Show ContentsMerten History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The Norman Conquest of England in 1066 brought much change to the island nation, including many immigrants with new names. Among these immigrants were the ancestors of the Merten family, who lived in one of the places called Merton in South London, Devon, Norfolk. The family also lived in the places named Marton in Cheshire, Cleveland, Humberside, Lincolnshire, Shropshire, the North Riding in Yorkshire and Warwickshire.

There were also places named Martin in Hampshire and Lincolnshire. All of these place-names were derived from the Old English words mere, which means lake or pool, and tun, which means enclosure or settlement. [1]

Early Origins of the Merten family

The surname Merten was first found in Devon, South London, Norfolk or in Oxfordshire. The South London village is technically oldest as it dates back to Saxon times when it was listed as Mertone in 967. The remaining place name were listed as follows in the Domesday Book: Mertone (Devon); Meretone (South London); Mertuna [2]; and Meretone (Oxfordshire.) [3]

Great Torrington in Devon was home to some of the family in early times. "At a very early period it gave the title of Baron to its lords, who had the power of life and death throughout the lordship. In 1340, Richard de Merton, in whose possession it then was, erected a castle here, of which the chapel was remaining about the close of the last century (1700)." [4]

The London Borough of Merton was formed under the London Government Act 1963 and includes the Merton and Morden Urban District. Merton College is one of the constituent colleges of the University of Oxford.

Continued our quest for early records of the surname, some of the earliest records include Adam de Mertuna in 1189 and Thomas de Marton in the Pipe Rolls of Yorkshire in 1212. [5] The Hundredorum Rolls of 1273 lists John de Merton and William de Merton in Oxfordshire, and Walter de Merton in Norfolk. The Yorkshire Poll Tax Rolls of 1379 listed Alicia de Merton and Thomas de Merton. [6]

"In the reign of Henry III., Walter de Merton (c. 1205-1277), lord high chancellor of England, and afterwards Bishop of Rochester, founded [in Merton, Surrey] a seminary of learning, which he subsequently removed to Oxford, on the foundation of Merton College." [4]

Early History of the Merten family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Merten research. Another 132 words (9 lines of text) covering the years 1277, 1400, 1394, 1277, 1274, 1585 and 1626 are included under the topic Early Merten History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Merten Spelling Variations

A multitude of spelling variations characterize Norman surnames. Many variations occurred because Old and Middle English lacked any definite spelling rules. The introduction of Norman French to England also had a pronounced effect, as did the court languages of Latin and French. Therefore, one person was often referred to by several different spellings in a single lifetime. The various spellings include Mertone, Merton, Merten, Mertens, Mertin, Mertins, Murton, Myrton, Myrtone, Mertoun and many more.

Early Notables of the Merten family (pre 1700)

Another 50 words (4 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Merten Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

United States Merten migration to the United States +

Many English families left England, to avoid the chaos of their homeland and migrated to the many British colonies abroad. Although the conditions on the ships were extremely cramped, and some travelers arrived diseased, starving, and destitute, once in the colonies, many of the families prospered and made valuable contributions to the cultures of what would become the United States and Canada. Research into the origins of individual families in North America has revealed records of the immigration of a number of people bearing the name Merten or a variant listed above:

Merten Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Conrad Merten, who arrived in New York, NY in 1709 [7]
  • Jobs Merten, who landed in America in 1709-1711 [7]
  • Johannes Merten, who arrived in Virginia in 1714 [7]
Merten Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Philip Arnold Merten, who landed in America in 1833 [7]
  • Herm Heinr Merten, who landed in Missouri in 1838 [7]
  • M Gert Merten, who arrived in Cincinnati, Oh in 1845 [7]
  • Lorenz Merten, who landed in Texas in 1846 [7]
  • Charlotte Frid Merten, aged 39, who landed in America in 1846 [7]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Merten Settlers in United States in the 20th Century
  • Elsa Merten, aged 17, who immigrated to the United States from Stinstedt, Germany, in 1908
  • Bertha Merten, aged 21, who settled in America from Esing, Germany, in 1910
  • Adolph Merten, aged 25, who immigrated to the United States from Esing, Germany, in 1910
  • Elvir Merten, aged 34, who settled in America, in 1912

Contemporary Notables of the name Merten (post 1700) +

  • Alan Gilbert Merten (1941-2020), American academic, the fifth President of George Mason University (1996-2012)
  • Walter L. Merten, American Republican politician, Alternate Delegate to Republican National Convention from Wisconsin, 1952; Member of Wisconsin State Senate 5th District; Elected 1954
  • Claire M. Merten, American Republican politician, Candidate for Wisconsin State Assembly from Milwaukee County 18th District, 1938
  • Kenneth Owen "Ken" Merten (b. 1945), American former competitive swimmer, three-time gold medalist at the 1967 Summer Universiade in Tokyo, former world record-holder
  • Kenneth H. Merten, American diplomat and the current United States Ambassador to Croatia
  • Dr. David Merten, American physician and researcher who co-identified the Singleton Merten Syndrome, an autosomal dominate genetic disorder
  • Bjorn Merten, former American football placekicker who played from 1993 to 1996 for the UCLA Bruins
  • Lauri Merten (b. 1960), American LPGA golfer who has had 3 wins on the tour
  • Karl-Friedrich Merten (1905-1993), Polish Commander of the U-boat U-68 in Nazi Germany's Kriegsmarine during World War II, recipient of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves
  • Merten de Keyser (b. 1536), 16th-century French printer and publisher

  1. Mills, A.D., Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4)
  2. Page, William (ed), A History of the County of Norfolk. London: Victoria County History, 1906. Print
  3. Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds., Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8)
  4. Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
  5. Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  6. Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  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