Nurse History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Nurse is one of the names that was brought to England in the wave of migration following the Norman Conquest of 1066. The Nurse family lived in Noiers, Normandy, the family's place of residence prior to the Norman Conquest of England in 1066.

Early Origins of the Nurse family

The surname Nurse was first found in 1024, when Gilbert de Noyers witnessed a charter of Duke Richard to Fontanelles. No locations is provided, but it is important to note that this entry was a lifetime (42 years) before the Norman Conquest in 1066.

By the time of the Domesday Book in 1086, "William De Noiers or De Nuers was an under-tenant in Norfolk; and 'the manor of Gothurst, or, as it is now called, Gayhurst in Buckinghamshire was, at the time of the Norman Survey, held under the Bishop of Bayeux by Robert de Nodariis, or Nowers, whose family not long afterwards became possessed of it in their own right.' Almaric de Noers, in the time of Henry III., held one knight's fee of William de Say, 'being (as it may be presumed) the same which Walter Giffard, Earl of Buckingham, 12 Hen. II., then certified that Hugh de Nuers held of him in that county." [1]

"His son William married the heiress of Stoke-­Goldington, and was the father of another Almaric, In 24 Edward I., he was one of those eminent persons who had summons to attend the great council then ordained to assemble at Newcastle-upon-Tyne. In the year following, his name is mentioned as one of the knights of the shire for the county of Bucks, being then written Amary de Nowers. He died 2 Edward II, seized of the manors of Gothurst, Weston, and Stoke Goldington in Buckinghamshire, and of Cestre Parva, in the county of Northampton. Joan his wife died shortly after, 4 Edward II., being then seized of the manor of Lathebury, and of a part of the manor of Cainho, in the county of Bucks." [1]

The family was shown with several spellings, de Noiers, de Noies, de Nouuers, Noers, Nourse.

"William de Noers of Domesday had the custody of thirty-three of the Conqueror's manors in Norfolk, and is said to have stood high in his favour. Ralph de Nuers held Swanton-Nuers (Nowers) of the Bishop of Norwich, and witnesses a deed of Robert Fitz Ralph in the time of Henry II." [1]

The first Lord of the manor was Simon de Noers, and he was succeeded by Robert de Nowers, Lord of the manor of Knossington in 1278.

"Nowers or De Nowers was the ancient form of the name, and as such it occurred in the 18th century in Lincolnshire and Bedfordshire. However, it is probable, as Lipscomb points out, that the principal early home of the name was in Buckinghamshire, where the family of De Nowers possessed great influence in the 12th and 13th centuries, being now represented in that county by the later names of Nourse and Nurse." [2]

Early History of the Nurse family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Nurse research. Another 112 words (8 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Nurse History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Nurse Spelling Variations

Before the advent of the printing press and the first dictionaries, the English language was not standardized. Sound was what guided spelling in the Middle Ages, so one person's name was often recorded under several variations during a single lifetime. Spelling variations were common, even among the names of the most literate people. Known variations of the Nurse family name include Nourse, Norse, Nurse, Nowers, Noers, Noies and many more.

Early Notables of the Nurse family (pre 1700)

More information is included under the topic Early Nurse Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Nurse Ranking

In the United States, the name Nurse is the 8,450th most popular surname with an estimated 2,487 people with that name. [3]


United States Nurse migration to the United States +

To escape the political and religious chaos of this era, thousands of English families began to migrate to the New World in search of land and freedom from religious and political persecution. The passage was expensive and the ships were dark, crowded, and unsafe; however, those who made the voyage safely were encountered opportunities that were not available to them in their homeland. Many of the families that reached the New World at this time went on to make important contributions to the emerging nations of the United States and Canada. Research into various historical records has revealed some of first members of the Nurse family to immigrate North America:

Nurse Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Francis Nurse, who settled in Salem, Massachusetts in 1640
  • Susanna Nurse, who arrived in Virginia in 1658 [4]
  • Joseph Nurse, who settled in Virginia in 1667
  • James Nurse, who arrived in Virginia in 1680
  • Francis Nurse, who landed in New England in 1692 [4]
Nurse Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Peter Nurse, who settled in Maryland in 1718
  • Catherine Nurse, who settled in Virginia in 1773
Nurse Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Samuel Osburn Nurse, who landed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1827
  • Samuel Nurse, who landed in Mississippi in 1892 [4]
  • George Robert Nurse, who arrived in Mississippi in 1898 [4]

Canada Nurse migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Nurse Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
  • Bernard Nurse, who settled in St. John's, Newfoundland in 1723 [5]
  • Edward Nurse, who was on record as a fisherman in Petty Harbour, Newfoundland in 1739 [5]
  • Elizabeth Nurse, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1760

New Zealand Nurse 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:

Nurse Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Jane Nurse, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Avalanche" in 1858
  • Mr. William Nurse, British settler travelling from London aboard the ship "Nourmahal" arriving in Dunedin, Otaga, South Island, New Zealand on 5th May 1858 [6]
  • Miss Mary Nurse, (b. 1840), aged 19, British settler travelling from Gravesend aboard the ship "Roman Emperor" arriving in Lyttlelton, Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand on 26th January 1860 [7]

West Indies Nurse 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. [8]
Nurse Settlers in West Indies in the 17th Century
  • Ann Nurse who settled in Barbados in 1660
  • John Nurse, who settled in Barbados in 1664
  • Robert Nurse, who settled in Barbados with his servants in 1680

Contemporary Notables of the name Nurse (post 1700) +

  • Godfrey Nurse (1888-1968), American Democratic Party politician, Presidential Elector for New York, 1932, 1936, 1944; Delegate to New York convention to ratify 21st amendment, 1933; Member of New York Democratic State Committee, 1934 [9]
  • Godfrey Nurse (1888-1968), American Democratic Party politician, Physician; Surgeon; Presidential Elector for New York, 1932, 1936, 1944; Delegate to New York convention to ratify 21st amendment, 1933; Member of New York Democratic State Committee, 1934 [9]
  • Nick Nurse (b. 1967), American basketball coach
  • Sir Paul Maxime Nurse PRS (b. 1949), British geneticist and cell biologist co-winner of the 2001 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine
  • Kia Nurse (b. 1996), Canadian basketball player
  • Brigadier Henry Scott Nurse (b. 1896), Australian Inspector-General of Munitions from 1948 to 1950 [10]
  • Brigadier Fred Norman Nurse (b. 1899), Australian Royal Artillery officer, Army Headquarters [11]
  • Phil Nurse (b. 1963), British kickboxer and undefeated European Light Welterweight Champion
  • George Edward Nurse VC (1873-1945), Irish recipient of the Victoria Cross


  1. ^ 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
  2. ^ Guppy, Henry Brougham, Homes of Family Names in Great Britain. 1890. Print.
  3. ^ https://namecensus.com/most_common_surnames.htm
  4. ^ 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)
  5. ^ Seary E.R., Family Names of the Island of Newfoundland, Montreal: McGill's-Queen's Universtity Press 1998 ISBN 0-7735-1782-0
  6. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 17th October 2018). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  7. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 26th March 2019). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  8. ^ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_West_Indies
  9. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2016, May 18) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html
  10. ^ Generals of World War II. (Retrieved 2011, August 30) Henry Nurse. Retrieved from http://generals.dk/general/Nurse/Henry_Scott/Australia.html
  11. ^ Generals of World War II. (Retrieved 2011, August 30) Fred Nurse. Retrieved from http://generals.dk/general/Nurse/Fred_Norman/Australia.html


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