Sowersby History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The Sowersby surname evolved from any of several places so named in Northern England. The place name comes from the Old Norse "saurr," meaning "ground," and "the Old English "byr," meaning farm. [1] [2]

Early Origins of the Sowersby family

The surname Sowersby was first found in the North Riding of Yorkshire at Sowerby, a chapelry, in the parish and union of Thirsk, wapentake of Birdforth. Another chapelry named Sowerby can be found in the West Riding of Yorkshire. [3] Both date back to the Domesday Book of 1086 when they were both recorded as Sorebi at that time. [4]

Castle Sowerby is a civil parish in the Eden District of Cumbria, England and it is here that Odierna de Sourebi was recorded in the Pipe Rolls of 1195. Years later, Richard Surby was listed in London in 1381 and in the same year, William Sourby was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax Rolls. [5]

Also in the Yorkshire Poll Tax Rolls of 1379, we found Thomas de Sawreby; and Johannes de Sawreby. [6]

"Sowerby is the name of parishes and townships in the North and West Ridings, in Lancashire, and Cumberland. Between the reigns of Charles II. and George I. three Thomas Sowerbys were buried in the minster yard, Ripon. Soureby was a Yorkshire surname in the reign of Edward I.. The Sowerbys are also represented in the counties of Cumberland, Durham (around Darlington), and Lincoln." [7]

Today, the variants Sower and Sowers is an abbreviated form of the name Sowersby. [5]

Early History of the Sowersby family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Sowersby research. Another 108 words (8 lines of text) covering the years 1699, 1757, 1822, 1757, 1787, 1871, 1787, 1822, 1788, 1854, 1788, 1822, 1811, 1854, 1811, 1812, 1884, 1812, 1844, 1825, 1891, 1825, 1843, 1852, 1854, 1891 and 1847 are included under the topic Early Sowersby History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Sowersby Spelling Variations

Sowersby has been spelled many different ways. Before English spelling became standardized over the last few hundred years, spelling variations in names were a common occurrence. As the English language changed in the Middle Ages, absorbing pieces of Latin and French, as well as other languages, the spelling of people's names also changed considerably, even over a single lifetime. Spelling variants included: Sowerby, Sowerbie, Sowersby, Sorebi, Soreby, Soureby, Sowerbutts, Sourbutts, Sorbutt, Sowers and many more.

Early Notables of the Sowersby family (pre 1700)

Notables of this surname at this time include: Thomas Surbey, an English water engineer made notes of the lock at Hudd's Mill in 1699. James Sowerby (1757-1822) was a British naturalist and illustrator, whose sons would continue his work. He was the son of John Sowerby (descendant of an old border family through the Yorkshire branch) and Arabella, his wife, was born in London on 21 March 1757. He became a student at the Royal Academy, and was an articled pupil of Richard Wright, the marine painter. In his early years he was a teacher of drawing and a portrait-painter. His eldest son...
Another 448 words (32 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Sowersby Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Sowersby migration to the United States +

In an attempt to escape the chaos experienced in England, many English families boarded overcrowded and diseased ships sailing for the shores of North America and other British colonies. Those families hardy enough, and lucky enough, to make the passage intact were rewarded with land and a social environment less prone to religious and political persecution. Many of these families became important contributors to the young colonies in which they settled. Early immigration and passenger lists have documented some of the first Sowersbys to arrive on North American shores:

Sowersby Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • William Sowersby, who arrived in New York State in 1774
Sowersby Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Robert Sowersby, who settled in Texas in 1844


  1. ^ Lower, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  2. ^ Barber, Henry, British Family Names London: Elliot Stock, 62 Paternoster Row, 1894. Print.
  3. ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, 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. ^ Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  6. ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  7. ^ Guppy, Henry Brougham, Homes of Family Names in Great Britain. 1890. Print.


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