An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright © 2000 - 2016
The Sheriff name was coined by the Anglo-Saxon tribes of Britain. Sheriff was originally a name given to someone who worked as a person who held the office of sheriff. This occupational surname was originally derived from the Old English words scir meaning shire and refa meaning reeve. The surname was originally derived from the "shire-reeve," a Vice Count who was in charge of the law for a shire or county.  Before the Norman Conquest the sheriff was the king's representative in a county, responsible for every aspect of local administration in England.
The surname Sheriff was first found in Warwickshire 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.
It is only in the last few hundred years that the English language has been standardized. For that reason, early Anglo-Saxon surnames like Sheriff 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 Sheriff include: Sheriff, Sherrif, Sherriff, Shirreffs, Sheriffs and many more.
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Sheriff research. Another 153 words (11 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Sheriff History in all our PDF Extended History products.
More information is included under the topic Early Sheriff Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.
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 Sheriff or a variant listed above:
Sheriff Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
Sheriff Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
Sheriff Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
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: Esse quam videri
Motto Translation: To be, rather than to seem.
The Sheriff Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Sheriff Family Crest was drawn according to heraldic standards based on published blazons. We generally include the oldest published family crest once associated with each surname.
This page was last modified on 2 July 2015 at 12:32.