Pierce History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The history of the name Pierce begins with the Anglo-Saxon tribes of Britain. It is 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 Pierce family

The surname Pierce 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 Pierce family

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

Pierce Spelling Variations

The English language only became standardized in the last few centuries; therefore, spelling variations are common among early Anglo-Saxon names. As the form of the English language changed, even the spelling of literate people's names evolved. Pierce has been recorded under many different variations, including Pearce, Pierce, Pierse, Pearse, Pears, Peerce, Peers, Peirse and many more.

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

Pierce Ranking

In the United States, the name Pierce is the 167th most popular surname with an estimated 139,272 people with that name. [3] However, in Newfoundland, Canada, the name Pierce is ranked the 681st most popular surname with an estimated 64 people with that name. [4]

Ireland Migration of the Pierce family to Ireland

Some of the Pierce 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 Pierce migration to the United States +

For many English families, the political and religious disarray that shrouded England made the far away New World an attractive prospect. On cramped disease-ridden ships, thousands migrated to those British colonies that would eventually become Canada and the United States. Those hardy settlers that survived the journey often went on to make important contributions to the emerging nations in which they landed. Analysis of immigration records indicates that some of the first North American immigrants bore the name Pierce or a variant listed above:

Pierce Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Abraham Pierce, who arrived in Plymouth, Massachusetts in 1623 [5]
  • Experience Pierce, who settled in Salem in 1630
  • Isaac Pierce, who arrived in Massachusetts in 1632 [5]
  • William Pierce, who landed in Boston, Massachusetts in 1633 [5]
  • Daniel Pierce, who settled in Boston in 1634
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Pierce Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Joan Pierce, who landed in Virginia in 1705 [5]
Pierce Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Edward Pierce, aged 66, who arrived in South Carolina in 1812 [5]
  • Alex Pierce, who landed in New York, NY in 1816 [5]
  • Matthew Pierce, who arrived in New York, NY in 1817 [5]
  • Ann Pierce, who landed in Mobile, Ala in 1821 [5]
  • David Pierce, aged 34, who landed in Key West, Fla in 1837 [5]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Canada Pierce migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Pierce Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
  • Joseph Pierce, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1749-1752
  • Lewis Pierce, who landed in Halifax, Nova Scotia in 1749-1752
  • Mr. James Pierce U.E. who settled in Belle Vue, Beaver Harbour, Charlotte County, New Brunswick c. 1783 [6]
Pierce Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • Patrick Pierce, who landed in Halifax or New York in 1811
  • Mr. Edward Pierce, aged 20 who immigrated to Canada, arriving at the Grosse Isle Quarantine Station in Quebec aboard the ship "Larch" departing from the port of Larch, Sligo but died on Grosse Isle in August 1847 [7]
  • Mrs. Margaret Pierce, aged 28 who immigrated to Canada, arriving at the Grosse Isle Quarantine Station in Quebec aboard the ship "Jessie" departing from the port of Jessie, Limerick but died on Grosse Isle in August 1847 [7]
  • Miss. Mary Pierce, aged 6 who immigrated to Canada, arriving at the Grosse Isle Quarantine Station in Quebec aboard the ship "Naomi" departing from the port of Naomi, Liverpool but died on Grosse Isle in August 1847 [7]
  • Mr. William Pierce, aged 30 who immigrated to Canada, arriving at the Grosse Isle Quarantine Station in Quebec aboard the ship "Jessie" departing from the port of Jessie, Cork but died on Grosse Isle on 26th July 1847 [7]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Australia Pierce migration to Australia +

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

Pierce Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mr. William Pierce, (b. 1804), aged 16, British Convict who was convicted in Middlesex, England for life for shop lifting, transported aboard the "Caledonia" on 5th July 1820, arriving in Tasmania ( Van Diemen's Land) [8]
  • Mr. John Pierce, British Convict who was convicted in Lancaster, Lancashire, England for 14 years for stealing, transported aboard the "Earl St Vincent" on 20th April 1826, arriving in Tasmania ( Van Diemen's Land) [9]
  • William Pierce, English convict from Lancaster, who was transported aboard the "Albion" on May 29, 1828, settling in New South Wales, Australia [10]
  • Mr. Thomas Pierce, Welsh convict who was convicted in Flint, Flintshire, Wales for 14 years, transported aboard the "Burrell" on 22nd July 1830, arriving in New South Wales [11]
  • Mr. William Pierce, (b. 1813), aged 25, British Convict who was convicted in Warwick, Warwickshire, England for 10 years, transported aboard the "Coromandel" on 25th June 1838, arriving in Tasmania ( Van Diemen's Land), he died in 1851 [12]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

New Zealand Pierce 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:

Pierce Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • John Pierce, aged 38, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Duke of Roxburgh" in 1840
  • Mr. Pierce, British settler travelling from London aboard the ship "Duke of Roxburgh" arriving in Wellington, New Zealand in 1840 [13]
  • Mrs. Pierce, British settler travelling from London aboard the ship "Duke of Roxburgh" arriving in Wellington, New Zealand in 1840 [13]
  • Mr. Pierce, Australian settler travelling from Melbourne, Victoria, Australia aboard the ship "Bolina" arriving in New Zealand in 1842 [13]
  • Mr. G. Pierce, British settler travelling from London, UK aboard the ship "Bank of England" arriving in Auckland, New Zealand on 28th December 1855 [13]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

West Indies Pierce 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. [14]
Pierce Settlers in West Indies in the 17th Century
  • Mr. Thomas Pierce, (b. 1616), aged 19, British settler travelling from London, England aboard the ship "Anne and Elizabeth" arriving in Barbados in 1635 [15]
  • Mr. John Pierce, (b. 1620), aged 15, British settler travelling aboard the ship "Expedition" arriving in Barbados in 1636 [16]
  • Richard Pierce, who settled in Barbados in 1679

Contemporary Notables of the name Pierce (post 1700) +

  • Abe Edward Pierce III (1934-2021), American educator and politician, the first African American to have served as mayor of Monroe, Louisiana
  • Edward Charles Pierce (1930-2002), American Democratic Party politician, Democratic Candidate for U.S. Representative from Michigan 2nd District, 1974 (primary), 1976 Mayor of Ann Arbor, Michigan, 1985-87 [17]
  • Walter William Pierce (1927-2015), American starting pitcher in Major League Baseball
  • Brigadier-General John Theodore Pierce (1892-1976), American Commandant of War Department Personnel Center Fort Sheridan (1945-1946) [18]
  • Brigadier-General Clinton Albert Pierce (1894-1966), American Commanding Officer 26th Cavalry regiment (1941-1942) [19]
  • Major-General John Leonard Pierce (1895-1959), American President Secretary of War's Discharge Review Board (1945-1946) [20]
  • Brigadier-General Carleton Custer Pierce (1877-1958), American Adjutant-General of West Virginia (1927-1933), (1941-1946) [21]
  • Wendell Pierce (b. 1962), American actor
  • Paul Pierce (b. 1977), American NBA basketball player
  • Webb Pierce (1921-1991), American country music singer
  • ... (Another 207 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Empress of Ireland
  • Mr. Augustus Pierce, British Cook from United Kingdom who worked aboard the Empress of Ireland and died in the sinking [22]
Grover Shoe factory
  • Mr. Hiram J. Pierce (b. 1865), American employee of the Grover Shoe factory in Brockton, Massachusetts on 20th March 1905 when the boiler exploded and collapsed the wooden building; he died [23]
  • Mr. Arthur Pierce, American employee of the Grover Shoe factory in Brockton, Massachusetts on 20th March 1905 when the boiler exploded and collapsed the wooden building; he survived with contusions [23]
  • Mr. Frank Pierce (b. 1888), American employee of the Grover Shoe factory in Brockton, Massachusetts on 20th March 1905 when the boiler exploded and collapsed the wooden building; he survived [23]
  • Mr. Arthur Pierce (b. 1877), American employee of the Grover Shoe factory in Brockton, Massachusetts on 20th March 1905 when the boiler exploded and collapsed the wooden building; he survived with an injured shoulder [23]
  • Mr. Herman Pierce, American employee of the Grover Shoe factory in Brockton, Massachusetts on 20th March 1905 when the boiler exploded and collapsed the wooden building; he survived [23]
HMS Hood
  • Mr. Robert D Pierce (b. 1921), Welsh Marine serving for the Royal Marine from Denbigh, Denbighshire, Wales, who sailed into battle and died in the sinking [24]
SS Southern Cross
  • Mr. Walter Pierce (1883-1914), Newfoundlander from Catalina who was aboard the "SS Southern Cross" when it is suspected she sank between the 31st March 1914 and early April during the storm with a heavy load of pelts; no survivors were ever found


Suggested Readings for the name Pierce +

  • Eslick-Pierce Family history by Jacqueline R. Burt.
  • Fifty New England Colonists and Five Virginia Families by Florence Weiland.

  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. ^ https://namecensus.com/most_common_surnames.htm
  4. ^ The order of Common Surnames in 1955 in Newfoundland retrieved on 20th October 2021 (retrieved from Family Names of the Island of Newfoundland by E.R. Seary corrected edition ISBN 0-7735-1782-0)
  5. ^ 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)
  6. ^ Rubincam, Milton. The Old United Empire Loyalists List. Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc, 1976. (Originally published as; United Empire Loyalists. The Centennial of the Settlement of Upper Canada. Rose Publishing Company, 1885.) ISBN 0-8063-0331-X
  7. ^ Charbonneau, André, and Doris Drolet-Dubé. A Register of Deceased Persons at Sea and on Grosse Île in 1847. The Minister of Canadian Heritage, 1997. ISBN: 0-660-198/1-1997E (p. 51)
  8. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 25th November 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/caledonia
  9. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 14th September 2021). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/earl-st-vincent
  10. ^ State Library of Queensland. (Retrieved 2014, November 24) Albion voyage to New South Wales, Australia in 1828 with 192 passengers. Retrieved from http://www.convictrecords.com.au/ships/albion/1828
  11. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 5th November 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/burrell
  12. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 19th March 2021). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/coromandel
  13. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 17th October 2018). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  14. ^ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_West_Indies
  15. ^ Pilgrim Ship Lists Early 1600's retrieved 23rd September 2021. (Retrieved from https://www.packrat-pro.com/ships/shiplist.htm)
  16. ^ Pilgrim Ship Lists Early 1600's retrieved 29th September 2021. (Retrieved from https://www.packrat-pro.com/ships/shiplist.htm)
  17. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2016, February 11) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html
  18. ^ Generals of World War II. (Retrieved 2014, March 26) John Pierce. Retrieved from http://generals.dk/general/Pierce/John_Theodore/USA.html
  19. ^ Generals of World War II. (Retrieved 2014, March 26) Clinton Pierce. Retrieved from http://generals.dk/general/Pierce/Clinton_Albert/USA.html
  20. ^ Generals of World War II. (Retrieved 2014, March 26) John Pierce. Retrieved from http://generals.dk/general/Pierce/John_Leonard/USA.html
  21. ^ Generals of World War II. (Retrieved 2014, March 26) Carleton Pierce. Retrieved from http://generals.dk/general/Pierce/Carleton_Custer/USA.html
  22. ^ Commemoration Empress of Ireland 2014. (Retrieved 2014, June 17) . Retrieved from http://www.empress2014.ca/seclangen/listepsc1.html
  23. ^ California Digital Newspaper from 21st March 1905 (retrieved on 5th August 2021.) Retrieved from https://cdnc.ucr.edu/?a=d&d=SFC19050321.2.19&e=-------en--20--1--txt-txIN--------1
  24. ^ 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


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