Merlaw History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms
The name Merlaw reached England in the great wave of migration following the Norman Conquest of 1066. The Merlaw family lived in Northumberland. Their name, however, derives from the family's place of residence prior to the Norman Conquest of England in 1066, Merlai, Normandy. 
Early Origins of the Merlaw family
The surname Merlaw was first found in Northumberland at Morpeth, a parish and borough.
They descend from the "Barons of Morpeth in Northumberland, where the ruins of their castle still overlook the town. The domain was very large, including many adjacent villages, and 'by the rolls of Henry V. is called the barony of Merlay, which shows that Merlay and Morpeth were places originally distinct from each other, the one denoting the hill and the other the valley: at length the distinctions subsided in the general appellation of Morpeth. King Henry I. gave Julian the daughter of Gospatrick Earl of Dunbar in marriage, with a rich dowry, to Roger de Merley, Baron of Morpeth. This Roger founded Newminster, and was interred therein, with his wife and Osbert their son.' " 
Another source confirms this history. "The first certain account preserved of it, is in the grant by the Conqueror of the manor to one of his followers, William de Merlay, whose son Ranulph added largely to his paternal estates by his marriage with Julian, daughter of Cospatrick, Earl of Dunbar; ultimately the family became one of the most powerful in the north of England, and were owners of about a fourth of the county of Northumberland. In 1266, their possessions were vested in two coheiresses, Mary and Isabel, to the elder of whom, wife of William, Baron of Greystock, the manor of Morpeth was allotted." 
Ulgham in Northumberland was home to another branch of the family in ancient times. "This place, in the charter of Henry I. granting right of free chase on it to the Merlay family, is called Elchamp: it was formerly, in part, the property of Newminster Abbey; and the hospital of St. John of Jerusalem also held some lands here." 
Early History of the Merlaw family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Merlaw research. Another 122 words (9 lines of text) covering the years 1066, 1296 and 1296 are included under the topic Early Merlaw History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Merlaw Spelling Variations
Before the advent of the printing press and the first dictionaries, the English language was not standardized. Sound was what guided spelling in the Middle Ages, so one person's name was often recorded under several variations during a single lifetime. Spelling variations were common, even among the names of the most literate people. Known variations of the Merlaw family name include Merlay, Merler, Merle and others.
Early Notables of the Merlaw family (pre 1700)
More information is included under the topic Early Merlaw Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the Merlaw family
To escape the political and religious chaos of this era, thousands of English families began to migrate to the New World in search of land and freedom from religious and political persecution. The passage was expensive and the ships were dark, crowded, and unsafe; however, those who made the voyage safely were encountered opportunities that were not available to them in their homeland. Many of the families that reached the New World at this time went on to make important contributions to the emerging nations of the United States and Canada. Research into various historical records has revealed some of first members of the Merlaw family to immigrate North America: John Merle settled in Virginia in 1636; Lewis Merle settled in Philadelphia in 1852; Claude Merle settled in New Orleans in 1821; William Merlay settled in New Jersey in 1840..