Shepard History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The name Shepard is rooted in the ancient Anglo-Saxon culture. It is a name for someone who worked as a person who worked as a shepherd, the guardian of the sheep. Occupational names that were derived from the common trades of the medieval era transcended European cultural and linguistic boundaries. Occupational names frequently were derived from the principal object associated with the activity of the original bearer, such as tools or products. These types of occupational surnames are called metonymic surnames. In this case the surname was originally derived from the Old English word sceap, meaning sheep and hierde meaning herdsman. While this traditional understand of the surname's meaning is in many ways self explanatory today, in examining the Coat of Arms invariably we find battle axes. This is not surprising as the ancient shepherds were employed to dig sod around the embattlements of a Saxon village as a means of defense, hence the term "the shepherd's ring." Their tools were battle axes.

Early Origins of the Shepard family

The surname Shepard was first found in the Southern counties of England, where they could be found from early times. Early recorded instances of the name include William Sepherd listed in Rotuli Hundredorum, in Oxfordshire in 1279. [1] The same rolls listed Margaret le Sephirde in Huntingdon and Walter le Schepherde in Cambridgeshire. [2] Henry Sephurde was listed in the Subsidy Rolls of Sussex of 1296 while Walter le Shepperde was listed in the Feet of Fines of Staffordshire in 1307. [1]

Early History of the Shepard family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Shepard research. Another 85 words (6 lines of text) covering the years 1307, 1317, 1327, 1399, 1413, 1515, 1559, 1605, 1649, 1635, 1648, 1720, 1634, 1698 and are included under the topic Early Shepard History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Shepard Spelling Variations

It is only in the last few hundred years that the English language has been standardized. For that reason, early Anglo-Saxon surnames like Shepard are characterized by many spelling variations. As the English language changed and incorporated elements of other European languages, even literate people changed the spelling of their names. The variations of the name Shepard include: Shepherd, Shephard, Sheppard, Sheppeard, Shepperd and others.

Early Notables of the Shepard family (pre 1700)

Distinguished members of the family include Shepherd, alias Thwattes, of Derbyshire, who were a noble family during the reign of Henry IV (ruled 1399-1413); John Sheppard (c.1515-1559) English composer & organist, considered one of the finest English church composers of the Tudor era; Thomas Shepard (1605-1649), born in Towcester...
Another 49 words (4 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Shepard Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Shepard family to Ireland

Some of the Shepard family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 65 words (5 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Shepard migration to the United States +

Many English families tired of political and religious strife left Britain for the new colonies in North America. Although the trip itself offered no relief - conditions on the ships were extremely cramped, and many travelers arrived diseased, starving, and destitute - these immigrants believed the opportunities that awaited them were worth the risks. Once in the colonies, many of the families did indeed prosper and, in turn, made significant contributions to the culture and economies of the growing colonies. An inquiry into the early roots of North American families has revealed a number of immigrants bearing the name Shepard or a variant listed above:

Shepard Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Edward Shepard, who settled in Cambridge Massachusetts in 1630
  • John Shepard, who landed in Braintree, Massachusetts in 1635 [3]
  • Ralph Shepard, who arrived in Charlestown, Massachusetts in 1635 [3]
  • Samuel Shepard, who arrived in Cambridge, Massachusetts in 1635 [3]
  • Thomas Shepard, who landed in Cambridge, Massachusetts in 1635 [3]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Shepard Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Owen Shepard, who landed in Virginia in 1703 [3]
Shepard Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • J C Shepard, who arrived in San Francisco, California in 1851 [3]
  • W H Shepard, who arrived in San Francisco, California in 1860 [3]

Canada Shepard migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Shepard Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
  • Andrew Shepard, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1750
  • Ann Shepard, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1750
  • James Shepard, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1750
  • Rose Shepard, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1750
  • Mr. Thomas Shepard U.E. who settled in Canada c. 1784 [4]

Australia Shepard migration to Australia +

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

Shepard Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • George Shepard, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Eden" in 1838 [5]
  • Eliza Shepard, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Eden" in 1838 [5]
  • Catherine Shepard, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Eden" in 1838 [5]

New Zealand Shepard 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:

Shepard Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Mr. Edward Shepard, (b. 1820), aged 30, British carpenter travelling from London aboard the ship "Randolph" arriving in Lyttelton, Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand in September 1850 [6]
  • Mrs. Sarah Shepard, (b. 1818), aged 32, British settler travelling from London aboard the ship "Randolph" arriving in Lyttelton, Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand in September 1850, she died in 1868 [6]
  • Miss Sarah Shepard, (b. 1846), aged 4, British settler travelling from London aboard the ship "Randolph" arriving in Lyttelton, Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand in September 1850 [6]
  • Miss Emma Shepard, (b. 1849), aged 1, British settler travelling from London aboard the ship "Randolph" arriving in Lyttelton, Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand in September 1850, she died in 1883 [6]

Contemporary Notables of the name Shepard (post 1700) +

  • Sam Shepard (1943-2017), born Samuel Shepard Rogers III, American playwright and actor, recipient of the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1979 for his play, Buried Child, and was an Academy Award nominee for his portrayal of pilot Chuck Yeager
  • David Shepard (1940-2017), American film preservationist who restored many high quality video versions of silent films
  • Ollie Imogene "Jean" Shepard (1933-2016), American honky tonk singer-songwriter
  • Rear Admiral (USN, Ret.) Alan Bartlett Shepard Jr. (1923-1998), the first American astronaut in space, the fifth and oldest person to walk on the Moon, the only astronaut of the Mercury Seven to walk on the Moon [7]
  • William M. Shepard (b. 1949), former NASA astronaut with over 159 days in space [8]
  • Lewis Capet Shepard (1841-1919), American Civil War Medal of Honor recipient
  • David Hammond Shepard (1923-2007), American inventor best known for the first optical character recognition device
  • Bob Shepard, American Republican politician, Alternate Delegate to Republican National Convention from Texas, 1988 [9]
  • Andrew N. Shepard (b. 1863), American Republican politician, Member of Connecticut State House of Representatives from Portland, 1901-02; Member of Connecticut State Senate 34th District, 1907-08 [9]
  • Amos Shepard, American politician, Member of New Hampshire Governor's Council, 1785-87; Member of New Hampshire State Senate, 1786-91, 1792-93, 1795-1804 [9]
  • ... (Another 72 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)


The Shepard 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: Fide et virtute
Motto Translation: By fidelity and valour.


Suggested Readings for the name Shepard +

  • 764 The History of the Shepherd Family by Robert Sidney Shepherd, The Shephard Genealogy by Lowell Shepard Blaisdell, William G. Shepherd (also Shepard) Family Story and Genealogy by Ralph W. Hedrick.

  1. ^ Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-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. ^ 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)
  4. ^ 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
  5. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) EDEN 1838. Retrieved from http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1838Eden.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. ^ NASA Astronauts Homepage. (Retrieved 2010, September 27) Alan Shepard. Retrieved from http://www.jsc.nasa.gov/Bios/htmlbios/shepard-alan.html
  8. ^ NASA Astronauts Homepage. (Retrieved 2011, January 20) William Shepard. Retrieved from http://www.jsc.nasa.gov/Bios/htmlbios/shepherd.html
  9. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, November 4) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html


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