercer Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Luce Mercer aged 18, settled in New England in 1635
  • Dorcas Mercer and Robert Mercer, who both arrived in Virginia in 1635
  • Luce Mercer, who settled in New England in 1635
  • Dorcas Mercer, aged 30, who arrived in Virginia in 1635 [9]
  • Lucy Mercer, aged 18, who landed in New England in 1635 [9]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Mercer Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Samuel Mercer, who arrived in Georgia in 1741 [9]
  • General Hugh Mercer, who arrived from Scotland after Culloden (1746) and fought in the Revolutionary War
  • James Francis Mercer, who landed in Oswego, NY in 1756 [9]
  • Gideon Mercer, who landed in New York in 1767 [9]
  • Hugh Mercer, who arrived in Virginia in 1777 [9]
Mercer Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • John Mercer, aged 53, who arrived in New York, NY in 1812 [9]
  • Robert Mercer, aged 47, who landed in Maine in 1812 [9]
  • George B Mercer, who arrived in Texas in 1835 [9]
  • Bernard Mercer, who arrived in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1840 [9]
  • Stephen Mercer, who landed in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1867 [9]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Canada Mercer migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Mercer Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
  • Abel Mercer, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1750
  • Capt. Joseph Mercer U.E. born in North Carolina who settled in Kings County, New Brunswick c. 1778 he served in the Loyalist Corps, he died in 1779 [10]
  • Mr. Joseph Mercer U.E. who settled in Canada c. 1784 [10]
  • Mr. Joseph Mercer Sr., U.E. who settled in Canada c. 1784 [10]

Australia Mercer migration to Australia +

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

Mercer Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mr. John Mercer, British Convict who was convicted in York, Yorkshire, England for life , transported aboard the "Commodore Hayes" in April 1823, arriving in Tasmania ( Van Diemen's Land) [11]
  • David Mercer, a plasterer, who arrived in New South Wales, Australia sometime between 1825 and 1832
  • Mr. Henry Mercer, (b. 1806), aged 23, English boot maker who was convicted in Middlesex, England for 7 years for stealing, transported aboard the "Claudine" on 19th August 1829, arriving in New South Wales, Australia, he died in 1872 [12]
  • Mr. William Mercer, English convict who was convicted in Kent, England for life, transported aboard the "Aurora" on 18th June 1835, arriving in Tasmania ( Van Diemen's Land) [13]
  • Mr. Richard Mercer, British Convict who was convicted in Liverpool, Lancaster, England for life, transported aboard the "Asia" on 20th July 1837, arriving in New South Wales, Australia [14]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

New Zealand Mercer 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:

Mercer Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Mrs. Mercer, British settler travelling from London aboard the ship "Harrington" arriving in Wellington, New Zealand on 15th June 1841 [15]
  • John Mercer, aged 27, who arrived in Nelson, New Zealand aboard the ship "Indus" in 1843
  • Sarah Mercer, aged 27, who arrived in Nelson, New Zealand aboard the ship "Indus" in 1843
  • Betsy Mercer, aged 7, who arrived in Nelson, New Zealand aboard the ship "Indus" in 1843
  • Mary Mercer, aged 5, who arrived in Nelson, New Zealand aboard the ship "Indus" in 1843
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

West Indies Mercer 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. [16]
Mercer Settlers in West Indies in the 17th Century
  • Andrew Mercer, who settled in Barbados in 1634
  • William Mercer and his wife Anne, who settled in Barbados in 1678
  • William Mercer settled with his wife Anne and daughter Elizabeth in Barbados in 1678

Contemporary Notables of the name Mercer (post 1700) +

  • Mabel Mercer (1900-1984), English born cabaret singer and recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom
  • Rebekah Mercer (b. 1973), American heiress, foundation director of The Mercer Family Foundation, daughter of billionaire hedge fund manager Robert Mercer
  • Robert Leroy "Bob" Mercer (b. 1946), American computer scientist, early developer in artificial intelligence, co-CEO of Renaissance Technologies, a hedge fund; he played a key role in Brexit campaign and Breitbart News
  • George Barclay "Win" Mercer (1874-1903), American Major League Baseball pitcher who played from 1894 to 1902
  • Matthew Mercer (b. 1982), American voice actor, screenwriter, and film director
  • Johnny Mercer (1909-1976), American lyricist, songwriter and singer and four-time Academy Award winner
  • Gabriela Saucedo Mercer, American Republican politician, Candidate for U.S. Representative from Arizona 3rd District, 2012 [17]
  • Frederick O. Mercer, American Republican politician, Delegate to Republican National Convention from Illinois, 1944 [17]
  • Frank H. Mercer, American Democratic Party politician, Candidate for Connecticut State House of Representatives from Stratford, 1930, 1932 [17]
  • Mrs. Frank Mercer, American Democratic Party politician, Alternate Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Connecticut, 1932 [17]
  • ... (Another 42 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Halifax Explosion
  • Mr. Robert E.  Mercer (1874-1917), Canadian resident from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada who died in the explosion [18]
  • Mrs. Maitland  Mercer (1896-1917), Canadian resident from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada who died in the explosion [18]
HMS Prince of Wales
HMS Repulse
  • Mr. James Mercer (b. 1910), British Stoker 1st Class, who sailed into battle on the HMS Repulse and died in the sinking [20]
SS Newfoundland
  • Mr. John Mercer (1880-1914), Newfoundlander from Bay Roberts, who on the 30th March 1914 he was part of the Seal Crew of the "SS Newfoundland" leaving the ship to intercept the Stephano which took him to the hunting grounds, he disembarked to begin sealing, but was caught in a thickening storm, attempting to return to the Newfoundland he and the 132 crew made camp for two days the sealers were stranded on the ice in a blizzard attempting to return to the ship, he died during this time
SS Southern Cross
  • Mr. John Mercer (1885-1914), Newfoundlander from Upper Island Cove who was aboard the "SS Southern Cross" when it is suspected she sank between the 31st March 1914 and early April during the storm with a heavy load of pelts; no survivors were ever found
  • Mr. John Charles Mercer (1891-1914), Newfoundlander from Upper Island Cove who was aboard the "SS Southern Cross" when it is suspected she sank between the 31st March 1914 and early April during the storm with a heavy load of pelts; no survivors were ever found


The Mercer 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: Crux Christi nostra corona
Motto Translation: The cross of Christ is our crown.


Suggested Readings for the name Mercer +

  • Three Hundred Years in America with the Mercers by Dolores Graham Doyle.

  1. ^ The Norman People and Their Existing Descendants in the British Dominions and the United States Of America. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0636-X)
  2. ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  3. ^ 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)
  4. ^ https://namecensus.com/most_common_surnames.htm
  5. ^ https://forebears.io/surnames/
  6. ^ https://forebears.io/australia/surnames
  7. ^ https://forebears.io/new-zealand/surnames
  8. ^ https://www.surnamemap.eu/unitedkingdom/surnames_ranking.php?p=10
  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. ^ Rubincam, Milton. The Old United Empire Loyalists List. Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc, 1976. (Originally published as; United Empire Loyalists. The Centennial of the Settlement of Upper Canada. Rose Publishing Company, 1885.) ISBN 0-8063-0331-X
  11. ^ Convict Records of Australia (Retrieved 4th March 2021, retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/commodore-hayes)
  12. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 18th February 2021). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/claudine
  13. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 20th August 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/aurora
  14. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 7th February 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/asia/1837
  15. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 17th October 2018). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  16. ^ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_West_Indies
  17. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, November 25) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html
  18. ^ Halifax Explosion Book of Remembrance | Maritime Museum of the Atlantic. (Retrieved 2014, June 23) . Retrieved from https://maritimemuseum.novascotia.ca/what-see-do/halifax-explosion/halifax-explosion-book-remembrance
  19. ^ HMS Prince of Wales Crew members. (Retrieved 2014, April 9) . Retrieved from http://www.forcez-survivors.org.uk/biographies/listprincecrew.html
  20. ^ HMS Repulse Crew members. (Retrieved 2014, April 9) . Retrieved from http://www.forcez-survivors.org.uk/biographies/listrepulsecrew.html


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