Show ContentsSherriff History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The name Sherriff comes from one of the family having 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. [1] Before the Norman Conquest the sheriff was the king's representative in a county, responsible for every aspect of local administration in England.

Early Origins of the Sherriff family

The surname Sherriff 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.

Early History of the Sherriff family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Sherriff research. Another 77 words (6 lines of text) covering the years 156 and 1567 are included under the topic Early Sherriff History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Sherriff 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 Sherriff have been found, including: Sheriff, Sherrif, Sherriff, Shirreffs, Sheriffs and many more.

Early Notables of the Sherriff family (pre 1700)

More information is included under the topic Early Sherriff Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

United States Sherriff 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 Sherriff, or a variant listed above to cross the Atlantic and come to North America were :

Sherriff Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • William Sherriff, who landed in Maryland in 1659 [2]
Sherriff Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Alice Sherriff, who arrived in Virginia in 1704 [2]
Sherriff Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • S Sherriff, aged 36, who arrived in New York, NY in 1822 [2]
  • Elizabeth Sherriff, aged 20, who landed in New York, NY in 1822 [2]

Canada Sherriff migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Sherriff Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • Alexander P Sherriff, who landed in Canada in 1831

Australia Sherriff migration to Australia +

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

Sherriff Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Eliza Sherriff, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Anna Maria" in 1849 [3]
  • Thomas Sherriff, aged 34, a labourer, who arrived in South Australia in 1854 aboard the ship "Ostrich" [4]
  • George Sherriff, aged 24, a labourer, who arrived in South Australia in 1856 aboard the ship "Fitzjames"

Contemporary Notables of the name Sherriff (post 1700) +

  • Ryan Sebastian Sherriff (b. 1990), American Major League Baseball pitcher for the St. Louis Cardinals
  • Robert Cedric "R.C." Sherriff (1896-1975), English writer, best known for his play "Journey's End"
  • Rowan James Sherriff (b. 1951), former Australian cricketer who played for Tasmania (1975-1976) and (1979-1980)
  • Gail Chanfreau Sherriff (b. 1945), also known as Gail Lovera and Gail Benedetti, Australian-born, French former amateur and professional tennis player
  • Frederick Sherriff (b. 1943), former Australian tennis player in 1962 Australian Championships
  • George Sherriff OBE (1898-1967), Scottish explorer and plant collector, known for his expeditions into the Himalayan regions of Tibet and Bhutan, collecting thousands of specimens
  • Paula Michelle Sherriff (b. 1975), British Labour Party politician, Member of Parliament for Dewsbury (2015-)
  • Aron Sherriff (b. 1985), Australian gold, three-times silver and bronze medalist lawn and indoor bowler
  • Frederick George Sherriff OBE MC (1889-1943), British Olympic fencer in the men's team foil, at Paris in 1924 and Amsterdam in 1928
  • Rowan James Sherriff (b. 1951), retired Australian cricketer

The Sherriff 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: Esse quam videri
Motto Translation: To be, rather than to seem.

  1. Lower, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  2. 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)
  3. State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) The ANNA MARIA 1849. Retrieved from
  4. South Australian Register Saturday 22nd July 1854. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) Ostrich 1854. Retrieved on Facebook