Serfass History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The vast movement of people that followed the Norman Conquest of England of 1066 brought the Serfass family name to the British Isles. They lived in Stirlingshire, Scotland. The famous Robert William Service (1874-1958) the English-born, Canadian poet and writer was born in Lancashire, England but his family hailed from Lanarkshire, Scotland. His poems "The Shooting of Dan McGrew" and "The Cremation of Sam McGee" were inspired by his life in the Yukon where he was often called "the Bard of the Yukon."

Early Origins of the Serfass family

The surname Serfass was first found in Stirlingshire where the "family of this name which may be descended from William Servatur (or le Servetur), burgess of Stirling, who rendered homage, 1296. His seal bears Virgin and Child, S' Wll'i Servatoris. Alisaundre Servays of Roxburghshire also rendered homage, 1296. " [1]

We need to take a moment to explain "rendered homage" and the significance of the year 1296. At that time King Edward I of England invaded Scotland and those who were "encouraged" to pay homage to him were recorded thusly. In many cases, there was little choice in the matter, render homage or lose your lands and life.

While the name is generally thought to be Scottish, if we look back further there are significant entries for early spellings in England. In fact, if we look to Normandy, we found the Magni Rotuli Scaccarii Normanniae listed William, Richard, Walter Cervus, Normandy 1180-95. [2] In France, Servais; was a personal name. [3] However, another source claims the name could have been derived from the Old French cervoise 'ale', for a seller of ale, a taverner. [4]

In England, Oxfordshire was one of the first places where early spellings of the family were found. Walter Cerveise was listed there in the Pipe Rolls of 1177 and then later in the Curia Regis Rolls of 1206. A few years later, the Hundredorum Rolls of 1279 also listed Cereveyse, Sereveyse in Oxfordshire. In Berkshire, the Pipe Rolls of 1230 listed William Ceruaise. [4]

Early History of the Serfass family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Serfass research. Another 94 words (7 lines of text) covering the years 1296, 1673, 1833, 1884, 1833, 1862, 1866, 1870, 1871, 1877, 1878 and 1884 are included under the topic Early Serfass History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Serfass Spelling Variations

A multitude of spelling variations characterize Norman surnames. Many variations occurred because Old and Middle English lacked any definite spelling rules. The introduction of Norman French to England also had a pronounced effect, as did the court languages of Latin and French. Therefore, one person was often referred to by several different spellings in a single lifetime. The various spellings include Service, Surface, Serfaes, Servas, Servaes, Serveas, Servais, Services, Serfice and many more.

Early Notables of the Serfass family (pre 1700)

Outstanding amongst the family at this time was John Service (1833-1884), Scottish divine, son of John Service, engraver in the calico works of Robert Dalglish, M.P., at Lennoxtown, was born at Campsie on 26 Feb. 1833. "He was ordained in the church of Scotland in 1862, and for ten months performed ministerial work at Hamilton, near Glasgow. Shortly afterwards he spent eighteen months in Australia owing to failure of health. At the end of the period he was inducted to St. John's Presbyterian church (May...
Another 85 words (6 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Serfass Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Serfass migration to the United States +

Many English families left England, to avoid the chaos of their homeland and migrated to the many British colonies abroad. Although the conditions on the ships were extremely cramped, and some travelers arrived diseased, starving, and destitute, once in the colonies, many of the families prospered and made valuable contributions to the cultures of what would become the United States and Canada. Research into the origins of individual families in North America has revealed records of the immigration of a number of people bearing the name Serfass or a variant listed above:

Serfass Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Johan Philip Serfass, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1739 [5]


  1. ^ Black, George F., The Surnames of Scotland Their Origin, Meaning and History. New York: New York Public Library, 1946. Print. (ISBN 0-87104-172-3)
  2. ^ 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)
  3. ^ Barber, Henry, British Family Names London: Elliot Stock, 62 Paternoster Row, 1894. Print.
  4. ^ Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  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)


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