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

Sayre is one of the names that was brought to England in the wave of migration following the Norman Conquest of 1066. The Sayre family lived in Essex. Their name, however, is a reference to St. Saire, Normandy, the family's place of residence prior to the Norman Conquest of England in 1066. Alternatively, the name could have been a trade name for someone who was "an assayer of metals." [1] And another variation is that it could have been "an Anglo-Norman personal name, as Saher de Quincy, the famous Earl of Winchester." [1] There are at least three other listed origins of the name, but these latter three seem the most probable.


The surname Sayre was first found in Essex where the family's first listing of the name was found during the reign of Edward II. [1] Omitting the entries as a personal name, we also found: Stephanus filius Seir (1148-1152) and ? filius Saheri (Saieri) c. 1160 in Lincolnshire. Robertus filius Seer was listed in the 12th century in Nottinghamshire and Richard Sayer was listed in the Pipe Rolls of Devon in 1230. Thomas Sare and John Sayer were listed in the Feet of Fines of Essex in 1292. [2]

Before the advent of the printing press and the first dictionaries, the English language was not standardized. Sound was what guided spelling in the Middle Ages, so one person's name was often recorded under several variations during a single lifetime. Spelling variations were common, even among the names of the most literate people. Known variations of the Sayre family name include Sayer, Sayers, Sayres and others.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Sayre research. Another 231 words (16 lines of text) covering the years 1655, 1718, 1695 and 1705 are included under the topic Early Sayre History in all our PDF Extended History products.


Another 65 words (5 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Sayre Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.


Some of the Sayre family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 109 words (8 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.


To escape the political and religious chaos of this era, thousands of English families began to migrate to the New World in search of land and freedom from religious and political persecution. The passage was expensive and the ships were dark, crowded, and unsafe; however, those who made the voyage safely were encountered opportunities that were not available to them in their homeland. Many of the families that reached the New World at this time went on to make important contributions to the emerging nations of the United States and Canada. Research into various historical records has revealed some of first members of the Sayre family to immigrate North America:

Sayre Settlers in United States in the 17th Century

  • Thomas Sayre, who landed in Lynn, Massachusetts in 1630
  • Job Sayre, who landed in Lynn, Massachusetts in 1635

Sayre Settlers in United States in the 18th Century

  • John Sayre, who arrived in America in 1768

Sayre Settlers in United States in the 19th Century

  • F F Sayre, who arrived in San Francisco, California in 1850
  • A. Sayre, aged 55, who landed in America, in 1896

Sayre Settlers in United States in the 20th Century

  • Clayton C. Sayre, aged 21, who landed in America, in 1903
  • David A. Sayre, aged 63, who emigrated to America, in 1906
  • Aubrey R. Sayre, aged 22, who settled in America, in 1906
  • E. H Sayre, who landed in America, in 1907
  • Edwin H. Sayre, aged 50, who emigrated to the United States, in 1909

Sayre Settlers in Canada in the 20th Century

  • Miss A Sayre, who landed in St John, New Brunswick in 1907


  • Zelda Sayre Fitzgerald (1900-1948), American novelist and the wife of writer F. Scott Fitzgerald
  • Robert Heysham Sayre (1824-1907), American businessman, vice president and chief engineer of the Lehigh Valley Railroad, eponym of Sayre, Pennsylvania
  • David Austin Sayre (1793-1870), American silversmith, banker, educator and founder of Sayre Female Institute
  • James Willis Sayre (1877-1963), American theatre critic, journalist, arts promoter, and historian
  • Joel Sayre (1900-1979), American screenwriter, known for his work on Gunga Din (1939), Fourteen Hours (1951), Annie Oakley (1935) and others
  • Lewis Albert Sayre (1820-1900), American orthopedic surgeon, noted for performing the first operation to cure the hip-joint ankylosis
  • Nora Clemens Sayre (1932-2001), American film critic, essayist and reviewer of films for The New York Times, daughter of Joel Sayre
  • Francis B. Sayre Sr. (1885-1972), American professor at Harvard Law School, High Commissioner of the Philippines, and a son-in-law of President Woodrow Wilson
  • Stephen Sayre (1736-1818), American revolutionary who allegedly planned to kidnap George III
  • Francis B. Sayre Jr. (1915-2008), Episcopal cleric, Dean of Washington Cathedral, first grandchild of President Woodrow Wilson


  • Brown and Sayre Ancestry: Three Centuries in Northern New Jersey by Mortimer Freeman Sayre.

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  1. ^ Lowe, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  2. ^ Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)

Other References

  1. Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds. Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8).
  2. Hitching, F.K and S. Hitching. References to English Surnames in 1601-1602. Walton On Thames: 1910. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0181-3).
  3. Humble, Richard. The Fall of Saxon England. New York: Barnes and Noble, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-88029-987-8).
  4. 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.
  5. Mills, A.D. Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4).
  6. Chadwick, Nora Kershaw and J.X.W.P Corcoran. The Celts. London: Penguin, 1790. Print. (ISBN 0140212116).
  7. The Norman People and Their Existing Descendants in the British Dominions and the United States Of America. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0636-X).
  8. Magnusson, Magnus. Chambers Biographical Dictionary 5th edition. Edinburgh: W & R Chambers, 1990. Print.
  9. Egle, William Henry. Pennsylvania Genealogies Scotch-Irish and German. Harrisburg: L.S. Hart, 1886. Print.
  10. Crispin, M. Jackson and Leonce Mary. Falaise Roll Recording Prominent Companions of William Duke of Normandy at the Conquest of England. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  11. ...

The Sayre Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Sayre 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 12 December 2015 at 22:26.

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