Show ContentsPier History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The ancient Anglo-Saxon surname Pier came 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 Pier family

The surname Pier 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 Pier family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Pier 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 Pier History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Pier Spelling Variations

Sound was what guided spelling in the essentially pre-literate Middle Ages, so one person's name was often recorded under several variations during a single lifetime. Also, before the advent of the printing press and the first dictionaries, the English language was not standardized. Therefore, spelling variations were common, even among the names of the most literate people. Known variations of the Pier family name include Pearce, Pierce, Pierse, Pearse, Pears, Peerce, Peers, Peirse and many more.

Early Notables of the Pier 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 Pier Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Pier Ranking

In the United States, the name Pier is the 11,001st most popular surname with an estimated 2,487 people with that name. [3]

Ireland Migration of the Pier family to Ireland

Some of the Pier 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 Pier migration to the United States +

For political, religious, and economic reasons, thousands of English families boarded ships for Ireland, the Canadas, the America colonies, and many of smaller tropical colonies in the hope of finding better lives abroad. Although the passage on the cramped, dank ships caused many to arrive in the New World diseased and starving, those families that survived the trip often went on to make valuable contributions to those new societies to which they arrived. Early immigrants bearing the Pier surname or a spelling variation of the name include:

Pier Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Arent Theunisz Pier, who landed in New York in 1661 [4]
Pier Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Georg Phillip Pier, who arrived in Pennsylvania in 1732 [4]
Pier Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Pieter Kleine Pier, aged 28, who landed in New York in 1849 [4]
  • Lena Kleine Pier, aged 2, who arrived in New York in 1849 [4]
  • Johanna Kleine Pier, who landed in New York in 1849 [4]
  • Jan Kleine Pier, aged 33, who arrived in New York in 1849 [4]
  • Helena Kleine Pier, aged 29, who landed in New York in 1849 [4]

Canada Pier migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Pier Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • Sarah Pier, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1832

Contemporary Notables of the name Pier (post 1700) +

  • Tom Pier, American Democratic Party politician, Presidential Elector for California, 1996 [5]
  • Solomon Pier, American politician, Member of New York State Assembly from Otsego County, 1803-04 [5]
  • Martha Pier Woodard, American Republican politician, Presidential Elector for Michigan, 1924; Presidential Elector for Michigan, 1924 [6]
  • Pier Paolo Pasolini (1922-1975), Italian film director, poet, writer, and intellectual who was murdered on 2 November 1975 on the beach at Ostia
  • Pier Paolo Capponi (1938-2018), Italian actor and screenwriter
  • Pier Achille "Pirro" Cuniberti (1923-2016), Italian artist
  • Dr. Pier Massimo Forni (b. 1952), Italian professor at Johns Hopkins University, co-founded and currently directs the Civility Project at Johns Hopkins
  • Pier Angeli (1932-1971), born Anna Maria Pierangeli, Italian-born, American Golden Globe Award winning television and film actress
  • Pier Giorgio Perotto (1930-2002), Italian computer engineer, best known for the innovative Program 101 for Olivetti, the first model of personal computer in 1965, eponym of the 12222 Perotto (1982 WA), a main-belt asteroid
  • Pier Giorgio Di Cicco (b. 1949), Italian-Canadian poet

  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. "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. The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, October 20) . Retrieved from
  6. The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, November 25) . Retrieved from on Facebook