Purves History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Early Origins of the Purves family

The surname Purves was first found in Suffolk, 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.

One of the earliest records of the family was John Purvey (c. 1353-1428). He was the reviser of the Wiclifite translation of the Bible. [1]

Early History of the Purves family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Purves research. Another 146 words (10 lines of text) covering the years 1180, 1296, 1453, 1590, 1603 and are included under the topic Early Purves History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Purves Spelling Variations

Spelling variations of this family name include: Purvis, Purves, Purvice, Purvess and others.

Early Notables of the Purves family (pre 1700)

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

Ireland Migration of the Purves family to Ireland

Some of the Purves family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 50 words (4 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Purves migration to the United States +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Purves Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Alexander Purves, who arrived in America in 1700 [2]
Purves Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Francis Purves, aged 26, who arrived in New York in 1812 [2]
  • William Purves, aged 36, who arrived in New York in 1812 [2]
  • Andrew Purves, who landed in New York in 1825 [2]
  • John Purves, who landed in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1840 [2]
  • Alexander and William Purves, who arrived in Philadelphia in 1860

Australia Purves migration to Australia +

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

Purves Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • William Purves, aged 24, who arrived in South Australia in 1858 aboard the ship "Frenchman"

New Zealand Purves 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:

Purves Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Miss Isabella Purves, Scottish settler travelling from Glasgow aboard the ship "Three Bells" arriving in Dunedin, Otago, South Island, New Zealand on 13th July 1858 [3]
  • Mr. James Purves, Scottish settler travelling from Glasgow aboard the ship "Three Bells" arriving in Dunedin, Otago, South Island, New Zealand on 13th July 1858 [3]
  • Robert Purves, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Alfred The Great" in 1859
  • Mr. Adam Purves, Scottish settler travelling from Leith aboard the ship 'Melbourne' arriving in Port Chalmers, Dunedin, Otago, South Island, New Zealand on 18th March 1861 [4]

Contemporary Notables of the name Purves (post 1700) +

  • William Purves, American politician, U.S. Consular Agent in North Sydney, 1884
  • Dale Purves (b. 1938), American neurobiologist
  • James Purves (1734-1795), Scottish sectary, born at Blackadder, near Edington, Berwickshire
  • William Purves, Scottish rugby union player from 1912-1913
  • Sir William "Willie" Purves CBE, GBM (b. 1931), the first Group Chairman of HSBC Holdings
  • Della Purves (1945-2008), Scottish botanical artist
  • Cecil John Harry "Cec" Purves (b. 1933), Canadian politician, former mayor of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
  • Jane Purves (1950-2013), Canadian politician and newspaper editor for the Halifax Chronicle Herald
  • James Hamilton Purves (b. 1947), former English cricketer
  • Christopher Purves, contemporary English bass-baritone
  • ... (Another 8 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)


The Purves 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: Clarior e Tenebris
Motto Translation: The brighter from previous obscurity.


  1. ^ Smith, George (ed), Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1885-1900. Print
  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. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 26th March 2019). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  4. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 17th October 2018). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html


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