Show ContentsMerser History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The Merser surname derives from the Old French "mercier," in turn from the Late Latin "mercarius," both meaning merchandise. In Middle English, Merser was an occupational name for a trader who dealt in textiles.

Interestingly, not all of the family emigrated to England during the Conquest or shortly thereafter as the Magni Rotuli Scaccarii Normanniae lists "Hubert, Hugh, Richard, Odo Mercer or Mercier [in] Normandy 1180-95. Bertin and Buno le Mercier [were also found in] Normandy [at that time.]" [1]

Early Origins of the Merser family

The surname Merser was first found in Northumberland but as a frequent occupational name, many records were found in various parts of ancient England. In fact, Serio le Mercer as Lord Mayor of London in 1215 and again from 1218 to 1221. The Hundredorum Rolls of 1273 list: Jordan de Mercer, Lincolnshire; Adelard le Mercer, Oxfordshire; and Ketel le Mercer, Cambridgeshire. The Yorkshire Poll Tax Rolls of 1379 have only one listing of the name: Thomas Mercer. [2]

Without a doubt, Scotland holds the most history for this family. One of the first records there was William Mercer or le Mercer who witnessed two charters in favor of the Abbey of Kelso, c. 1200. A few years later, "Aleumnus Mercer was party with twenty-three others to a bond given by Alexander 11 to Henry III in 1244 to keep the peace. He had a grant of Tillicoultry from Walter, son of Alan. His son and successor of the same name resigned his lands into the king's hands in 1261. A curious story of two Mercers appears in English records, which throws an interesting sidelight on the law of the period. In 1279 'a man unknown was housed at Morpathe (Morpeth) with Geoffrey and William, the mercers of Scotland. The stranger rose through the night and stole their goods to the value of 30s., and instantly fled to Cotinwode, followed by William, who slew him in his flight. Both withdrew themselves and are not discredited. They may return if they will, but their chattels are confiscated for flight' (Apparently it was lawful to pursue a thief with hue and cry and do summary justice on him if found with the goods in his possession. The Mercers erred in not pursuing the thief in the recognized way.) " [3]

Early History of the Merser family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Merser research. Another 251 words (18 lines of text) covering the years 1250, 1541, 1272, 1281, 1296, 1332, 1730, 1790, 1605, 1675, 1791, 1866, 1557 and are included under the topic Early Merser History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Merser Spelling Variations

Spelling variations of this family name include: Mercer, Mercier, Merser, Marcer and others.

Early Notables of the Merser family (pre 1700)

Notable amongst the family name during their early history was William Mercer (c.1605-1675), a Scottish poet and army officer in the Engagers army; and John Mercer (1791-1866) English dye chemist who is best remembered...
Another 33 words (2 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Merser Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Merser family to Ireland

Some of the Merser family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 67 words (5 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Australia Merser migration to Australia +

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

Merser Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • John Merser, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Success" in 1848 [4]

New Zealand Merser 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:

Merser Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Mrs. Elizabeth Merser, (b. 1839), aged 45, Cornish cook departing on 31st May 1884 aboard the ship "Ruapehu" going to Bluff or Otago, New Zealand arriving in port on 14th July 1884 [5]
  • Miss Elizabeth Merser, (b. 1862), aged 22, Cornish Housemaid departing on 31st May 1884 aboard the ship "Ruapehu" going to Bluff or Otago, New Zealand arriving in port on 14th July 1884 [5]
  • Miss Fanny G. Merser, (b. 1868), aged 16, Cornish cook departing on 31st May 1884 aboard the ship "Ruapehu" going to Bluff or Otago, New Zealand arriving in port on 14th July 1884 [5]
  • Mrs. Mary A. Merser, (b. 1847), aged 37, Cornish Housekeeper departing on 31st May 1884 aboard the ship "Ruapehu" going to Bluff or Otago, New Zealand arriving in port on 14th July 1884 [5]

West Indies Merser 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. [6]
Merser Settlers in West Indies in the 17th Century
  • Robert Merser, aged 28, who arrived in Jamaica in 1684 [7]

The Merser Motto +

The motto was originally a war cry or slogan. Mottoes first began to be shown with arms in the 14th and 15th centuries, but were not in general use until the 17th century. Thus the oldest coats of arms generally do not include a motto. Mottoes seldom form part of the grant of arms: Under most heraldic authorities, a motto is an optional component of the coat of arms, and can be added to or changed at will; many families have chosen not to display a motto.

Motto: Crux Christi nostra corona
Motto Translation: The cross of Christ is our crown.

  1. 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)
  2. Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  3. Black, George F., The Surnames of Scotland Their Origin, Meaning and History. New York: New York Public Library, 1946. Print. (ISBN 0-87104-172-3)
  4. State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) SUCCESS 1848. Retrieved from
  5. Cornwall Online Parish Clerks. (Retrieved 2018, April 30). Emigrants to other ports, 1872 - 84 [PDF]. Retrieved from
  7. 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) on Facebook