Merrifield History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The proud Merrifield family originated in Cornwall, a rugged coastal region in southwestern England. In early times, people were known by only a single name. However, as the population grew and people traveled further afield, it became increasingly necessary to assume an additional name to differentiate between bearers of the same personal name. The manner in which hereditary surnames arose is interesting. Local surnames are derived from where the original bearer lived, was born, or held land. The Merrifield family originally lived in Cornwall, in the village of Merryfield.

Early Origins of the Merrifield family

The surname Merrifield was first found in Cornwall and Devon, where this prominent family flourished. Walter Merifild was recorded in Devon in 1200 but it is believed the family had established itself earlier in St. Columb, Cornwall.

"Towards the conclusion of the fifteenth century, [Tacabre, Cornwall] was seized by Richard III. as having been the property of the Duchess of Exeter, the sister of Edward IV. Some time after this it acquired the name of Merrifield, by which appellation it is still known; but from whence this name is derived, cannot be ascertained. It is conjectured to be a corruption of Mary-field, probably from its belonging to the convent of St. Mary de Graces. This manor is of considerable dimensions, extending into the parishes of Whitstone, Tamerton, and St. Stephens near Launceston in Cornwall, and into the parish of Sourton in Devonshire. Connected with this manor of Merrifield is the barton of Tacabre, which still retains its primitive name." [1]

Early History of the Merrifield family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Merrifield research. Another 69 words (5 lines of text) covering the years 1273, 1341, 1584, 1621, 1678, 1659 and 1678 are included under the topic Early Merrifield History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Merrifield Spelling Variations

Cornish surnames are characterized by a multitude of spelling variations. The frequent changes in surnames are due to the fact that the Old and Middle English languages lacked definite spelling rules. The official court languages, which were Latin and French, were also influential on the spelling of a surname. Since the spelling of surnames was rarely consistent in medieval times, and scribes and church officials recorded names as they sounded rather than adhering to any specific spelling rules, it was common to find the same individual referred to with different spellings of their surname in the ancient chronicles. Moreover, a large number of foreign names were brought into England, which accelerated and accentuated the alterations to the spelling of various surnames. Lastly, spelling variations often resulted from the linguistic differences between the people of Cornwall and the rest of England. The Cornish spoke a unique Brythonic Celtic language which was first recorded in written documents during the 10th century. However, they became increasingly Anglicized, and Cornish became extinct as a spoken language in 1777, although it has been revived by Cornish patriots in the modern era. The name has been spelled Merrifield, Merrifild, Merefield, Merrefield, Merrifeild, Merefeild, Maryfield, Meryfield, Meryfeld, Merryfield, Merrivale, Merivale, Marrivale, Merevale, Meervale, Merrivall, Merryvall and many more.

Early Notables of the Merrifield family (pre 1700)

Another 36 words (3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Merrifield Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Merrifield Ranking

In the United States, the name Merrifield is the 6,744th most popular surname with an estimated 4,974 people with that name. [2]


United States Merrifield migration to the United States +

In the immigration and passenger lists a number of early immigrants bearing the name Merrifield were found:

Merrifield Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Mr. James Merrifield, (b. 1858), aged 40, Cornish coachman, from Redruth, Cornwall, UK travelling aboard the ship "Umbria" arriving at Ellis Island, New York on 27th February 1898 en route to Easton, Massachusetts, USA [3]
  • Mrs. Mary J. Merrifield, (b. 1869), aged 30, Cornish settler travelling aboard the ship "New York" arriving at Ellis Island, New York on 22nd April 1899 en route to Long Island, New York, USA [3]
  • Mr. Frederick Merrifield, (b. 1888), aged 11, Cornish settler travelling aboard the ship "New York" arriving at Ellis Island, New York on 22nd April 1899 en route to New York, USA [3]
  • Miss Gladys Merrifield, (b. 1898), aged 1, Cornish settler travelling aboard the ship "New York" arriving at Ellis Island, New York on 22nd April 1899 en route to New York, USA [3]

Australia Merrifield migration to Australia +

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

Merrifield Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • John Merrifield, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Britannia" in 1846 [4]
  • Mr. Henry W. Merrifield, (b. 1825), aged 24, Cornish mason travelling aboard the ship "Elizabeth" arriving in New South Wales, Australia on 23rd July 1849 [5]
  • Mrs. Jane Merrifield, (b. 1824), aged 25, English settler from Plymouth, Devon, England, UK travelling aboard the ship "Elizabeth" arriving in New South Wales, Australia on 23rd July 1849 [5]
  • Mr. Edwin Merrifield, (b. 1849), aged Infant, English settler from Plymouth, Devon, England, UK travelling aboard the ship "Elizabeth" arriving in New South Wales, Australia on 23rd July 1849 [5]
  • Miss Helen Merrifield, (b. 1839), aged 10, Cornish settler departing from London on 17th March 1849 aboard the ship "Elizabeth" arriving in Port Phillip, Victoria, Australia on 23rd July 1849 [6]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

New Zealand Merrifield 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:

Merrifield Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Mr. William Merrifield, Cornish settler travelling from Launceston aboard the ship "Spray" arriving in New Zealand in 1851 [7]
  • Mr. William Merrifield, Cornish settler travelling from Launceston aboard the ship "Spray" arriving in New Zealand in 1852 [7]

Contemporary Notables of the name Merrifield (post 1700) +

  • William Merrifield, American Democratic Party politician, Alternate Delegate to Democratic National Convention from New York, 1936 [8]
  • Mary Merrifield, American politician, Member of Michigan Prohibition Party State Central Committee, 1927 [8]
  • Jennifer Merrifield, American Democratic Party politician, Delegate to Democratic National Convention from West Virginia, 2000 [8]
  • Douglas A. Merrifield, American politician, Mayor of St. Joseph, Missouri, 1967-69 [8]
  • Deborah Merrifield, American Democratic Party politician, Delegate to Democratic National Convention from New York, 1996 [8]
  • Donald Paul Merrifield S.J Ph.D. (1928-2010), American Jesuit and academic, 11th President of Loyola Marymount University (1969-1984)
  • John H. Merrifield (1847-1906), American politician, Speaker of the Vermont House of Representatives (1902-1906)
  • Robert Bruce Merrifield (1921-2006), American professor of Biochemistry, winner of the 1984 Nobel Prize in Chemistry
  • Frederick Merrifield (1831-1924), English entomologist, President of the Royal Entomological Society (1905-1906)
  • Frankie Edward Peter Merrifield (b. 1994), English football midfielder
  • ... (Another 3 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)


  1. ^ Hutchins, Fortescue, The History of Cornwall, from the Earliest Records and Traditions to the Present Time. London: William Penaluna, 1824. Print
  2. ^ https://namecensus.com/most_common_surnames.htm
  3. ^ Cornwall Online Parish Clerks. (Retrieved 3rd May 2018). Retrieved from http://www.opc-cornwall.org/Resc/pdfs/emigration_ellis_island_1892_on.pdf
  4. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) BRITANNIA 1846. Retrieved from http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1846Britannia.htm
  5. ^ Cornwall Online Parish Clerks. (Retrieved 2018, May 30). Ships' Passenger Lists of Arrivals in New South Wales on (1828 - 1842, 1848 - 1849) [PDF]. Retrieved from http://www.opc-cornwall.org/Resc/pdfs/emigration_nsw_1838_on.pdf
  6. ^ Cornwall Online Parish Clerks. (Retreived 3rd May 2018). Retrieved from http://www.opc-cornwall.org/Resc/pdfs/emigration_australia_victoria.pdf
  7. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 26th March 2019). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  8. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2016, January 29) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html


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