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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright 2000 - 2016


The ancestors of the Shire family migrated to England following the Norman Conquest of 1066. The surname Shire is based on the Norman given name Essira.

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The surname Shire was first found in Surrey where they held a family seat from ancient times being Lords of the Manor of Shere recorded in the Domesday Book Survey taken in 1086 A.D. as being 'King's Land' and consisting of a church and mills. The original name of the village of Shere was 'Essira' and it may be taken that this was also the original spelling of the surname, taken from an unknown Norman noble who entered into England with William the Conqueror in 1066.

Before English spelling was standardized a few hundred years ago, spelling variations of names were a common occurrence. Elements of Latin, Norman French and other languages became incorporated into English throughout the Middle Ages, and name spellings changed even among the literate. The variations of the surname Shire include Shere, Sheres, Shear, Shears, Sheares, Sheare, Sheares, Sheer, Sheers, Sheere, Sheeres, Shire, Shires, Shiers, Shier, Shiere, Sheir, Sheirs, Sheire and many more.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Shire research. Another 203 words (14 lines of text) covering the years 1614 and 1685 are included under the topic Early Shire History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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More information is included under the topic Early Shire Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Some of the Shire family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 146 words (10 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.

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In England at this time, the uncertainty of the political and religious environment of the time caused many families to board ships for distant British colonies in the hopes of finding land and opportunity, and escaping persecution. The voyages were expensive, crowded, and difficult, though, and many arrived in North America sick, starved, and destitute. Those who did make it, however, were greeted with greater opportunities and freedoms that they could have experienced at home. Many of those families went on to make important contributions to the young nations in which they settled. Early immigration records have shown some of the first Shires to arrive on North American shores:

Shire Settlers in United States in the 18th Century


  • Nicholas Shire, aged 21, arrived in Pennsylvania in 1740

Shire Settlers in United States in the 19th Century


  • Otto Shire, who landed in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1872

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  1. Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds. Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8).
  2. Humble, Richard. The Fall of Saxon England. New York: Barnes and Noble, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-88029-987-8).
  3. Hinde, Thomas Ed. The Domesday Book England's Heritage Then and Now. Surrey: Colour Library Books, 1995. Print. (ISBN 1-85833-440-3).
  4. Foster, Joseph. Dictionary of Heraldry Feudal Coats of Arms and Pedigrees. London: Bracken Books, 1989. Print. (ISBN 1-85170-309-8).
  5. Burke, John Bernard Ed. The Roll of Battle Abbey. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  6. Burke, Sir Bernard. Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Peerage and Baronetage, The Privy Council, Knightage and Compainonage. London: Burke Publishing, 1921. Print.
  7. Skordas, Guest. Ed. The Early Settlers of Maryland an Index to Names or Immigrants Complied from Records of Land Patents 1633-1680 in the Hall of Records Annapolis, Maryland. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1968. Print.
  8. Sanders, Joanne McRee Edition. English Settlers in Barbados 1637-1800. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  9. Innes, Thomas and Learney. The Tartans of the Clans and Families of Scotland 1st Edition. Edinburgh: W & A. K. Johnston Limited, 1938. Print.
  10. Shaw, William A. Knights of England A Complete Record from the Earliest Time to the Present Day of the Knights of all the Orders of Chivalry in England, Scotland, Ireland and Knights Bachelors 2 Volumes. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print. (ISBN 080630443X).
  11. ...

The Shire Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Shire 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 4 February 2014 at 17:22.

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