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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright 2000 - 2015

Where did the English Merriman family come from? What is the English Merriman family crest and coat of arms? When did the Merriman family first arrive in the United States? Where did the various branches of the family go? What is the Merriman family history?

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. As for the name Merriman, nicknames often described strong traits or features of animals. In the pre-Christian era, many pagan gods and demigods were believed to be a mixture of animals and humans, such as the Greek god Pan who was the god of flocks and herds and was represented as a man with the legs, horns and ears of a goat. In the Middle Ages, anthropomorphic ideas, which attributed human qualities and form to gods or animals, were held about the characters of other living creatures. They were based on the creature's habits. Moreover, these associations were reflected in folk tales, mythology, and legends which portrayed animals behaving as humans.


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.

First found in Warwickshire. One of the first records of the surname was Robert Marmion (died 1218), the 6th Baron of Tamworth, an English nobleman, an itinerant justice and was reputed to have been the King's Champion. He claimed descendancy from the lords of Fontenay le Marmion in Normandy, hereditary champions of the Dukes of Normandy.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Merriman research. Another 181 words(13 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.


Another 133 words(10 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Merriman Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.


Some of the Merriman family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 49 words(4 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.


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 settled in Massachusetts in 1632
  • James Merriman, who arrived in Virginia in 1635
  • Sarah Merriman settled in Virginia in 1635 with George, her husband
  • Sara Merriman, aged 20, arrived in Virginia in 1635
  • Edward Merriman, who arrived in Virginia in 1654

Merriman Settlers in United States in the 19th Century

  • Robert Merriman, who landed in New York in 1832
  • Isaac Merriman, who landed in New York in 1832

Merriman Settlers in United States in the 20th Century

  • John William Bowman Merriman, who landed in California in 1903


  • 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)
  • 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
  • Robert E. Merriman (1916-1983), American Tony Award winning producer and Drama Desk Award winning actor
  • Edgar C. Merriman (1840-1894), American officer in the United States Navy, Commander of the Department of Alaska (1882-1883)
  • John M. Merriman (b. 1946), American Charles Seymour Professor of History at Yale University
  • Ryan Earl Merriman (b. 1983), American actor, best known for portraying Jake in The Ring Two (2005)
  • Truman Adams Merriman (1839-1892), American politician, Member of the U.S. House of Representatives from New York
  • Roger Bigelow Merriman (1876-1945), American historian and a biographer of Thomas Cromwell
  • Frank Boyd Merriman PC, KC, OBE, GCVO (1880-1962), 1st Baron Merriman, English Conservative Party politician and judge, Solicitor General for England and Wales (1928-1929) and (1932-1933)
  • Frederick Ward Merriman (1818-1865), English-born, New Zealand politician, 1st Chairman of Committees (1854-1855), Member of the New Zealand Parliament for Suburbs of Auckland (1853-1860)



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

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  1. Best, Hugh. Debrett's Texas Peerage. New York: Coward-McCann, 1983. Print. (ISBN 069811244X).
  2. Bullock, L.G. Historical Map of England and Wales. Edinburgh: Bartholomew and Son, 1971. Print.
  3. Bolton, Charles Knowles. Bolton's American Armory. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1964. Print.
  4. Colletta, John P. They Came In Ships. Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1993. Print.
  5. Shirley, Evelyn Philip. Noble and Gentle Men of England Or Notes Touching The Arms and Descendants of the Ancient Knightley and Gentle Houses of England Arranged in their Respective Counties 3rd Edition. Westminster: John Bowyer Nichols and Sons, 1866. Print.
  6. Burke, Sir Bernard. Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Peerage and Baronetage, The Privy Council, Knightage and Compainonage. London: Burke Publishing, 1921. Print.
  7. Bardsley, C.W. A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6).
  8. Reaney P.H and R.M. Wilson. A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X).
  9. Hinde, Thomas Ed. The Domesday Book England's Heritage Then and Now. Surrey: Colour Library Books, 1995. Print. (ISBN 1-85833-440-3).
  10. Lennard, Reginald. Rural England 1086-1135 A Study of Social and Agrarian Conditions. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1959. Print.
  11. ...

The Merriman Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Merriman Family Crest was drawn according to heraldic standards based on published blazons. We generally include the oldest published family crest once associated with each surname.

This page was last modified on 28 November 2014 at 13:02.

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