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


Soon after the Norman Conquest of England in 1066, the name Shorter was recognized on the island as a name for a stocky or short-necked person which was in turn derived from the Anglo-Saxon word scorkhals meaning a person with a short neck.

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The surname Shorter was first found in Northumberland where they held a family seat from very early times being granted lands at Shotthaugh by William after the Conquest in 1066 A.D.

Before the advent of the printing press and the first dictionaries, the English language was not standardized. Sound was what guided spelling in the Middle Ages, so one person's name was often recorded under several variations during a single lifetime. Spelling variations were common, even among the names of the most literate people. Known variations of the Shorter family name include Shorthalls, Shortals, Shortall, Shottall, Shottalls, Shortells, Shortell, Shorthill, Shotthaugh, Shotter and many more.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Shorter research. Another 262 words (19 lines of text) covering the years 1290, 1326, and 1641 are included under the topic Early Shorter History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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

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Some of the Shorter family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 104 words (7 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.

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To escape the political and religious chaos of this era, thousands of English families began to migrate to the New World in search of land and freedom from religious and political persecution. The passage was expensive and the ships were dark, crowded, and unsafe; however, those who made the voyage safely were encountered opportunities that were not available to them in their homeland. Many of the families that reached the New World at this time went on to make important contributions to the emerging nations of the United States and Canada. Research into various historical records has revealed some of first members of the Shorter family to immigrate North America:

Shorter Settlers in United States in the 17th Century


  • Jo Shorter, 26, who arrived in Virginia in 1635
  • Jo Shorter, aged 26, landed in Virginia in 1635
  • Marie Shorter, aged 26, arrived in Virginia in 1635
  • Mary Shorter, who landed in Virginia in 1638
  • John Shorter, who arrived in Virginia in 1638


Shorter Settlers in United States in the 18th Century


  • William Shorter, 20, came to Pennsylvania in 1776
  • William Shorter, aged 20, landed in Pennsylvania in 1776

Shorter Settlers in United States in the 19th Century


  • Eliz Shorter arrived in America in 1830
  • Eliz Shorter, who arrived in America in 1830

Shorter Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century


  • John Shorter, aged 19, a labourer, arrived in South Australia in 1850 aboard the ship "Trafalgar"

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  • James "Jim" Shorter (b. 1938), American NFL football defensive back
  • Eli Sims Shorter (1823-1879), American politician, U.S. Representative from Alabama
  • Alan Shorter (1932-1987), American free jazz trumpet and flugelhorn player, older brother of Wayne Shorter
  • John Gill Shorter (1818-1872), American Democrat politician, 17th Governor of Alabama
  • Wayne Shorter (b. 1933), American nine-time Grammy Award winning jazz composer and saxophonist
  • Frank Shorter (b. 1947), American athlete, winner of the marathon race at the 1972 Summer Olympics
  • Laurence Shorter (b. 1970), English author and comedian
  • Richard Nicholas Shorter (1906-1984), English cricketer
  • Clement King Shorter (1857-1926), British journalist and literary critic
  • Ken Shorter (b. 1945), Australian actor, best known for playing the lead in the biker film Stone (1974)

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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: Certavi et vici
Motto Translation: I have fought and conquered.

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  1. Hanks, Patricia and Flavia Hodges. A Dictionary of Surnames. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988. Print. (ISBN 0-19-211592-8).
  2. Lennard, Reginald. Rural England 1086-1135 A Study of Social and Agrarian Conditions. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1959. Print.
  3. Crozier, William Armstrong Edition. Crozier's General Armory A Registry of American Families Entitled to Coat Armor. New York: Fox, Duffield, 1904. Print.
  4. Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds. Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8).
  5. Weis, Frederick Lewis, Walter Lee Sheppard and David Faris. Ancestral Roots of Sixty Colonists Who Came to New England Between 1623 and 1650 7th Edition. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0806313676).
  6. The Norman People and Their Existing Descendants in the British Dominions and the United States Of America. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0636-X).
  7. Holt, J.C. Ed. Domesday Studies. Woodbridge: Boydell, 1987. Print. (ISBN 0-85115-477-8).
  8. Sanders, Joanne McRee Edition. English Settlers in Barbados 1637-1800. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  9. Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at Galveston Texas 1896-1951. National Archives Washington DC. Print.
  10. Thirsk, Joan. The Agrarian History of England and Wales. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press: 7 Volumes. Print.
  11. ...

The Shorter Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Shorter 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 17 November 2014 at 09:22.

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