Pearce History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

It was among those Anglo-Saxon tribes that once ruled over Britain that the name Pearce was formed. The name was derived from the baptismal name for the son of Peter. In the religious naming tradition surnames were bestowed in honor of religious figures or church officials. In Europe, the Christian Church was one of the most powerful influences on the formation of given names. Personal names derived from the names of saints, apostles, biblical figures, and missionaries are widespread in most European countries. In the Middle Ages, they became increasingly popular because people believed that the souls of the deceased continued to be involved in this world. They named their children after saints in the hope that the child would be blessed or protected by the saint.

Early Origins of the Pearce family

The surname Pearce was first found in Somerset where one of the first records of the family was listed with an early spelling of the name: Richard Perys, 1 Edward III (during the first year's reign of King Edward III.) The same rolls included Robert Peres; Ralph Peres; and Adam Peres. [1]

Some of the family were also found in Cornwall. "The barton house of Davidstowe, [in the parish of Davistow, Cornwall] which is now inhabited by labourers, and Trehane, now occupied by a farmer, were originally seats of the Pearse family, from whom, together with their estates, they passed in marriage to John Nicholls, Esq. Since that time Davidstowe has again returned to the Pearse family; and, together with the great tithes, is now the property of William Pearse, Esq.. whose residence is at Holwell." [2]

Early History of the Pearce family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Pearce research. Another 110 words (8 lines of text) covering the years 1520, 1548, 1615, 1667, 1661, 1667, 1622, 1691, 1674, 1726, 1630, 1694, 1697, 1714, 1719, 1510, 1603, 1629, 1691, 1772, 1845, 1625, 1699, 1612, 1645, 1690 and are included under the topic Early Pearce History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Pearce Spelling Variations

Until the dictionary, an invention of only the last few hundred years, the English language lacked any comprehensive system of spelling rules. Consequently, spelling variations in names are frequently found in early Anglo-Saxon and later Anglo-Norman documents. One person's name was often spelled several different ways over a lifetime. The recorded variations of Pearce include Pearce, Pierce, Pierse, Pearse, Pears, Peerce, Peers, Peirse and many more.

Early Notables of the Pearce family (pre 1700)

Distinguished members of the family include William Peeris ( fl. 1520), English chronicler, clerk in holy orders and secretary to Henry Algernon Percy, fifth earl of Northumberland. Stephen Perse (1548-1615), was founder of the Perse Grammar School at Cambridge and Fellow of Cambridge College. Sir Edmund Peirce or Pierse (died 1667), of Greenwich, Kent and Holborn, Middlesex, was an English politician, Member of Parliament for Maidstone 1661 to 1667...
Another 66 words (5 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Pearce Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Pearce family to Ireland

Some of the Pearce family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 201 words (14 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Pearce migration to the United States +

Thousands of English families boarded ships sailing to the New World in the hope of escaping the unrest found in England at this time. Although the search for opportunity and freedom from persecution abroad took the lives of many because of the cramped conditions and unsanitary nature of the vessels, the opportunity perceived in the growing colonies of North America beckoned. Many of the settlers who survived the journey went on to make important contributions to the transplanted cultures of their adopted countries. The Pearce were among these contributors, for they have been located in early North American records:

Pearce Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Edward Pearce, who settled in Virginia in 1637
  • John and Judith Pearce, who settled in Boston in 1637
  • Anthony Pearce who settled in Virginia in 1650
  • George Pearce, who settled in Virginia in 1663
  • Robert Pearce, who settled in Barbados in 1685
Pearce Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Thomas Pearce, who settled in Virginia in 1761

Australia Pearce migration to Australia +

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

Pearce Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • James Pearce, English convict from Surrey, who was transported aboard the "Ann" on August 1809, settling in New South Wales, Australia [3]
  • Thomas Pearce, English convict from Berkshire, who was transported aboard the "Arab" on July 3, 1822, settling in Van Diemen's Land, Australia [4]
  • Samuel Pearce, English convict from Middlesex, who was transported aboard the "Albion" on May 17, 1823, settling in Van Diemen's Land, Australia [5]
  • Thomas Pearce, English convict from Surrey, who was transported aboard the "Albion" on May 17, 1823, settling in Van Diemen's Land, Australia [5]
  • James Pearce, English convict from Berkshire, who was transported aboard the "Andromeda" on October 16, 1826, settling in Van Diemen's Land, Australia [6]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

New Zealand Pearce 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:

Pearce Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Mr. Richard E Pearce, (b. 1835), aged 6, British settler travelling from Gravesend aboard the ship "Lord William Bentinck" arriving in Wellington, New Zealand on 24th May 1841 [7]
  • Mrs. Ann Pearce, (b. 1810), aged 46, British settler travelling from London aboard the ship "Sir Edward Paget" arriving in Lyttelton, Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand on 2nd July 1856 [8]
  • Mr. George Pearce, (b. 1817), aged 39, British settler travelling from London aboard the ship "Sir Edward Paget" arriving in Lyttelton, Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand on 2nd July 1856 [8]
  • Mrs. Georgina Pearce, (b. 1821), aged 35, British settler travelling from London aboard the ship "Sir Edward Paget" arriving in Lyttelton, Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand on 2nd July 1856 [8]
  • Mr. George Pearce, (b. 1841), aged 15, British settler travelling from London aboard the ship "Sir Edward Paget" arriving in Lyttelton, Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand on 2nd July 1856 [8]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Contemporary Notables of the name Pearce (post 1700) +

  • The Most Reverend George Hamilton Pearce SM, DD (1921-2015), American prelate, the first Bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Apia, Samoa
  • Jordan Paul Pearce (b. 1986), American professional ice hockey goaltender
  • Stevan Edward "Steve" Pearce (b. 1947), American politician, Member of the U.S. House of Representatives from New Mexico (2011-)
  • Heath Gregory Pearce (b. 1984), American soccer player
  • William Houghton Sprague "W.H.S." Pearce (1864-1935), American painter
  • Alicia Pearce (1917-1966), Emmy Award-winning American actress
  • Edward Pearce (1939-2018), English political journalist and writer from Wenlock, Shropshire, lead writer for The Daily Telegraph and The Guardian
  • Richard Pearce (1835-1868), English Victorian plant collector
  • Ian Anthony Pearce (b. 1974), English former professional footballer
  • Krystian Mitchell Victor Pearce (b. 1990), English professional footballer
  • ... (Another 19 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Halifax Explosion
  • Mr. Robert  Pearce, Canadian Cook aboard the SS Stella Maris from Conception Bay, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada who died in the explosion [9]
HMAS Sydney II
HMS Dorsetshire
  • Richard Ernest Pearce (d. 1945), British Steward aboard the HMS Dorsetshire when she was struck by air bombers and sunk; he died in the sinking [11]
  • Ewart Thomas Pearce (d. 1945), British Able Seaman aboard the HMS Dorsetshire when she was struck by air bombers and sunk; he died in the sinking [11]
HMS Hood
  • Mr. William F Pearce (b. 1907), English Petty Officer serving for the Royal Navy from Dugshai, India moved to Southsea, Hampshire England, who sailed into battle and died in the sinking [12]
  • Mr. Ronald J Pearce (b. 1920), English Leading Supply Assistant serving for the Royal Navy from Portsmouth, Hampshire, England, who sailed into battle and died in the sinking [12]
  • Mr. Harry R Pearce (b. 1917), English Engine Room Artificer 3rd Class serving for the Royal Navy from Portsmouth, Hampshire, England, who sailed into battle and died in the sinking [12]
  • Mr. Arthur S Pearce (b. 1919), English Stoker 1st Class serving for the Royal Navy from Bristol, England, who sailed into battle and died in the sinking [12]
HMS Repulse
  • Mr. Denis Pearce, British Stoker 1st Class, who sailed into battle on the HMS Repulse and survived the sinking [13]
  • Mr. Pearce, British Able Bodied Seaman, who sailed into battle on the HMS Repulse and survived the sinking [13]
  • Mr. Leslie William Pearce, British Stoker 1st Class, who sailed into battle on the HMS Repulse and died in the sinking [13]
  • Mr. Gilbert F Pearce, British Able Bodied Seaman, who sailed into battle on the HMS Repulse and survived the sinking [13]
  • Mr. Anthony F Pearce, British Engine Room Artificer 5th Class, who sailed into battle on the HMS Repulse and survived the sinking [13]
  • ... (Another 2 entries are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
HMS Royal Oak
  • James T. Pearce, British Commissioned Gunner with the Royal Navy aboard the HMS Royal Oak when she was torpedoed by U-47 and sunk; he survived the sinking [14]
RMS Titanic
  • Mr. Alfred Ernest Pearce (d. 1912), aged 24, English Steward from Southampton, Hampshire who worked aboard the RMS Titanic and died in the sinking [15]
  • Mr. John Pearce (d. 1912), aged 28, English Senior Fifth Engineer from Southampton, Hampshire who worked aboard the RMS Titanic and died in the sinking [15]
  • Mr. Ernest Pearce (d. 1912), aged 32, English Third Class passenger from London who sailed aboard the RMS Titanic and died in the sinking [15]
USS Arizona
  • Mr. Alonzo Pearce Jr., American Seaman First Class working aboard the ship "USS Arizona" when she sunk during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on 7th December 1941, he died in the sinking [16]


Suggested Readings for the name Pearce +

  • 961 Pearce, Bartlett, Matthews, Smart, and Allied Families by James Alonzo Matthews Jr., Pearce Pioneers in Kentucky by Marvin James Pearce.

  1. ^ Dickinson, F.H., Kirby's Quest for Somerset of 16th of Edward the 3rd London: Harrison and Sons, Printers in Ordinary to Her Majesty, St, Martin's Lane, 1889. Print.
  2. ^ Hutchins, Fortescue, The History of Cornwall, from the Earliest Records and Traditions to the Present Time. London: William Penaluna, 1824. Print
  3. ^ State Library of Queensland. (Retrieved 2016, October 27) Ann voyage to New South Wales, Australia in 1809 with 200 passengers. Retrieved from http://www.convictrecords.com.au/ships/ann/1809
  4. ^ State Library of Queensland. (Retrieved 2016, October 27) Arab voyage to Van Diemen's Land, Australia in 1822 with 155 passengers. Retrieved from http://www.convictrecords.com.au/ships/arab/1822
  5. ^ State Library of Queensland. (Retrieved 2016, October 27) Albion voyage to Van Diemen's Land, Australia in 1823 with 200 passengers. Retrieved from http://www.convictrecords.com.au/ships/albion/1823
  6. ^ State Library of Queensland. (Retrieved 2016, October 27) Andromeda voyage to Van Diemen's Land, Australia in 1826 with 147 passengers. Retrieved from http://www.convictrecords.com.au/ships/andromeda/1826
  7. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 17th October 2018). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  8. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 26th March 2019). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  9. ^ Halifax Explosion Book of Remembrance | Maritime Museum of the Atlantic. (Retrieved 2014, June 23) . Retrieved from https://maritimemuseum.novascotia.ca/what-see-do/halifax-explosion/halifax-explosion-book-remembrance
  10. ^ HMAS Sydney II, Finding Sydney Foundation - Roll of Honour. (Retrieved 2014, April 24) . Retrieved from http://www.findingsydney.com/roll.asp
  11. ^ Force Z Survivors HMS Dorsetshire Crew List, (Retrieved 2018, February 13th), https://www.forcez-survivors.org.uk/biographies/listdorsetshirecrew.html
  12. ^ H.M.S. Hood Association-Battle Cruiser Hood: Crew Information - H.M.S. Hood Rolls of Honour, Men Lost in the Sinking of H.M.S. Hood, 24th May 1941. (Retrieved 2016, July 15) . Retrieved from http://www.hmshood.com/crew/memorial/roh_24may41.htm
  13. ^ HMS Repulse Crew members. (Retrieved 2014, April 9) . Retrieved from http://www.forcez-survivors.org.uk/biographies/listrepulsecrew.html
  14. ^ Ships hit by U-boats crew list HMS Royal Oak (08) - (Retrieved 2018 February, 9th) - retrieved from https://uboat.net/allies/merchants/crews/ship68.html
  15. ^ Titanic Passenger List - Titanic Facts. (Retrieved 2016, July 13) . Retrieved from http://www.titanicfacts.net/titanic-passenger-list.html
  16. ^ Pearl Harbour: USS Arizona Casualties List Pearl Harbour December 7, 1941. (Retrieved 2018, July 31st). Retrieved from http://pearl-harbor.com/arizona/casualtylist.html


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