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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright © 2000 - 2015

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

The Pretorius surname comes from the word Latin "praetor," and was a term used for a reeve, the chief magistrate or bailiff of a district.

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Spelling variations of this family name include: Prater, Preater, Prather, Pretor, Prether and many more.

First found in Lincolnshire where they held a family seat as Lords of the Manor. The Saxon influence of English history diminished after the Battle of Hastings in 1066. The language of the courts was French for the next three centuries and the Norman ambience prevailed. But Saxon surnames survived and the family name was first referenced in the year 1150 when Willelmus Pretor held estates in that shire.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Pretorius research. Another 276 words(20 lines of text) covering the years 1208, 1455, and 1487 are included under the topic Early Pretorius History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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More information is included under the topic Early Pretorius Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Some of the first settlers of this family name or some of its variants were: John Prater, who settled in Newfoundland in 1622; Thomas Prater, who settled in Virginia in 1622; Jonathan Prather, who arrived in Virginia sometime between 1634 and 1789.

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  • Ryan Pretorius (b. 1979), former South African American football place kicker
  • André Pretorius (b. 1978), South African rugby union footballer
  • Marthinus Wessel Pretorius (1819-1901), first president of the South African Republic


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  1. Burke, Sir Bernard. Burke's Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Landed Gentry: Including American Families with British Ancestry. (2 Volumes). London: Burke Publishing, 1939. Print.
  2. Library of Congress. American and English Genealogies in the Library of Congress. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1967. Print.
  3. Chadwick, Nora Kershaw and J.X.W.P Corcoran. The Celts. London: Penguin, 1790. Print. (ISBN 0140212116).
  4. Zieber, Eugene. Heraldry in America. Philadelphia: Genealogical Publishing Co. Print.
  5. Best, Hugh. Debrett's Texas Peerage. New York: Coward-McCann, 1983. Print. (ISBN 069811244X).
  6. Hanks, Patricia and Flavia Hodges. A Dictionary of Surnames. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988. Print. (ISBN 0-19-211592-8).
  7. Elster, Robert J. International Who's Who. London: Europa/Routledge. Print.
  8. Matthews, John. Matthews' American Armoury and Blue Book. London: John Matthews, 1911. Print.
  9. Weis, Frederick Lewis, Walter Lee Sheppard and David Faris. Ancestral Roots of Sixty Colonists Who Came to New England Between 1623 and 1650 7th Edition. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0806313676).
  10. Bede, The Venerable. Historia Ecclesiatica Gentis Anglorum (The Ecclesiastical History Of the English People). Available through Internet Medieval Sourcebook the Fordham University Centre for Medieval Studies. Print.
  11. ...

The Pretorius Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Pretorius 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 23 May 2014 at 09:00.

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