Shephard History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The name Shephard comes from one of the family having 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 Shephard family

The surname Shephard 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 Shephard family

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

Shephard Spelling Variations

Spelling variations in names were a common occurrence before English spelling was standardized a few hundred years ago. In the Middle Ages, even the literate spelled their names differently as the English language incorporated elements of French, Latin, and other European languages. Many variations of the name Shephard have been found, including: Shepherd, Shephard, Sheppard, Sheppeard, Shepperd and others.

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

Ireland Migration of the Shephard family to Ireland

Some of the Shephard 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 Shephard migration to the United States +

Families began migrating abroad in enormous numbers because of the political and religious discontent in England. Often faced with persecution and starvation in England, the possibilities of the New World attracted many English people. Although the ocean trips took many lives, those who did get to North America were instrumental in building the necessary groundwork for what would become for new powerful nations. Among the first immigrants of the name Shephard, or a variant listed above to cross the Atlantic and come to North America were :

Shephard Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Humphrey Shephard, who settled in Boston in 1635
Shephard Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • John Shephard, who arrived in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1823 [3]
  • Patrick Shephard, who landed in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1829 [3]
  • D A Shephard, who landed in San Francisco, California in 1850 [3]
  • J L N Shephard, who landed in San Francisco, California in 1851 [3]
  • George Shephard, who arrived in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1860 [3]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Canada Shephard migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Shephard Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
  • Joseph Shephard, who arrived in Halifax, Nova Scotia in 1778

Australia Shephard migration to Australia +

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

Shephard Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • William Henry Shephard, who arrived in Kangaroo Island aboard the ship "Tam O'Shanter" in 1836 [4]
  • Anne Shephard, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Ramillies" in 1849 [5]
  • Mr. Hannibal (Hanibal) Shephard, (b. 1835), aged 21, Cornish labourer from Mullion, Cornwall, UKtravelling from Plymouth, Devon, UK aboard the ship "Aliquis" arriving in Adelaide, Australia on 26th August 1856 [6]
  • Hannibal Shephard (aged 21), a labourer, who arrived in South Australia in 1856 aboard the ship "Aliquis"

New Zealand Shephard 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:

Shephard Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • William Shephard, aged 31, who arrived in Nelson, New Zealand aboard the ship "London" in 1842
  • Elizabeth Shephard, aged 29, who arrived in Nelson, New Zealand aboard the ship "London" in 1842
  • Fanny Shephard, aged 7, who arrived in Nelson, New Zealand aboard the ship "London" in 1842
  • James Shephard, aged 5, who arrived in Nelson, New Zealand aboard the ship "London" in 1842
  • William Shephard, aged 3, who arrived in Nelson, New Zealand aboard the ship "London" in 1842
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Contemporary Notables of the name Shephard (post 1700) +

  • Isaac F. Shephard, American Union Civil War officer
  • Quinn Shephard, American actress
  • Ronald William Shephard (1912-1982), American Professor of Engineering Science at the University of California
  • Greer Shephard, American television producer and director
  • Ruth L. Shephard, American politician, Prohibition Candidate for Michigan State House of Representatives from Kalamazoo County 1st District, 1948 [7]
  • Robert C. Shephard, American Republican politician, Member of New York State Assembly from Kings County 5th District, 1925 [7]
  • J. H. Shephard, American Democrat politician, Chair of Hamilton County Democratic Party, 1950 [7]
  • Mrs. Hugh Shephard, American Republican politician, Alternate Delegate to Republican National Convention from Iowa, 1952 [7]
  • Harvey Shephard, American politician, Postmaster at Dallas, Texas, 1865 [7]
  • George W. Shephard, American politician, Member of Nebraska State House of Representatives, 1889 [7]
  • ... (Another 17 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Air New Zealand Flight 901
  • Mr. George M. Shephard (d. 1979), American passenger, from USA aboard the Air New Zealand Flight 901 for an Antarctic sightseeing flight when it flew into Mount Erebus; he died in the crash [8]


The Shephard 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.


  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. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) TAM O'SHANTER - 1836. Retrieved from http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1836TamOShanter.htm
  5. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) RAMILIES 1849. Retrieved from http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1849Ramillies.htm
  6. ^ The Ships List Passenger Lists Ship Aliquis (Retrieved 26th October 2018). Retrieved from http://www.theshipslist.com/ships/australia/aliquis1856.shtml
  7. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, October 19) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html
  8. ^ Mount Erebus, Memorial, Roll of Remembrance (Retrieved 2018, February 21st). Retrieved from http://www.erebus.co.nz/memorialandawards/rollofremembrance.aspx


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