Show ContentsSearch History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The name Search came to England with the ancestors of the Search family in the Norman Conquest of 1066. The Search family lived in Essex. Their name, however, is a reference to Serez, Normandy or at the Ville of Sayers, Normandy according to the Magni Rotuli Scaccarii Normanniae. [1]

Alternatively, two sources claims the name was derived from an Anglo-Norman "personal name, as Saher de Quincy, the famous Earl of Winchester" or was perhaps "a forgotten personal name that has left an indelible mark on our directories. From twenty to twenty-five surnames separately spelt are the offspring, and many have a large number of representatives. The name was popular so early as Domesday as Segar and Sigar, and Latinized as Sigarus. " [2]

One source believes the family was "an assayer of metals. 'When Domesday was compiled, there was always a fire ready in the Exchequer, and if they liked not the allay of the money, they burnt it, and then weighed it.' Hence the expression in Domesday, ' Lib. LVI arsas et pensatas'-56lb. burnt and weighed.-Kelham's Domesday, p. 157. The Sayer would therefore be a crown officer who assayed the precious metals." [3]

Early Origins of the Search family

The surname Search was first found in Essex where "the name of an old Colchester family of wealth and municipal consequence, " [4] some say from the reign of King Edmund Ironside in 1016, but this date conflicts with the more likely source of Serez, in the arrondisement of Evreux in Normandy, supporting the contention that the family was granted these lands after the Norman Conquest of England in 1066. "During the 14th century the Sayer family of Coppeford held of the King 82 acres of land in the village of Lachingdon." [4]

They held a family seat there continuously from the Conquest to 1770.

"As Sayer and Sayere it occurred in Norfolk, Beds, and Hants in the 13th century. The Sayers of Pulham, Norfolk, an ancient family, from which the Sayers of Eye, Suffolk, are derived, were lords of the manor of Pulham in the 17th and 18th centuries." [4]

Early History of the Search family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Search research. Another 94 words (7 lines of text) covering the year 1630 is included under the topic Early Search History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Search Spelling Variations

Multitudes of spelling variations are a hallmark of Anglo Norman names. Most of these names evolved in the 11th and 12th century, in the time after the Normans introduced their own Norman French language into a country where Old and Middle English had no spelling rules and the languages of the court were French and Latin. To make matters worse, medieval scribes spelled words according to sound, so names frequently appeared differently in the various documents in which they were recorded. The name was spelled Sears, Seares, Seers, Seeres, Sear, Seare, Seer and many more.

Early Notables of the Search family

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

Ireland Migration of the Search family to Ireland

Some of the Search 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 Search migration to the United States +

Because of this political and religious unrest within English society, many people decided to immigrate to the colonies. Families left for Ireland, North America, and Australia in enormous numbers, traveling at high cost in extremely inhospitable conditions. The New World in particular was a desirable destination, but the long voyage caused many to arrive sick and starving. Those who made it, though, were welcomed by opportunities far greater than they had known at home in England. Many of these families went on to make important contributions to the emerging nations of Canada and the United States. Analysis of immigration records indicates that some of the first North American immigrants bore the name Search or a variant listed above:

Search Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • John Search, who arrived in Boston, Massachusetts in 1642 [5]
  • Eliza Search, who landed in Virginia in 1653 [5]

Australia Search migration to Australia +

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

Search Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mr. Daniel Search, (b. 1800), aged 19, English carpenter who was convicted in London, England for 7 years for grand larceny, transported aboard the "Asiatic" on 5th June 1819, arriving in New South Wales, Australia, he died in 1852 [6]


The Search 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: Honor et fides
Motto Translation: Honor and fidelity.


  1. 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)
  2. Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  3. Lower, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  4. Guppy, Henry Brougham, Homes of Family Names in Great Britain. 1890. Print.
  5. 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)
  6. Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 14th July 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/atlas


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