The distinguished surname Meservey originated in Cornwall
, a region of southwest England
that is celebrated in the Arthurian romances of the Middle Ages. Though surnames became common during medieval times, English people were formerly known only by a single name. The way in which hereditary surnames
were adopted in medieval England
is fascinating. As the population of Europe burgeoned, people began to assume an extra name to avoid confusion and to further identify themselves. Under the Feudal
System of government, surnames evolved and they often reflected life on the manor and in the field. Despite the fact that occupational
surnames are rare among the Cornish People
, they nevertheless sometimes adopted surnames derived from the type of work they did. The surname Meservey was an occupational name for a harvester
having derived from the Old French word messier,
Early Origins of the Meservey family
The surname Meservey was first found in Jersey, one of the Channel Islands, where they held a family seat
some say, before the Norman Conquest
in 1066 A.D. by Duke William of Normandy
at the Battle of Hastings.
Early History of the Meservey family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Meservey research.Another 301 words (22 lines of text) covering the years 1685, 1760, 1861, 1928 and 1760 are included under the topic Early Meservey History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Meservey 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 Messervy, Messerwy, Messervey, Misservy, Misservey, Meserwy, Messerwey, Messewey, Messewy, Messarmy, Messarmey, Masservy, Masserwy, Messerly and many more.
Early Notables of the Meservey family (pre 1700)
Another 27 words (2 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Meservey Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the Meservey family to the New World and Oceana
Meserveys were some of the first of the immigrants to arrive in North America: Daniel Messerly arrived in Philadelphia in 1749; Jacob Messerlee settled in Philadelphia in 1840. In Newfoundland, Captain Masservey settled as already noted.
Contemporary Notables of the name Meservey (post 1700)
- Robert Preston Meservey (1918-1987), original name of Robert Preston, American Academy Award nominated stage and film actor, best remembered for his portrayal of "Professor" Harold Hill in The Music Man (1962)
The Meservey 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: Au valeureux coeur rien impossible
Motto Translation: To the valiant heart, nothing is impossible.