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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright © 2000 - 2016


The ancestry of the name Parr dates from the ancient Anglo-Saxon culture of Britain. It comes from when the family lived in the region of Parr which was known in Lancashire as an enclosed area. Parr is a topographic surname, which was given to a person who resided near a physical feature such as a hill, stream, church, or type of tree. Habitation names form the other broad category of surnames that were derived from place-names. They were derived from pre-existing names for towns, villages, parishes, or farmsteads.

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The surname Parr was first found in Lancashire at Parr, where the earliest record of the surname was Sir John Parr (c. 1371), the progenitor of the Parr family which included Catherine Parr, Queen of England. Without a doubt, one of the most famous of the family in the early years was Thomas Parr (1483-1635), the Englishman who was said to have lived for 152 years. Often referred to as Old Parr or Old Tom Parr, his portrait hangs at Shrewsbury Museum and Art Gallery, with an inscription which reads “Thomas Parr died at the age of 152 years 9 months.” He was treated as a spectacle in London, but the change in food apparently led to his death. The king arranged for him to be buried at Westminster Abbey complete with a monument.

Spelling variations in names were a common occurrence before English spelling was standardized a few hundred years ago. In the Middle Ages, even the literate spelled their names differently as the English language incorporated elements of French, Latin, and other European languages. Many variations of the name Parr have been found, including Parr, Par, Parre and others.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Parr research. Another 171 words (12 lines of text) covering the years 1407, 1461, 1434, 1483, 1483, 1517, 1512, 1548, 1543, 1543, 1547, 1592, 1644, 1725 and 1791 are included under the topic Early Parr History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Another 165 words (12 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Parr Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Some of the Parr family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 57 words (4 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Families began migrating abroad in enormous numbers because of the political and religious discontent in England. Often faced with persecution and starvation in England, the possibilities of the New World attracted many English people. Although the ocean trips took many lives, those who did get to North America were instrumental in building the necessary groundwork for what would become for new powerful nations. Some of the first immigrants to cross the Atlantic and come to North America bore the name Parr, or a variant listed above:

Parr Settlers in United States in the 17th Century


  • Joe Parr, who arrived in St. Christopher in 1635
  • Robert Parr, who came to Virginia in 1637
  • Abel Parr, who landed in Massachusetts in 1641
  • Edward Parr, who arrived in Virginia in 1649
  • Thomas Parr settled in Virginia in 1651


Parr Settlers in United States in the 18th Century


  • Alex Parr, who landed in Virginia in 1701
  • Antho Parr, who arrived in Virginia in 1705
  • Alerr Parr, who arrived in Virginia in 1705
  • Jacob Parr, aged 20, landed in Pennsylvania in 1743
  • Johannes Parr, aged 23, arrived in Pennsylvania in 1743


Parr Settlers in United States in the 19th Century


  • Samuel Parr, aged 25, arrived in New York in 1812
  • Margaret Parr, who arrived in New York, NY in 1816
  • Anne Parr, who landed in New York, NY in 1816
  • William Parr, who arrived in New York in 1843
  • Christian Parr, who landed in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1856


Parr Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century


  • Ms. Harriett Parr U.E. who settled in New Brunswick c. 1784 she was part of the Penobscot Association
  • Mr. William Parr U.E. who settled in New Brunswick c. 1784 he was part of the Penobscot Association

Parr Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century


  • Joseph Parr, who arrived in Canada in 1830
  • Henry D Parr, who arrived in Esquimalt, British Columbia in 1862

Parr Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century


  • Chapman Parr arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Hooghly" in 1839
  • John Parr arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Theresa" in 1847
  • E. Parr arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Posthumous" in 1849
  • Edward Parr arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Salacia" in 1850
  • Thomas Parr arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Salacia" in 1850


Parr Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century


  • Thomas Parr arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Westminster" in 1843
  • Thomas Parr, aged 34, arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Westminster" in 1843
  • Jane Elizabeth Parr, aged 31, arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Westminster" in 1843
  • Edward Parr, aged 13, arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Westminster" in 1843
  • Thomas Parr, aged 10, arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Westminster" in 1843


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  • Jack Harold Parr (1918-2004), American two-time Emmy Award nominated radio and television comedian and talk show host of The Tonight Show from 1957 to 1962
  • Jerry S. Parr (1930-2015), American Secret Service Agent who is widely credited with helping to save President Reagan's life on his assassination attempt on March 30, 1981
  • Archer "Archie" Parr (1860-1859), American Texas cattle rancher and politician, nicknamed "the Duke of Duval County"
  • Larry Parr (b. 1942), American chessmaster
  • John Parr (b. 1954), American musician
  • Henry Bingham Parr (1845-1930), English cricketer active from 1872 to 1876
  • George Parr (1826-1891), English cricketer
  • Chris Parr (b. 1944), English theatre director and television executive
  • Mr. George Frederick Parr (1904-1941), Australian Chief Electrical Artificer from Footscray, Victoria, Australia, who sailed into battle aboard HMAS Sydney II on the 19th November 1941 and died during the sinking
  • Mr. William Henry Marsh Parr (d. 1912), aged 29, Irish First Class passenger from Belfast, Ireland who sailed aboard the RMS Titanic and died in the sinking

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  • The Descendants of Richard Parr: Pioneers of Licking County, Ohio by Mariam Parr.
  • The Parr Family: Stephen of Delaware. some of his Descendants and Allied Families by Lucille Parr.
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  1. Elster, Robert J. International Who's Who. London: Europa/Routledge. Print.
  2. Hinde, Thomas Ed. The Domesday Book England's Heritage Then and Now. Surrey: Colour Library Books, 1995. Print. (ISBN 1-85833-440-3).
  3. Bede, The Venerable. Historia Ecclesiatica Gentis Anglorum (The Ecclesiastical History Of the English People). Available through Internet Medieval Sourcebook the Fordham University Centre for Medieval Studies. Print.
  4. Mills, A.D. Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4).
  5. Burke, Sir Bernard. General Armory Of England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales. Ramsbury: Heraldry Today. Print.
  6. Shaw, William A. Knights of England A Complete Record from the Earliest Time to the Present Day of the Knights of all the Orders of Chivalry in England, Scotland, Ireland and Knights Bachelors 2 Volumes. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print. (ISBN 080630443X).
  7. Ingram, Rev. James. Translator Anglo-Saxon Chronicle 1823. Print.
  8. Foster, Joseph. Dictionary of Heraldry Feudal Coats of Arms and Pedigrees. London: Bracken Books, 1989. Print. (ISBN 1-85170-309-8).
  9. Cook, Chris. English Historical Facts 1603-1688. London: MacMillan, 1980. Print.
  10. Marcharn, Frederick George. A Constitutional History of Modern England 1485 to the Present. London: Harper and Brothers, 1960. Print.
  11. ...

The Parr Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Parr Family Crest was drawn according to heraldic standards based on published blazons. We generally include the oldest published family crest once associated with each surname.

This page was last modified on 9 March 2016 at 15:17.

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