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


The founding heritage of the Shreves family is in the Anglo-Saxon culture that once dominated in Britain. The name Shreves comes from when one of the family 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.

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The surname Shreves 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.

The first dictionaries that appeared in the last few hundred years did much to standardize the English language. Before that time, spelling variations in names were a common occurrence. The language was changing, incorporating pieces of other languages, and the spelling of names changed with it. Shreves has been spelled many different ways, including Sheriff, Sherrif, Sherriff, Shirreffs, Sheriffs and many more.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Shreves research. Another 153 words (11 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Shreves History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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

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Thousands of English families in this era began to emigrate the New World in search of land and freedom from religious and political persecution. Although the passage was expensive and the ships were dark, crowded, and unsafe, those who made the voyage safely were rewarded with opportunities unavailable to them in their homeland. Research into passenger and immigration lists has revealed some of the very first Shrevess to arrive in North America: Richard Sherife, who came to Virginia in 1619; Lewis and Peter Sherive, who settled in Nevis in 1663; William Sheriff, who settled in Boston in 1716; Thomas Sheriffs, who settled in Virginia in 1649.

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

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  1. ^ Lowe, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.

Other References

  1. Best, Hugh. Debrett's Texas Peerage. New York: Coward-McCann, 1983. Print. (ISBN 069811244X).
  2. Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin . Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8).
  3. Cook, Chris. English Historical Facts 1603-1688. London: MacMillan, 1980. Print.
  4. Bardsley, C.W. A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6).
  5. Egle, William Henry. Pennsylvania Genealogies Scotch-Irish and German. Harrisburg: L.S. Hart, 1886. Print.
  6. Samuelsen, W. David. New York City Passenger List Manifests Index 1820 - 1824. North Salt Lake, Utah: Accelerated Indexing Systems International, 1986. Print.
  7. Bolton, Charles Knowles. Bolton's American Armory. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1964. Print.
  8. Thirsk, Joan. The Agrarian History of England and Wales. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press: 7 Volumes. Print.
  9. Marcharn, Frederick George. A Constitutional History of Modern England 1485 to the Present. London: Harper and Brothers, 1960. Print.
  10. Sanders, Joanne McRee Edition. English Settlers in Barbados 1637-1800. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  11. ...

The Shreves Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Shreves 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.

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