Shepherd History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The Shepherd name was coined by the Anglo-Saxon tribes of Britain. Shepherd was originally a name given to 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 Shepherd family

The surname Shepherd 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 Shepherd family

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

Shepherd 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 Shepherd 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 Shepherd include: Shepherd, Shephard, Sheppard, Sheppeard, Shepperd and others.

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

Ireland Migration of the Shepherd family to Ireland

Some of the Shepherd 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 Shepherd 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 Shepherd or a variant listed above:

Shepherd Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Ralph Shepherd, who landed in Charlestown, Massachusetts in 1635 [3]
  • Edward and Violet Shepherd, and their three children, who settled in Cambridge, Massachusetts in 1639
  • Edward Shepherd, who landed in Cambridge, Massachusetts in 1639 [3]
  • Mary Shepherd, who landed in Maryland in 1640 [3]
  • William Shepherd, who arrived in Maryland in 1640 [3]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Shepherd Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • John Shepherd, who landed in Virginia in 1703 [3]
  • Elizabeth Shepherd, a bonded passenger, who arrived in Maryland in 1726
  • Thomas Shepherd, who landed in America in 1726 [3]
  • Dorothy Shepherd, a bonded passenger, who settled in Virginia in 1753
  • Mr. Shepherd, who arrived in Antigua (Antego) in 1773 [3]
Shepherd Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • James Shepherd, who arrived in America in 1811 [3]
  • Philip Shepherd, who arrived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1812 [3]
  • Maurice Shepherd, who arrived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1812 [3]
  • Andrew Shepherd, who landed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1812 [3]
  • Elizabeth Shepherd, who arrived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1812 [3]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Canada Shepherd migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Shepherd Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
  • Robert Shepherd, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1748
  • Andw Shepherd, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1749
  • Mr. William Shepherd U.E. born in Pennsylvania, USA who settled in Saint John, New Brunswick c. 1784 [4]

Australia Shepherd migration to Australia +

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

Shepherd Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • William Shepherd, English convict from Middlesex, who was transported aboard the "Ann" on August 1809, settling in New South Wales, Australia [5]
  • Thomas Shepherd, English convict from Nottingham, who was transported aboard the "Asia" on July 29th, 1823, settling in Van Diemen's Land, Australia [6]
  • John Shepherd, English convict from Surrey, who was transported aboard the "Arab" on February 22, 1834, settling in Van Diemen's Land, Australia [7]
  • James Shepherd, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Caleb Angas" in 1840 [8]
  • Thomas Shepherd, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Orissa" in 1841 [9]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

New Zealand Shepherd 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:

Shepherd Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Thomas Shepherd, who landed in Auckland, New Zealand in 1840
  • James Shepherd, who landed in Bay of Islands, New Zealand in 1840
  • Alexander Shepherd, who landed in Auckland, New Zealand in 1840
  • Robert Shepherd, who landed in Whangaroa, Auckland, New Zealand in 1840
  • James Shepherd, aged 25, a servant, who arrived in Port Nicholson aboard the ship "Lady Nugent" in 1841
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Contemporary Notables of the name Shepherd (post 1700) +

  • James H. Shepherd (1951-2019), American medical researcher and rehabilitation executive, co-founder and chairman of Shepherd Center
  • Captain William M. Shepherd (b. 1949), Former NASA astronaut with over 159 days in space
  • Kenny Wayne Shepherd (b. 1977), American guitarist, singer, and songwriter
  • Jean Parker Shepherd (1921-1999), American raconteur, radio and TV personality, writer and actor
  • Cybill Shepherd (b. 1950), American actress and former model [10]
  • David W. Shepherd, American politician, Representative from Idaho 1st District, 1986 ; Candidate in Democratic primary for Governor of Idaho, 1994 [11]
  • David H. Shepherd (d. 1981), American politician, Mayor of Oak Park, Michigan, 1971-81 [11]
  • Daniel Shepherd, American politician, Member of New York State Assembly from Washington County, 1805-06; Member of New York State Senate Eastern District, 1821-22 [11]
  • C. Henry Shepherd, American politician, Member of New Jersey State House of Assembly from Cumberland County, 1869; Member of New Jersey State Senate from Cumberland County, 1872-74 [11]
  • Ben O. Shepherd, American Republican politician, Treasurer of Michigan Republican Party, 1947 [11]
  • ... (Another 47 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

HMAS Sydney II
  • Mr. David John Shepherd (1902-1941), Australian Chief Petty Officer Telegraphist from Sans Souci, New South Wales, Australia, who sailed into battle aboard HMAS Sydney II and died in the sinking [12]
  • Mr. Alfred Horwood Shepherd (1917-1941), Australian Acting Engine Room Artificer 4th Class from West Midland, Western Australia, Australia, who sailed into battle aboard HMAS Sydney II and died in the sinking [12]
HMS Hood
  • Mr. Percy R Shepherd (b. 1916), English Able Seaman serving for the Royal Navy from Gosport, Hampshire, England, who sailed into battle and died in the sinking [13]
  • Mr. Lambert C Shepherd (b. 1911), English Ordinary Seaman serving for the Royal Navy from Hale, Cheshire, England, who sailed into battle and died in the sinking [13]
  • Mr. George V Shepherd (b. 1905), English Chief Engine Room Artificer serving for the Royal Navy from Portsmouth, Hampshire, England, who sailed into battle and died in the sinking [13]
  • Mr. Cyril H Shepherd (b. 1923), English Ordinary Seaman serving for the Royal Navy from Copnor, Portsmouth, Hampshire, England, who sailed into battle and died in the sinking [13]
HMS Prince of Wales
HMS Royal Oak
  • George Shepherd (1915-1939), British Seaman with the Royal Navy Reserve aboard the HMS Royal Oak when she was torpedoed by U-47 and sunk; he died in the sinking [15]
RMS Lusitania
  • Mr. Ralph Alfred Shepherd, English Fireman from England, who worked aboard the RMS Lusitania and died in the sinking [16]
RMS Titanic
  • Mr. Johnathan Shepherd (d. 1912), aged 32, English Fireman/Stoker from Southampton, Hampshire who worked aboard the RMS Titanic and died in the sinking [17]


The Shepherd 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 Shepherd +

  • 482 The History of the Shepherd Family by Robert Sidney Shepherd, Thrice Three Times Told Tales by Mary Waller Shepherd Soper, 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 Library of Queensland. (Retrieved 2016, October 27) Ann voyage to New South Wales, Australia in 1809 with 200 passengers. Retrieved from http://www.convictrecords.com.au/ships/ann/1809
  6. ^ State Library of Queensland. (Retrieved 2016, October 27) Asia 1 voyage to Van Diemen's Land, Australia in 1823 with 151 passengers. Retrieved from http://www.convictrecords.com.au/ships/asia/1823
  7. ^ State Library of Queensland. (Retrieved 2015, January 8) Arab voyage to Van Diemen's Land, Australia in 1834 with 230 passengers. Retrieved from http://www.convictrecords.com.au/ships/arab/1834
  8. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) CALEB ANGAS 1840. Retrieved from http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1840CalebAngas.gif
  9. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) ORISSA 1841 - Captain Salmon. Retrieved from http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1841Orissa.gif
  10. ^ Cybill Shepherd. (Retrieved 2010, September 27) Cybill Shepherd. Retrieved from http://www.cybill.com/
  11. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, October 19) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html
  12. ^ HMAS Sydney II, Finding Sydney Foundation - Roll of Honour. (Retrieved 2014, April 24) . Retrieved from http://www.findingsydney.com/roll.asp
  13. ^ H.M.S. Hood Association-Battle Cruiser Hood: Crew Information - H.M.S. Hood Rolls of Honour, Men Lost in the Sinking of H.M.S. Hood, 24th May 1941. (Retrieved 2016, July 15) . Retrieved from http://www.hmshood.com/crew/memorial/roh_24may41.htm
  14. ^ HMS Prince of Wales Crew members. (Retrieved 2014, April 9) . Retrieved from http://www.forcez-survivors.org.uk/biographies/listprincecrew.html
  15. ^ Ships hit by U-boats crew list HMS Royal Oak (08) - (Retrieved 2018 February, 9th) - retrieved from https://uboat.net/allies/merchants/crews/ship68.html
  16. ^ Lusitania Passenger List - The Lusitania Resource. (Retrieved 2014, March 7) . Retrieved from http://www.rmslusitania.info/lusitania-passenger-list/
  17. ^ Titanic Passenger List - Titanic Facts. (Retrieved 2016, July 13) . Retrieved from http://www.titanicfacts.net/titanic-passenger-list.html


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