Sheldon History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms
The ancient history of the Sheldon name begins with the ancient Anglo-Saxon tribes of Britain. The name is derived from when the family resided in various places named Sheldon including Derbyshire, Devon, Warwickshire and the West Midlands. The first portion of the surname Sheldon is derived from the Old English scylf meaning shelf. The second portion was originally derived from the Old English dun meaning hill. The surname simply referred to the hill with a flat top. 
Early Origins of the Sheldon family
The surname Sheldon was first found in Worcestershire where "John Sheldon, of Abberton, in the reign of Henry IV"  is generally believed to be the progenitor. However, the Warwickshire "ancient house of Sheldon, of Sheldon is a matter of doubt, but not improbable.  For it is in Warwickshire that the family rose in prominence when William Sheldon purchased the manor of Beoly from Richard Neville in the reign of Edward IV. 
The family held this estate as their principal seat until it was destroyed by a fire in the Civil Wars of the 17th century. "[Beoley, Worcestershire] belonged successively to the noble families of Mortimer, Beauchamp, and Holland, of whose ancient castle the mound and moat still remain; and in the reign of Charles I. the manor was the property of Ralph Sheldon, a distinguished royalist, whose mansion was burned by the family themselves, to prevent its falling into the possession of the parliamentarians. Attached to the church is the chapel of 'Our Lady,' formerly a private chapel of the Sheldon family, to whom it has a very handsome monument: underneath the chapel is the vault." 
Over in the parish of Temple Grafton, another branch of the family was found. Originally held by Knights Templar (hence the prefix "Temple"), the property was purchased by the Sheldon family in the Dissolution of the Monasteries between 1536 and 1541 by Henry VIII. 
Early History of the Sheldon family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Sheldon research. Another 71 words (5 lines of text) covering the years 1584, 1654, 1599, 1687, 1598, 1677, 1660, 1663, 1642 and 1610 are included under the topic Early Sheldon History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Sheldon Spelling Variations
Until quite recently, the English language has lacked a definite system of spelling rules. Consequently, Anglo-Saxon surnames are characterized by a multitude of spelling variations. Changes in Anglo-Saxon names were influenced by the evolution of the English language, as it incorporated elements of French, Latin, and other languages. Although Medieval scribes and church officials recorded names as they sounded, so it is common to find one person referred to by several different spellings of his surname, even the most literate people varied the spelling of their own names. Variations of the name Sheldon include Sheldon, Shelden, Seldin, Sheldyn, Sheltan and others.
Early Notables of the Sheldon family (pre 1700)
Distinguished members of the family include John Selden (1584-1654), an English jurist and a scholar of England's ancient laws and constitution; Edward Sheldon (1599-1687), an English translator of Catholic works; and Gilbert Sheldon (1598-1677), Bishop of London in 1660, Archbishop of Canterbury in 1663, eponym of the Sheldonian Theatre at Oxford.
Richard Sheldon (d. 1642?), was an English divine, probably...
Another 58 words (4 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Sheldon Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
In the United States, the name Sheldon is the 1,845th most popular surname with an estimated 17,409 people with that name. 
Migration of the Sheldon family to Ireland
Some of the Sheldon family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 34 words (2 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
| Sheldon migration to the United States ||+|
Searching for a better life, many English families migrated to British colonies. Unfortunately, the majority of them traveled under extremely harsh conditions: overcrowding on the ships caused the majority of the immigrants to arrive diseased, famished, and destitute from the long journey across the ocean. For those families that arrived safely, modest prosperity was attainable, and many went on to make invaluable contributions to the development of the cultures of the new colonies. Research into the origins of individual families in North America revealed records of the immigration of a number of people bearing the name Sheldon or a variant listed above:
Sheldon Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
- Isaac Sheldon, who settled in New England in 1630
- Godfrey Sheldon, who settled in Maine in 1630
- Isaac Sheldon, who landed in Dorchester, Massachusetts in 1634 
- William Sheldon, who landed in Virginia in 1664 
- James Sheldon, who landed in Virginia in 1664 
Sheldon Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
- Pardon Sheldon, who settled in Boston in 1767
- Captain Sheldon, who settled in Boston in 1768
Sheldon Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
- William Sheldon, who arrived in America in 1806 
- Joseph Sheldon, aged 28, who arrived in New York in 1812 
- Richard Sheldon, aged 45, who arrived in New York in 1812 
- L Sheldon, who landed in San Francisco, California in 1851 
- W Sheldon, who landed in San Francisco, California in 1851 
- ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
| Sheldon migration to Canada ||+|
Some of the first settlers of this family name were:
Sheldon Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
- William Sheldon, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1760
- Mr. John Sheldon U.E. who settled in Saint John, New Brunswick c. 1784 
| Sheldon migration to Australia ||+|
Emigration to Australia
followed the First Fleets
of convicts, tradespeople and early settlers. Early immigrants include:
Sheldon Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
- Mr. William Sheldon, British Convict who was convicted in Stafford, Staffordshire, England for life, transported aboard the "Earl St Vincent" on 6th April 1820, arriving in New South Wales, Australia 
- Mr. Henry Sheldon, British convict who was convicted in Stafford, Staffordshire, England for 7 years, transported aboard the "Bussorah Merchant" on 1st October 1829, arriving in Tasmania (Van Diemen's Land) 
- David Sheldon, aged 33, a shoemaker, who arrived in South Australia in 1850 aboard the ship "Lysander" 
- Mr. George Sheldon, British convict who was convicted in Montreal, Quebec, Canada for 10 years, transported aboard the "Equestrian" on 27th August 1852, arriving in Tasmania (Van Diemen's Island) 
| Sheldon 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:
Sheldon Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
- Mrs. Sarah Sheldon, (b. 1835), aged 28, British settler travelling from London aboard the ship "David G. Fleming" arriving in Lyttelton, Canterbury, New Zealand on 9th December 1863 
- Mr. George Sheldon, (b. 1839), aged 24, British farm labourer travelling from London aboard the ship "David G. Fleming" arriving in Lyttelton, Canterbury, New Zealand on 9th December 1863 
- Samuel Sheldon, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Andrew Jackson" in 1865
- Eliza Sheldon, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Andrew Jackson" in 1865
- Sarah Sheldon, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Andrew Jackson" in 1865
- ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
|Contemporary Notables of the name Sheldon (post 1700) ||+|
- George Lawson Sheldon (1870-1960), American Republican politician, Governor of Nebraska, 1907-09; Candidate for Republican nomination for Vice President, 1908;U.S. Collector of Internal Revenue for Mississippi, 1932; Candidate for Presidential Elector for Mississippi, 1956 
- Edward A. Sheldon, American politician, Candidate for U.S. Representative from New York 24th District, 1894 
- Louis P. Sheldon (1934-2020), American Presbyterian pastor, and then Anglican priest
- Elaine McMillion Sheldon, American Academy Award nominated documentary filmmaker and visual journalist
- William P. Sheldon, American politician, Member of Missouri State Senate 20th District, 1887-90 
- William W. Sheldon, American Republican politician, Candidate for Maryland State House of Delegates District 47-A, 1998 
- William H. Sheldon, American politician, Dry Candidate for Delegate to Ohio convention to ratify 21st amendment, 1933 
- William A. Sheldon, American Republican politician, Delegate to Republican National Convention from Wisconsin, 1940 
- William Sheldon, American Republican politician, Delegate to Republican National Convention from Rhode Island, 1856 
- Welcome E. Sheldon, American politician, Representative from New York 12th District, 1898 
- ... (Another 93 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
|Historic Events for the Sheldon family ||+|
- Charles James Sheldon (d. 1945), British Marine aboard the HMS Dorsetshire when she was struck by air bombers and sunk; he died in the sinking 
- Mr. Sheldon, British signalman, who sailed into battle on the HMS Prince of Wales (1941) and survived the sinking 
- Mr. Clifford L Sheldon, British Leading Stoker, who sailed into battle on the HMS Repulse (1941) and survived the sinking 
- Mr. A L M J Sheldon, British Sub Lieutenant, who sailed into battle on the HMS Repulse (1941) and survived the sinking 
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: Optimum pati
Motto Translation: To suffer is best.
|Suggested Readings for the name Sheldon ||+|
- Sheldons at Bicentennial by Keith M. Sheldon.
- Mills, A.D., Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4)
- Shirley, Evelyn Philip, The Noble and Gentle Men of England; The Arms and Descents. Westminster: John Bower Nichols and Sons, 1866, Print.
- Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
- "What are the 5,000 Most Common Last Names in the U.S.?". NameCensus.com, https://namecensus.com/last-names/
- 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)
- Rubincam, Milton. The Old United Empire Loyalists List. Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc, 1976. (Originally published as; United Empire Loyalists. The Centennial of the Settlement of Upper Canada. Rose Publishing Company, 1885.) ISBN 0-8063-0331-X
- Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 10th September 2021). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/earl-st-vincent
- Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 10th November 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/bussorah-merchant
- State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) LYSANDER 1850. Retrieved http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1850Lysander.htm
- Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 16th May 2022). https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/equestrian
- New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 17th October 2018). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
- The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2016, April 22) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html
- Force Z Survivors HMS Dorsetshire Crew List, (Retrieved 2018, February 13th), https://www.forcez-survivors.org.uk/biographies/listdorsetshirecrew.html
- HMS Prince of Wales Crew members. (Retrieved 2014, April 9) . Retrieved from http://www.forcez-survivors.org.uk/biographies/listprincecrew.html
- HMS Repulse Crew members. (Retrieved 2014, April 9) . Retrieved from http://www.forcez-survivors.org.uk/biographies/listrepulsecrew.html