Servis History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Servis is one of the many names that the Normans brought with them when they conquered England in 1066. The Servis family 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 Servis family

The surname Servis 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 Servis family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Servis 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 Servis History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Servis Spelling Variations

Anglo-Norman names tend to be marked by an enormous number of spelling variations. This is largely due to the fact that Old and Middle English lacked any spelling rules when Norman French was introduced in the 11th century. The languages of the English courts at that time were French and Latin. These various languages mixed quite freely in the evolving social milieu. The final element of this mix is that medieval scribes spelled words according to their sounds rather than any definite rules, so a name was often spelled in as many different ways as the number of documents it appeared in. The name was spelled Service, Surface, Serfaes, Servas, Servaes, Serveas, Servais, Services, Serfice and many more.

Early Notables of the Servis 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 Servis Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Migration of the Servis family

Because of the political and religious discontent in England, families began to migrate abroad in enormous numbers. Faced with persecution and starvation at home, the open frontiers and generally less oppressive social environment of the New World seemed tantalizing indeed to many English people. The trip was difficult, and not all made it unscathed, but many of those who did get to Canada and the United States made important contributions to the young nations in which they settled. Some of the first North American settlers with Servis name or one of its variants: Christian Servas who landed in North America in 1740; John Tobias Serveas settled in Philadelphia in 1727; John, Margaret, Thomas, and William Service settled in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania between 1803 and 1853.



  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)


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