Southern History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Early Origins of the Southern family

The surname Southern was first found in Suffolk at Sotherton, a parish, in the union and hundred of Blything. [1] This local name was derived from the term "the southern" meaning "from the south" and from the Middle English word "sothern." [2]

Perhaps Chaucer in his famous Canterbury Tales sums up this surname best "But trusteth wel, I am a sothern man."

Early rolls proved the widespread spellings of the family from ancient times: Geoffrey le Sutherne in the Assize Rolls of Staffordshire in 1243; Robert le Sotherun in the Subsidy Rolls of Yorkshire in 1297; John le Southeren in Yorkshire in 1307; Henry le Suthreen in the Assize Rolls of Staffordshire in 1325; Hugh and Henry le Sotheron in the Subsidy Rolls of Derbyshire in 1327; Agnes le Southeron in the Subsidy Rolls for Worcestershire in 1327; Richard Sothereran, a Freeman of York in 1352; and Thomas Sothryn in Yorkshire in 1387. [3]

Sutherne was a spelling used in Scotland in early days as shown by "Thomas le Sutherne was received to the English king's peace in 1321." [4]

Back in England, Yorkshire proved to be a popular county for the family as by the time of the Yorkshire Poll Tax Rolls of 1379, we found: Willelmus Sothom; Willelmus Sotheron; Johannes Sotheron; and Ricardus Sothryn as all holding lands there at that time. [2]

Early History of the Southern family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Southern research. Another 77 words (6 lines of text) covering the years 1296, 1584, 1660, 1746, 1660, 1676, 1678 and 1682 are included under the topic Early Southern History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Southern Spelling Variations

Spelling variations of this family name include: Southern, Sotherton, Sotherne, Sotheron and others.

Early Notables of the Southern family (pre 1700)

Distinguished members of the family include John Southern or Soowthern (fl. 1584), and English "poetaster, seems to have been born in England, and was doubtless connected with...
Another 27 words (2 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Southern Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Southern Ranking

In the United States, the name Southern is the 3,817th most popular surname with an estimated 7,461 people with that name. [5]

Ireland Migration of the Southern family to Ireland

Some of the Southern family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 106 words (8 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Southern migration to the United States +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Southern Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • John Southern, who settled in Virginia in 1620
  • John Southern, who landed in Jamestown, Va in 1624 [6]
  • James Southern, who settled in Virginia in 1635
  • James Southern, aged 19, who arrived in Virginia in 1635 [6]
  • Tho Southern, who arrived in Virginia in 1653 [6]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Southern Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • R Southern, who landed in San Francisco, California in 1850 [6]

Australia Southern migration to Australia +

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

Southern Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Miss Margaret Southern, (b. 1783), aged 20, British Convict who was convicted in Lancaster, Lancashire, England for 7 years for shop lifting, transported aboard the "Experiment" on 4th December 1803, arriving in New South Wales, Australia, she died in 1859 [7]
  • Miss Margaret Southern, (b. 1783), aged 21, English convict who was convicted in Manchester, Greater Manchester, England for 7 years for stealing, transported aboard the "Exmouth" on 2nd January 1804, arriving in New South Wales, Australia, she died in 1859 [8]
  • Jane G. Southern, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Cromwell" in 1849 [9]
  • Mary Southern, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Cromwell" in 1849 [9]

New Zealand Southern 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:

Southern Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Mr. John Southern, (b. 1843), aged 36, British settler travelling from Plymouth aboard the ship "Stad Haarlem" arriving in Lyttleton, Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand on 14th April 1879 [10]
  • Mrs. Rebecca Southern, (b. 1842), aged 37, British settler travelling from Plymouth aboard the ship "Stad Haarlem" arriving in Lyttleton, Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand on 14th April 1879 [10]
  • Mr. William Southern, (b. 1869), aged 10, British settler travelling from Plymouth aboard the ship "Stad Haarlem" arriving in Lyttleton, Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand on 14th April 1879 [10]
  • Mr. John Southern, (b. 1870), aged 9, British settler travelling from Plymouth aboard the ship "Stad Haarlem" arriving in Lyttleton, Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand on 14th April 1879 [10]
  • Mr. James Southern, (b. 1872), aged 7, British settler travelling from Plymouth aboard the ship "Stad Haarlem" arriving in Lyttleton, Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand on 14th April 1879 [10]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

West Indies Southern 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. [11]
Southern Settlers in West Indies in the 17th Century
  • Isaac Southern who settled in Barbados in 1661

Contemporary Notables of the name Southern (post 1700) +

  • Mary Anita "Neta" Snook Southern (1896-1991), (1896 – 1991), American pioneer aviator who was the first woman aviator in Iowa, first woman student accepted at the Curtiss Flying School in Virginia, first woman aviator to run her own aviation business and first woman to run a commercial airfield. Remembered for her relationship to Amelia Earhart
  • Terry Southern (1924-1995), American short story writer, one of the co-writers of "Dr. Strangelove"
  • Tom V. Southern, American Republican politician, Alternate Delegate to Republican National Convention from North Carolina, 2008 [12]
  • Richard Southern, American Democratic Party politician, Elected Missouri State House of Representatives from Monroe County 1964; Member of Missouri State Senate 18th District; Elected 1966 [12]
  • John C. Southern, American Republican politician, Candidate for West Virginia State Senate 12th District, 1934 [12]
  • Harold E. Southern, American politician, Socialist Labor Candidate for Secretary of State of Michigan, 1930 [12]
  • Duane Southern, American Democratic Party politician, Member of West Virginia State House of Delegates 31st District; Elected 1984 [12]
  • Henry Southern (1799-1853), English founder of the ‘Retrospective Review’ and diplomatist, born at York, the son of Richard Southern
  • Sir Richard William Southern (1912-2001), English historian awarded the 1987 Balzan Prize for Medieval History
  • Edwin Mellor Southern Sir (b. 1938), British 2005 Lasker Award-winning molecular biologist
  • ... (Another 2 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)


  1. ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
  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)
  3. ^ Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  4. ^ Black, George F., The Surnames of Scotland Their Origin, Meaning and History. New York: New York Public Library, 1946. Print. (ISBN 0-87104-172-3)
  5. ^ https://namecensus.com/most_common_surnames.htm
  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 22nd March 2021). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/coromandel-and-experiment
  8. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 30th May 2022). https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/experiment
  9. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) CROMWELL 1849. Retrieved from http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1849Cromwell.htm
  10. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 26th March 2019). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  11. ^ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_West_Indies
  12. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, October 23) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html


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