Pirie History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Early Origins of the Pirie family

The surname Pirie was first found in Aberdeenshire and Banff, where it is "a common surname. Many generations of Piries have lived at Iriewells in the parish of Udny, and there was an old family of Pyrrie in Paisley dating from the end of the fifteenth century. John Pirre was burgess of Glasgow in 1550, Adam Peine, tailzeour in Inverness, 1625, James Pirie appears in Bogmyln in 1633. William Pirrhie was retoured heir of David Pirrhie in Nuik, 1602." [1]

Further to the south in England, the name literally means "dweller by a Pear-Tree" from the Middle English "pirie, pyrie," Old English "pirige, purige." [2] Another source claims the name means "a pear-orchard. The forms in Hundredorum Rolls are De la Pirie, and Ate Pyrie. Pirrie, in Lowland Scotland, means trim; nice in dress; precise in manner; also, having a tripping manner in walking; walking with a spring. " [3]

Early English rolls provide us a glimpse of the spelling variations used through Medieval times. Today we typically need to look beyond the spellings of these entries and concentrate on a phonetic appreciation of the names. The Pipe Rolls of 1176 included an entry for Henry de Peri, de Piri in Staffordshire. The same person was listed in the Assize Rolls for Staffordshire in 1199. Richard Pirie was found in the Pipe Rolls for Kent in 1198 and later, William de la Purie was listed in Somerset in 1243 according to the Assize Rolls of that time. Later again, Gilbert atte Pyrie was found in the Feet of Fines for Surrey in 1263 and Richard del Piry was listed in the Assize Rolls for Staffordshire in 1381. Finally, Richard atte Perye was listed in Sussex in 1392. [4]

Delving further into the Hundredorum Rolls of 1273, we found: Geoffrey de la Pirie, Cambridgeshire; Robert del Pirie, Oxfordshire; and William de la Pirie, Salop (Shropshire.) [5]

Early History of the Pirie family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Pirie research. Another 204 words (15 lines of text) covering the years 1550, 1664, 1686, 1695, 1798, 1589, 1674, 1601, 1686, 1737, 1804, 1760, 1763, 1768 and 1804 are included under the topic Early Pirie History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Pirie Spelling Variations

Spelling variations of this family name include: Pirie, Pirry, Pire and others.

Early Notables of the Pirie family (pre 1700)

Notable amongst the Clan at this time was Alexander Pirie (1737-1804), the Scottish divine. "About 1760 he was appointed teacher in philosophy in the divinity school at Abernethy, and, in the course of his lectures, recommended for the study of his pupils parts of Lord Kames's 'Essays on the Principles of Morality and Natural Religion.' For this he was suspended and excommunicated by the synod in 1763, and an appointment which he had to preach in North America was withdrawn. Upon this, a...
Another 82 words (6 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Pirie Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Pirie migration to the United States +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Pirie Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Alexander Pirie, aged 27, who landed in Missouri in 1841 [6]
  • Margaret A. Pirie, aged 70, who landed in America, in 1897
Pirie Settlers in United States in the 20th Century
  • Christina Pirie, aged 24, who landed in America from Liverpool, in 1904
  • Lily Pirie, aged 3, who immigrated to the United States from Liverpool, in 1904
  • Pirie, aged 27, who landed in America from Glasgow, in 1905
  • Alexander Pirie, aged 27, who immigrated to the United States from Glasgow, Scotland, in 1907
  • Alexander Pirie, aged 66, who landed in America from Glasgow, Scotland, in 1907
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Canada Pirie migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Pirie Settlers in Canada in the 20th Century
  • Henry Pirie, aged 49, who settled in Dundas, Ontario Canada, in 1914
  • Margaret Pirie, aged 51, who settled in Hamilton, Canada, in 1914
  • Charles G. Pirie, aged 13, who settled in St. Catherines, Ontario, Canada, in 1919
  • Charles Pirie, aged 46, who immigrated to Montreal, Canada, in 1923
  • Ethel Pirie, aged 49, who settled in Montreal, Canada, in 1924

Australia Pirie migration to Australia +

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

Pirie Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • John Pirie, a cooper, who arrived in New South Wales, Australia sometime between 1825 and 1832
  • Mr. John Pirie, (Hepburn, Perry), Scottish convict who was convicted in Aberdeen, Scotland for life, transported aboard the "Burrell" on 22nd July 1830, arriving in New South Wales [7]
  • Mr. Peter Pirie, (Perry), Scottish convict who was convicted in Aberdeen, Scotland for 7 years, transported aboard the "Burrell" on 22nd July 1830, arriving in New South Wales [7]
  • Mr. Thomas Pirie, (Perry), Scottish convict who was convicted in Aberdeen, Scotland for 7 years, transported aboard the "Burrell" on 22nd July 1830, arriving in New South Wales [7]
  • Miss Margaret Pirie, Scottish convict who was convicted in Edinburgh, Scotland for 7 years , transported aboard the "Aurora" on 22nd April 1851, arriving in Tasmania (Van Diemen's Land) [8]

New Zealand Pirie 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:

Pirie Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Mrs. Margaret Pirie, (b. 1825), aged 34, British settler travelling from London aboard the ship "Mary Anne" arriving in Lyttelton, Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand on 4th August 1859 [9]
  • Miss Ada Pirie, (b. 1853), aged 6, British settler travelling from London aboard the ship "Mary Anne" arriving in Lyttelton, Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand on 4th August 1859 [9]
  • Mr. William Pirie, (b. 1855), aged 4, British settler travelling from London aboard the ship "Mary Anne" arriving in Lyttelton, Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand on 4th August 1859 [9]
  • Mr. William Pirie, Scottish settler travelling from Glasgow aboard the ship "Storm Cloud" arriving in Otago, South Island, New Zealand on 30th July 1861 [10]

Contemporary Notables of the name Pirie (post 1700) +

  • James Moir Pirie (1853-1934), American Major League Baseball shortstop
  • Robert B Pirie (1905-1990), Vice Admiral in the United States Navy
  • William Pirie (1807-1882), Scottish surgeon, the son of George Pirrie, a farmer, born near Huntly, Aberdeenshire
  • William Robinson Pirie (1804-1885), Scottish professor of divinity and principal of the University of Aberdeen
  • Alexander Pirie (1737-1804), Scottish divine and teacher in philosophy in the divinity school at Abernethy
  • Duncan Vernon Pirie (1858-1931), Scottish Liberal politician
  • Jacqueline Pirie (b. 1975), Scottish actress
  • Daphne Pirie MBE AO (1931-2022), née Welch, an Australian athlete, hockey player, and golfer, and a sports administrator and world-ranked Masters Athlete, founding president for Womensport Queensland
  • Peter J. Pirie (1916-1997), English musicologist and critic prominent in the music journalism of the mid-twentieth century
  • George Clark Pirie (1896-1980), British senior commander in the Royal Air Force
  • ... (Another 3 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Halifax Explosion
  • Miss Sadie  Pirie (1910-1917), Canadian resident from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada who died in the Halifax Explosion (1917) [11]
  • Ms. Laura Pirie (1886-1917), Canadian resident from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada who died in the Halifax Explosion (1917) [11]
  • Mr. Walter  Pirie (1902-1917), Canadian resident from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada who died in the Halifax Explosion (1917) [11]
HMS Royal Oak
  • Roger P. Pirie, British Midshipman with the Royal Navy aboard the HMS Royal Oak (1939) when she was torpedoed by U-47 and sunk; he survived the sinking [12]
RMS Lusitania
  • Mr. Robinson Pirie, Canadian 1st Class Passenger from Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, who sailed aboard the RMS Lusitania (1915) and survived the sinking by escaping on a box then a collapsible [13]
  • Mrs. Annie Pirie, Scottish 2nd Class passenger residing in Lynn, USA, who sailed aboard the RMS Lusitania (1915) and died in the sinking [14]
  • Miss Margaret Pirie, Scottish 2nd Class passenger residing in Lynn, USA, who sailed aboard the RMS Lusitania (1915) and died in the sinking [14]
  • Master Arthur Pirie, Scottish 2nd Class passenger residing in Lynn, USA, who sailed aboard the RMS Lusitania (1915) and died in the sinking [14]


  1. ^ Black, George F., The Surnames of Scotland Their Origin, Meaning and History. New York: New York Public Library, 1946. Print. (ISBN 0-87104-172-3)
  2. ^ Harrison, Henry, Surnames of the United Kingdom: A Concise Etymological Dictionary Baltimore: Geneological Publishing Company, 2013. Print
  3. ^ Lower, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  4. ^ Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  5. ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  6. ^ 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)
  7. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 5th November 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/burrell
  8. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 20th August 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/aurora
  9. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 17th October 2018). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  10. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 26th March 2019). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  11. ^ 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
  12. ^ 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
  13. ^ Lusitania Passenger List - The Lusitania Resource. (Retrieved 2014, March 7) . Retrieved from http://www.rmslusitania.info/lusitania-passenger-list/
  14. ^ Lusitania Passenger List - The Lusitania Resource. (Retrieved 2014, March 6) . Retrieved from http://www.rmslusitania.info/lusitania-passenger-list/


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