Show ContentsMerriman History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Merriman is an ancient Norman name, that would have been used in Britain soon after the Conquest of the island in 1066. This name was given to a person who was a person who was a mischievous child, or who liked to play tricks and make jokes, having derived from the Old French word "marmion," meaning "monkey." [1] [2]

We include this first origin only because of the fact that two noted sources do so. We prefer another source which is just a qualified and we believe more likely.

"They appear to have been a branch of the Tessons. Ralph Tesson, who brought 120 knights of his dependence to the aid of Duke William at the battle of Val des Dunes in 1047, founded c. 1055 the Abbey of Fontenay, near Caen (Gall. Christ xi. 413). A charter of his was witnessed by William Marmion or Marmilon, probably his brother, c. 1070 (Ibid.), who, with his family possessed part of Fontenay. Robert Marmion, his son, Viscount of Fontenay-le-Tesson, passed into England with the Conqueror, and had extensive grants, his descendants a century later holding 17 fees in England and 5 in Normandy (Lib. Niger: Feoda Norm. Duchesne). [3] The Tessons of Normandy bore Gules a fesse Ermine; the Marmions Vair a fesse Gules." [4]

Early Origins of the Merriman family

The surname Merriman was first found in Warwickshire.

"They were, it is said, the hereditary Champions of Normandy; and after the Conquest, Robert de Marmion held the castle and manor of Tamworth that he received Tamworth from the Conqueror 'is verified,' says Dugdale, by an ancient window in this church, where the said King, 'being depicted in his Robes of State, and crowned, stretcheth forth his hand to him, holding a Charter therein, neer the Gate of a faire Castle.' in Warwickshire and Scrivelsby in Lincolnshire by the tenure of performing that office at the King's coronation; being bound 'to ride completely armed upon a barbed horse into Westminster Hall, and there to challenge the combat with whomsoever should dare to oppose the King's title to the crown.' His seat was at Tamworth Castle, the head of his Warwickshire barony." [5]

Robert Marmion (died 1218), the 6th Baron of Tamworth, was an English nobleman, an itinerant justice and was reputed to have been the King's Champion."The chiefs of this great house are stated to have been hereditary champions to the Dukes of Normandy, prior to the Conquest of England: certain it is, that Robert de Marmyon, Lord of Fonteney, Robert de Marmyon, Lord of Fonteney, obtained from his royal master, not long after the battle of Hastings, a grant of the manors of Tamworth, co. Warwick, and Scivelsby, co. Lincoln, the latter to be held 'by service of performing the office of champion at the King's Coronation.' " [6] [7]

Early History of the Merriman family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Merriman research. Another 91 words (6 lines of text) covering the years 1066, 1425, 1489, 1603, 1639, 1449 and 1302 are included under the topic Early Merriman History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Merriman Spelling Variations

Anglo-Norman names tend to be marked by an enormous number of spelling variations. This is largely due to the fact that Old and Middle English lacked any spelling rules when Norman French was introduced in the 11th century. The languages of the English courts at that time were French and Latin. These various languages mixed quite freely in the evolving social milieu. The final element of this mix is that medieval scribes spelled words according to their sounds rather than any definite rules, so a name was often spelled in as many different ways as the number of documents it appeared in. The name was spelled Marmion, Marmyon, Merryman, Merriman and others.

Early Notables of the Merriman family (pre 1700)

Outstanding amongst the family at this time was Baron Marmyon of Tamworth, Simon Marmion (c. 1425-1489), a French or Burgundian Early Netherlandish painter of panels and illuminated manuscript. Shackerley [Shakerley, Shakerly, Schackerley] Marmion [Marmyon, Marmyun, or Mermion] (1603-1639), was...
Another 39 words (3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Merriman Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Merriman Ranking

In the United States, the name Merriman is the 4,441st most popular surname with an estimated 7,461 people with that name. [8]

Ireland Migration of the Merriman family to Ireland

Some of the Merriman family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 30 words (2 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

United States Merriman migration to the United States +

Because of the political and religious discontent in England, families began to migrate abroad in enormous numbers. Faced with persecution and starvation at home, the open frontiers and generally less oppressive social environment of the New World seemed tantalizing indeed to many English people. The trip was difficult, and not all made it unscathed, but many of those who did get to Canada and the United States made important contributions to the young nations in which they settled. Some of the first North American settlers with Merriman name or one of its variants:

Merriman Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Nathaniel Merriman, who settled in Massachusetts in 1632
  • James Merriman, who arrived in Virginia in 1635 [9]
  • Sarah Merriman, who settled in Virginia in 1635 with George, her husband
  • Sara Merriman, aged 20, who arrived in Virginia in 1635 [9]
  • Edward Merriman, who arrived in Virginia in 1654 [9]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Merriman Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Robert Merriman, who landed in New York in 1832 [9]
  • Isaac Merriman, who landed in New York in 1832 [9]
Merriman Settlers in United States in the 20th Century
  • John William Bowman Merriman, who landed in California in 1903 [9]

Australia Merriman migration to Australia +

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

Merriman Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mr. John Merriman, (Merryman), (b. 1805), aged 17, English errand boy who was convicted in Middlesex, England for 7 years for theft, transported aboard the "Eliza" on 13th July 1822, arriving in New South Wales, Australia [10]
  • Mr. John Merriman, English convict who was convicted in Clerkenwell, London, England for 7 years, transported aboard the "Equestrian" on 30th June 1845, arriving in Tasmania (Van Diemen's Island) [11]

West Indies Merriman 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. [12]
Merriman Settlers in West Indies in the 17th Century
  • Mr. George Merriman, (b. 1594), aged 41, British settler travelling from London, England aboard the ship "Alexander" arriving in Barbados in 1635 [13]

Contemporary Notables of the name Merriman (post 1700) +

  • John Mustard Merriman (1946-2022), American historian specializing in modern French history, Charles Seymour Professor of History at Yale University
  • Roger Bigelow Merriman (1876-1945), American historian and a biographer of Thomas Cromwell
  • Truman Adams Merriman (1839-1892), American politician, Member of the U.S. House of Representatives from New York
  • Ryan Earl Merriman (b. 1983), American actor, best known for portraying Jake in The Ring Two (2005)
  • Edgar C. Merriman (1840-1894), American officer in the United States Navy, Commander of the Department of Alaska (1882-1883)
  • Robert E. Merriman (1916-1983), American Tony award winning producer and Drama Desk Award winning actor
  • Robert Hale Merriman (1908-1938), American academic and soldier, Professor of economics at the University of California, Commander of the Abraham Lincoln Battalion of the International Brigades during the Spanish Civil War
  • Shawne DeAndre Merriman (b. 1984), American former NFL football linebacker, nicknamed "Lights Out", NFL sacks leader (2006), AP NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year (2005), Sporting News Rookie of the Year (2005)
  • Richard Peter Merriman (b. 1958), English cricketer
  • The Rt Rev Nathaniel James Merriman DD (1809-1882), English clergyman, 3rd Bishop of Grahamstown (1871-1882)
  • ... (Another 10 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

HMS Cornwall
  • Charles Edward Leo Merriman (d. 1942), British Petty Officer aboard the HMS Cornwall when she was struck by air bombers and sunk; he died in the sinking [14]

Suggested Readings for the name Merriman +

  • A History of the Adams and Evarts Families by John Merriman Adams.

  1. Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  2. Harrison, Henry, Surnames of the United Kingdom: A Concise Etymological Dictionary Baltimore: Geneological Publishing Company, 2013. Print
  3. Liber Niger Scutarii ("Black Book of the Exchequer"), containing reports by county on feudal holdings in England in 1166 (reign of Henry II)
  4. 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)
  5. Cleveland, Dutchess of The Battle Abbey Roll with some Account of the Norman Lineages. London: John Murray, Abermarle Street, 1889. Print. Volume 2 of 3
  6. Burke, John Bernard, The Roll of Battle Abbey. London: Edward Churton, 26, Holles Street, 1848, Print.
  7. Smith, George (ed), Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1885-1900. Print
  8. "What are the 5,000 Most Common Last Names in the U.S.?".,
  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. Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 15th February 2022). Retrieved from
  11. Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 9th May 2022).
  13. Pilgrim Ship Lists Early 1600's retrieved 28th September 2021 from
  14. Force Z Survivors Crew List HMS Cornwall (Retrieved 2018, February 13th) - Retrieved from on Facebook