Show ContentsPurser History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The name Purser is Anglo-Saxon in origin. It was a name given to a maker of purses or for a treasurer or bursar, who had the task of bearing the purse of an important official and taking care of his or her expenses. The surname Purser is derived from the Old French word borsier, which has both of these meanings.

Early Origins of the Purser family

The surname Purser was first found in Lincolnshire, where they held a family seat from the Middle Ages.

Early History of the Purser family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Purser research. Another 185 words (13 lines of text) covering the years 1306, 1311, 1327, 1377, 1500, and 1563 are included under the topic Early Purser History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Purser Spelling Variations

Until the dictionary, an invention of only the last few hundred years, the English language lacked any comprehensive system of spelling rules. Consequently, spelling variations in names are frequently found in early Anglo-Saxon and later Anglo-Norman documents. One person's name was often spelled several different ways over a lifetime. The recorded variations of Purser include Burser, Bursar, Bourcer, Bursor, Borser, Berser and others.

Early Notables of the Purser family (pre 1700)

More information is included under the topic Early Purser Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Purser Ranking

In the United States, the name Purser is the 6,204th most popular surname with an estimated 4,974 people with that name. [1]

United States Purser migration to the United States +

Thousands of English families boarded ships sailing to the New World in the hope of escaping the unrest found in England at this time. Although the search for opportunity and freedom from persecution abroad took the lives of many because of the cramped conditions and unsanitary nature of the vessels, the opportunity perceived in the growing colonies of North America beckoned. Many of the settlers who survived the journey went on to make important contributions to the transplanted cultures of their adopted countries. The Purser were among these contributors, for they have been located in early North American records:

Purser Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Georg Purser, who landed in Virginia in 1635 [2]
  • Geo. Purser, who settled in Virginia in 1635
  • Geo Purser, who settled in Virginia in 1637
  • John Purser, who arrived in Maryland in 1652 [2]
Purser Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Garrett Purser, who arrived in Virginia in 1704 [2]
  • Catherine Purser, who arrived in America in 1752
Purser Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Thomas Purser, aged 42, who landed in New York in 1812 [2]
  • David Purser, who settled in Oregon in 1886

Australia Purser migration to Australia +

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

Purser Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Thomas Purser, English convict from Sussex, who was transported aboard the "Albion" on May 17, 1823, settling in Van Diemen's Land, Australia [3]
  • Mr. George Purser, English convict who was convicted in Chelmsford, Essex, England for 10 years, transported aboard the "Emerald Isle" on 28th June 1843, arriving in Tasmania (Van Diemen's Land) [4]
  • Robert Purser, aged 29, who arrived in South Australia in 1852 aboard the ship "Standard" [5]

Contemporary Notables of the name Purser (post 1700) +

  • B. B. Purser, American Democratic Party politician, Alternate Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Louisiana, 1912
  • Ronald E. Purser (b. 1956), American university professor at San Francisco State University
  • Dorothy Anne Purser, American day-time actress, recipient of a 1993 Daytime Emmy and other awards
  • David Purser (b. 1987), English footballer
  • Philip John Purser (1925-2022), British television critic and novelist, born in Letchworth, Hertfordshire
  • Mr. Ernest Purser, British Councillor, held the position of Sheriff of Nottingham, England from 1933 to 1934, he was Lord Mayor in 1936
  • Mr. Lloyd John Purser O.B.E., M.B.E., British Acting Lieutenant for the Royal Marines, recipient of Officer of the Order of the British Empire on 8th June 2018 [6]
  • Ms. Louise Purser M.B.E., British ASYE Practice Assessor for Central Bedfordshire Council and Volunteer at British Association of Social Workers and Learn to Care, was appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire on 29th December 2018 for services to Children’s Social Care [6]
  • John Purser (b. 1942), Scottish composer
  • Cecil Purser FRACP (1862-1953), Australian physician, chairman of Royal Prince Alfred Hospital
  • ... (Another 2 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

  1. "What are the 5,000 Most Common Last Names in the U.S.?".,
  2. 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)
  3. State Library of Queensland. (Retrieved 2016, October 27) Albion voyage to Van Diemen's Land, Australia in 1823 with 200 passengers. Retrieved from
  4. Convict Records Voyages to Australia. Retrieved 25th March 2022 from
  5. South Australian Register Tuesday 3 February 1852. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) STANDARD 1852. Retrieved
  6. "Birthday and New Year Honours Lists (1940 to 2019)." Issue 62507, 28 December 2018 | London Gazette, The Gazette, Dec. 2018, on Facebook