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

Where did the English Poor family come from? What is the English Poor family crest and coat of arms? When did the Poor family first arrive in the United States? Where did the various branches of the family go? What is the Poor family history?

Poor is a name of ancient Norman origin. It arrived in England with the Norman Conquest of 1066. The Poor family lived in Devon. Their name, however, is a reference to one of two places, Picardy, France, or Puers, Belgium, either of which could have been the family's place of residence prior to the Norman Conquest of England in 1066. At this time those who gailed from Picardy were referred to as Pohiers, and it was in this form that the name was probably first brought to England.


Endless spelling variations are a prevailing characteristic of Norman surnames. Old and Middle English lacked any definite spelling rules, and the introduction of Norman French added an unfamiliar ingredient to the English linguistic stew. French and Latin, the languages of the court, also influenced spellings. Finally, Medieval scribes generally spelled words according to how they sounded, so one person was often referred to by different spellings in different documents. The name has been spelled Poor, Poher, Poer, Poore and others.

First found in Devon where they held a family seat from very early times and were granted lands by Duke William of Normandy, their liege Lord, for their distinguished assistance at the Battle of Hastings in 1066 A.D.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Poor research. Another 253 words (18 lines of text) covering the years 1100 and 1172 are included under the topic Early Poor History in all our PDF Extended History products.


Another 75 words (5 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Poor Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.


Some of the Poor family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 43 words (3 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.


To escape the political and religious persecution within England at the time, many English families left for the various British colonies abroad. The voyage was extremely difficult, though, and the cramped, dank ships caused many to arrive in the New World diseased and starving. But for those who made it, the trip was most often worth it. Many of the families who arrived went on to make valuable contributions to the emerging nations of Canada and the United States. An inquiry into the early roots of North American families reveals a number of immigrants bearing the name Poor or a variant listed above:

Poor Settlers in United States in the 17th Century

  • John Poor settled in New England in 1630
  • Nicholas Poor, who arrived in Lynn, Massachusetts in 1637
  • Samuel Poor settled in Boston in 1638
  • Alice Poor, who landed in America in 1638
  • Daniel Poor, who landed in New England in 1647

Poor Settlers in United States in the 18th Century

  • James Poor, who arrived in Virginia in 1711
  • John Poor settled with his wife in Boston in 1716
  • Robert Poor, who arrived in New England in 1716
  • Margaret Poor, who arrived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1746-1747
  • Michael Poor, who landed in Virginia in 1752

Poor Settlers in United States in the 19th Century

  • Thomas Poor, aged 47, arrived in Maryland in 1813
  • Samuel Poor, who landed in San Francisco, California in 1850
  • J H Poor, who landed in San Francisco, California in 1850

Poor Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century

  • Anne Poor, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1803

Poor Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century

  • Elizabeth Poor arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Moffatt" in 1839
  • Robert Poor arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Moffatt" in 1839
  • Harriet Poor arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Moffatt" in 1839
  • George Poor arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Moffatt" in 1839
  • John Poor arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Moffatt" in 1839


  • Rear Admiral Charles Henry Poor (1808-1882), US Navy officer, Commander-in-Chief, North Atlantic Squadron (1869-1870)
  • Salem Poor, an African-American soldier in the American Revolution, honored with a US stamp in 1975
  • John Alfred Poor (1808-1871), American railroad entrepreneur
  • Henry William Poor (1844-1915), American banker and stockbroker, son of financial analyst Henry Varnum Poor
  • Henry Varnum Poor (1888-1970), American architect, painter and designer
  • Henry Varnum Poor (1812-1905), American financial analyst, founder of H.W. Poor Co which later evolved into Standard and Poor's
  • Enoch Poor (1736-1780), Brigadier-General in the Continental Army in the American Revolutionary War
  • Edward Erie Poor (1837-1900), American banker, Vice president of the National Park Bank
  • Charles Lane Poor (1866-1951), American astronomer, fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society
  • Charles L. Poor, American Republican politician, Candidate in primary for Michigan State House of Representatives from Eaton County, 1942



The motto was originally a war cry or slogan. Mottoes first began to be shown with arms in the 14th and 15th centuries, but were not in general use until the 17th century. Thus the oldest coats of arms generally do not include a motto. Mottoes seldom form part of the grant of arms: Under most heraldic authorities, a motto is an optional component of the coat of arms, and can be added to or changed at will; many families have chosen not to display a motto.

Motto: Pauper non in spe
Motto Translation: Not poor in hope.


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  1. Hitching, F.K and S. Hitching. References to English Surnames in 1601-1602. Walton On Thames: 1910. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0181-3).
  2. Bardsley, C.W. A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6).
  3. Foster, Joseph. Dictionary of Heraldry Feudal Coats of Arms and Pedigrees. London: Bracken Books, 1989. Print. (ISBN 1-85170-309-8).
  4. Thirsk, Joan. The Agrarian History of England and Wales. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press: 7 Volumes. Print.
  5. Ingram, Rev. James. Translator Anglo-Saxon Chronicle 1823. Print.
  6. Leeson, Francis L. Dictionary of British Peerages. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1986. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-1121-5).
  7. Magnusson, Magnus. Chambers Biographical Dictionary 5th edition. Edinburgh: W & R Chambers, 1990. Print.
  8. Holt, J.C. Ed. Domesday Studies. Woodbridge: Boydell, 1987. Print. (ISBN 0-85115-477-8).
  9. Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at Galveston Texas 1896-1951. National Archives Washington DC. Print.
  10. Fairbairn. Fairbain's book of Crests of the Families of Great Britain and Ireland, 4th Edition 2 volumes in one. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1968. Print.
  11. ...

The Poor Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Poor 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 25 November 2015 at 09:02.

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