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

Where did the English Shortt family come from? What is the English Shortt family crest and coat of arms? When did the Shortt family first arrive in the United States? Where did the various branches of the family go? What is the Shortt family history?

The history of the name Shortt goes back those Anglo-Saxon tribes that once ruled over Britain. Such a name was given to a person who because of their physical characteristics was named short. In this case the surname Shortt can be traced back to the Old English word sceort which means short. The original bearer would have been known as the short one, because of his low stature. As height is one of the most easily distinguished features of a person, names derived from this aspect of a person's physique are by no means rare.


Sound was what guided spelling in the essentially pre-literate Middle Ages, so one person's name was often recorded under several variations during a single lifetime. Also, before the advent of the printing press and the first dictionaries, the English language was not standardized. Therefore, spelling variations were common, even among the names of the most literate people. Known variations of the Shortt family name include Short, Shorte, Shortt, Schorte and others.

First found in Dorset where one of the first records of the name was Ordic Scort who was listed there in the Pipe Rolls of 1176. Other early records include Richard le Sorte who was listed in the Assize Rolls of 1269 in Somerset and William Short who was listed in the Subsidy Rolls of Sussex of 1327. [1] The Hundredorum Rolls of 1273 list William Short in Suffolk. [2]


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Shortt research. Another 177 words (13 lines of text) covering the year 1600 is included under the topic Early Shortt History in all our PDF Extended History products.


Another 35 words (2 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Shortt Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.


Some of the Shortt family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 87 words (6 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.


For political, religious, and economic reasons, thousands of English families boarded ships for Ireland, the Canadas, the America colonies, and many of smaller tropical colonies in the hope of finding better lives abroad. Although the passage on the cramped, dank ships caused many to arrive in the New World diseased and starving, those families that survived the trip often went on to make valuable contributions to those new societies to which they arrived. Investigation of the origins of family names on the North American continent has revealed that early immigrants bearing the name Shortt or a variant listed above:

Shortt Settlers in United States in the 19th Century

  • John H Shortt, who landed in America in 1807

Shortt Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century

  • Joanna Shortt, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1840

Shortt Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century

  • Annes Shortt arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "British Empire" in 1880
  • Lewis Shortt arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "British Empire" in 1880


  • Kate Shortt, English pianist, cello player, songwriter and comedian
  • William Hamilton Shortt, British railway engineer who co-invented the Shortt-Synchronome free pendulum clock in 1921 which was so accurate it had an error rate of only one second in 12 years
  • Pat Shortt (b. 1966), Irish actor, comedian and entertainer from Thurles, County Tipperary
  • Edward Shortt PC KC (1862-1935), British lawyer and Liberal Party politician, Home Secretary (1919 to 1922)
  • Bill Shortt (1920-2004), Welsh professional footballer from Wrexham, Wales
  • Adam Shortt CMG FRSC (1859-1931), Canadian economic historian from Kilworth, Ontario


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  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)

Other References

  1. Sanders, Joanne McRee Edition. English Settlers in Barbados 1637-1800. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  2. Burke, Sir Bernard. General Armory Of England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales. Ramsbury: Heraldry Today. Print.
  3. Foster, Joseph. Dictionary of Heraldry Feudal Coats of Arms and Pedigrees. London: Bracken Books, 1989. Print. (ISBN 1-85170-309-8).
  4. Magnusson, Magnus. Chambers Biographical Dictionary 5th edition. Edinburgh: W & R Chambers, 1990. Print.
  5. Colletta, John P. They Came In Ships. Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1993. Print.
  6. Best, Hugh. Debrett's Texas Peerage. New York: Coward-McCann, 1983. Print. (ISBN 069811244X).
  7. Reaney P.H and R.M. Wilson. A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X).
  8. Shirley, Evelyn Philip. Noble and Gentle Men of England Or Notes Touching The Arms and Descendants of the Ancient Knightley and Gentle Houses of England Arranged in their Respective Counties 3rd Edition. Westminster: John Bowyer Nichols and Sons, 1866. Print.
  9. Markale, J. Celtic Civilization. London: Gordon & Cremonesi, 1976. Print.
  10. MacAulay, Thomas Babington. History of England from the Accession of James the Second 4 volumes. New York: Harper and Brothers, 1879. Print.
  11. ...

The Shortt Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Shortt 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 2015 at 13:26.

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