Poor History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

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.

Another source notes "Poore was the equivalent not of 'pauper,' but of 'puer' or the Norman 'poer,' a knight or cadet of good family." [1]

Early Origins of the Poor family

The surname Poor was first found in Devon. However, some of the family held a family seat at Durrington in Wiltshire since early times. "The church [of Durrington] is an ancient edifice with a pulpit of richly carved oak, and several of the pews are also embellished with carving, particularly the family pew of the Poores, which has a ceiling of oak, with an escutcheon of armorial bearings." [2]

Roger le Poer (died 1186), was "one of the conquerors of Ireland, belonged to a family which is said to have derived its name from Poher, one of the ancient divisions of Brittany. In the reign of Henry II, William le Poer held lands in Oxfordshire, Herefordshire, and Gloucestershire, and Robert le Poer in Oxfordshire. Roger, Robert, William, and Simon le Poer are all said to have taken part in the conquest of Ireland." [1]

His son Robert le Poer ( fl. 1190), was one of the marshals in the court of Henry II.

About the same time, Herbert Poor or Pauper (died 1217), was Bishop of Salisbury, son of Richard of Ilchester and a few years later, his younger brother, Richard Poor, Poore, Poure or Le Poor (died 1237) was Bishop of Chichester, Salisbury, and Durham.

Early History of the Poor family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Poor research. Another 128 words (9 lines of text) covering the years 1172, 1100, 1237 and 1217 are included under the topic Early Poor History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Poor Spelling Variations

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.

Early Notables of the Poor family (pre 1700)

Outstanding amongst the family at this time was Richard Poore or Poor (died 1237), a medieval English clergyman best known for founding of Salisbury Cathedral. He was probably the son of Richard of Ilchester, also known as Richard Toclive, who served as...
Another 42 words (3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Poor Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Poor family to Ireland

Some of the Poor family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. More information about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Poor migration to the United States +

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, who settled in New England in 1630
  • Nicholas Poor, who arrived in Lynn, Massachusetts in 1637 [3]
  • Samuel Poor, who settled in Boston in 1638
  • Alice Poor, who landed in America in 1638 [3]
  • Daniel Poor, who landed in New England in 1647 [3]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Poor Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • James Poor, who arrived in Virginia in 1711 [3]
  • John Poor settled with his wife in Boston in 1716
  • Robert Poor, who arrived in New England in 1716 [3]
  • Margaret Poor, who arrived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1746-1747 [3]
  • Michael Poor, who landed in Virginia in 1752 [3]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Poor Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Thomas Poor, aged 47, who arrived in Maryland in 1813 [3]
  • Samuel Poor, who landed in San Francisco, California in 1850 [3]
  • J H Poor, who landed in San Francisco, California in 1850 [3]

Canada Poor migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Poor Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • Anne Poor, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1803

Australia Poor migration to Australia +

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

Poor Settlers in Australia in the 18th Century
Poor Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Elizabeth Poor, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Moffatt" in 1839 [5]
  • Robert Poor, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Moffatt" in 1839 [5]
  • Harriet Poor, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Moffatt" in 1839 [5]
  • George Poor, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Moffatt" in 1839 [5]
  • John Poor, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Moffatt" in 1839 [5]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Contemporary Notables of the name Poor (post 1700) +

  • Salem Poor, African-American soldier in the American Revolution, honored with a US stamp in 1975
  • Rear Admiral Charles Henry Poor (1808-1882), US Navy officer, Commander-in-Chief, North Atlantic Squadron (1869-1870)
  • 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 [6]
  • ... (Another 9 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)


The Poor Motto +

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.


  1. ^ Smith, George (ed), Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1885-1900. Print
  2. ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
  3. ^ 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)
  4. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 25th October 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/boddingtons
  5. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) MOFFATT 1839. Retrieved from http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1839Moffatt.htm
  6. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, November 25) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html


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