Show ContentsPacker History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Packer is a name of ancient Norman origin. It arrived in England with the Norman Conquest of 1066. It is a name for a wool packer having derived from the Old English word packe. [1] Another source claims that the name was derived for a "person 'employed in barrelling or packing up herrings.' In London, the occupation of the 'packer-and-presser' is a well-known and lucrative one." [2]

Early Origins of the Packer family

The surname Packer was first found in Berkshire, where they held a family seat from ancient times where they were Lords of the manor of Bucklebury. At the time of the taking of the Domesday Book in 1086, a census initiated by Duke William after the Norman Conquest of England in 1066, this manor was held by a Norman noble, Hugolin the Steersman, and consisted of a mill and a church, and the church still has Norman carvings. Conjecturally the Packers descend from this noble.

Not withstanding the Berkshire reference, the first record of the family was found in Bedfordshire. Walter le Packere was listed there in the Hundredorum Rolls of 1273. Later, the Calendarium Rotulorum Chartarum listed Mathew le Packere. [1]

Early History of the Packer family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Packer research. Another 62 words (4 lines of text) covering the years 1614, 1618, 1645, 1648, 1661, 1682 and 1686 are included under the topic Early Packer History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Packer Spelling Variations

Anglo-Norman names are characterized by a multitude of spelling variations. When the Normans became the ruling people of England in the 11th century, they introduced a new language into a society where the main languages of Old and later Middle English had no definite spelling rules. These languages were more often spoken than written, so they blended freely with one another. Contributing to this mixing of tongues was the fact that medieval scribes spelled words according to sound, ensuring that a person's name would appear differently in nearly every document in which it was recorded. The name has been spelled Packere, Packer, Packers, Packar, Packars, Packare, Pacher and many more.

Early Notables of the Packer family

Outstanding amongst the family at this time was

  • John Packer of Shellingford Manor, Berkshire, Clerk of the Privy Seal

Packer Ranking

In the United States, the name Packer is the 4,065th most popular surname with an estimated 7,461 people with that name. [3]

United States Packer migration to the United States +

For many English families, the political and religious disarray that plagued their homeland made the frontiers of the New World an attractive prospect. Thousands migrated, aboard cramped disease-ridden ships. They arrived sick, poor, and hungry, but were welcomed in many cases with far greater opportunity than at home in England. Many of these hardy settlers went on to make important contributions to the emerging nations in which they landed. Among early immigrants bearing the name Packer or a variant listed above were:

Packer Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Thomas Packer, who landed in Virginia in 1623 [4]
  • Mr. Samuel Packer, British settler traveling aboard the ship "Dilligent" arriving in Boston, Massachusetts in 1638 [5]
  • Mrs. Elizabeth Packer, British settler traveling aboard the ship "Dilligent" arriving in Boston, Massachusetts in 1638 [5]
  • Miss Packer, British settler traveling aboard the ship "Dilligent" arriving in Boston, Massachusetts in 1638 [5]
  • Samuel Packer, who landed in New England in 1638 [4]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Packer Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Susanna Packer, who arrived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1708-1709 [4]
Packer Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • E Packer, who arrived in San Francisco, California in 1851 [4]

Canada Packer migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Packer Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
  • Nathaniel Packer, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1760

Australia Packer migration to Australia +

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

Packer Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Miss Alice Packer, British Convict who was convicted in Wiltshire, England for 14 years, transported aboard the "Earl Cornwallis" in August 1800, arriving in New South Wales, Australia [6]
  • Mr. Isaac Packer, British convict who was convicted in Gloucester, Gloucestershire, England for 14 years, transported aboard the "Bussorah Merchant" on 1st October 1829, arriving in Tasmania (Van Diemen's Land) [7]
  • William Packer, who arrived in Kangaroo Island aboard the ship "Hartley" in 1837 [8]
  • Job Packer, who arrived in Kangaroo Island aboard the ship "Hartley" in 1837 [8]
  • Mary Ann Packer, who arrived in Kangaroo Island aboard the ship "Hartley" in 1837 [8]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

New Zealand Packer 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:

Packer Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Mr. Thomas Packer, British settler travelling from London aboard the ship "Harwood" arriving in Auckland, New Zealand on 4th November 1858 [9]
  • Mr. James Packer, (b. 1842), aged 21, British farm labourer travelling from London aboard the ship 'Mermaid' arriving in Lyttelton, Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand on 16th February 1864 [9]

West Indies Packer 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. [10]
Packer Settlers in West Indies in the 17th Century
  • Elizabeth Packer, who settled in Barbados in 1660

Contemporary Notables of the name Packer (post 1700) +

  • Anthony William Packer (1940-2023), born Anthony William Paczkowski, an American author and sportscaster who spent more than three decades as a color analyst for television coverage of college basketball
  • William N. Packer, American Democratic Party politician, Candidate for Connecticut State House of Representatives from Groton, 1930
  • William Fisher Packer (1807-1870), American Democratic Party politician, Newspaper publisher;Pennsylvania State Auditor General, 1842-45; Speaker of the Pennsylvania State House of Representatives, 1847-48
  • Stephen Packer, American Democratic Party politician, Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Oregon, 2008
  • Boyd Kenneth Packer (1924-2015), American religious leader and former educator, President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) from 2008 until his death
  • George Packer (b. 1960), American journalist and novelist
  • Horace Billings Packer (1851-1940), American politician, member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Pennsylvania
  • William Fisher Packer (1807-1870), American politician, Governor of Pennsylvania (1858-1861)
  • Etta E. Packer, American Republican politician, Delegate to Republican National Convention from California, 1932
  • Edward A. Packer, American politician, Prohibition Candidate for U.S. Representative from New York, 1902 (11th District), 1912 (21st District), 1918 (21st District)
  • ... (Another 25 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

  1. Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  2. Lower, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  3. "What are the 5,000 Most Common Last Names in the U.S.?".,
  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. Pilgrim Ship's of 1600's. Retrieved October 6th 2021 from
  6. Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 13th August 2021). Retrieved from
  7. Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 10th November 2020). Retrieved from
  8. State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) HARTLEY 1837. Retrieved from
  9. New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 17th October 2018). Retrieved from
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