Show ContentsSidney History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The ancestors of the Sidney family brought their name to England in the wave of migration after the Norman Conquest of 1066. They lived in St Denis, Normandy. [1] One noted author agrees with this generally accepted premise, but he points out that "proof is lacking. The only evidence noted is: Roger de Sancto Dionisio 1212 Fees for Norfolk." He feels that the name more likely originated at Sidney Farm, in Alfold, Surrey and meant "dweller by the wide well-watered land." [2]

Early Origins of the Sidney family

The surname Sidney was first found in Kent where they settled in Lewes Priory in 1188, coming from Anjou in Normandy. The founder of this family in England was Sir William Sydney, Chamberlain of King Henry II., who came from Anjou with that monarch, and was buried at Lewes Priory, East Sussex in 1188. [3] In Surrey, we also found John ate Sydenye in the Subsidy Rolls for 1332 and in Sussex, William Sydny was recorded in 1428. [2]

The Hundredorum Rolls of 1273 included: Richard de Sanct' Deonise, Norfolk; and Robert de Sanct' Deonisio, Devon. [4]

Early History of the Sidney family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Sidney research. Another 117 words (8 lines of text) covering the years 1554, 1595, 1580, 1515, 1515, 1534, 1529, 1586, 1563, 1626, 1598, 1659, 1595, 1677, 1619, 1698, 1623, 1683, 1641, 1704, 1649, 1702, 1676, 1705, 1680, 1737, 1681, 1729, 1682 and 1743 are included under the topic Early Sidney History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Sidney Spelling Variations

Before the last few hundred years the English language had no fixed system of spelling rules. For that reason, spelling variations occurred commonly in Anglo Norman surnames. Over the years, many variations of the name Sidney were recorded, including Sidney, Sydney and others.

Early Notables of the Sidney family (pre 1700)

Outstanding amongst the family at this time was Richard Sydnor, English clergyman, Archdeacon of Cornwall in 1515 and then Archdeacon of Totnes from 1515 to 1534; Sir Henry Sidney (1529-1586), Lord Deputy of Ireland; his son Robert Sidney (1563-1626), 1st Earl of Leicester, progenitor of the Earls of Leicester; Dorothy Sidney (ca.1598-1659), Countess of Leicester, the eldest daughter of Henry Percy; Robert Sidney, 2nd Earl of Leicester (1595-1677), an English diplomat and politician; Philip Sidney, 3rd Earl...
Another 77 words (6 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Sidney Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Sidney Ranking

In the United States, the name Sidney is the 10,979th most popular surname with an estimated 2,487 people with that name. [5]

United States Sidney migration to the United States +

The unstable environment in England at this time caused numerous families to board ships and leave in search of opportunity and freedom from persecution abroad in places like Ireland, Australia, and particularly the New World. The voyage was extremely difficult, however, and only taken at great expense. The cramped conditions and unsanitary nature of the vessels caused many to arrive diseased and starving, not to mention destitute from the enormous cost. Still opportunity in the emerging nations of Canada and the United States was far greater than at home and many went on to make important contributions to the cultures of their adopted countries. An examination of many early immigration records reveals that people bearing the name Sidney arrived in North America very early:

Sidney Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Elizabeth Sidney who settled in Virginia in 1643
  • Eliza Sidney, who arrived in Virginia in 1643 [6]
  • Robert Sidney, who landed in Virginia in 1650 [6]
  • Eliz Sidney, who landed in Virginia in 1655 [6]
  • William Sidney, who landed in Virginia in 1658 [6]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Sidney Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Francis Sidney, who arrived in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1838 [6]

Australia Sidney migration to Australia +

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

Sidney Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Miss Maria Sidney, English convict who was convicted in Middlesex, England for 14 years, transported aboard the "Diana" on 4th December 1832, arriving in New South Wales, Australia [7]
  • Mr. George Sidney, English convict who was convicted in Bristol, England for 14 years, transported aboard the "Bengal Merchant" on 27th September 1834, arriving in New South Wales, Australia [8]

New Zealand Sidney migration to New Zealand +

Emigration to New Zealand followed in the footsteps of the European explorers, such as Captain Cook (1769-70): first came sealers, whalers, missionaries, and traders. By 1838, the British New Zealand Company had begun buying land from the Maori tribes, and selling it to settlers, and, after the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, many British families set out on the arduous six month journey from Britain to Aotearoa to start a new life. Early immigrants include:

Sidney Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • James Sidney, aged 25, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Steinwarder" in 1864

West Indies Sidney migration to West Indies +

The British first settled the British West Indies around 1604. They made many attempts but failed in some to establish settlements on the Islands including Saint Lucia and Grenada. By 1627 they had managed to establish settlements on St. Kitts (St. Christopher) and Barbados, but by 1641 the Spanish had moved in and destroyed some of these including those at Providence Island. The British continued to expand the settlements including setting the First Federation in the British West Indies by 1674; some of the islands include Barbados, Bermuda, Cayman Island, Turks and Caicos, Jamaica and Belize then known as British Honduras. By the 1960's many of the islands became independent after the West Indies Federation which existed from 1958 to 1962 failed due to internal political conflicts. After this a number of Eastern Caribbean islands formed a free association. [9]
Sidney Settlers in West Indies in the 17th Century
  • William Sidney, his wife, 5 children and servants, settled in Barbados in 1680

Contemporary Notables of the name Sidney (post 1700) +

  • Sylvia Sidney (1910-1999), American actress
  • George Sidney (1916-2002), American film director and film producer
  • Wallace H. Sidney, American Democratic Party politician, Member of New York State Assembly from Schoharie County, 1922 [10]
  • Iolanthe Sidney, American Republican politician, Alternate Delegate to Republican National Convention from New York, 1956 [10]
  • Philip Sidney (1800-1851), 1st Baron De L'Isle and Dudley, British Tory politician
  • Philip Sidney (b. 1945), 2nd Viscount De L'Isle, British peer and former soldier
  • Major William Philip Sidney (1909-1991), British soldier awarded the Victoria Cross during WWII [11]
  • John Sidney McCain III (1936-2018), United States Navy pilot during the Vietnam War, and U.S. Senator, Republican Party 2008 presidential candidate
  • George Sidney Lindeman, British sub-lieutenant aboard the Royal Navy vessel HMS Virago, eponym of Lindeman Island group in the Whitsunday Islands off the coast of Queensland, Australia
  • Lawrence Sidney Mithen (1934-2022), Australian rules footballer who played for Melbourne in the VFL (1954-1962), inducted into the Melbourne Hall of Fame

The Sidney 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: Quo fata vocant
Motto Translation: Wherever fate may summon me.

  1. Smith, Eldson Coles, New Dictionary of American Family Names New York: Harper & Row, 1956. Print
  2. Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  3. Lower, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. 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. "What are the 5,000 Most Common Last Names in the U.S.?".,
  6. 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)
  7. Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 5th July 2021). Retrieved from
  8. Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 7th October 2020). Retrieved from
  10. The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, October 30) . Retrieved from
  11. World War 2 - SIDNEY, William. (Retrieved 2010, September 27) William Sidney. Retrieved from on Facebook