Merriam History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The ancestors of the Celtic name Merriam came from the rugged landscape of Wales. This old, proud name derives from the personal name Meuric, which is the Welsh form of Maurice. The surname Merriam is ultimately derived from the Latin personal name Mauritius, which means "dark." [1] In Britain, Maurice was the learned form of the name, while Morice was the common form.

Early Origins of the Merriam family

The surname Merriam was first found in Anglesey (Welsh: Ynys Môn), a Welsh-speaking island, and present day County of Isle of Anglesey, located at the northwestern extremity of Wales. The family was traditionally understood to be descended from Mrien, Lord of Rheged, through Cadaval Ynad, a Judge of Powys, who lived about 1190.

The senior branch of the line settled in Anglesey where Samuel Cadaval was Lord of Cydywain. His son, Tudor ap Madoc, married the daughter of the Prince of North Wales. Einiawn Ap David, his successor was Usher at the Palace of Sheen.

Early History of the Merriam family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Merriam research. Another 158 words (11 lines of text) covering the years 1379, 1588, 1558, 1582, 1610, 1485, 1505, 1566, 1538, 1599, 1576, 1599, 1556, 1601, 1563, 1640, 1636, 1713, 1674, 1712, 1714, 1666 and 1660 are included under the topic Early Merriam History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Merriam Spelling Variations

There are relatively few surnames native to Wales, but they have an inordinately large number of spelling variations. Early variations of Welsh surnames can be explained by the fact that very few people in the early Middle Ages were literate. Priests and the few other literate people were responsible for recording names in official documents. And because most people could not specific how to properly record their names it was up to the individual recorder of that time to determine how a spoken name should be recorded. Variations due to the imprecise or improper recording of a name continued later in history when names originally composed in the Brythonic Celtic, language of Wales, known by natives as Cymraeg, were transliterated into English. Welsh names that were documented in English often changed dramatically since the native language of Wales, which was highly inflected, did not copy well. Occasionally, however, spelling variations were carried out according to an individual's specific design: a branch loyalty within the family, a religious adherence, or even patriotic affiliations could be indicated by minor variations. The spelling variations of the name Merriam have included Merrick, Merick, Meyrick, Meynik and others.

Early Notables of the Merriam family (pre 1700)

Prominent amongst the family during the late Middle Ages was Llewelyn ap Meyrick who fought at the Bbattle of Bosworth on August 22, 1485 for Henry Tudor; and his son, Meurig ap Llewelyn, who became captain of the bodyguard for Henry VIII, he was granted the Crown Lease of Aberffraw manor; Rowland Meyrick (1505-1566), born at Bodargan in the parish of Llangadwaladr, Anglesey, a Welsh bishop of Bangor; John Meyrick (or Merick, Mericke, or Merrick), M.A. (1538-1599), an Anglican clergyman who served in the Church of England...
Another 86 words (6 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Merriam Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Merriam family to Ireland

Some of the Merriam family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 36 words (3 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Merriam migration to the United States +

Many Welsh families joined their Scottish and Irish neighbors during the late 1800s and early 1900s in seeking refuge in North America. Like the Irish and Scottish, many Welsh anxiously awaited the work, freedom, and opportunities that they believed lay in North America. Those who did journey over to the United States and what became known as Canada often realized those dreams, but only through much toil and perseverance. Whenever and however these Welsh immigrants arrived in North America, they were instrumental in the creation of the industry, commerce, and cultural heritage within those two developing nations. In the immigration and passenger lists a number of early immigrants bearing the name Merriam were found:

Merriam Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Joseph Merriam, who landed in Massachusetts in 1638 [2]
  • William Merriam, who arrived in Massachusetts in 1638 [2]

Contemporary Notables of the name Merriam (post 1700) +

  • William W. Merriam, American politician, U.S. Consul in Gaspé, 1856-61 [3]
  • William R. Merriam (b. 1894), American Republican politician, Member of Wisconsin State Assembly from Rock County 1st District; Elected 1956, 1958 [3]
  • William Rush Merriam (1849-1931), American Republican politician, Member of Minnesota State House of Representatives, 1883, 1887; Speaker of the Minnesota State House of Representatives, 1887; Governor of Minnesota, 1889-93 [3]
  • Seward L. Merriam, American politician, Mayor of Port Huron, Michigan, 1893 [3]
  • Robert E. Merriam, American Republican politician, Candidate for Mayor of Chicago, Illinois, 1955 [3]
  • Nathaniel Merriam (1769-1847), American politician, Member of New York State Assembly from Lewis County, 1810-11, 1819-20 [3]
  • Nathan Merriam (b. 1849), American politician, Representative from Nebraska 2nd District, 1914 [3]
  • Joseph W. Merriam, American politician, U.S. Consul in Iquique, 1877-98 [3]
  • Jonathan Merriam, American politician, Delegate to Illinois State Constitutional Convention 37th District, 1869-70; U.S. Collector of Internal Revenue for the 8th Illinois District, 1879 [3]
  • John Lafayette Merriam (1825-1895), American politician, Member of Minnesota State House of Representatives 1st District, 1870-71; Speaker of the Minnesota State House of Representatives, 1870-71 [3]
  • ... (Another 18 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)


  1. ^ Lowe, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  2. ^ 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)
  3. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2016, January 29) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html


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