Severn History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The name Severn is an old Anglo-Saxon name. It comes from when a family lived in the county of Worcester. Severn is a topographic surname, which was given to a person who resided near a physical feature such as a hill, stream, church, or type of tree. During the Middle Ages, as society became more complex, individuals needed a way to be distinguishable from others. Toponymic surnames were developed as a result of this need. Various features in the landscape or area were used to distinguish people from one another. In this case the original bearers of the surname Severn were named due to their close proximity to the river Severn.

Early Origins of the Severn family

The surname Severn was first found in Worcestershire where they held a family seat from early times and their first records appeared on the early census rolls taken by the early Kings of Britain to determine the rate of taxation of their subjects.

Early History of the Severn family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Severn research. Another 124 words (9 lines of text) covering the years 1300 and 1675 are included under the topic Early Severn History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Severn Spelling Variations

Before the last few hundred years, the English language had no fast system of spelling rules. For that reason, spelling variations are commonly found in early Anglo-Saxon surnames. Over the years, many variations of the name Severn were recorded, including Severne, Severn, Seven, Sevens, Severin, Seffern, Sefferin and many more.

Early Notables of the Severn family (pre 1700)

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


United States Severn migration to the United States +

To escape oppression and starvation at that time, many English families left for the "open frontiers" of the New World with all its perceived opportunities. In droves people migrated to the many British colonies, those in North America in particular, paying high rates for passages in cramped, unsafe ships. Although many of the settlers did not make the long passage alive, those who did see the shores of North America perceived great opportunities before them. Many of the families that came from England went on to make essential contributions to the emerging nations of Canada and the United States. Research into various historical records revealed some of first members of the Severn family emigrate to North America:

Severn Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Samuel Severn, who settled in Maryland in 1774
Severn Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Benjamin Severn, who arrived in Philadelphia in 1813
  • Moses Severn, who arrived in New York, NY in 1846 [1]
  • Frederick Severn, who arrived in St Clair County, Illinois in 1876 [1]

Australia Severn migration to Australia +

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

Severn Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mr. George Severn, (b. 1799), aged 20, English convict who was convicted in London, England for 14 years for forgery, transported aboard the "Dromedary" on 11th September 1819, arriving in Tasmania (Van Diemen's Land) [2]
  • William Severn, a comb-maker, who arrived in New South Wales, Australia sometime between 1825 and 1832
  • Mr. Joseph Severn, (b. 1815), aged 25, British tailor who was convicted in Leicester, England for 10 years for stealing, transported aboard the "Asia" on 25th April 1840, arriving in Tasmania (Van Diemen's Land), he died in 1892 [3]
  • Mr. Frederick Severn, (b. 1814), aged 28, English farm labourer who was convicted in Leicester, Leicestershire, England for 10 years for stealing, transported aboard the "Eden" on 12th March 1842, arriving in Tasmania (Van Diemen's Island), he died in 1854 [4]
  • William Severn, aged 44, a fishmonger, who arrived in South Australia in 1850 aboard the ship "Joseph Soames" [5]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

New Zealand Severn 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:

Severn Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Mr. Henry Severn, British settler travelling from London aboard the ship "Queen of the Deep" arriving in Auckland, New Zealand on 14th June 1854 [6]
  • Mr. Francis Severn, British settler travelling from London aboard the ship "Queen of the Deep" arriving in Auckland, New Zealand on 14th June 1854 [6]
  • Mr. Joseph S. John Severn, (b. 1822), aged 37, British general labourer travelling from Gravesend aboard the ship "Regina" arriving in Lyttelton, Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand on 4th December 1859 [6]
  • Mrs. Susanna Severn, (b. 1829), aged 30, British settler travelling from Gravesend aboard the ship "Regina" arriving in Lyttelton, Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand on 4th December 1859 [6]
  • Mr. Nathanial Severn, (b. 1859), aged 24, British settler travelling from London aboard the ship "Westland" arriving in Wellington, New Zealand on 3rd October 1883 [6]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Contemporary Notables of the name Severn (post 1700) +

  • Edmund Severn (1862-1942), American violinist and composer
  • Daniel "Dan" DeWayne Severn (b. 1958), American retired martial artist and professional wrestler
  • Joseph Severn (1793-1879), English portrait and subject painter, born at Hoxton, son of James Severn, a musician by profession who belonged to an old Gloucestershire family which was reduced by misfortune
  • James Alexander Robert McEwen Severn (b. 1991), English footballer
  • Claud Severn, British colonial governor of Hong Kong from 1911-1925
  • Sidney Severn Kellam (b. 1903), American Democratic Party politician, Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Virginia, 1952, 1964; Member of Democratic National Committee from Virginia, 1964-67 [7]
  • Severn Teakle Darden Jr. (1929-1995), American comedian and actor


The Severn 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: Virtus praestantior auro
Motto Translation: Virtue is more excellent than gold.


  1. ^ 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)
  2. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 16th July 2021). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/dromedary
  3. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 17th January 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/asia/1840
  4. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 15th December 2021). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/eden
  5. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) JOSEPH SOMES / SOAMES 1850. Retrieved http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1850JosephSomes.htm
  6. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 26th March 2019). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  7. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, October 27) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html


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